Author Topic: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander  (Read 252426 times)

Offline cryogenicvalve

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
  • Liked: 17
  • Likes Given: 26
IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« on: 10/15/2023 08:40 pm »
IM-1 seems for quite some weeks fixed for 15th November:

https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

« Last Edit: 01/31/2024 09:51 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Online jstrotha0975

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 583
  • United States
  • Liked: 335
  • Likes Given: 2648
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #1 on: 10/15/2023 09:24 pm »
That's my birthday :D

Offline Phil Stooke

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1358
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1426
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #2 on: 10/16/2023 07:40 pm »
"https://arstechnica.com/space/2023/10/ars-takes-a-close-up-look-at-the-first-us-lunar-lander-in-half-a-century/"

Quote:

"Intuitive Machines has a tentative launch date of November 16, when a six-day window opens for its spacecraft to reach the Moon. However, there are concerns about whether a Falcon 9 rocket will be available at that time. The mission will lift off from SpaceX's Launch Complex 39A pad, and there are a handful of missions ahead of it, including the Psyche asteroid mission, a cargo supply mission for NASA, and potentially the USSF-52 mission.

"We're in line with a whole bunch of others," Altemus said. "Our strategy is being there and being ready to go."

The company has another six-day window that opens in December, and an additional one in early January. It will take five to seven days to reach the Moon, and then after arriving there, the spacecraft will spend a day lining up with the plane at the landing site at 80 degrees south, near the pole, before making a landing attempt."


Also there is already a thread for this mission in the SpaceX mission section, so this thread should really be locked or deleted.

Offline Phil Stooke

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1358
  • Canada
  • Liked: 1426
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #3 on: 10/17/2023 05:39 pm »
The section in question is called:  "SpaceX Falcon Missions Section"

It's intended to be about the launch vehicle but it actually absorbs everything about the mission until launch. 

OK, this could become the appropriate thread after launch.  But since the first post was about the launch date, really it belonged in the launch vehicle mission section.

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10222
  • US
  • Liked: 13922
  • Likes Given: 5958
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #4 on: 10/17/2023 07:27 pm »
It's perfectly fine to have threads for both the mission and for the launch.  Most payloads that get launched don't really need a separate mission thread on our site.  If someone wants to have a thread here for IM-1 it's not a problem.
« Last Edit: 10/17/2023 07:28 pm by gongora »

Offline cryogenicvalve

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
  • Liked: 17
  • Likes Given: 26
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #5 on: 10/17/2023 08:15 pm »
I did not know that there is a detailed IM-1 coverage on Spacex Missions section ... Now I know.

So I don't insist at all on having this thread ...

My dream is to have a one stop shop for lunar polar missions, but currently I have to chase the threads ...
« Last Edit: 10/17/2023 08:16 pm by cryogenicvalve »

Offline Don2

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 532
  • Liked: 296
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #6 on: 10/18/2023 04:05 am »
There should definitely be a thread here. The thread in the Falcon 9 missions section is good, but that is an odd place to have it. It will make even less sense after launch.

If the landing is successful, there should be some pictures and a little science data to talk about. If it fails then I would expect a discussion of why it failed and the programmatic consequences.

NASA has invested a fair bit of money in the CLPS program and nothing has been delivered so far. Some people think that the commercial model will save money for science in the future. However, people have become used to old NASA's near flawless execution over the past few years, so seeing failures will come as something of a surprise. Given the pressure on the science budget, I don't think there will be much tolerance of failures.

A successful landing would be a big win for the commercial approach. A failure on landing won't be too bad, as long as there is enough telemetry to figure out what went wrong. The political/media reaction to that would be worth watching. A failure before getting to the moon would be a serious blow.

IM-2 thread in Falcon 9 missions section:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=49177.0

CLPS thread in commercial section:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45580.0
« Last Edit: 10/18/2023 04:16 am by Don2 »

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1789
  • USA
  • Liked: 1470
  • Likes Given: 2527
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #7 on: 10/18/2023 02:34 pm »
CLPS is commerical in that NASA calls it commerical (are we still pretending that viper is CLPS and not just cost plus?). Its still alot of nasa money going into the missions. The entire american public and congress will think of them as "NASA" missions. Yes, if you get into the nitty gritty, NASA has offloaded alot of risk and some of the cost onto the companies involved.

