Author Topic: NASA-Funded Study on Low-Cost Public-Private Return to the Moon  (Read 39812 times)

Offline Proponent

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At the National Press Club on 20 July,  NexGen Space LLC presented a NASA-funded study of returning humans to the moon with heavy reliance on commercial systems.  An exectuve summary of the report from the press release from the Space Frontier Foundation's website is attached below, as is the study itself (downloaded from www.researchgate.net).

I have not yet started to read the report, as I'm still in shock that NASA would fund a study (reviewed, by the way, by many ex-NASA people) suggesting it's possible to return to the moon cheaply by using commercial launch vehicles rather than SLS.
« Last Edit: 07/21/2015 10:32 AM by Proponent »

Online MATTBLAK

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But... But... We're going to Mars, aren't we?! Doesn't matter that this proposal has merit - NASA is gonna get that big budget increase real soon to go to Mars... (crickets chirping)

...But seriously, I'm glad that proposals like this surface from time to time. NASA, working with private industry could get the job done relatively quickly, or private space alone a little slower. We all need to give this some thought!
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Offline Proponent

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The is report written with an eye on Mars: the point is using lunar resources to make Mars missions much cheaper.  Specifically, it is suggested that the number of SLS launches for a Mars mission could be reduced from 12 to 3.  Politically that's got to be pretty helpful: there is still a role for SLS, and (according to the report), a commercially-boosted lunar return makes the economics of an SLS-boosted Mars mission much less implausible.

Added missing "is" and "ing" in opening sentence.
« Last Edit: 07/21/2015 05:43 PM by Proponent »

Online MATTBLAK

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I like that the Phase 1 Evolvable Lunar Architecture uses distributed, multi-launches of the Falcon fleet and also doesn't rule out using other launchers (they mention ULA's Vulcan DRM material came a bit late to be included in this paper). But by using Vulcan along with the Falcon Heavy, they wouldn't need 4x launches to assemble each phase of the lunar sortie mission; only three. Also, they would only need to 'surge' to more launches as the architecture/DRM grows in capability and complexity.
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Online ThereIWas3

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Tthe first listed non-technical risk factor is "Instability of USG long-term commitments".    That a NASA-funded study comes right out and says this is interesting.  They propose an International Lunar Authority modeled on CERN to deal with that.  (The name Lunar Authority makes me think of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress...)

Something I do not see addressed is that the ISRU fuel-manufacturing facility contains a 10-ton SNAP-50a nuclear power source, with no discussion of who is going to be willing to launch such a thing these days.  As I understand it, even-numbered SNAP designs are not RTGs.  A SNAP-10a was launched in 1965 and lasted 43 days before a faulty command receiver shut it down.  It is still up there...
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Offline TrevorMonty

Had quick read of some of this paper.
1) They are relying modified SpaceX equipment but there are no SpaceX employees named in credits and I doubt they've consulted officially with SpaceX as there are some mistakes that SpaceX would have picked up. $90m for 53t to LEO for FH is not correct, the listed price was $135M last I read.


Offline gbaikie

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I think NASA should lunar exploration program which cost less than 40 billion and entire program should take less than 10 years.
The program should include a depot in LEO [LOX- and maybe hydrogen or other fuel]. Program should start with robotic missions and end with manned exploration missions. No base. Though perhaps missions to make landing areas. And develop way to land multiple mission in same area- one call it a base, but not really.

Purpose of lunar exploration is determine if and where there could be commercially minable lunar water- but it's exploration to determine where on the lunar this could be possilbe. And includes lunar sample return- probably as part of manned lunar landing.
The lunar program also testbed for Mars exploration. And goal of Mars exploration is to find locations on Mars which could support future Human settlements.
So similar to lunar exploration, in sense that NASA is not going to "make" Mars settlements, but will explore Mars in order to determine where and how Mars settlement could be viable.
Mars of course has lots of water as compared to the Moon, but what would make a desirable location of settlement of Mars is region which easy access to a lot of water. So perhaps drilling wells on Mars which could allow a lot water to be pump from them, would good location for settlements on Mars.
So purpose of bases on Mars is to find such areas where there could access to a large amount of water, and it's unlikely that NASA base will landed in such a location. So site location of NASA base may be based upon a good location to get say hundreds of tonnes of water over a decade, and location for settlement would location where millions of tons of water could cheaply extracted over decades of time.
Other things other than an abundant water, could be things like natural underground caves and other things which could make living on Mars cheaper.

So bases are required for Mars exploration, lunar bases are not required to find minable lunar water, though if lunar water is commercially mined, such an area could be a good locations for research bases, or commercial living areas ["hotels"] or other lunar activity [say, telescopes].

So good portion of the 40 billion spent on lunar exploration is attempting to find best location to commercial mine lunar water. And aspect of commercial lunar mining could connected to being able to make cheapest electrical power- which could be solar power. So water deposits which close to regions which have more than 50% of the time in sunlight. and also a means of communication with Earth for teleportation from Earth.
A lot of the Mars testbed related to Lunar exploration would be the use of robotic exploration which is teleoperated. Or going to use lot of robotic exploration of the Moon, and with Mars bases, one will be using a lot robotic exploration [teleoperated from Mars base] to explore Mars.
So with Lunar exploration first sent the bots, then follow up with crew going to site, same with Mars, first sent bots, then crew from Mars base could go to site first explored with bots.
So idea is to use robots, but not have requirement that robotic have to do everything require to explore a area.

Offline kch

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The first listed non-technical risk factor is "Instability of USG long-term commitments".    That a NASA-funded study comes right out and says this is interesting.

That it is -- and it's about time somebody said it.


They propose an International Lunar Authority modeled on CERN to deal with that.  (The name Lunar Authority makes me think of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress...)

Sounds a lot more workable than what we have now.

Offline Rhyshaelkan

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It is what I have said before. 10,000,000 space fans and proponents chipping in $100 a year would make a $1B/year private space program. That could buy say 4 Falcon Heavy launches and the payload for them per year. 200+ tons of stuff to grow your Lunar endeavors.
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Offline sdsds

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Wow. A grammatical error in a key sentence. :(

Something akin to a Freudian slip, perhaps?

"SpaceX currently operates the Falcon 9 that has a payload of 13.1t to LEO at 28.5° at a per launch cost of $62.1M ($4750/kg) as per there Web site."
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Offline kch

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Wow. A grammatical error in a key sentence. :(

Something akin to a Freudian slip, perhaps?

"SpaceX currently operates the Falcon 9 that has a payload of 13.1t to LEO at 28.5° at a per launch cost of $62.1M ($4750/kg) as per there Web site."

... to differentiate it from "as per here Web site", yes?  Might plausibly be a Freudian schlep ... ;)

Offline sdsds

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Having now looked at (if not read) each of the 151 pages, I conclude the major point in this proposal is the creation of an, "International Lunar Authority [...] more like the CERN at first, but [...] designed with all the powers of the PA-NYNJ model to start using as the economic activity on the Moon grows."

On the technical side I think the paper does a good job presenting a vision leveraging "development of a large reusable LOX-H2 lunar lander." As I understand it, all the propellant used by this lander comes from lunar surface ISRU, and the lander is at first used to bring down to the lunar surface from LLO the more massive elements of the crew-occupied lunar base. Once that task is complete it is then further used to export lunar propellant to an EML depot. Did I understand that part correctly?
« Last Edit: 07/22/2015 05:02 AM by sdsds »
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Offline redliox

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Sounds promising.  Next trick would be selling this to the winning presidential candidate.  Won't get into politics too deeply but odds are there will be some game changes with the next president; as much as I'd love to see work on Mars this ARM nonsense over the last 8 years hasn't done much.

It should be child's play for even a commercial company to get something circling the Moon (or to the Lagrange points); landing will be the true challenge.  I think it's only been a lack of will to return to put equipment back on Luna versus actual technical challenge that's kept robots away.

The diagram showing how SpaceX would get to Luna needs 8 to 11 launchers, which seems like a lot of effort.  However, it probably would be less costly and cumbersome than 2 SLS launches with quicker turnaround between the launches (versus perhaps 2 months or more if the SLS ends up akin to STS).  The lander is smaller yet more versatile than Apollo's LEM; I suspect it might draw on surface infrastructure for support but the setup on a whole seems capable of repeating the Apollo effort so long as you don't mind multiple medium-size rockets.

I wouldn't mind returning to the Moon, especially if it could happen within 10 years instead of 20+ like it increasingly looks for Mars.
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Offline muomega0

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It is no surprise that if you replace a 1B rocket and 1B capsule with no missions with a 100M rocket and 100M capsule that the possibility of a mission will result.  Unfortunately, it is not the most economical architecture to reach *ALL* the destinations and it did not include the non-sole source launch costs, nor include the IPs in the launch manifest.

What is interesting is the study does not mention methane, which of course increases chemical IMLEO to Mars vs LH2 by ~25%. It would be more efficient to mine water from something with less gravity too.

Next trick would be selling this to the winning presidential candidate.  .... as much as I'd love to see work on Mars this ARM nonsense over the last 8 years hasn't done much.
ARM is struggling because the HLV and capsule are not up for the task due to a narrow focus on the moon-Lost in Space indeed.  With a focus on the moon, you do not require the ability for long duration space travel beyond 3-20 days, nor the ability to service satellites, the L2 transfer tug is all chemical, and the depot is placed at L2  to exclude all other LVs that cannot reach L2 ::)

With a LEO depot and fuel transfer, a very cool asteroid visit is now within reach to gradually demonstrate the ability for long duration space travel for both crew and hardware and is combined with EP to begin the more economical Mars  and its moons excursions. 

