Author Topic: Commercial LEO Destinations Development  (Read 113600 times)

Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #40 on: 03/30/2021 06:58 am »
And yes, that ISS was primarily designed to be built and serviced by a vehicle roughly the size and mass of Starship kind of proves my point for me. ;)

No it doesn't because, and this may astound you, even despite being of similar size and mass, the Orbiter was a very different vehicle than Starship.

To point out just one issue: while the Shuttle was docked with the ISS, responsibility for orientation control of the combined spacecraft was shared between the Shuttle and the Station. Because Starship is about the same size and mass as the Shuttle, it's reasonable to assume that the same would have to be true of Starship, a different vehicle, using a different propellant, to power thrusters in a very different layout, that was designed with no consideration of things like where the ISS solar arrays would be in relation to thrusters. The Shuttle didn't have this problem because this issue was known and designed around from the beginning of design work on (what would become) ISS way back in the 80s. And even then, they still ran into problems with the combined Shuttle-Station from time to time.

Starship can't just dock to the ISS for the same reason you can't just replace the EUS with the New Glenn upper stage or strap 2 SLS SRBs onto a SuperHeavy, or any other crazy idea of Lego rocketry. Integration. When two vehicles dock in orbit, they become one vehicle. If they weren't designed to do that, then that new vehicle won't fly correctly. And when there are human lives involved, the risk is intolerable.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2021 07:05 am by JEF_300 »
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Offline high road

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #41 on: 03/30/2021 08:00 am »
It doesn't surprise me SpaceX is interested in free flyer contract money.  NG has been demonstrating Cygnus' capability to be used as a free flyer.  Dragon XL is similar to Cygnus and so should be able to offer the same capability.

I'd be remiss to not mention CNBC's lack of love for cargo Dream Chaser.  I know Starliner should enter service sooner but as of right now both are spacecraft that will be available in the near future.

It shouldn't suprise you. They tried selling cargo Dragon as a free flying lab many years ago. DragonLab never went anywhere. Too soon perhaps, but it could be that commercial space research can't/couldn't pay for Dragon launches without NASA funding.

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #42 on: 03/30/2021 09:09 am »
It doesn't surprise me SpaceX is interested in free flyer contract money.  NG has been demonstrating Cygnus' capability to be used as a free flyer.  Dragon XL is similar to Cygnus and so should be able to offer the same capability.

I'd be remiss to not mention CNBC's lack of love for cargo Dream Chaser.  I know Starliner should enter service sooner but as of right now both are spacecraft that will be available in the near future.

It shouldn't suprise you. They tried selling cargo Dragon as a free flying lab many years ago. DragonLab never went anywhere. Too soon perhaps, but it could be that commercial space research can't/couldn't pay for Dragon launches without NASA funding.

Dragon Lab's failure never surprised me.  While the capabilities and capacity were right, the timing was wrong.  Therefore Dragon Lab never had the customers to make it the right spacecraft at the right time.

What I'm arguing now is that Cygnus, or SpaceX's Dragon XL, can provide the right capabilities and capacity at the right time.  Unfortunately instead of topical replies all I've gotten is, "Starship will be much better at some point in the mid-to-distant future so don't even bother arguing in favor of anything except fully developed Starship derivatives."

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #43 on: 03/30/2021 05:20 pm »
While interesting, this discussion is going off-topic, the free-flyer under this program isn't required to dock with the ISS.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2021 05:23 pm by yg1968 »

Offline Danderman

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #44 on: 03/30/2021 11:20 pm »
And yes, that ISS was primarily designed to be built and serviced by a vehicle roughly the size and mass of Starship kind of proves my point for me. ;)

No it doesn't because, and this may astound you, even despite being of similar size and mass, the Orbiter was a very different vehicle than Starship.

To point out just one issue: while the Shuttle was docked with the ISS, responsibility for orientation control of the combined spacecraft was shared between the Shuttle and the Station. Because Starship is about the same size and mass as the Shuttle, it's reasonable to assume that the same would have to be true of Starship, a different vehicle, using a different propellant, to power thrusters in a very different layout, that was designed with no consideration of things like where the ISS solar arrays would be in relation to thrusters. The Shuttle didn't have this problem because this issue was known and designed around from the beginning of design work on (what would become) ISS way back in the 80s. And even then, they still ran into problems with the combined Shuttle-Station from time to time.

