Author Topic: High-Level Advisory Group on Human and Robotic Space Exploration for Europe  (Read 18634 times)

Offline jpo234

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Like they have done in the previous 45 years, they expect ESA to come up with the money to change things. Very much old-space way of doing things: sucking the governments teats.  And that doesn't bode well for the long-term future of Arianespace IMO.
I have said it before: We are seeing the second round effects of Europe largely missing the dot.com boom. This is when Musk and Bezos started their fortunes and when the Venture Capital funds became large enough to finance huge, speculative technological bets.
« Last Edit: 03/28/2023 07:53 pm by jpo234 »
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline lenny97

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Linked to this discussion:

Samantha Cristoforetti is worried about the future of European Space Exploration: "Do we want to be Leader or Passenger?"

During a Panel yesterday at the International Conference On Space Exploration in Turin, IT, ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti gave a passionate speech about the future of the European Space Exploration saying that Europe should change its approach, and develop an independent crew launch capability.
She mentioned SpaceX, Axiom, Inspiration4 and Polaris as examples of public-private collaboration and as successful result of Space programs commercialization.

She stressed that having an independent capability shouldn't means end of International collaboration, instead should reinforce it.

Personal note: knowing how ESA Astronauts are trained to speak in public (and how limited is their possibility to express prsonal thoughts) i found yesterday's speech quite impressive. I swear she said everything in the most direct way I could imagine. Basically the center of the speech was: do something, Europe, or we'll be dead in the new space economy.

https://twitter.com/SpaceVoyaging/status/1656657880433524736
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Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Let Europe first regain an independent crew launch capability!
I say let's be a passenger.

Humans are evolved to live on earth. Just explore with robotics.
In LEO a manned or human tended space station could be useful.
But as of now Italy is wasting hundreds of millions, of European funding on Avio.
In the 2023 to 2025 period close to a billion Euro is being waisted of Ariane 6 transition and these Avio programs.
There goes the funding that could have been used to develop crew launch capability by around 2030.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2023 03:54 pm by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline lenny97

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Let Europe first regain an independent crew launch capability!

Humans are evolved to live on earth. Just explore with robotics.
In LEO a manned or human tended space station could be useful.
But as of now Italy is wasting hundreds of millions, of European funding on Avio.
In the 2023 to 2025 period close to a billion Euro is being waisted of Ariane 6 transition and these Avio programs.
There goes the funding that could have been used to develop crew launch capability by around 2030.


Let's be clear: Avio is a big problem indeed, but that's not the ONE AND ONLY problem of Europe's Space Program...
At SEC2023 just yesterday, Walter Cugno of Thales Alenia Space has said that European companies are "competing for peanuts".
Quote
"It is not possible that in 18 months, in Europe, we argue about what to do and why, and in China they build a space station..."
Didier Schmitt, Strategy and coordination group leader for robotic and human exploration, ESA, says the change will start with the November meeting; Wolfgang Dürr, Head of Marketing and Sales Space Exploration, Airbus, says that it must start now because in November decisions will have to be made that have already been reasoned and fixed much before.

Do you see where the problem is now? Not yet?


They also acknowledge that it is impossible to get 22 member countries to agree on a unique direction.
Timo Stuffler, Director of Business Development and Exploration, OHB:
Quote
Bezos puts a billion a year into space without batting an eye, here a miracle is needed for a budget increase of ~700 million
« Last Edit: 05/13/2023 04:04 pm by lenny97 »
Founder of www.spacevoyaging.com — Independent Space News Blog
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Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Once humans get involved into spaceflight, budgets go into billions before any science can get done. So just be passenger for human spaceflight. The European service module for Orion and some station sections is what Europe can contribute. The majority of the exploration funding should go to satellites/ rovers.
Afaik Europe hasn't matured planetary lander technology, this is a way higher priority for exploration than human launch capability.
Europe must first relearn to launch, then eliminate solids for safety, develop reentry capability. That's several exploration satellites / rover missions worth only to develop a launch capability. Just accept that Europe doesn't have this capability, because the funding isn't available.  (or the funding is waisted on other developments, i.a.:
  700mln to get payloads into orbit again (Ariane 6).
  2x>50mln for an in orbit stage,
  180mln for a liquid rocket demo,
  2x >100mln for LOx CH4 rocket engines [this is defendable in my opinion.)
Just do (robotic) science missions.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2023 05:03 pm by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline yg1968

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A holistic approach for launchers and exploration in Europe by Josef Aschbacher, Director General at European Space Agency - ESA:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/holistic-approach-launchers-exploration-europe-josef-aschbacher/

https://twitter.com/AschbacherJosef/status/1661387188179808259

[zubenelgenubi: Further updates and discussion on this topic are in this splinter thread: European Launcher Policy.]
« Last Edit: 05/25/2023 02:55 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline hektor

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Press conference in Le Bourget about the same topic

Offline woods170

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Linked to this discussion:

Samantha Cristoforetti is worried about the future of European Space Exploration: "Do we want to be Leader or Passenger?"