However, that will go over the heads of 99% of the country (who mostly think the falcon 9 is a nasa rocket).
If a CLPS mission crashes, I can garuntee you that the headlines won't say "space startup mission falls short", they will have words like "NASA" and "crashes" and "fails" in the headline. The fine print of how the mission was categoriezed will be 10 paragraphs down and missed by most people.
« Last Edit: 10/18/2023 02:36 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline Don2

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 532
  • Liked: 296
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #8 on: 10/19/2023 06:56 am »
I don't think we disagree. I'm not a fan of CLPS. Using small, inexperienced, resource constrained companies increases the risks of failure. They will be seen as NASA missions so failures will do some reputational damage to NASA, and science payloads that NASA funded will be lost. NASA is insulated against cost overruns, unless they bankrupt the contractor, in which case NASA loses the whole mission. That happened with Masten.

The lander on this mission, NOVA-C, is methalox. So not only do they have to land on the moon, they also have to manage boil-off issues. Somebody may correct me on this, but I think it will be the longest duration flight of any cryogenic rocket stage. I also think it is the second methalox rocket to operate in  space after the Chinese Zhuque-2. If it works, it will be an impressive technology demonstration. Is it a good way to do science? We'll see.

I don't see a commercial market for these landers. I think they will be dependent on NASA funding for a long time. If the landers perform well, then maybe the companies can win other NASA and Pentagon contracts.

Offline cryogenicvalve

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
  • Liked: 17
  • Likes Given: 26
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #9 on: 10/19/2023 11:14 am »
Great that they use liquid methane. That means  launch to landing time will be short.

Although the press will claim that NASA lander failed, still for people inside NASA the Apollo legacy will be untouched. I think CLPS is a really good move.

Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #10 on: 10/19/2023 11:36 am »
So, if the CLSP contracts are like Commercial Cargo and Crew contracts, then part of the risk that is assumed by the contractor is success prior to payment. Unlike a traditional NASA contract where the contractor gets paid regardless of the outcome, these companies are being paid to provide a service. If they don't make it to the moon or if they crash on landing, they don't get paid for completing that portion of the service. In addition, the contracts would not completely fund the development of the vehicle. The companies put in a certain percentage of the cost for R&D and development.

So, yes, the political and PR risks are still there; however, it does put a greater amount of the financial risk of mission failure on the contractor.

Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #11 on: 10/19/2023 11:38 am »
And to get it back on topic, hopefully they are able to work out which Falcon 9 will launch this mission very soon. I am excited to see it go!

Offline deadman1204

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1789
  • USA
  • Liked: 1470
  • Likes Given: 2527
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #12 on: 10/19/2023 03:33 pm »
NASA has offloaded alot of risk and some of the cost onto the companies involved.

I'm going to argue with that statement, or at least question it. What does "offloaded a lot of risk... onto the companies involved" mean? There are different kinds of risk, but right now, at the most basic level, these are mostly NASA-funded missions serving NASA requirements. Therefore, if they fail, NASA loses. It loses money, and it loses that capability to land whatever it wanted to land. So the risk is still NASA's risk.

Now we can also say that if a mission fails, the company that built it could possibly go out of business, or at least suffer loss of stock value, reputation, money. So the company also has risk. But I think that is more the function of the size of these companies than NASA offloading risk onto them. Take an alternative situation where NASA contracted Lockheed Martin to build a lander and it fails. LM is so big that the company is not going to take much of a hit.
Your right, I wasn't very clear.  However you hit the major points. Sorry

Offline VSECOTSPE

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1485
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #13 on: 10/24/2023 04:18 am »
I don't think we disagree. I'm not a fan of CLPS. Using small, inexperienced, resource constrained companies increases the risks of failure... NASA is insulated against cost overruns, unless they bankrupt the contractor, in which case NASA loses the whole mission. That happened with Masten.

This is a naive opinion. The reality is that big companies are just as prone as small companies to technical failures with huge cost and schedule implications ó see repeated Boeing Starliner flight and test problems.  And the reality is that big companies are just as prone to terminating agreements and pulling out of projects ó see Boeing pulling out of XS-1 at DARPA when they became resource-constrained in the wake of 737 MAX costs.  (Not picking on Boeing ó these examples just came to mind.)  No organization is promised mission success because of its size.  Success comes down to the quality of mission formulation, the vigilance of mission management during development, and a certain degree of luck.  These things will be good or bad regardless of company size.  Good procurements literally ask for and compare the resumes of team leadership.  Bad procurements rely on lazy impressions of organizational experience.

