Author Topic: Polaris Program (Dragon and Starship crewed missions led by Isaacman)  (Read 152842 times)

Offline Yggdrasill

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I would think putting Crew Dragon into NRHO would be possible for a fully expended Falcon Heavy. But this mission would likely just be a flyby.

(Crew Dragon might mass around 13 tons. And Falcon Heavy can put something like 18 tons to TLI.)
« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 02:02 pm by Yggdrasill »

Offline DreamyPickle

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I'd be very interested in what the second Dragon flight would entail, especially if "Polaris Dawn" already has a spacewalk and a higher altitude than Inspiration4.
What about a free flight?

The exact capabilities of the EVA suit are not yet know, maybe it has to be tethered to a life support unit inside the Dragon itself. Going all the way to a free flight would be a large upgrade.

Offline kdhilliard

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I'd be very interested in what the second Dragon flight would entail, especially if "Polaris Dawn" already has a spacewalk and a higher altitude than Inspiration4.

I predict that it will be a rendezvous and docking in LEO with the first HLS lunar lander (the one for the Option A uncrewed test lunar landing).

Depending on the state of that Lunar Starship's ECLS, they might spend a few days onboard exercising its systems, perhaps even operating its airlock and conducting an EVA along its surface, then depart before it refilled from the propellant depot and conducted its TLI burn.

Offline JayWee

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I predict that it will be a rendezvous and docking in LEO with the first HLS lunar lander (the one for the Option A uncrewed test lunar landing).
That sounds something like a SpaceX-only crew should do, not Isaacman.

Offline Yggdrasill

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How about rendezvousing with Vanguard 1 (the oldest satellite still in orbit), going outside, grabbing it, and bringing it back to the ground?

(I'm a little unsure whether Falcon 9 has the needed performance, even expended, but maybe there are some other interesting targets.)
« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 02:38 pm by Yggdrasill »

Offline Cheapchips

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I predict that it will be a rendezvous and docking in LEO with the first HLS lunar lander (the one for the Option A uncrewed test lunar landing).
That sounds something like a SpaceX-only crew should do, not Isaacman.

He's had more time in space than almost anyone at SpaceX.  He's flown countless hours in fighter jets and is clearly a very capable individual.  Why wouldn't be be on a crew shortlist? (aside from footing the bill).

Offline Thorny

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I'd be very interested in what the second Dragon flight would entail, especially if "Polaris Dawn" already has a spacewalk and a higher altitude than Inspiration4.

Polar launch out of Vandenberg? If SpaceX is improving Vandenberg for Falcon Heavy, how hard would it be to add a crew access tower?

Offline M.E.T.

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Could Mission 3 be a docking with and boarding of Starship in LEO, rather than a human launch on Starship itself?

EDIT

Or maybe that’s Mission 2…
« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 02:50 pm by M.E.T. »

Offline envy887

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I don't think a launch escape system is an actual NASA requirement.

Wrong. For Commercial Crew a LAS very much was a hard requirement. The only thing that was "soft" about it, was the way in which the CCiCAP/CCtCAP contractors were allowed to demonstrate the effectiveness of their LAS systems. Flight tests of the LAS were no requirement, as long as the contractors would be able to convince NASA of the LAS effectiveness "through alternate means".

I interpreted a previous statement on sidestepping NASA's crew rating requirements to mean "NASA will never sign off on a crew flight without a LES". NASA was indeed signing off on such flights as little as a decade ago.

Commercial Crew had a lot of hard requirements, but the requirements of that program don't necessarily generalize to other programs. And I can't see Starship ever being bid for the current Commercial Crew program.

Is there a general NASA requirement for LES on all crew flights? If so, where is it documented? Was it created post Shuttle, or was it waived for STS-135 etc., and if so, how hard is it to waive?

Edit: to answer my own questions, there is a post-Shuttle requirement, laid out in NPR 8705.2C. It requires launch escape capabilities from pad to orbit in the event of

"a. Complete loss of ascent thrust/propulsion or
b. Loss of attitude or flight path control"

That doesn't impose a requirement for a LES as comprehensive as Dragon's though. Any system would qualify as long as all loss of thrust and loss of attitude control scenarios are handled. IMO Starship can do that without significant architectural changes.

https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/npg_img/N_PR_8705_002C_/N_PR_8705_002C_.pdf
« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 03:16 pm by envy887 »

Offline Tomness

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I'd be very interested in what the second Dragon flight would entail, especially if "Polaris Dawn" already has a spacewalk and a higher altitude than Inspiration4.