Rather ironic coming from an astronaut who merrily flew to space TWICE as a passenger.

Offline woods170

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Once humans get involved into spaceflight, budgets go into billions before any science can get done. So just be passenger for human spaceflight.

I can perfectly understand this. The ESA member states have shown time-and-again that they are NOT willing to spend the billions of Euros required to develop an independent European crewed spaceflight capability.

Hermes was the closest they ever got and it got canned because only a single of the participating countries failed to fullfil its financial obligations.
All other attempts ever since never got any serious traction.

ESA member states are simply not willing to cough up the mountain of additionally required Euros.

So, I'm going to make a prediction that IMO is very safe: 15 years from now ESA will still not have an independent, European-sourced, crewed spaceflight capability.

Offline TheKutKu

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Linked to this discussion:

Samantha Cristoforetti is worried about the future of European Space Exploration: "Do we want to be Leader or Passenger?"

Rather ironic coming from an astronaut who merrily flew to space TWICE as a passenger.

Entirely Dismissing a *National* crewed spacecraft made in Europe , in a timespan probably not even significantly longer than 15 years, would however be a mistake, especially thanks to general improvements in designing and manufacturing and the growth of the space economy.
Said National spacecraft could then have its service sold to the ESA.


Offline friendly3

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Entirely Dismissing a *National* crewed spacecraft made in Europe , in a timespan probably not even significantly longer than 15 years, would however be a mistake, especially thanks to general improvements in designing and manufacturing and the growth of the space economy.
Said National spacecraft could then have its service sold to the ESA.

Obviously she wasn't thinking of a national spacecraft of a european country when whe said "we". But can you tell us which european countries are most likely to be the first to develop a national spacecraft?

Offline TheKutKu

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Entirely Dismissing a *National* crewed spacecraft made in Europe , in a timespan probably not even significantly longer than 15 years, would however be a mistake, especially thanks to general improvements in designing and manufacturing and the growth of the space economy.
Said National spacecraft could then have its service sold to the ESA.

Obviously she wasn't thinking of a national spacecraft of a european country when whe said "we". But can you tell us which european countries are most likely to be the first to develop a national spacecraft?

Well Germany seems the more likely place, especially as a Private-led National rather than Public-led National endeavour, but as I said, the lowering bar of entry in established skills, organisations and industrial capability may create surprises. Maybe medium countries like Spain or Sweden could be it! The favourable circumstances that have been historically necessary to the development of Human Spaceflight may even be more likely in smaller countries.
« Last Edit: 06/21/2023 01:20 pm by TheKutKu »

Offline woods170

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Entirely Dismissing a *National* crewed spacecraft made in Europe , in a timespan probably not even significantly longer than 15 years, would however be a mistake, especially thanks to general improvements in designing and manufacturing and the growth of the space economy.
Said National spacecraft could then have its service sold to the ESA.

Obviously she wasn't thinking of a national spacecraft of a european country when whe said "we". But can you tell us which european countries are most likely to be the first to develop a national spacecraft?

Well Germany seems the more likely place, especially as a Private-led National rather than Public-led National endeavour, but as I said, the lowering bar of entry in established skills, organisations and industrial capability may create surprises. Maybe medium countries like Spain or Sweden could be it! The favourable circumstances that have been historically necessary to the development of Human Spaceflight may even be more likely in smaller countries.

Europe does not have the equivalent of an Elon Musk, let alone the equivalent of a SpaceX. IMO right now, and in the foreseeable future, no European entity, private or public, will be in a position to develop a crewed access-to-space system, without significant input of public money.

Remember: even SpaceX required $1.4B in public money support to field Crew Dragon. And they were only able to do so because they had the prior experience of developing Dragon 1. Which retired a LOT of risk and itself was done with a $300M injection of public funds.
And that's just for the spacecraft itself. What launcher would a notional "national" spacecraft be launched on? It is not going to be Ariane 6, for all the obvious reasons.
So, you're looking at not only developing the spacecraft, but its carrier rocket as well.