I started the COTS program on which this lunar lander effort is partly modeled and served as its first program exec.  We had one failure (RpK terminated because of fundraising issues), one middling success (OSC, now NG, Cygnus/Antares), and one spectacular success (SpaceX Dragon/F9).  There was no big versus small pattern of success/failure.  That program provided NASAís first successful launch and space transportation developments in decades and now serves as the model, more or less, for all new human space flight development programs since.  The underlying key to that programís success was being humble enough to understand that we donít know enough to pick the single best performer for any particular procurement.  Rather, we need to place several bets.  This lunar lander program is following the same strategy and will see similar a spread of results.

Quote
They will be seen as NASA missions so failures will do some reputational damage to NASA

These lunar lander missions are the planetary science equivalent of the Explorer missions from the astronomy and heliophysics side of the house.  The Explorer Program had two spacecraft failures in 1999.  I doubt anyone can bring up their names from memory or find a press article on those failures.  What is remembered are bigger missions with more press going in and more expensive failures coming out.  Examples like MCO/MPL or HST optics.  And even those failures arguably had no long-term implications for the ďreputationĒ of their parent programs or NASA science (or NASA) in general.  And then there are the human space flight failures with loss of life that do loom large in NASA history.  So thereís failures, Failures, and FAILURES.  Theyíre not all the same, and we shouldnít paint them all with the same brush.  NASA, including planetary science, needs pockets of experimentation where new concepts can be tried, risks taken, and failures accepted and learned from.

Quote
and science payloads that NASA funded will be lost.

Like the lower-ends of the Explorer Program for astrophysics and heliophysics, for the most part, these are planetary science payloads that would never have flown (and planetary science researchers that never would have been flight-trained) without this program.  Either you take some risks at the low-end to get more instruments flown, more data back, and more researchers flight experience.  Or you forgo these kinds of riskier, lower-end programs and either take new instrument and new PI risks on more expensive programs like Discovery and New Frontiers or just accept a smaller pipeline of new instruments and PIs.

Quote
The lander on this mission, NOVA-C, is methalox. So not only do they have to land on the moon, they also have to manage boil-off issues. Somebody may correct me on this, but I think it will be the longest duration flight of any cryogenic rocket stage.

NASA stored LCH4 on orbit with zero boiloff for four months on CRS-16.  See Robotic Refueling Mission 3.  LCH4 with boiloff for days is comparatively straightforward.

Centaurs have demonstrated LOX (and LH2) storage and firings after ~10 hours with about 2% loss.  There are several types of diesel submarine that rely on multi-week storage of liquid oxygen for underwater operation and propulsion.  One can buy LOX dewars online.  The devil is always in the details, but multi-day storage of LOX is hardly witchcraft.

Again, NASA needs programs like this where it can prove out new technologies and subsystems and have some failures along the way.  A new propulsion system like this could not be tried on a critical-path Mars lander mission, but it can be tried in this place-some-bets lunar lander program.

Quote
I don't see a commercial market for these landers. I think they will be dependent on NASA funding for a long time. If the landers perform well, then maybe the companies can win other NASA and Pentagon contracts.

Thereís no doubt that these lunar lander missions would not exist without NASA.  But these companies have non-NASA customers for these missions, and they are involved in other NASA and non-NASA work besides these lunar lander missions.  Astroboticís Griffin 1 has 14 non-NASA payloads, and Masten terrestrial flight testing continues under Astrobotic.  DSS works Orion avionics.  Draper goes back to Apollo.  Firefly has three SLV launches under their belt.  Intuitive Machines has the same deep pocket backer as Axiom, IM-1 has six non-NASA payloads, and they do terrestrial drones.  Tyvak does smallsats.  Big firms like LockMart, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, and Blue Origin have also qualified for awards under this program.  Etc.

That is true. The way the contracts are written could limit NASA's risk if the company fails to deliver. But just about every contract, including a cost-plus contract, is also going to have performance-based awards. Look at it like this: suppose NASA signs a contract with Lockheed-Martin that is cost-plus, but it reaches orbit and then fails. Although NASA paid the money to build it (and any overruns that occurred), NASA will not pay any award fees they would have had to pay for successful operations. Not exactly potato/potahto when comparing it to a services-based contract, but not completely different either.

No, theyíre very different.