Affordability begins with:
- A LEO ZBO Gas Station  (allows multiple LVs to deliver propellant on their own schedule)
- EP tugs to ferry propellant and hardware on more efficient trajectories
- LVs, transfer stages, and all hardware design with the goal of reuse and commonality to reduce costs
- Deep Space Habitats acting as Voyagers
- Missions that avoid gravity wells until long duration space travel is demonstrated.

Stage 70% of the mass in LEO:  Class D propellant.  Design the LEO ZBO depot for MMOD and long life.

By starting with an architecture that includes the ability to refuel with multiple LVs in LEO, a focus on reuse of common hardware, and continuous technology development, the US can lead the way on economical next generation Exploration architecture and most agree would merit a plus up. The vision of depots and staging, in work for decades, points the space-fairing nations toward that limitless frontier.
« Last Edit: 07/24/2015 02:06 AM by muomega0 »

Offline JasonAW3

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I'm thinking a combination of Lunar resources and NEO asteroid and cometary materials could be used to set up a MAINTAINABLE infrastructure for both Mars missions and lunar facilities.

     Obviously, using the moon first to establish the basic infrastructure, including fuel refinment and orbital storage, would be the best way to start, but by utilizing NEO's for resources, you provide a resoursce source for a fuel cost far below even the fuel cost of launching from the moon, and you can also reduce potentile impact hazards to Earth by redirecting those self same NEOs either to a lunar retrograde orbit or a parking orbit at L-5.

     Diverting the NEO asteroids and comets could be done with robotic systems, (although redirecting comets due to both higher velocity and random outgasing, may require a more hands on approach) minimzing any exposure to either radiation hazards or microgravity issues.

    If a more hands on approach for NEO asteroid or cometary diversion is required, boring into the mass of either could be a good alternative to minimize radiation hazards while an inflatible rotation section could be mounted to the exterior of the NEO, utilizing materials excavated as shielding around the habitable sections of the rotational section.  It may even be possible to utilize a rotational section, using either deployable and retractible masses, or simply centrifugaly flung masses of material from the NEO, to alter the course of the NEO, with little to no actual expendature of fuel from the capture vehicle itself.

    But even with this in mind, a return to the moon, with a manned base, would be critical to a semi-automated  operation of NEO diversion and retreival, as it would provide additional control systems for such systems, in addition to Earth based systems.
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Offline gbaikie

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I'm thinking a combination of Lunar resources and NEO asteroid and cometary materials could be used to set up a MAINTAINABLE infrastructure for both Mars missions and lunar facilities.

I would say such MAINTAINABLE infrastructure would be for Mars settlement and lunar commercial activity
as well as NASA continued exploration of the Solar system as well many variety of governmental projects.

But first what NASA should do is explore the Moon to determine if and where there is commercially minable
lunar water.
Such NASA lunar exploration does not require much infrastructure [does not require lunar base nor governmental lunar and/or asteroid mining] it should establish a depot at LEO, which could used for Lunar and Mars exploration.
Such Lunar exploration would first start with a dozen or so robotic mission to Lunar poles, finishing with human exploration. Then once NASA has determine if and where there is minable deposit of lunar water, NASA then explores Mars. Continuing the strong lunar robotic program by focusing it upon Mars exploration
and the establishment  of Mars bases so as enable extensive Mars exploration which is focused on finding Martian resources which needed for future Mars settlements.

Such NASA lunar exploration could be finished by 2025. And also NASA should be finished with ISS. But NASA finishing with ISS should not include de-orbiting ISS, rather NASA needs to establish a way that the international Space Station can continue to be used by other nations space agencies as well as the private sector in general. So this probably requires putting ISS into a higher orbit and possibly include having ISS with enough shielding against that higher radiation environment, but for NASA part, it's mothballing ISS, in such a manner that it can un mothballed by other parties wishing to use it.
And this allows NASA, once it's finished spending yearly budgetary funds on ISS and lunar exploration, to devote more funding needed for Mars Exploration program, which begins in 2025.
« Last Edit: 07/23/2015 05:57 PM by gbaikie »

Offline nadreck


Such NASA lunar exploration could be finished by 2025. And also NASA should be finished with ISS. But NASA finishing with ISS should not include de-orbiting ISS, rather NASA needs to establish a way that the international Space Station can continue to be used by other nations space agencies as well as the private sector in general. So this probably requires putting ISS into a higher orbit and possibly include having ISS with enough shielding against that higher radiation environment, but for NASA part, it's mothballing ISS, in such a manner that it can un mothballed by other parties wishing to use it.
And this allows NASA, once it's finished spending yearly budgetary funds on ISS and lunar exploration, to devote more funding needed for Mars Exploration program, which begins in 2025.

I don't think anyone can justify the expense of maintaining ISS when comparing it to the cost of new station or stations. The ISS design is simply one that requires to much support both in space and on the ground. In theory at least, the lessons learned at ISS should allow any new station being built to require substantially less support.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline gbaikie

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Such NASA lunar exploration could be finished by 2025. And also NASA should be finished with ISS. But NASA finishing with ISS should not include de-orbiting ISS, rather NASA needs to establish a way that the international Space Station can continue to be used by other nations space agencies as well as the private sector in general. So this probably requires putting ISS into a higher orbit and possibly include having ISS with enough shielding against that higher radiation environment, but for NASA part, it's mothballing ISS, in such a manner that it can un mothballed by other parties wishing to use it.
And this allows NASA, once it's finished spending yearly budgetary funds on ISS and lunar exploration, to devote more funding needed for Mars Exploration program, which begins in 2025.

I don't think anyone can justify the expense of maintaining ISS when comparing it to the cost of new station or stations. The ISS design is simply one that requires to much support both in space and on the ground. In theory at least, the lessons learned at ISS should allow any new station being built to require substantially less support.

Prior to ISS, I don't think many people thought a space station would cost more than 3 billion per year to maintain it.
Now, ISS as shown that space station are things that cost more than 3 billion dollars per year to maintain,
and this idea will persist until new evidence is provided.
I don't think people should think that space stations will cost over 3 billion per year, and that international space stations are then crashed into the atmosphere, deliberately.
 

Offline nadreck


Prior to ISS, I don't think many people thought a space station would cost more than 3 billion per year to maintain it.
Now, ISS as shown that space station are things that cost more than 3 billion dollars per year to maintain,
and this idea will persist until new evidence is provided.
I don't think people should think that space stations will cost over 3 billion per year, and that international space stations are then crashed into the atmosphere, deliberately.

But to not crash it into the atmosphere means someone must pony up enough funds to keep it functional to be able to dodge space junk otherwise it could contribute to accelerating the Kessler syndrome. This might not cost all $3B for the first few years, but it would be a blank cheque to whatever maintenance was needed at some future date to keep it functional. This isn't just a matter of sending up propellant for the thrusters.  Again I suggest the interested parties could create whole new stations more cheaply than maintaining the ISS for a year or two.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline Rocket Science

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Pssst... This thread is about the Moon.... ;)
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Offline gbaikie

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Prior to ISS, I don't think many people thought a space station would cost more than 3 billion per year to maintain it.
Now, ISS as shown that space station are things that cost more than 3 billion dollars per year to maintain,
and this idea will persist until new evidence is provided.
I don't think people should think that space stations will cost over 3 billion per year, and that international space stations are then crashed into the atmosphere, deliberately.

But to not crash it into the atmosphere means someone must pony up enough funds to keep it functional to be able to dodge space junk otherwise it could contribute to accelerating the Kessler syndrome.
Even if "someone ponies up" it's possible it could be Kessler syndrome, tomorrow or next year.
So it was ponied up by US tax payers, and this was NASA doing. Very deliberate doing.
I would say NASA needs to do something about it, and I will add whatever it is,  it should not include a plan to blow up the 150 billion dollar international space station.
I don't think it can be considered  "a plan" if the idea is to sell idea that ISS will be a pile of junk which needs billions of dollar for it's disposal.

Let's look at history, used to be [not too long ago] that ISS could not have commercial providers delivering stuff to ISS- too risky.
Things change. And so I suggest that NASA show some leadership.

Quote
This might not cost all $3B for the first few years, but it would be a blank cheque to whatever maintenance was needed at some future date to keep it functional. This isn't just a matter of sending up propellant for the thrusters.  Again I suggest the interested parties could create whole new stations more cheaply than maintaining the ISS for a year or two.
I suggest we deal with the station we have, before imagining the public will support more of them.
I think the lack of responsible leadership with ISS, could hinder further space exploration, and if you spend 150 billion dollars, it should not hinder further space exploration.

I think we can explore the Moon while paying 3 billion per year to operate ISS, and mainly because we can start with a few robotic exploration missions and that Manned lunar exploration could be fairly inexpensive.
But Mars exploration is going to require more funds per year, and continuing ISS program until fails doesn't seem like an example of a good plan.

Offline sdsds

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I think we can explore the Moon while paying 3 billion per year to operate ISS, and mainly because we can start with a few robotic exploration missions

Yes, this is one of the tricks proposed here. Fund robotic missions out of the human spaceflight budget. Shades of the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program.
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Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Affordability begins with:
- A LEO ZBO Gas Station  (allows multiple LVs to deliver propellant on their own schedule)

Why do you need Zero Boil off?  the launch economics don't require it
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Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Prior to ISS, I don't think many people thought a space station would cost more than 3 billion per year to maintain it.
Now, ISS as shown that space station are things that cost more than 3 billion dollars per year to maintain,
and this idea will persist until new evidence is provided.
I don't think people should think that space stations will cost over 3 billion per year, and that international space stations are then crashed into the atmosphere, deliberately.