So, even if Europe had the equivalent of a SpaceX (which it doesn't), the ESA member states or national governments would still have to contribute several billions of Euros to get things going. The last time ESA or national governments were willing to do so was in 1988. And it failed miserably in that it only resulted in a very expensive launcher and no spacecraft while costing twice what the entire package was supposed to cost.

Recent technological advances do nothing to change this IMO. Just look at how Ariane 6 development is NOT being helped by those recent technological advances: it is late, it is obsolete and it is also substantially over budget.
« Last Edit: 06/21/2023 01:51 pm by woods170 »

Offline deltaV

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What launcher would a notional "national" spacecraft be launched on? It is not going to be Ariane 6, for all the obvious reasons.

Why not? As far as I can tell practically any launcher can be human rated if the organization who chooses human rating standards wants it to be.

Offline GWR64

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Does the change of Director of Human and Robotic Exploration from Dr. David Parker to Daniel Neuenschwander have anything to do with this very negative report? From the time frame, it would be possible.
I had linked the change to the problems at space transportation, but that could also come from this side.

https://www.esa.int/About_Us/Corporate_news/Council_approves_senior_management_changes
« Last Edit: 06/21/2023 07:15 pm by GWR64 »

Offline TheKutKu

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Entirely Dismissing a *National* crewed spacecraft made in Europe , in a timespan probably not even significantly longer than 15 years, would however be a mistake, especially thanks to general improvements in designing and manufacturing and the growth of the space economy.
Said National spacecraft could then have its service sold to the ESA.

Obviously she wasn't thinking of a national spacecraft of a european country when whe said "we". But can you tell us which european countries are most likely to be the first to develop a national spacecraft?

Well Germany seems the more likely place, especially as a Private-led National rather than Public-led National endeavour, but as I said, the lowering bar of entry in established skills, organisations and industrial capability may create surprises. Maybe medium countries like Spain or Sweden could be it! The favourable circumstances that have been historically necessary to the development of Human Spaceflight may even be more likely in smaller countries.

Europe does not have the equivalent of an Elon Musk, let alone the equivalent of a SpaceX. IMO right now, and in the foreseeable future, no European entity, private or public, will be in a position to develop a crewed access-to-space system, without significant input of public money.

Remember: even SpaceX required $1.4B in public money support to field Crew Dragon. And they were only able to do so because they had the prior experience of developing Dragon 1. Which retired a LOT of risk and itself was done with a $300M injection of public funds.
And that's just for the spacecraft itself. What launcher would a notional "national" spacecraft be launched on? It is not going to be Ariane 6, for all the obvious reasons.
So, you're looking at not only developing the spacecraft, but its carrier rocket as well.

So, even if Europe had the equivalent of a SpaceX (which it doesn't), the ESA member states or national governments would still have to contribute several billions of Euros to get things going. The last time ESA or national governments were willing to do so was in 1988. And it failed miserably in that it only resulted in a very expensive launcher and no spacecraft while costing twice what the entire package was supposed to cost.

Recent technological advances do nothing to change this IMO. Just look at how Ariane 6 development is NOT being helped by those recent technological advances: it is late, it is obsolete and it is also substantially over budget.

SpaceX was and is exceptional in the same way the Apollo program was exceptional, I do not expect an equivalent in Europe, I don't think it'll be necessary either. The jump from the various European smaller launcher projects to a human rated medium launcher seems plausible on the medium term.

Space Tourism is the only reasonable (not ideologically motivated) large scale case for human space travel and that could very well result in human spaceflight (and its development) eventually being much more private-funded than public-funded;

 I am hopeful technological advances will lower the bar of entry of such developments, although I believe European countries will not be those which benefit the most of those in the context of human spaceflight.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2023 12:11 am by TheKutKu »

Offline woods170

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What launcher would a notional "national" spacecraft be launched on? It is not going to be Ariane 6, for all the obvious reasons.

Why not? As far as I can tell practically any launcher can be human rated if the organization who chooses human rating standards wants it to be.

Because Ariane 6 will be a short-lived interim launcher only. It is already clear that it is barely competitive now and will not be competitive at all within 5 years from now.
Sticking with Ariane 6 in the hope that it will one day launch a European-sourced crewed spacecraft would be prohibitive due to the horrendously expensive price tag which comes with being fully expendable.