Award fees on a cost-plus contract are a few or handful of percent of the total contract value, whatever that total value turns out to be.  The government is on the hook to pay for 95-97% of the work done on a cost-plus contract, even if that work ends up costing 200% (or whatever overrun) of the original contract value.  The government may be able to withhold 3-5% of the original contract value for poor performance, but costs will still double (or whatever) overall under cost-plus

Fixed-price contracts are milestone-driven, and unmet milestones on a fixed-price contract represent large chunks of the total contract.  If the contractor fails to complete, say, 50% of the milestones (because of overruns, technical issues, etc.) on a fixed-price contract, then the government only loses ~50% of the original contract value and can reapply that funding to a different performer.  There is no overrun, and unused budget can be reapplied.

The type of contract used is really a function of whether the government is willing to risk cost increases (cost-plus) or project loss (fixed-cost).  The way to manage those contract risks programmatically is via multiple performers.  If the government relies on only one performer, the government is held over a barrel on cost (cost-plus) or project (fixed-cost).  But with multiple performers, the government can credibly threaten to terminate a contract of either type when there is a big overrun (cost-plus) or milestone failures (fixed-price) and still have a successful program overall.  Multiple performers hold cost-plus performersí feet to the fire on cost (in ways that award fees never have), and they provide a off-ramp for the program when fixed-price performers are failing.

(The type of contract is also a function of what performers can be attracted to do the work.  No one will develop a megawatt fusion drive under fixed-price, to use an extreme example.)

Quote
That said, I've heard that NASA has been providing a lot of under the table support to these projects to reduce the risk of them failing. For instance, having experienced NASA personnel help the contractor's inexperienced personnel. So although a services-based contract is supposed to put more risk burden on the contractor, NASA may have recognized that letting the contractor fail is not a good option.

The reality here is that NASA provides a lot of support to contractors of all types and sizes on NASA missions because contractors canít afford the carrying costs of all the domain expertise that NASA maintains.  Youíre not going to find, say, lunar terrain and regolith experts in most aerospace firms.  NASA has to provide that expertise.  LockMart couldnít pull off Mars landers without specialized JPL expertise, and JPL has found out that it canít do an MSR lander without LockMartís (or some other firmís) engineering experience and cost structure. Itís why every Explorer, Discovery, and New Frontiers proposal is a partnership between a government lab and an aerospace contractor, with a (usually university) PI riding herd on science prioritization and instrument teams.
« Last Edit: 10/24/2023 04:19 am by VSECOTSPE »

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15347
  • Liked: 7897
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #14 on: 10/24/2023 09:15 pm »
The reality here is that NASA provides a lot of support to contractors of all types and sizes on NASA missions because contractors canít afford the carrying costs of all the domain expertise that NASA maintains.  Youíre not going to find, say, lunar terrain and regolith experts in most aerospace firms.  NASA has to provide that expertise.  LockMart couldnít pull off Mars landers without specialized JPL expertise, and JPL has found out that it canít do an MSR lander without LockMartís (or some other firmís) engineering experience and cost structure. Itís why every Explorer, Discovery, and New Frontiers proposal is a partnership between a government lab and an aerospace contractor, with a (usually university) PI riding herd on science prioritization and instrument teams.


You quoted multiple posts from different posters here, and trying to respond to that and figure out the quote bars makes my head hurt, so I'm not going to try. But this part above is missing my point--what I have heard (maybe it is not accurate?) is that NASA has provided this additional mission/engineering support after it became apparent that the companies lacked capabilities, and that the risk of failure was higher than originally expected or desired. That's a different thing than the standard practice of teaming up NASA civil servant expertise with contractors. That's not what they did with CLPS. And that was the context of my original post about risk--CLPS was set up to accept more risk of failure (as Zurbuchen said, taking multiple shots on goal), and then the agency realized that they had a problem and they needed to fix it. It is good that they're trying to fix it, but it raises the question about the original decisions made when CLPS was set up.

And at the risk of ranting here, one of my issues with CLPS is that we have a lot of experience with planetary programs and we know how to do these things right, and we also know what happens if we fail. What happens is that failures of planetary programs attract a lot more political scrutiny than failures of other programs unless they are very expensive. The lesson was the late 1990s failures of two Mars missions, which resulted in NASA getting a lot of public and political criticism. So jump to today and ask what will happen if NASA crashes two lunar landers into the Moon after we have seen multiple successful ambitious Chinese landers, and a successful Indian lander? It will result in a lot of scrutiny, and maybe a review board, and then we may experience deja vu all over again. It's one thing to accept a "higher risk posture," it's another thing to ignore decades of experience about what works and what does not work.