I don't want to go down the rat hole too much here, but we already DO have evidence that space stations cost less - we have the examples of Mir, Saylut, Skylab, and Tiangong.  The other side of the coin is (which actually brings us back to the report) if your station is producing $4 Billion a year, a $3 Billion a year overhead is fine (although, I suspect you'll want/need to get it down, to get the initial investors).  The point here is that creating demand/users allows youto recover your costs, which is why you should build your infrastructure in a way to create plenty of users and create funding mechanisms that allow for that infrastructure to be maintained, and everyone accepts the need to pay the costs
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Using rockets that will be available in the next 2-3 years what payload mass can we send to low lunar orbit if we refuel in LEO?

Offline gbaikie

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Prior to ISS, I don't think many people thought a space station would cost more than 3 billion per year to maintain it.
Now, ISS as shown that space station are things that cost more than 3 billion dollars per year to maintain,
and this idea will persist until new evidence is provided.
I don't think people should think that space stations will cost over 3 billion per year, and that international space stations are then crashed into the atmosphere, deliberately.

I don't want to go down the rat hole too much here, but we already DO have evidence that space stations cost less - we have the examples of Mir, Saylut, Skylab, and Tiangong. 
Wiki:
" The project will culminate with a large orbital station, which will consist of a 20-ton core module, 2 smaller research modules, and cargo transport craft.[3] It will support three astronauts for long-term habitation and is scheduled to be completed just as the International Space Station is currently scheduled to be retired"
Tiangong may in future, provide such evidence.

Quote
The other side of the coin is (which actually brings us back to the report) if your station is producing $4 Billion a year, a $3 Billion a year overhead is fine (although, I suspect you'll want/need to get it down, to get the initial investors). 
Maybe fuel depot and/or Hotel.
And rather than Tiangong, et al, I would think Bigelow space stations were more relevant to low cost stations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Commercial_Space_Station

Edit:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_I
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_II
http://bigelowaerospace.com/beam/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Aerospace


Quote
The point here is that creating demand/users allows you to recover your costs, which is why you should build your infrastructure in a way to create plenty of users and create funding mechanisms that allow for that infrastructure to be maintained, and everyone accepts the need to pay the costs

I think what NASA should focus on is exploration rather infrastructure. Though I think depots are infrastructure NASA needs to invest in, but mainly to develop depots into operating systems,  so it's not depot which has value, it's technology and operation experience with a depot, that would allow future investment [private or government- NASA and other space agencies] investments in other depots. So make Depot in LEO, and perhaps other parties will make other depots elsewhere in space.
« Last Edit: 07/24/2015 06:26 PM by gbaikie »

Offline sdsds

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Just started reading the the report, but they make a fundamental mistake in the second paragraph!

"The ELA strategic objective is commercial mining of propellant from lunar poles where it will be transported to lunar orbit to be used by NASA to send humans to Mars."

This is the Lunar tollbooth fallacy. Its 4.1 km/s into Lunar orbit from low Earth orbit, compared to 3.9 km/s for direct injection into a trans Mars orbit!

Perhaps the phrase "lunar orbit" isn't being used in the same way. Looking at page 25 of the pdf, they are clearly suggesting "the transport of the propellant to a depot in L2." Do you want to explore the notion that a propellant depot near EML-2 can play a useful role in a Mars exploration architecture? (I'd be happy to discuss this, but probably not on this thread.... ;) )
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Online ThereIWas3

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It seems to me that being in polar orbit around the Moon is not the best place from which to depart to Mars.
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Offline muomega0

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Pssst... This thread is about the Moon.... ;)
LOL.... its about retaining a HLV architecture with SLS and Falcon Heavies since other LVs cannot reach L2.  Why retain SLS?

The study fails to include for example, the fixed costs of SLS and the non sole source LVs.   If one cuts the 3B/yr fixed costs of SLS/Orion, that buys quite a bit of propellant and hardware for technology and missions to all destinations to meet the objectives of NASA.  Here are the number of missions possible retaining SLS/Orion: zero.

The tactic is to substitute ISRU for Orion and retain excess unaffordable launch capacity... its it not really about the one legged stool: the moon ;)

Quote from: Unevolvable Lunar Architecture
A commercial lunar base providing propellant in lunar orbit might substantially reduce the cost and risk NASA of sending humans to Mars. The ELA would reduce the number of required Space Launch System (SLS) launches from as many as 12 to a total of only 3, thereby reducing SLS operational risks, and increasing its affordability.
With LEO depot centric, the LV flight rate is *increased* and the excess capacity and product lines are eliminated to reduce costs and includes IPs to help provide the IMLEO.. the rationale for this in the Executive summary is flawed ;D

Affordability begins with:
- A LEO ZBO Gas Station  (allows multiple LVs to deliver propellant on their own schedule)
Why do you need Zero Boil off?  the launch economics don't require it
A sixth flight was added to the MARS DRM 5 due to 70 tons of boiloff, assuming 0.1%/day, with no design solution presented to achieve this low rate.  Staging at LEO with ZBO reduces the IMLEO and hence costs vs direct shots to L2 without staging, especially when the architectures include payload mass fractions that do not have to include full tank launch loads and tankers can be designed to take more risk, to name but a few drivers.  Here are more  advantages of a dedicated depot in LEO

Rather than continue to be Lost In Space, start with an affordable architecture that includes the ability to refuel with multiple LVs in LEO, a focus on reuse of common hardware, and continuous technology development, so that the US can lead the way on a next generation of Exploration that most agree would merit a plus up. The vision of depots and staging, in work for decades, points the space-fairing nations toward that limitless frontier.

Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Prior to ISS, I don't think many people thought a space station would cost more than 3 billion per year to maintain it.
Now, ISS as shown that space station are things that cost more than 3 billion dollars per year to maintain,
and this idea will persist until new evidence is provided.
I don't think people should think that space stations will cost over 3 billion per year, and that international space stations are then crashed into the atmosphere, deliberately.

I don't want to go down the rat hole too much here, but we already DO have evidence that space stations cost less - we have the examples of Mir, Saylut, Skylab, and Tiangong. 
Wiki:
" The project will culminate with a large orbital station, which will consist of a 20-ton core module, 2 smaller research modules, and cargo transport craft.[3] It will support three astronauts for long-term habitation and is scheduled to be completed just as the International Space Station is currently scheduled to be retired"
Tiangong may in future, provide such evidence.

I was referring to Tiangong 1, which is already flying, so we at least do have some actual operating numbers for Tiangong 1, rather than Tiangong 3.  The fundamental point is that you said we only have 1 data point for station operations.  Even if you take the position that we don't have good numbers on Tiangong 1, we do have good numbers for Mir, for Saylut, and Skylab.  That was my reason for not including Bigelow - we know what their projected costs are, but they are only projected, not actual history. 

Quote
The point here is that creating demand/users allows you to recover your costs, which is why you should build your infrastructure in a way to create plenty of users and create funding mechanisms that allow for that infrastructure to be maintained, and everyone accepts the need to pay the costs

I think what NASA should focus on is exploration rather infrastructure. Though I think depots are infrastructure NASA needs to invest in, but mainly to develop depots into operating systems,  so it's not depot which has value, it's technology and operation experience with a depot, that would allow future investment [private or government- NASA and other space agencies] investments in other depots. So make Depot in LEO, and perhaps other parties will make other depots elsewhere in space.

Well, infrastructure has to be built, regardless of your choice of architecture.  And someone has to be the owner/operator of the infrastructure, and someone has to be the user of that infrastructure.

But this is the big question - who should have the ability to use the infrastructure, who should be the owner/operator?  Some of these questions drive what your architecture looks like.  (see Constellation/SLS debate - not looking to rehash it, but that was part of the discussion)
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline gbaikie

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Prior to ISS, I don't think many people thought a space station would cost more than 3 billion per year to maintain it.
Now, ISS as shown that space station are things that cost more than 3 billion dollars per year to maintain,
and this idea will persist until new evidence is provided.
I don't think people should think that space stations will cost over 3 billion per year, and that international space stations are then crashed into the atmosphere, deliberately.

I don't want to go down the rat hole too much here, but we already DO have evidence that space stations cost less - we have the examples of Mir, Saylut, Skylab, and Tiangong. 
Wiki:
" The project will culminate with a large orbital station, which will consist of a 20-ton core module, 2 smaller research modules, and cargo transport craft.[3] It will support three astronauts for long-term habitation and is scheduled to be completed just as the International Space Station is currently scheduled to be retired"
Tiangong may in future, provide such evidence.

I was referring to Tiangong 1, which is already flying, so we at least do have some actual operating numbers for Tiangong 1, rather than Tiangong 3.  The fundamental point is that you said we only have 1 data point for station operations.  Even if you take the position that we don't have good numbers on Tiangong 1, we do have good numbers for Mir, for Saylut, and Skylab.  That was my reason for not including Bigelow - we know what their projected costs are, but they are only projected, not actual history. 
Oh, my mistake, the link I gave did not mention, Genesis.  I only assumed it would.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_I
"Genesis I was launched on 12 July 2006 at 14:53:30 UTC aboard an ISC Kosmotras Dnepr rocket, launched from Dombarovskiy missile base near Yasniy, Russia. Spacecraft control was transferred to Bigelow Aerospace at 15:08 UTC after a successful orbital insertion."
And:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_II
"Genesis II was launched on 28 June 2007, at 15:02 UTC. As with Genesis I, it was launched aboard an ISC Kosmotras Dnepr rocket from Dombarovskiy missile base near Yasniy, Russia. It successfully reached orbit after separation from the rocket at 15:16 UTC."