Starship can't just dock to the ISS for the same reason you can't just replace the EUS with the New Glenn upper stage or strap 2 SLS SRBs onto a SuperHeavy, or any other crazy idea of Lego rocketry. Integration. When two vehicles dock in orbit, they become one vehicle. If they weren't designed to do that, then that new vehicle won't fly correctly. And when there are human lives involved, the risk is intolerable.

I can say that the Russian segment was not designed to operate in conjunction with the Space Shuttle.

If SpaceX were tasked with docking Starship with ISS, they could probably make the required mods to enable the mission. That particular job would be an order of magnitude easier than getting Starship to land successfully.

Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #45 on: 03/31/2021 12:24 am »
And yes, that ISS was primarily designed to be built and serviced by a vehicle roughly the size and mass of Starship kind of proves my point for me. ;)

No it doesn't because, and this may astound you, even despite being of similar size and mass, the Orbiter was a very different vehicle than Starship.

To point out just one issue: while the Shuttle was docked with the ISS, responsibility for orientation control of the combined spacecraft was shared between the Shuttle and the Station. Because Starship is about the same size and mass as the Shuttle, it's reasonable to assume that the same would have to be true of Starship, a different vehicle, using a different propellant, to power thrusters in a very different layout, that was designed with no consideration of things like where the ISS solar arrays would be in relation to thrusters. The Shuttle didn't have this problem because this issue was known and designed around from the beginning of design work on (what would become) ISS way back in the 80s. And even then, they still ran into problems with the combined Shuttle-Station from time to time.

Starship can't just dock to the ISS for the same reason you can't just replace the EUS with the New Glenn upper stage or strap 2 SLS SRBs onto a SuperHeavy, or any other crazy idea of Lego rocketry. Integration. When two vehicles dock in orbit, they become one vehicle. If they weren't designed to do that, then that new vehicle won't fly correctly. And when there are human lives involved, the risk is intolerable.

I can say that the Russian segment was not designed to operate in conjunction with the Space Shuttle.

If SpaceX were tasked with docking Starship with ISS, they could probably make the required mods to enable the mission. That particular job would be an order of magnitude easier than getting Starship to land successfully.

This'll is the last I'll comment on this, because I refuse to take the thread any further off topic.

I'm not saying that dealing with the integration problems of docking Starship to the ISS are impossible to solve. I think they're supremely solvable. But it would be a long and complicated and expensive engineering process, because you would have to go piece by piece through the thousands of systems and parts of each vehicle looking for places where problems might occur.

And I didn't spell this out before since I though it was obvious, but this project would have to have not just approval, but also likely personnel and funding from the NASA side involved, plus possibly other ISS partners. And that's where it begins to get closer to impossible. Especially since Starship docking is not a service the ISS has any use for.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #46 on: 03/31/2021 03:25 am »
...Especially since Starship docking is not a service the ISS has any use for.
And why is that? It'd offer WAY more cargo (not to mention crew) capability than Dragon and potentially for significantly less expensive.

SpaceX seems interested enough in the idea to make renderings of it. They have a portion of their webpage that advertises that capability:
"STARSHIP USES
SPACE STATION
Starship can deliver both cargo and people to and from the ISS. Starship’s fairing provides significant capacity for in-space activities. The aft cargo containers can also host a variety of payloads."
https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/starship/


...the fact it can also potentially function as a permanent free-flyer post-ISS increases that value. Equipment and even whole modules that still have value could be transferred to Starship-as-station.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline edzieba

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #47 on: 03/31/2021 11:08 am »
...Especially since Starship docking is not a service the ISS has any use for.
And why is that? It'd offer WAY more cargo (not to mention crew) capability than Dragon and potentially for significantly less expensive.
That doesn't address the question of whether the ISS needs more cargo or crew transport capacity. The CLD FAQ posted upthread is very clear that NASA expects capacity requirements post-ISS to decrease, not increase.
That does not mean Starship is not potentially competitive on a pure cost basis, but it does mean "but it's so much bigger!" is of little more value than "but it's so much shinier!".

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #48 on: 03/31/2021 07:04 pm »
Thumbs up with a caveat.

The CLD FAQ posted upthread is very clear that NASA expects capacity requirements post-ISS to decrease, not increase.

NASA expect to have fewer astronauts on orbit.  This is because it is reasonable to expect the commercial station's employees will take over operations, maintenance, and running experiments for private sector customers.  The total amount of science NASA will be doing is staying relatively stable.