Just think of it: ESA and CNES are already looking at replacing Ariane 6 with a reusable launcher, even before the maiden launch of Ariane 6. So how long do you think Ariane 6 will fly? It certainly won't be the 27 year run of Ariane 5.
Developing an Ariane 6 replacement will take 10 years. Developing a European crewed spacecraft will also take 10 years. So, by the time the crewed spacecraft is ready, Ariane 6 will be heading for retirement. As such, it makes no sense whatsoever to crew-rate Ariane 6. Instead, the next vehicle (Ariane 7 or whatever it will be called) will be crew-rated for the crewed spacecraft.
« Last Edit: 06/22/2023 09:45 am by woods170 »

Offline edzieba

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Developing an Ariane 6 replacement will take 10 years. Developing a European crewed spacecraft will also take 10 years. So, by the time the crewed spacecraft is ready, Ariane 6 will be heading for retirement. As such, it makes no sense whatsoever to crew-rate Ariane 6. Instead, the next vehicle (Ariane 7 or whatever it will be called) will be crew-rated for the crewed spacecraft.
That just means a decision of developing a crew capsule for:
- A vehicle that will have had 10 years of service to get the bugs out and refine performance and operations
- A vehicle that will debut at the same time as the capsule, and will also be on the critical path for that capsule
Or:
- A capsule that can be launched on Ariane 6, that has the capability to be launched on a future launcher too once one is available

The latter option applies some constraints (e.g. capsule mass must be below the lowest of the two prospective launch vehicles) but affords schedule flexibility.

Offline woods170

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Developing an Ariane 6 replacement will take 10 years. Developing a European crewed spacecraft will also take 10 years. So, by the time the crewed spacecraft is ready, Ariane 6 will be heading for retirement. As such, it makes no sense whatsoever to crew-rate Ariane 6. Instead, the next vehicle (Ariane 7 or whatever it will be called) will be crew-rated for the crewed spacecraft.
That just means a decision of developing a crew capsule for:
- A vehicle that will have had 10 years of service to get the bugs out and refine performance and operations

That would be the second-worst choice. In this scenario you have a super reliable launcher, only to find out that the crewed vehicle is the only remaining customer (all others have moved on to cheaper, more efficient, reusable launchers). That sole customer then has to bear the entire financial burden of keeping the launcher's production line open, upkeep of the processing facilities, upkeep of the launch facilities, etc, etc. That in turn will kill any hopes of keeping the crewed vehicle affordable and competitive.

- A vehicle that will debut at the same time as the capsule, and will also be on the critical path for that capsule
Not a problem as proven by Ariane 5 (which never was on the critical path for Hermes) and Falcon 9 (which never was on the critical path for Dragon 1). Launchers are easier to develop than crewed spacecraft. On average 9 years for new launchers and 11 years for new crewed spacecraft (based on the history of developing STS, Orion, Starliner, Crew Dragon, SLS, STS, Falcon 9, Antares and Vulcan).

Or:
- A capsule that can be launched on Ariane 6, that has the capability to be launched on a future launcher too once one is available

The latter option applies some constraints (e.g. capsule mass must be below the lowest of the two prospective launch vehicles) but affords schedule flexibility.
This is by far the worst option. The long period required for developing a European crewed spacecraft almost guarantees that the new launcher will be ready by the time the spacecraft is ready. Why on Earth would you then first want to fly the crewed spacecraft on the old launcher (Ariane 6), before moving it to the new launcher?
That is highly inefficient. In this scenario you get to go through crew-rating not once, but twice. With twice the cost. That is not going to help in securing funding for development. And as you mentioned yourself: you end up with a compromised vehicle, because its design has to be such that it is compatible with 2 different launchers.




IMO the only viable option is co-development (parallel development) of the crewed vehicle and a new reusable launcher. Even if development of the crewed vehicle fails, for whatever reason (shades of Hermes....) you still get at least a reusable launcher out of the package deal. Which is what Europe needs anyway if it wants remain a major player in spaceflight.
The only BUT is that such a package deal requires a greater amount of public funding, albeit over a shorter period, as opposed to option 3, where less funding is required, but is smeared out over a longer period (where the crewed vehicle and launcher are not developed in parallel but sequentially).
« Last Edit: 06/22/2023 01:56 pm by woods170 »

Offline yg1968

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