Offline MP99

Affordability begins with:
- A LEO ZBO Gas Station  (allows multiple LVs to deliver propellant on their own schedule)
Why do you need Zero Boil off?  the launch economics don't require it
A sixth flight was added to the MARS DRM 5 due to 70 tons of boiloff, assuming 0.1%/day, with no design solution presented to achieve this low rate.  Staging at LEO with ZBO reduces the IMLEO and hence costs vs direct shots to L2 without staging, especially when the architectures include payload mass fractions that do not have to include full tank launch loads and tankers can be designed to take more risk, to name but a few drivers.  Here are more  advantages of a dedicated depot in LEO
[/quote]

ZBO is easy to achieve at EML (and I think HLO), with methalox. Just needs a simple sun shield, and maybe even a little heating to stop it freezing.

Would also be easier to reduce / eliminate boil off in LEO.

Cheers, Martin

Offline jbenton

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Affordability begins with:
- A LEO ZBO Gas Station  (allows multiple LVs to deliver propellant on their own schedule)
Why do you need Zero Boil off?  the launch economics don't require it
A sixth flight was added to the MARS DRM 5 due to 70 tons of boiloff, assuming 0.1%/day, with no design solution presented to achieve this low rate.  Staging at LEO with ZBO reduces the IMLEO and hence costs vs direct shots to L2 without staging, especially when the architectures include payload mass fractions that do not have to include full tank launch loads and tankers can be designed to take more risk, to name but a few drivers.  Here are more  advantages of a dedicated depot in LEO

ZBO is easy to achieve at EML (and I think HLO), with methalox. Just needs a simple sun shield, and maybe even a little heating to stop it freezing.

Would also be easier to reduce / eliminate boil off in LEO.

Cheers, Martin

It would be even easier to have ZBO using plain H2O than methane and oxygen. The upper stages could just dump excess hydrolox propellants through a hydrogen fuel cell and the depot fills with water. New upper stages could receive propellants through electrolysis. Or is there something that makes electrolysis difficult in space?

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Something that I have learned for studying the Spudis and Lavoie 2010 paper is that there are two major items.

The first is that nearly half the cost of the 2010 $88B estimate is launch costs to get the "stuff" to the Lunar surface using ATlas V's and SLS's or the LV at the time of the study Constellation. In 2011 I studied what would happen when this would be put on a COTS model and used cheaper LVs such as F9's and FH's/FX's and FXX's which were postulated and estimated costs at that time. It showed the NASA total spending would drop to about $60B just from change of use of LV's.

The second was that other costs due to using a cost sharing structure allowed NASA development costs to be pushed to a later time during operations (the commercial entities recovering their investments by charging higher prices than just NASA flat costs if NASA was operating everything.) There was also the possibility that overall costs could also decline by allowing the companies to be more innovative to reduce costs both during development and during operations (ability to recover the investments faster).

Today when I revisted my cost model and used F9R and FHR pricing as well as capabilities and probable price of the BFR/MCT the NASA total spending for the project dropped to $33B. (Thats not to say total spending by all parties was only $33B, it's actually $48B but a lot is the effect due to speed of money in that some funds are respent multiple times as different entities provide services to each other. But there was one item that did not change from the original 2010 paper and that was the nearly $3B in technology spending at the beginning of the program for depot and ISRU/mining technologies. COTS may lower this but current evidence says no. If NASA did this technology development at $600M per year it would take 5 years to get the technology ready to use to be able to design spacecraft that would be launched 4 years later to test the technology actually on the Lunar surface and depots in LEO and Lunar orbit/EML.


Offline nadreck

Affordability begins with:
- A LEO ZBO Gas Station  (allows multiple LVs to deliver propellant on their own schedule)
Why do you need Zero Boil off?  the launch economics don't require it
A sixth flight was added to the MARS DRM 5 due to 70 tons of boiloff, assuming 0.1%/day, with no design solution presented to achieve this low rate.  Staging at LEO with ZBO reduces the IMLEO and hence costs vs direct shots to L2 without staging, especially when the architectures include payload mass fractions that do not have to include full tank launch loads and tankers can be designed to take more risk, to name but a few drivers.  Here are more  advantages of a dedicated depot in LEO

ZBO is easy to achieve at EML (and I think HLO), with methalox. Just needs a simple sun shield, and maybe even a little heating to stop it freezing.

Would also be easier to reduce / eliminate boil off in LEO.

Cheers, Martin

It would be even easier to have ZBO using plain H2O than methane and oxygen. The upper stages could just dump excess hydrolox propellants through a hydrogen fuel cell and the depot fills with water. New upper stages could receive propellants through electrolysis. Or is there something that makes electrolysis difficult in space?

The rate at which it would take place which is based on the amount of power available. Far more power would be needed to electrolyze and liquify the hydrogen and oxygen at a usable rate for fueling process than is needed for actively reliquifying  what has boiled off.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline nadreck

Note it may still be more economic to ship water from a source off earth to LEO for conversion there into propellant via electrolysis and liquifaction. Just not in an on demand fashion.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Note it may still be more economic to ship water from a source off earth to LEO for conversion there into propellant via electrolysis and liquifaction. Just not in an on demand fashion.

Actual when I studied the costs of various scenarios where the H2O was converted and liquefied only affected the cost by +-10%. The sensitivity was such that at this time you could not determine what would actually be the cheapest scenario without actual hardware prototypes and real costs.

Offline nadreck

Note it may still be more economic to ship water from a source off earth to LEO for conversion there into propellant via electrolysis and liquifaction. Just not in an on demand fashion.

Actual when I studied the costs of various scenarios where the H2O was converted and liquefied only affected the cost by +-10%. The sensitivity was such that at this time you could not determine what would actually be the cheapest scenario without actual hardware prototypes and real costs.

Agreed, add to the mix to determine the efficiency of various scenarios where some of the solar power components and some of the electrolysis components themselves are produced off earth with materials from off earth.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline Coastal Ron

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I was referring to Tiangong 1, which is already flying, so we at least do have some actual operating numbers for Tiangong 1, rather than Tiangong 3.

I was not aware China has shared any operational cost data.  Have they?

And even if they did share operational cost info, Tiangong 1 was not big enough, or used enough, to create a valid comparison between it and the ISS.  Remember the ISS masses 50X larger.

Quote
Even if you take the position that we don't have good numbers on Tiangong 1, we do have good numbers for Mir, for Saylut, and Skylab.

Like comparing a Douglas DC-3 to a Boeing 747.

Plus, do we really have access to valid operational cost data from the USSR on Saylut and Mir?  I'd be surprised if we did.

To a certain degree part of the cost drivers today is that we have so many different ISS partners, and we have lots of duplicity in the operations side.  That is a cautionary story for future multi-partner efforts, like going to the Moon and Mars, so I'm not sure it's the hardware per se that is the biggest driver.

As to the study itself, I was happy to hear that they were able to identify how to reduce costs for setting up a small operation on the Moon.  And while they still show the SLS in the mix, the death knell for the SLS is that it is not the lowest cost solution for most of the mass needed, which means that it is unlikely to have enough overall demand to warrant any use at all (i.e. it may be mothballed/cancelled by the time the lunar program starts).

The assertion that we need to do lunar ISRU is still unproven, which is perfectly normal at this point.  However if the goal is to go to the Moon to create fuel for future Mars missions, then the proposition that fuel can be sourced for less from the Moon instead of from alternative sources (like Earth or at Mars itself) has to be proven in some way.

Plus, and this affects all space exploration ideas, Congress has shown no interest in any BEO exploration, even for the SLS.  So regardless how much lower in cost this proposal may be, it may still be too expensive for our current Congress.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Note it may still be more economic to ship water from a source off earth to LEO for conversion there into propellant via electrolysis and liquifaction. Just not in an on demand fashion.

Actual when I studied the costs of various scenarios where the H2O was converted and liquefied only affected the cost by +-10%. The sensitivity was such that at this time you could not determine what would actually be the cheapest scenario without actual hardware prototypes and real costs.

Agreed, add to the mix to determine the efficiency of various scenarios where some of the solar power components and some of the electrolysis components themselves are produced off earth with materials from off earth.

The scenarios leaned toward for LEO prop delivered from Earth and for L2 water delivered from the Moon.

This was due to not only the cost of equipment but the cost of getting the equipment to the location. In the case of the Moon the cost of getting extra equipment to the Lunar surface vs just having to get that extra equipment to only L2. additionally having the infrastructure at L2 could be used by captured NEO's processed water as well supplanting delivered Lunar water.

Offline nadreck

Note it may still be more economic to ship water from a source off earth to LEO for conversion there into propellant via electrolysis and liquifaction. Just not in an on demand fashion.

Actual when I studied the costs of various scenarios where the H2O was converted and liquefied only affected the cost by +-10%. The sensitivity was such that at this time you could not determine what would actually be the cheapest scenario without actual hardware prototypes and real costs.

Agreed, add to the mix to determine the efficiency of various scenarios where some of the solar power components and some of the electrolysis components themselves are produced off earth with materials from off earth.

The scenarios leaned toward for LEO prop delivered from Earth and for L2 water delivered from the Moon.

This was due to not only the cost of equipment but the cost of getting the equipment to the location. In the case of the Moon the cost of getting extra equipment to the Lunar surface vs just having to get that extra equipment to only L2. additionally having the infrastructure at L2 could be used by captured NEO's processed water as well supplanting delivered Lunar water.

But did it examine which gravity well components might come from (moon, mars, or none if it was asteroid materials)?
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Note it may still be more economic to ship water from a source off earth to LEO for conversion there into propellant via electrolysis and liquifaction. Just not in an on demand fashion.

Actual when I studied the costs of various scenarios where the H2O was converted and liquefied only affected the cost by +-10%. The sensitivity was such that at this time you could not determine what would actually be the cheapest scenario without actual hardware prototypes and real costs.

Agreed, add to the mix to determine the efficiency of various scenarios where some of the solar power components and some of the electrolysis components themselves are produced off earth with materials from off earth.

The scenarios leaned toward for LEO prop delivered from Earth and for L2 water delivered from the Moon.