Online ccdengr

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 664
  • Liked: 492
  • Likes Given: 74
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #15 on: 10/24/2023 10:08 pm »
But this part above is missing my point--what I have heard (maybe it is not accurate?) is that NASA has provided this additional mission/engineering support after it became apparent that the companies lacked capabilities...
FWIW, I saw little or no evidence of this happening on the one CLPS mission I've been associated with, but I can't say anything more and it might have been happening out of my view.

Offline VSECOTSPE

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1485
  • Liked: 4688
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #16 on: 10/25/2023 02:13 am »
what I have heard (maybe it is not accurate?) is that NASA has provided this additional mission/engineering support after it became apparent that the companies lacked capabilities, and that the risk of failure was higher than originally expected or desired. That's a different thing than the standard practice of teaming up NASA civil servant expertise with contractors. That's not what they did with CLPS. And that was the context of my original post about risk--CLPS was set up to accept more risk of failure (as Zurbuchen said, taking multiple shots on goal), and then the agency realized that they had a problem and they needed to fix it. It is good that they're trying to fix it, but it raises the question about the original decisions made when CLPS was set up.

And at the risk of ranting here, one of my issues with CLPS is that we have a lot of experience with planetary programs and we know how to do these things right, and we also know what happens if we fail...
It's one thing to accept a "higher risk posture," it's another thing to ignore decades of experience about what works and what does not work.

I think this confuses two different things. 

In point of fact, NASA does not manage all flight projects ó or even all planetary missions óthe same way.  Per NASA Procedural Requirements like 7120.5 (Space Flight Program and Project Management) or 8705.4 (Risk Classification for NASA Payloads), there are different project categories based on the life-cycle cost for that project, whether radioactive materials or human crew are involved, and the degree to which the project is critical for future efforts or other reasons.  Roughly speaking, Category 1 is $2B+, Category 2 is $365M to $2B, and Category 3 is <$365M.  NASA does not levy the same requirements ó oversight, redundancy, LV experience, etc. ó across all these categories.  A Category 3 project like a CLPS mission will have less burdensome requirements than and is managed differently from a Category 2 project like a Discovery mission.  And both of them will have less burdensome requirements than and be managed differently from a Category 1 project like MSR.

But even if youíre in Category 3 like CLPS missions are, that doesnít excuse doing stupid things, like not making NASA domain expertise available to the project.  If LockMart requires NASA domain expertise to pull off a planetary landing, then obviously a company like Intuitive Systems will, too.  I donít know the extent to which the program actually screwed this up and had to correct it, or if your source just misinterpreted things and/or spread uninformed rumors.  But making that kind of correction doesnít mean that the program has changed risk management categories or otherwise became more or less risk-averse.  It just means the program stopped something stupid.

Quote
What happens is that failures of planetary programs attract a lot more political scrutiny than failures of other programs unless they are very expensive. The lesson was the late 1990s failures of two Mars missions, which resulted in NASA getting a lot of public and political criticism.

I was covering Space Science at OMB during the MCO/MPL failures.  Got the Young briefing on them.  Went out to JPL to help kick off the Mars program replan.  Etc.  Goldin had to sit through a couple House Science Committee hearings on the failures that were broadly supportive of NASA, but that was it for political fallout.  From where I sat, there was no White House fallout.  In the light of those failures, Goldin wanted two MERS rovers instead of one.  My boss and I agreed and delivered the funding.  There was no pushback from the political level above us.  Appropriators agreed or didnít pay attention.  The rest is history.

There was negative press.  But my 2 cents is that the press that comes out of a mission (success or failure) is a function of the degree to which NASA has stirred up press interest going into that mission.  I doubt NASA will stir up the same level of press interest in these CLPS missions as it did for MCO/MPL.  Even if it does and thereís some negative press from a failure or two, so what?  Itís not like the Mars program was terminated or even had its budget reduced.  Instead we added funding for the second MERS.

Quote
So jump to today and ask what will happen if NASA crashes two lunar landers into the Moon after we have seen multiple successful ambitious Chinese landers, and a successful Indian lander? It will result in a lot of scrutiny, and maybe a review board, and then we may experience deja vu all over again.

Thereís always a review board at some level after a mission loss.

Again, MCO/MPL political blowback was a couple friendly House hearings, and I imagine a CLPS failure or two will generate even less.

Some press may paint negative comparisons to foreign successes like you did.  Others may point out foreign failures or that the program has multiple landers in the queue.  Like most press, I donít think it will really matter.