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #49 on: 05/10/2021 11:29 pm »
The list of interested parties for the CLD Industry Briefing was posted today.

https://beta.sam.gov/opp/33ed7a2af65044d795b587f992b66f4e/view

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #50 on: 05/17/2021 10:40 pm »
NASA posted a CLD Draft Announcement today, along with notice that a "CLD Virtual Pre-Proposal Conference" in response to this announcement will be held on May 26, 2021.

Link: https://beta.sam.gov/opp/625331e3b0804fe9998c520f40c59da7/view

Copy of announcement also attached (the first few pages give an overview of the project).

Offline su27k

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #51 on: 05/18/2021 03:08 am »
NASA posted a CLD Draft Announcement today, along with notice that a "CLD Virtual Pre-Proposal Conference" in response to this announcement will be held on May 26, 2021.

Link: https://beta.sam.gov/opp/625331e3b0804fe9998c520f40c59da7/view

Copy of announcement also attached (the first few pages give an overview of the project).

The main requirements from the Announcement:

Quote
2.2.2 Crew Service Goals
Service goals for accommodation of crew:
• Accommodations on CLD of at least two crew.
• Continuous crew presence on CLD (this can be an evolutionary capability).
• Flexible frequency of crew rotation, including occasional crew stays of six months, one year, or longer.
• The CLD will provide crew accommodations (food, hygiene, medical, exercise, etc.).

2.2.3 Payload and Facility Service Goals
• Able to accommodate internal pressurized payloads and facilities
    o Able to accommodate Middeck Locker Equivalents (MLE) to accommodate heritage payloads. New payloads can be built to participant’s interface requirements.
    o Able to accommodate payloads and facilities that are larger than MLEs.
• Able to accommodate approximately six external unpressurized payloads, oriented as one ram, one wake, two nadir, and two zenith.

2.2.4 “Stretch” Service Goals
In addition to evaluating the overall CLD goals listed above, NASA will also evaluate proposed CLD concepts for their ability to provide the following ancillary service capabilities listed here. Implementation of these goals should not impact the CLD’s primary goal to provide the services described in the sections above in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner. Optional or evolutionary approaches to support these goals can be proposed along with approximate development costs.

2.2.4.1 Exploration Analog Services
Capability to perform exploration analog missions on the CLD to simulate deep space transportation conditions with environmental and acoustic isolation of a crew from other CLD activity and dedicated use of customer-furnished exploration test beds. Key components for consideration include:
• Up to 4 crew members
• Crew volume of approximately 100 cubic meters
• Isolation, both in terms of environmental and sensory, from any other CLD activities
• In-situ sample processing & analysis of blood, urine, saliva, omics, chemistry, cytometry
• Mission duration of 30 days to one year or more
• Potential test beds:
    o ECLSS
    o Food system with cold stowage
    o Exercise equipment
    o Medical equipment

2.2.4.2 Artificial/Partial Gravity Services
Capability to perform up to human-scale artificial gravity research such as to simulate Moon and/or Mars surface gravity for experiments or as a countermeasure to the effects of microgravity on crew health and performance.


I wonder what they meant by "Continuous crew presence" can be "an evolutionary capability".


Also I wonder what this Duplicative Funding section is for, I don't remember seeing similar section in other RFPs, something they added because of some Congressional mandate?

Quote
3.2.1 Duplicative Funding

NASA will not fund participant CLD efforts to the extent such funding duplicates payments made by the U.S. Government to the participant, pursuant to another U.S. government contract or agreement, for the same purpose.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2021 03:08 am by su27k »

Offline gemmy0I

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #52 on: 05/18/2021 03:56 am »
I wonder what they meant by "Continuous crew presence" can be "an evolutionary capability".
I would interpret it to mean that the station is allowed to have non-overlapping crew expeditions during early phases, so long as it evolves toward a standard of continuous crew presence.

Online joek

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #53 on: 05/18/2021 04:05 am »
I wonder what they meant by "Continuous crew presence" can be "an evolutionary capability".
Per the announcement:
Quote from: JSC-CLD-01
Continuous human presence. (Participants may propose ramping up capabilities in response to projected markets but concepts which have continuous human presence or culminate in continuous human presence will be of higher value to NASA.)