This was due to not only the cost of equipment but the cost of getting the equipment to the location. In the case of the Moon the cost of getting extra equipment to the Lunar surface vs just having to get that extra equipment to only L2. additionally having the infrastructure at L2 could be used by captured NEO's processed water as well supplanting delivered Lunar water.

But did it examine which gravity well components might come from (moon, mars, or none if it was asteroid materials)?

I had considered using 3D printing to perform solar cell farm power expansions by making solar cells, aluminum wires, structures, tanks and tubing. But things such as complex circuitry still came from Earth. It was also for use only on the surface. For L2 the same could be done by shipping the raw materials in bulk and then making the same items on location. Differences were minor and it greatly improved other industry to have the capability to expand the power generation on location and only ship bulk material and not finished products.

Offline redliox

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This commercial study was just mentioned at SpaceNews.com so it is slowly getting noticed.

I wager with a plan like this, NASA's role (if it switches tracks to Lunar instead of Martian exploration) will probably be a minor (yet affordable) taxi role with SLS/Orion.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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This commercial study was just mentioned at SpaceNews.com so it is slowly getting noticed.

I wager with a plan like this, NASA's role (if it switches tracks to Lunar instead of Martian exploration) will probably be a minor (yet affordable) taxi role with SLS/Orion.

The SpaceNews article only mentions the F9/FH/Dragon combo or the Vulcan/CST100. No mention was made of the SLS/Orion.

This lack of mention implies that SLS/Orion would not be a part of a cheaper return to the Moon via a COTS model. If I remember correctly SLS/Orion was a part of the study though. Something being left out of an article can imply a great deal.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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It seems to me that being in polar orbit around the Moon is not the best place from which to depart to Mars.

The Mars spacecraft doesn't leave from Lunar orbit. The reusable Lunar lander goes from polar orbit to EML2, where it transfers its LOX/LH2 to a depot (1.9 km/s to LLO + 0.65 km/s to EML2). The reusable Mars transfer spacecraft fills up from there (0.8 to 1.42 km/s to TMI). Its a pretty interesting scheme.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Proponent

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Something that I have learned for studying the Spudis and Lavoie 2010 paper...

Speaking of Spudis & Lavoie, here's what Paul Spudis has to say about the evolvable lunar architecture.


Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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I was referring to Tiangong 1, which is already flying, so we at least do have some actual operating numbers for Tiangong 1, rather than Tiangong 3.

I was not aware China has shared any operational cost data.  Have they?

And even if they did share operational cost info, Tiangong 1 was not big enough, or used enough, to create a valid comparison between it and the ISS.  Remember the ISS masses 50X larger.

I'll grant I don't know if we actually have data.  However, my point was, and is, that we have example proofs that show that station operations does not need to be $3Billion a year.

Quote
Even if you take the position that we don't have good numbers on Tiangong 1, we do have good numbers for Mir, for Saylut, and Skylab.

Like comparing a Douglas DC-3 to a Boeing 747.

Plus, do we really have access to valid operational cost data from the USSR on Saylut and Mir?  I'd be surprised if we did.

I don't know about Saylut, but for Mir - absolutely.  Mircorp couldn't have happened if that data didn't exist. 



Again, my main point was to say that it's not true that we only have the ISS as a data point for how much it costs to operate a station, and therefore the assumption MUST be that station operation is $3 B a year
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline Oli

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Neat.

I suspect a system like Lockheed's Jupiter/Exoliner would be cheaper for delivering fuel to L2.

In general I don't quite buy their cost estimates.

For example, if I look at the notional NASA budget for 2020, ISS Crew and Cargo transport takes $2.3bn. As we all know that's "commercial".

So I have no idea how they intend to develop, build and operate a lunar mining outpost and stay below a budget of $3bn annually.
« Last Edit: 07/25/2015 06:43 PM by Oli »

Offline sdsds

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Speaking of Spudis & Lavoie, here's what Paul Spudis has to say about the evolvable lunar architecture.

Thanks for the link! Spudis writes, "Sortie missions to equatorial or mid-latitude sites offer no real benefit to the ultimate aim of the architecture: the establishment of propellant production facilities at the pole."

It's almost as if he has trouble understanding that a "human spaceflight" program needs to include at least a few humans!
-- sdsds --

Offline gbaikie

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I was referring to Tiangong 1, which is already flying, so we at least do have some actual operating numbers for Tiangong 1, rather than Tiangong 3.

I was not aware China has shared any operational cost data.  Have they?

And even if they did share operational cost info, Tiangong 1 was not big enough, or used enough, to create a valid comparison between it and the ISS.  Remember the ISS masses 50X larger.

I'll grant I don't know if we actually have data.  However, my point was, and is, that we have example proofs that show that station operations does not need to be $3Billion a year.
It seems we will eventually have reusable first stage rockets, but it took SpaceX trying to do this to get others thinking of trying to do it.
So we need low yearly cost of station being done.
We also need space station which last 100 or more years.
So I think we should move ISS out of Low earth orbit, and attempt to be able to use it for hundred years- and say sometime in 2100s, have it become a historical heritage site.
« Last Edit: 07/25/2015 06:48 PM by gbaikie »

Offline nadreck

I was referring to Tiangong 1, which is already flying, so we at least do have some actual operating numbers for Tiangong 1, rather than Tiangong 3.

I was not aware China has shared any operational cost data.  Have they?

And even if they did share operational cost info, Tiangong 1 was not big enough, or used enough, to create a valid comparison between it and the ISS.  Remember the ISS masses 50X larger.

I'll grant I don't know if we actually have data.  However, my point was, and is, that we have example proofs that show that station operations does not need to be $3Billion a year.
It seems we will eventually have reusable first stage rockets, but it took SpaceX trying to do this to get others thinking of trying to do it.
So we need low yearly cost of station being done.
We also need space station which last 100 or more years.
So I think we should move ISS out of Low earth orbit, and attempt to be able to use it for hundred years- and say sometime in 2100s, have it become a historical heritage site.

We need a station (which I believe will grow out of the first depot) that is cheaper to maintain than the ISS. If you move the ISS out to a higher orbit that doesn't decay you still have to keep it active to be able to avoid collisions with space debris. That will cost far too much to be worthwhile.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline Oli

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We need a station (which I believe will grow out of the first depot) that is cheaper to maintain than the ISS.

It's kind of interesting to see how nobody talks about an ISS successor. The NRC's "Pathways to Exploration" report as well as the recent "Minimal Architecture" from JPL assume that all the ISS money will go towards exploration in 2024/2028.

IMO that just proves how unsustainable NASA's exploration plans are. There is no reason to believe that HSF to LEO will suddenly become cheap as dirt and not even show up in the NASA budget.

I can already see it. In 2050 after a few Mars missions, NASA will go back to square one and build a station in LEO, as well as a reusable shuttle.

Ok that was sarcasm, back to topic.
 

Online RonM

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We need a station (which I believe will grow out of the first depot) that is cheaper to maintain than the ISS.

It's kind of interesting to see how nobody talks about an ISS successor. The NRC's "Pathways to Exploration" report as well as the recent "Minimal Architecture" from JPL assume that all the ISS money will go towards exploration in 2024/2028.

IMO that just proves how unsustainable NASA's exploration plans are. There is no reason to believe that HSF to LEO will suddenly become cheap as dirt and not even show up in the NASA budget.

I can already see it. In 2050 after a few Mars missions, NASA will go back to square one and build a station in LEO, as well as a reusable shuttle.

Ok that was sarcasm, back to topic.

Just like the idea of a public-private return to the Moon, NASA is hoping for private space stations after ISS where NASA can rent lab space.

Offline Oli

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NASA is hoping for private space stations after ISS where NASA can rent lab space.

As I said in some previous post, NASA will pay ~$2bn only for resupplying the ISS with crew and cargo. That doesn't include Russia's and Japan's contributions. Why should a "private" station need less of those? Frankly all this talk about "commercial" and "private" is just a smoke screen. NASA will still be the number one customer and thus pretty much define how a station and everything around it will work.

Offline nadreck

NASA is hoping for private space stations after ISS where NASA can rent lab space.

As I said in some previous post, NASA will pay ~$2bn only for resupplying the ISS with crew and cargo. That doesn't include Russia's and Japan's contributions. Why should a "private" station need less of those? Frankly all this talk about "commercial" and "private" is just a smoke screen. NASA will still be the number one customer and thus pretty much define how a station and everything around it will work.

No the reason it costs what it does is partly because of the system they are supporting is 20 years away from state of the art, and partly because they are caught up in a paradigm that doesn't really encourage cost reduction. New stations will exist, if there is reason for them, built on a paradigm either of serving a specific need, hopefully with a business case, or by government patronage, but built at the same time as new, less expensive technologies are being demonstrated in the market place.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline gbaikie

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I was referring to Tiangong 1, which is already flying, so we at least do have some actual operating numbers for Tiangong 1, rather than Tiangong 3.

I was not aware China has shared any operational cost data.  Have they?

And even if they did share operational cost info, Tiangong 1 was not big enough, or used enough, to create a valid comparison between it and the ISS.  Remember the ISS masses 50X larger.

I'll grant I don't know if we actually have data.  However, my point was, and is, that we have example proofs that show that station operations does not need to be $3Billion a year.
It seems we will eventually have reusable first stage rockets, but it took SpaceX trying to do this to get others thinking of trying to do it.
So we need low yearly cost of station being done.
We also need space station which last 100 or more years.
So I think we should move ISS out of Low earth orbit, and attempt to be able to use it for hundred years- and say sometime in 2100s, have it become a historical heritage site.

We need a station (which I believe will grow out of the first depot) that is cheaper to maintain than the ISS. If you move the ISS out to a higher orbit that doesn't decay you still have to keep it active to be able to avoid collisions with space debris. That will cost far too much to be worthwhile.