What matters, IMO, is that planetary science finally has something akin to the Explorers Program, where future PIs can get flight experience, where new instruments can be proven out, and where novel technologies and approaches can be tried in a low-cost, risk-taking, Category 3 environment against a nearby target.  None of that would happen in Flagship/Category 1 or Discovery/Category 2 environments ó it just wouldnít exist.  To me, thatís worth a negative press cycle or dragging an administrator to a supportive House hearing.

YMMV... FWIW.

Offline Don2

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 532
  • Liked: 296
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #17 on: 10/25/2023 07:59 pm »
NASA stored LCH4 on orbit with zero boiloff for four months on CRS-16.  See Robotic Refueling Mission 3.  LCH4 with boiloff for days is comparatively straightforward.

Centaurs have demonstrated LOX (and LH2) storage and firings after ~10 hours with about 2% loss.  There are several types of diesel submarine that rely on multi-week storage of liquid oxygen for underwater operation and propulsion.  One can buy LOX dewars online.  The devil is always in the details, but multi-day storage of LOX is hardly witchcraft.


I didn't know that liquid methane storage on orbit had been demonstrated. However on CRS-16, they had a cryocooler to keep the methane liquid, and they stored the methane in a dewar tank that was probably heavy and very well insulated. All that requires mass and power. A rocket stage needs the lightest possible tank, but it will have to be well enough insulated to keep boil-off to an acceptable level. It is one more thing that can go wrong. On CRS-16 the cryocooler failed early, and the tank had to be vented.

Offline Don2

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 532
  • Liked: 296
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #18 on: 10/25/2023 08:16 pm »
What matters, IMO, is that planetary science finally has something akin to the Explorers Program, where future PIs can get flight experience, where new instruments can be proven out, and where novel technologies and approaches can be tried in a low-cost, risk-taking, Category 3 environment against a nearby target. 

If there is a need for small missions then why not do a downsized version of the Discovery program? The size of those missions has grown a lot over the years. The first one, Lunar Prospector, had an inflation adjusted cost of $123 milllion. The recent DART mission was $357 million. Small missions that fit under your $365 million limit are certainly viable.

NASA did try something like that with the SIMPLEX program, but the rideshare strategy really didn't work. If the smallest planetary launch vehicle is a Falcon 9 costing $75 million, then a $55 million limit like SIMPLEX won't work. $300 million probably would.

CLPS was really industrial policy aimed at supporting small aerospace companies building lunar landers. The science has very much been an afterthought. Nor is there any strategy for Artemis support. If these missions produce good science or help Artemis that will be a lucky outcome, rather than something that was planned from the beginning.

Not all the science payloads are cheap. The VIPER rover is moderately expensive, and there is only one of them. Not a good fit for landers with a high failure rate.

Online DanClemmensen

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5542
  • Earth (currently)
  • Liked: 4372
  • Likes Given: 1781
Re: IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander
« Reply #19 on: 10/25/2023 08:17 pm »
NASA stored LCH4 on orbit with zero boiloff for four months on CRS-16.  See Robotic Refueling Mission 3.  LCH4 with boiloff for days is comparatively straightforward.

Centaurs have demonstrated LOX (and LH2) storage and firings after ~10 hours with about 2% loss.  There are several types of diesel submarine that rely on multi-week storage of liquid oxygen for underwater operation and propulsion.  One can buy LOX dewars online.  The devil is always in the details, but multi-day storage of LOX is hardly witchcraft.
I didn't know that liquid methane storage on orbit had been demonstrated. However on CRS-16, they had a cryocooler to keep the methane liquid, and they stored the methane in a dewar tank that was probably heavy and very well insulated. All that requires mass and power. A rocket stage needs the lightest possible tank, but it will have to be well enough insulated to keep boil-off to an acceptable level. It is one more thing that can go wrong. On CRS-16 the cryocooler failed early, and the tank had to be vented.
A rocket tank in space is a Dewar, to a first approximation. It does not need to be insulated. It needs to be shielded from insolation and other received radiation. It may also need systems to remove any heat energy that does reach it, such as the elegant "Integrated Vehicle Fluids" system that ULA proposed for ACES.

Tags:
 

Advertisement NovaTech
Advertisement Northrop Grumman
Advertisement
Advertisement Margaritaville Beach Resort South Padre Island
Advertisement Brady Kenniston
Advertisement NextSpaceflight
Advertisement Nathan Barker Photography
1