Polar launch out of Vandenberg? If SpaceX is improving Vandenberg for Falcon Heavy, how hard would it be to add a crew access tower?

About as long as it took to build their first arm and their Launch Towers at Boca Chica. Which was about as fast as ULA had theirs built for Starliner.

Offline whitelancer64

How about rendezvousing with Vanguard 1 (the oldest satellite still in orbit), going outside, grabbing it, and bringing it back to the ground?

(I'm a little unsure whether Falcon 9 has the needed performance, even expended, but maybe there are some other interesting targets.)

Vanguard 1 is still providing valuable long-term atmospheric drag data, so No.

Not to mention the extreme difficulty in just "grabbing" a satellite considering unknowns in its rotation rate and if it's tumbling.
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Offline Brovane

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I'd be very interested in what the second Dragon flight would entail, especially if "Polaris Dawn" already has a spacewalk and a higher altitude than Inspiration4.

Polar launch out of Vandenberg? If SpaceX is improving Vandenberg for Falcon Heavy, how hard would it be to add a crew access tower?

Why wouldn't SpaceX just use the Polar launch corridor from KSC? 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline Brovane

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I don't think a launch escape system is an actual NASA requirement.

Wrong. For Commercial Crew a LAS very much was a hard requirement. The only thing that was "soft" about it, was the way in which the CCiCAP/CCtCAP contractors were allowed to demonstrate the effectiveness of their LAS systems. Flight tests of the LAS were no requirement, as long as the contractors would be able to convince NASA of the LAS effectiveness "through alternate means".

Did NASA define what a LAS needed to be for commercial crew in order to meet the requirements for the contract? 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline kdhilliard

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I predict that it will be a rendezvous and docking in LEO with the first HLS lunar lander (the one for the Option A uncrewed test lunar landing).
That sounds something like a SpaceX-only crew should do, not Isaacman.
He's had more time in space than almost anyone at SpaceX.  He's flown countless hours in fighter jets and is clearly a very capable individual.  Why wouldn't be be on a crew shortlist? (aside from footing the bill).

And the importance of footing the bill shouldn't be ignored.  The option A contract doesn't require a demonstration of docking prior to Artemis 3, and such a mission would retire that risk and others on Isaacman's tab.  There is no reason to think he and his friends couldn't train to the requirements, and as with Polaris Dawn, SpaceX employees may be amongst those friends.

It sounds like just the sort of "adventurous and useful" mission he would be interested in.

Offline envy887

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I don't think a launch escape system is an actual NASA requirement.

Wrong. For Commercial Crew a LAS very much was a hard requirement. The only thing that was "soft" about it, was the way in which the CCiCAP/CCtCAP contractors were allowed to demonstrate the effectiveness of their LAS systems. Flight tests of the LAS were no requirement, as long as the contractors would be able to convince NASA of the LAS effectiveness "through alternate means".

Did NASA define what a LAS needed to be for commercial crew in order to meet the requirements for the contract?

They are here, though not specific to commercial crew, see 3.6.1.2:

https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/npg_img/N_PR_8705_002C_/N_PR_8705_002C_.pdf

I don't think it's mutually exclusive to both meet these requirements and use Starship more or less as currently envisioned.

Offline yg1968

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They won’t invest heavily in further Dragon development.

I am not allowed to go into details (per my sources), but I can say that your assessment is not entirely correct.

The cupola shows that there is plans for some Dragon improvements.


Offline libra

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Isaacman

Geez, here is one 39-years old that didn't lost time. I heard of Draken international before, but no clue he was behind it.
Hell of a life !  8)

Offline Ludus

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The 3rd Polaris mission is also the first crewed launch of the Dear Moon Starship? It makes sense. They’d be an experienced all SpaceX professional crew at that point. Seems like we’ll be seeing details about the crewed Starship this year if it’s already that far along.

This seems more important than just Dear Moon itself because the ship would together with the Artemis lander ships (after their NASA mission) and Starship tankers be part of a SpaceX Lunar transport system.

Offline yg1968

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« Last Edit: 02/14/2022 04:58 pm by yg1968 »

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