This is example of "the kind of stuff" related to reusable first stages.
It seems if people think 500 tons stations in LEO have to cost 3 billion per year- we going to get less stations in orbit in the future.
NASA is not going to build a rocket which give us access to space. But NASA could provide evidence that space station could have lower year operational cost rather than what it's doing which is "proving the opposite".

Making a reliable low cost space launcher is pretty hard, making a station have operational cost of less than than 1/2 billion should be in comparison quite easy.
As far as I know, the actual work of avoiding space debris is mostly done by US military- they are the ones tracking it. It's good they doing this, btw.
I think NASA needs to put it's big boy pants on, or it's going the way of the dodo.
 

Offline su27k

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For example, if I look at the notional NASA budget for 2020, ISS Crew and Cargo transport takes $2.3bn. As we all know that's "commercial".

Not sure what is included in the $2.3B number, I can only get ~$1.8B by assuming 2 Cygnus, 3 Cargo Dragon, 1 CST-100 and 1 Crew Dragon.

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So I have no idea how they intend to develop, build and operate a lunar mining outpost and stay below a budget of $3bn annually.

The phase 1 round trip cost to the Moon is estimated as $780M, the budget assumes 2 missions per year, so that's about $1.6B per year (the chart shows ~$1.7B probably with NASA overhead), it's not that far away from the $2.3B ISS number.

I suspect they used the wrong price for FH expendable, so probably need to increase the mission price by $200M if we follow their phase 1 architecture exactly, but there would probably be ways to reduce this assuming various form of reusability.

Offline Oli

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For example, if I look at the notional NASA budget for 2020, ISS Crew and Cargo transport takes $2.3bn. As we all know that's "commercial".

Not sure what is included in the $2.3B number, I can only get ~$1.8B by assuming 2 Cygnus, 3 Cargo Dragon, 1 CST-100 and 1 Crew Dragon.

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So I have no idea how they intend to develop, build and operate a lunar mining outpost and stay below a budget of $3bn annually.

The phase 1 round trip cost to the Moon is estimated as $780M, the budget assumes 2 missions per year, so that's about $1.6B per year (the chart shows ~$1.7B probably with NASA overhead), it's not that far away from the $2.3B ISS number.

I suspect they used the wrong price for FH expendable, so probably need to increase the mission price by $200M if we follow their phase 1 architecture exactly, but there would probably be ways to reduce this assuming various form of reusability.

- $2.3bn is for 6x"future cargo" plus 2xcrew. For 2020 so you must take into account 5 years inflation: 1.025^5=1.13, ~13% increase over 2015 prices. Also its only notional.

- Yes $780m for 4xFalcon Heavy with stretched and refuelable 2nd stage plus 4xFalcon 9 with Lunar Dragon + extra trunk and 20t lunar lander plus orbital docking and fueling operations etc. If you believe that, be my guest.

Offline Blackstar

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I was referring to Tiangong 1, which is already flying, so we at least do have some actual operating numbers for Tiangong 1, rather than Tiangong 3.

I was not aware China has shared any operational cost data.  Have they?

And even if they did share operational cost info, Tiangong 1 was not big enough, or used enough, to create a valid comparison between it and the ISS.  Remember the ISS masses 50X larger.

I'll grant I don't know if we actually have data.  However, my point was, and is, that we have example proofs that show that station operations does not need to be $3Billion a year.

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Even if you take the position that we don't have good numbers on Tiangong 1, we do have good numbers for Mir, for Saylut, and Skylab.

Like comparing a Douglas DC-3 to a Boeing 747.

Plus, do we really have access to valid operational cost data from the USSR on Saylut and Mir?  I'd be surprised if we did.

I don't know about Saylut, but for Mir - absolutely.  Mircorp couldn't have happened if that data didn't exist. 



Again, my main point was to say that it's not true that we only have the ISS as a data point for how much it costs to operate a station, and therefore the assumption MUST be that station operation is $3 B a year

So your point is that when you're comparing apples and grapes, it's reasonable to assume that grapes don't cost the same amount, per spherical object, as apples.

Offline Blackstar

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I suspect they used the wrong price for FH expendable, so probably need to increase the mission price by $200M if we follow their phase 1 architecture exactly, but there would probably be ways to reduce this assuming various form of reusability.

They also used the wrong payload capability for Falcon Heavy--it's not 53 tons unless somebody pays extra to develop that capability. So apparently both the cost, and the capability that they assume are inaccurate.

If you make up the numbers in your assumption, you can reach any final conclusion that you want.

Offline TrevorMonty

The study's mission goal seems to be to mine lunar water, that is placed at L2 as fuel for Mars missions. At $40B for the first 200mt + annual operational costs(>$1B ??)for each other year's 200mt this is not cheap fuel. ULA Vulcan should be able to delivery fuel to L2 at $10m/t or $2B per 200mt and that is before the large discounts I would expect from purchasing 14 flights a year or opening it up to competition. Costs: 2 x Vulcan (6*SRB) at $150m each can deliver 80t to LEO. A 80t ACES tanker should be able to deliver >30t to L2.

If the goal is manned lunar base then missions and transport infrastructure should designed to implement and support the base from earth initially. Once operational there will be a market for lunar ISRU to supply base and transport fuel, let commercial companies build the ISRU infrastructure to supply this commercial market. NB the ISRU companies will also be competing directly against companies transporting goods to this base from earth.

 

Offline gbaikie

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I think NASA and US govt should regard lunar mining as the same as Mars settlements
and that should be that NASA explores the Moon to determine if and where there could be
commercially minable water.
Once NASA finished exploring the Moon, NASA should explore Mars. And NASA should explore Mars
to determine if and where there could be settlements on Mars.

I think if US government wants to assist Mars settlements or mining the Moon, it should first wait until
NASA has done the exploration and therefore the US government will have some information regarding
such ideas.

NASA should want to explore the Moon, first if  NASA actually wants to actual explore Mars rather than talk about exploring Mars at some distant date and never end up doing this.
Exploring the Moon doesn't need to cost much money or time.
A problem is NASA thinks the Moon doesn't require exploration, but polar regions have not been explored and polar region are quite different than the rest of the Moon.
Also the Apollo program was not really a program to explore the Moon, rather it was a program to land humans on the Moon and return them safely to Earth. And because we wanted to land humans on the moon, we also did exploration of the Moon.
NASA should have program to explore the Moon to determine if the Moon's water at the poles  can be commercial mined, and another reason to go to Moon is to prepare to explore Mars.

NASA exploration of the Moon and Mars should have emphasis on robotic exploration.
If the Moon is commercial mined, it will most likely involve a lot of teleoperated mining. Using teleoperation
is a common practice with earth mining, but with mining the moon one could expect that such mining with will more heavily dependent on teleoperation.
But this does not mean one would not involve humans crew on the Moon, and aspect of mining water and making lunar rocket fuel will be significant reduction in the cost of sending humans to the Moon. And one market for the lunar rocket fuel could be to provide return rocket fuel for lunar tourists- and these tourists might astronauts just like astronauts sent to ISS [from many countries]. And they also be just like tourist which have been send to ISS [we had 5 or 6 such tourists??]. And they can people who during work related to lunar mining operation.
How the Moon is mined, will be related to the exploration first done on the Moon. It's possible that after NASA explores the Moon, it could take 10 years before any lunar mining is done. Also it could take years additional lunar study after the exploration is done.
Considering how long we waited since water was first discovered on the Moon [1998] I think it's more logical to be in a hurry to explore the Moon, rather the some wild rush to mine the moon, before the exploration has started. Though it's also possible that before NASA can finish lunar exploration, commercial lunar has started.
The timing of when commercial lunar mining begins, could largely effected by when NASA starts exploring Mars, and even various results of Mars explorations. So I would say be in hurry to explore the Moon and be in just as much in hurry to start exploring Mars, if you want the Moon to rapidly begin mining.
Only one aspect of lunar mining could be related to supplying lunar water and rocket fuel for NASA  Mars exploration.
Nor does the price of Lunar water or rocket fuel going to have much effect on lowering the cost of Mars Exploration. So in terms of Mars exploration one should not dependent of lunar mining.
The biggest help of lunar water mining is the political support of Mars exploration.
If lunar exploration causes interest in commercial lunar water mining, then idea of future Mars settlement is more plausible or realistic. Or hard to argue that Mars exploration is waste of tax dollars if a number of groups are spending million-billions in terms of lunar investment money. Even of congress critters think they are crazy, then the idea there could other crazies who want to live on Mars could also  occur to them.
So NASA Mars exploration would be more relevant and not limited to NASA people.

Also one is going to use robotic mission on Mars, teleoperated by crew at a Mars base. And of course such robotic missions can be from many different nations. And of course such mission would also have large mission control on Earth- just as current robotic missions are done. The difference they operated at real time- so one will probably need a larger mission control on Earth- because everything is going to go faster.
« Last Edit: 07/26/2015 06:23 PM by gbaikie »

Offline nadreck


As far as I know, the actual work of avoiding space debris is mostly done by US military- they are the ones tracking it. It's good they doing this, btw.