Quote
Also I wonder what this Duplicative Funding section is for, I don't remember seeing similar section in other RFPs, something they added because of some Congressional mandate?
Not sure why this is emphasized as it is generally illegal to do so without the informed consent of the contracting agencies (which would be rare-to-never). May have been inserted to emphasize as this will be under a space act agreement (SAA).

Offline brickmack

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #54 on: 05/19/2021 04:18 pm »
Also I wonder what this Duplicative Funding section is for, I don't remember seeing similar section in other RFPs, something they added because of some Congressional mandate?

Quote
3.2.1 Duplicative Funding

NASA will not fund participant CLD efforts to the extent such funding duplicates payments made by the U.S. Government to the participant, pursuant to another U.S. government contract or agreement, for the same purpose.

Probably to bar Axiom being double-funded between this and NextSTEP. NASA wants a competitive market, if Axiom was allowed to bid for this with the same thing they're already building under the other contract, they'd have an unfair advantage

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #55 on: 05/25/2021 09:51 pm »
Quote from: page 5 of the draft announcement
For purposes of the proposal, participants shall assume Phase II service contract award at the beginning of FY26 and transition of NASA utilization from ISS to CLD over the FY29-30 period.

Quote from: page 10 of the draft announcement
NASA anticipates a total of up to $400 million spread over fiscal years 2022 through 2025 to be available for funding the agreements. This amount is expected to fund two to four agreements. The amount of funding allocated to a participant offered a Funded Space Act Agreement will be solely at NASA’s discretion.

The transition from ISS to CLDs over the FY29-30 period is interesting given that Senator Nelson has endorsed extending the ISS to 2030. It makes a lot of sense to transition towards CLDs prior to the end of life of the ISS in 2030.

The $400M over 4 years is not a lot of money. A large portion of the development will have to be self funded. Companies such as SpaceX, Blue and NG may have an interest in funding these habitats since cargo and crew transportation to the habitat might be included with the habitat services, once they are operational.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2021 08:49 pm by yg1968 »

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #56 on: 05/26/2021 12:17 am »
Charts for the "CLD Virtual Pre-Proposal Conference" have been posted today on SAM.gov.

Link: https://sam.gov/opp/569b413526eb498eb22de16f5ebf1dc3/view

A copy is attached (51 pages).  A schedule was included on page 17.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #57 on: 05/27/2021 05:09 pm »
Quote from: Marcia Smith
McAlister: can't say how much we will spend on cmrcl LEO destinations, but better be significantly less than $3.2 B/year for ISS. Our outyear budgets assume we'll save 50% by buying cmrcl services. But I'm not willing to commit to what we'll spend in phase 2 [of this chart]

https://twitter.com/SpcPlcyOnline/status/1397960929594195968

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #58 on: 06/15/2021 10:45 pm »
A first batch of Q&As has been posted today following the recent CLD pre-proposal conference (copy attached).

A revised list of interested parties was also included.

https://sam.gov/opp/032050ed22ea458aab35f605c8e58280/view
« Last Edit: 06/15/2021 10:47 pm by AnalogMan »

Offline su27k

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Re: Commercial LEO Destinations Development
« Reply #59 on: 06/29/2021 04:25 am »
Op-ed | Mind the gap in low Earth orbit

Quote
However, for companies to access sufficient capital to field a commercial space station, NASA must lean forward as much as it can to reassure industry that it will be a robust and ongoing customer. NASA’s desire to continuously fly two crew members in LEO and perform 200 investigations per year is a good start. If NASA can incorporate such a commitment into the initial CLD SAAs and potentially include additional crew and investigations in the future, such actions will position the private sector for success.

Change is inevitable, but it is also beneficial and necessary for institutions, ideas and even individuals to survive and thrive. The environment in LEO is changing and American capabilities must also change to meet tomorrow’s challenges. China is wisely investing in crewed LEO operations and making strong diplomatic overtures to build a global coalition for its space program. To avoid ceding LEO to China, the U.S. must lean into its traditional strengths, specifically, entrepreneurialism and innovation, both of which are driven by the freedom and diversity that are the twin pillars of American society.

Taking the concept of a commercial space station from idea to reality will require a concerted effort from all of us. NASA, Congress, the executive branch and industry must all work quickly and in unison. Together, we can build a bridge that will allow America to safely and successfully cross over the space station gap, on a path toward a future of peace and prosperity in LEO and beyond for the U.S. and all of humanity to enjoy.

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