They track it yes, but that is not the expensive part, the debris is not able to move itself out of the way the ISS has to dodge several times a year. If it did not, then potentially, a single collision could turn the ISS into a massive debris cloud 10 to 100 times worse than what exists today in LEO.  To keep the ISS capable of dodging will require more than $1B a year. And the longer you keep ISS operating the higher that cost will be because more and more systems designed for 20 - 30years of operation will need to be replaced with something custom made.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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The budgets work out to something like this:

1) $3B for station/base operations
1a) $1.5B for transprt of humans and cargo to the station/base
1b) $1.5B for crew training replacement parts, parts upgrade developments, on orbit operations support, and engineering support
NOTE: Irregardless of size, locations, number of crew, and number of stations/bases supported this number is unlikely to change. So for a Moon base and a L2 station as well as a LEO station the cost for all of this must come way down. Primarily newer systems requiring less maintenance, more built in diagnostics and measurements, and lower cost to LEO [cargo and humans](by a factor of 4) will be required to fit more into this fixed budget size.
2) $3B for exploration system development and operations (currently SLS/Orion development and future operations budget)
3) $.5-1B for new station/base support system or other in space infrastructure development programs (currently commercial crew development)

If you cannot fit the NASA future plans proposed into this budget, don't expect you will get Congress to give you more. At this moment Congress is only marginal supportive of these values and have at times a fight has occurred to keep Congress from reducing or eliminating portions of it.

Currently the line items all have an existing program using up all the funds. Once commercial crew transitions to operations it becomes part of the ISS budget (replacing the purchase of Soyuz rides) and the $.5-1B is freed up for use on something else like in-space infrastructure (follow-on station, L2 station, depots, Lunar base, or some other development project). So the earliest I see any possibility of any funds becoming available would be 2018. Unless suddenly SLS/Orion got canceled after its first flight or just before and the hardware/pads systems were reprogrammed for some other exploration program in 2017/2018, the funds for any new program will be severely limited.

Offline gbaikie

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As far as I know, the actual work of avoiding space debris is mostly done by US military- they are the ones tracking it. It's good they doing this, btw.

They track it yes, but that is not the expensive part, the debris is not able to move itself out of the way the ISS has to dodge several times a year. If it did not, then potentially, a single collision could turn the ISS into a massive debris cloud 10 to 100 times worse than what exists today in LEO.  To keep the ISS capable of dodging will require more than $1B a year. And the longer you keep ISS operating the higher that cost will be because more and more systems designed for 20 - 30years of operation will need to be replaced with something custom made.

Assuming what you say is correct, it seems to me, it make the argument of moving ISS to higher orbit, more compelling- and the sooner the better.
First there is less debris at higher orbits. Second there is more volume of space- so even same number of objects, there is less in the path. Third the velocity difference is lower. Fourth the delta-v of change of trajectory is less.
Though military might need to improve it's ability to detect objects which are more distance from Earth [such improvement could other benefits other than for ISS].

Though one needs to quantify how much higher, one puts ISS. So a minimum might be say 200 km higher and maximum could be to a L-point.  And any orbit higher than say 20,000 km, has the possibility of changing ISS's inclination. And say 100,000 by 20,000, means one does not need to launch to 51 inclination to get to ISS. As the higher orbits can use lunar gravity to alter inclination and raise the perigee- they could cost less delta-v than compared to going GEO. Or generally, using the Moon is lower delta-v cost to get to GEO or such orbit.  Asiasat-3: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16510412

Making ISS only slightly higher, is not really what I have in mind, but politically it's likely choice, because 1/2 measures and compromises is usually the end product of groupthink.  The main thing is whatever could bring about lower operational costs- or way to preserve ISS rather than a plan to de-orbit it.
But if what you say is right, and plan is +20 years preservation [at least], then higher orbit seems like it's the stronger argument.
A higher orbit could add another aspect to ISS, rather than being hit by debris, ISS could serve as station that gathers space junk and uses it. So plan might to move ISS to location that graveyard satellites can be moved to ISS. This could be viewed as expansion of ISS program, rather US mothballing ISS.
But I think main point is to get ISS at low year operational cost- meaning if US policy want to not spend further money on ISS, they have this option, and such a choice does not require ISS to be de-orbited.

« Last Edit: 07/26/2015 07:43 PM by gbaikie »

Offline nadreck


As far as I know, the actual work of avoiding space debris is mostly done by US military- they are the ones tracking it. It's good they doing this, btw.

They track it yes, but that is not the expensive part, the debris is not able to move itself out of the way the ISS has to dodge several times a year. If it did not, then potentially, a single collision could turn the ISS into a massive debris cloud 10 to 100 times worse than what exists today in LEO.  To keep the ISS capable of dodging will require more than $1B a year. And the longer you keep ISS operating the higher that cost will be because more and more systems designed for 20 - 30years of operation will need to be replaced with something custom made.

Assuming what you say is correct, it seems to me, it make the argument of moving ISS to higher orbit, more compelling- and the sooner the better.
First there is less debris at higher orbits. Second there is more volume of space- so even same number of objects, there is less in the path. Third the velocity difference is lower. Fourth the delta-v of change of trajectory is less.
Though military might need to improve it's ability to detect objects which are more distance from Earth [such improvement could other benefits other than for ISS].

Though one needs to quantify how much higher, one puts ISS. So a minimum might be say 200 km higher and maximum could be to a L-point.  And any orbit higher than say 20,000 km, has the possibility of changing ISS's inclination. And say 100,000 by 20,000, means one does not need to launch to 51 inclination to get to ISS. As the higher orbits can use lunar gravity to alter inclination and raise the perigee- they could cost less delta-v than compared to going GEO. Or generally, using the Moon is lower delta-v cost to get to GEO or such orbit.  Asiasat-3: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16510412

Making ISS only slightly higher, is not really what I have in mind, but politically it's likely choice, because 1/2 measures and compromises is usually the end product of groupthink.  The main thing is whatever could bring about lower operational costs- or way to preserve ISS rather than a plan to de-orbit it.
But if what you say is right, and plan is +20 years preservation [at least], then higher orbit seems like it's the stronger argument.
A higher orbit could add another aspect to ISS, rather than being hit by debris, ISS could serve as station that gathers space junk and uses it. So plan might to move ISS to location that graveyard satellites can be moved to ISS. This could be viewed as expansion of ISS program, rather US mothballing ISS.
But I think main point is to get ISS at low year operational cost- meaning if US policy want to not spend further money on ISS, they have this option, and such a choice does not require ISS to be de-orbited.

There is no "low year operational cost" there is letting become debris at zero operational cost, or there is keeping it active. It doesn't matter whether it needs to dodge 10 times a year or once every 50 years. If there is a desire to keep it capable of dodging then it will take supporting enough of its systems to keep it active. The one possibly cheaper alternative is attaching a fairly massive tug that is maintained enough or swapped out often enough to guarantee it can dodge debris. If it were moved to a higher orbit supporting it becomes more expensive on a per visit basis, especially if it is moved to the graveyard orbit just beyond geosynchronous. It would be completely irresponsible to leave it in any orbit that crossed geosynchronous or the super geosynchronous graveyard oribt if it where not active. It would also be irresponsible to leave it in an inclined orbit that crossed geosynchronous, possibly even if it was active.   

It would take 100's of tons of chemical propellant to move it beyond Geosynch and would have to be done very very gradually. Even ion propulsion would take 10's of tons, and it would depend on the solar arrays and other systems functioning throughout the months to years long move with the contingency to send up a contingency mission to resolve any problems along the way.

I don't see the risk as acceptable to leave it inert in any orbit lower than geosync.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline gbaikie

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As far as I know, the actual work of avoiding space debris is mostly done by US military- they are the ones tracking it. It's good they doing this, btw.

They track it yes, but that is not the expensive part, the debris is not able to move itself out of the way the ISS has to dodge several times a year. If it did not, then potentially, a single collision could turn the ISS into a massive debris cloud 10 to 100 times worse than what exists today in LEO.  To keep the ISS capable of dodging will require more than $1B a year. And the longer you keep ISS operating the higher that cost will be because more and more systems designed for 20 - 30years of operation will need to be replaced with something custom made.

Assuming what you say is correct, it seems to me, it make the argument of moving ISS to higher orbit, more compelling- and the sooner the better.
First there is less debris at higher orbits. Second there is more volume of space- so even same number of objects, there is less in the path. Third the velocity difference is lower. Fourth the delta-v of change of trajectory is less.
Though military might need to improve it's ability to detect objects which are more distance from Earth [such improvement could other benefits other than for ISS].

Though one needs to quantify how much higher, one puts ISS. So a minimum might be say 200 km higher and maximum could be to a L-point.  And any orbit higher than say 20,000 km, has the possibility of changing ISS's inclination. And say 100,000 by 20,000, means one does not need to launch to 51 inclination to get to ISS. As the higher orbits can use lunar gravity to alter inclination and raise the perigee- they could cost less delta-v than compared to going GEO. Or generally, using the Moon is lower delta-v cost to get to GEO or such orbit.  Asiasat-3: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16510412

Making ISS only slightly higher, is not really what I have in mind, but politically it's likely choice, because 1/2 measures and compromises is usually the end product of groupthink.  The main thing is whatever could bring about lower operational costs- or way to preserve ISS rather than a plan to de-orbit it.
But if what you say is right, and plan is +20 years preservation [at least], then higher orbit seems like it's the stronger argument.
A higher orbit could add another aspect to ISS, rather than being hit by debris, ISS could serve as station that gathers space junk and uses it. So plan might to move ISS to location that graveyard satellites can be moved to ISS. This could be viewed as expansion of ISS program, rather US mothballing ISS.
But I think main point is to get ISS at low year operational cost- meaning if US policy want to not spend further money on ISS, they have this option, and such a choice does not require ISS to be de-orbited.

There is no "low year operational cost" there is letting become debris at zero operational cost, or there is keeping it active.
There is certainly possible range between "zero costs" and a 3 billion per year. The only possibility of "zero costs" would be zero costs to NASA- with assumption some other party is paying some kind yearly costs of maintaining ISS. But this isn't really possible because one require some kind NASA administration cost related to ISS, so only way for "zero costs for NASA" would be if something else was paying for these costs.
So my idea of low operational cost is somewhere around 100 million per year. Or when naval ships or airplanes are mothballed the idea is one is reducing the maintenance cost rather abandoning a vehicle.
And it's not certain that a mothballed ISS would not have crew on the station, but rather allowing for the possibility of not having crew in ISS.
The assumption is that ISS is valuable and that many different parties may want to use it. Though most likely it's probable they is no party or group of parties other than NASA would want to commit to spending 3 billion dollar per year.
So idea is make ISS usable to other parties [including NASA] in the future, rather then the other option of steering it into the atmosphere and crashing it.
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It doesn't matter whether it needs to dodge 10 times a year or once every 50 years. If there is a desire to keep it capable of dodging then it will take supporting enough of its systems to keep it active. The one possibly cheaper alternative is attaching a fairly massive tug that is maintained enough or swapped out often enough to guarantee it can dodge debris.
Yes, that something one do, one will need a tug of some sort to move ISS.  And of course mothballing ISS will be expensive.
Or my assumption  it's going to cost somewhere around 5 billion dollars more than the cost of crashing the ISS into the Atmosphere.
If cost less than 5 billion, that would good, but the general idea is not that it's free or no cost.

But do think ISS is worth more than 5 billion dollars. And even if it's worth less than 5 billion dollars, I still think it's better to spend the extra amount of money higher than it's assumed value, rather than crashing it into the atmosphere.

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If it were moved to a higher orbit supporting it becomes more expensive on a per visit basis, especially if it is moved to the graveyard orbit just beyond geosynchronous.
I would not suggest putting it in GEO graveyard orbit. Delta-v wise that would about most expensive place to put it.
But if ISS in some higher orbit, the delta-v to move dead sats from graveyard to it, could be say less than 1 km/sec. So you move the couple ton dead sat to the 500 ton station.
You could think of it as research related to what to do with dead GEO sat [which is growing problem at the moment]. So to do this, one would probably use an ion tug to move the dead sats.
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It would be completely irresponsible to leave it in any orbit that crossed geosynchronous or the super geosynchronous graveyard oribt if it where not active. It would also be irresponsible to leave it in an inclined orbit that crossed geosynchronous, possibly even if it was active.   

Yes. But with say a 20K to 100 K orbit, it doesn't need to cross it [or come within 5000 km of crossing it].
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It would take 100's of tons of chemical propellant to move it beyond Geosynch and would have to be done very very gradually. Even ion propulsion would take 10's of tons, and it would depend on the solar arrays and other systems functioning throughout the months to years long move with the contingency to send up a contingency mission to resolve any problems along the way.
Yes, something like that. It should be noted ISS already spent more than 100 tons of rocket fuel maintaining it's orbit. Or the decadial fuel cost of ISS station keeping is somewhere around 100 tons.
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I don't see the risk as acceptable to leave it inert in any orbit lower than geosync.
GEO has higher delta-v cost than Earth escape. It's not easy putting ISS there and not good to go to or leave from. But if you wanted to send ISS to something like GEO, you probably first send it on trajectory around the Moon.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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For a commercial or charitable entity to take over the ISS the cost has to be less than the cost of using a BA-330.

Offline su27k

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- Yes $780m for 4xFalcon Heavy with stretched and refuelable 2nd stage plus 4xFalcon 9 with Lunar Dragon + extra trunk and 20t lunar lander plus orbital docking and fueling operations etc. If you believe that, be my guest.

So what is a more believable recurring cost?
4xFH expendable = 4x140M = 560M
4xF9 expendable = 4x61M = 244M
1xDragon v2 = 243M (this is the number they gave on page 33, seems high to me)
1xExtra Trunk ~= 60M (no idea what this would cost, but I doubt it would cost more than a Dragon v1 or F9)
1xLunar Module ~= 243M x 2 = 486M (no idea, but assume the cost increases linearly with weight, use Dragon v2 weight as baseline)

Total = 1593M, so it looks to me they can still do 1 mission per year with an all expendable architecture. Personally I think one mission to the Moon per year while still have more than $1B for on going development is a vast improvement over what NASA has planned to date.

Offline su27k

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I suspect they used the wrong price for FH expendable, so probably need to increase the mission price by $200M if we follow their phase 1 architecture exactly, but there would probably be ways to reduce this assuming various form of reusability.

They also used the wrong payload capability for Falcon Heavy--it's not 53 tons unless somebody pays extra to develop that capability. So apparently both the cost, and the capability that they assume are inaccurate.

If you make up the numbers in your assumption, you can reach any final conclusion that you want.

I don't think capability is a showstopper, you could make up the lost performance by throwing in a FH or F9 if necessary, it wouldn't change the picture drastically. i.e. it would be the difference between them doing 1.5 missions per year or 1.2 missions per year, not the difference between can or cannot do the mission.

Also the capability is listed on SpaceX's website, so the authors of the paper did not make up the number, they just didn't follow all the rumors like we do. As rumors go, there's also the possibility that with v1.2 upgrade FH could do 53t without cross feed.

Offline sdsds

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I would like to see more analysis of what the authors of the paper call, "The reusable lunar lander." They say it, "Will have the ability to transport propellant to the L2 depot and return, to transport large structures from lunar orbit to the lunar surface, and safely transport humans to/from the lunar surface."

Is it reasonable to have a single vehicle that does all those things? Does it end up being a "jack of all trades but master of none?"

And then, what happens to the lunar landing and ascent vehicles that have been used by the project up to that point? Do they become obsolete?
-- sdsds --

Offline Proponent

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Offline TrevorMonty

Here is my take on using ULA Vulcan and Masten Xeus lander (Centuar based).
1 x 40t Vulcan LEO fuel tanker. $150m.
1 x 40t Vulcan LEO with 10t CST100. Top up from tanker and proceed to L2. ACES provides all propulsion for CST100.  $150m + $100(CST100) = $250m
1 x 30t Vulcan delivering lander with crew rover to L2. $125m +  $100m(Lander, guess) + $231m (Rover) = $456M
Lander delivers its self from LEO to L2, tops up at L2 for landing mission.
Total cost for first manned mission = $856M. NB Rover is only rated for crew of 2 for 14days.

Follow on missions.
2 x 40t Vulcan LEO fuel tanker. $150m + $180m (Has Depot ACES) uses 60t LEO fuel to deliver approx 25t fuel to L2 via slow route.
1 x 20t Vulcan LEO with CST100. 20t top up from LEO tanker and proceed to L2. $100m + $100m = $200m
Total cost $530m.

Following missions will be same except L2 tanker will be standard ACES as Depot has already been delivered.
So $500m.

If a lower cost RLV starts supply LEO fuel then mission costs would drop. eg $2,500/kg would save $100m.

A one way 10t cargo mission would be.
1 x 35t Vulcan LEO + Cargo Lander. $140m + $100m= $240m. Lander would require approx 7t of L2 fuel $60m ($8.5m/t). Total $300m for 10t to surface.




 

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Here is my take on using ULA Vulcan and Masten Xeus lander (Centuar based).
1 x 40t Vulcan LEO fuel tanker. $150m.
1 x 40t Vulcan LEO with 10t CST100. Top up from tanker and proceed to L2. ACES provides all propulsion for CST100.  $150m + $100(CST100) = $250m
1 x 30t Vulcan delivering lander with crew rover to L2. $125m +  $100m(Lander, guess) + $231m (Rover) = $456M
Lander delivers its self from LEO to L2, tops up at L2 for landing mission.
Total cost for first manned mission = $856M. NB Rover is only rated for crew of 2 for 14days.

Follow on missions.
2 x 40t Vulcan LEO fuel tanker. $150m + $180m (Has Depot ACES) uses 60t LEO fuel to deliver approx 25t fuel to L2 via slow route.
1 x 20t Vulcan LEO with CST100. 20t top up from LEO tanker and proceed to L2. $100m + $100m = $200m
Total cost $530m.

Following missions will be same except L2 tanker will be standard ACES as Depot has already been delivered.
So $500m.

If a lower cost RLV starts supply LEO fuel then mission costs would drop. eg $2,500/kg would save $100m.

A one way 10t cargo mission would be.
1 x 35t Vulcan LEO + Cargo Lander. $140m + $100m= $240m. Lander would require approx 7t of L2 fuel $60m ($8.5m/t). Total $300m for 10t to surface.

a small nitpick. ULA advertised capability of Vulcan:
--  using Centaur 22mt LEO
--  using ACES 32mt LEO

http://spacenews.com/from-atlas-to-vulcan-34-years-of-rocket-evolution-in-1-image/

See the chart's top values for LEO payloads.

It is only from the standpoint that these US have long loiter times especially the ACES such that it only takes about an equal weight in LH2/LOX to the payload being pushed to L2. So a single Vulcan ACES delivering a tug (a streteched ACES with 32mt of extra prop) with a second launch of a CST100 with a extra large service module, can then send the CST100 or a fully fueled LH2/LOX lander to L2 or LLO. so using LH2/LOX only 4 Vulcan's with ACES US are required to get the Lander and the CST100 to a LLO orbit.

4x Vulcan 6 booster ACES at ~$160M each (boosters cost $10M each) = $640M
1 Lander = $230M
1 BEO CST100 = $230M
Total per mission ~ $1,100M

This architecture may be cheaper than the SpaceX one shown. But if FHR's are used and no F9s such that even if 6 FHR's are used the LVs costs at $70M each drop the launch costs down to $420M a savings of $220M per mission. Each FHR having the capability of 40mt to LEO.

Edit: corrected some statements and added some supporting info.
« Last Edit: 07/31/2015 04:38 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline Oli

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Total = 1593M, so it looks to me they can still do 1 mission per year with an all expendable architecture.

So you just doubled the price. The question is how we can trust the study's cost estimates in general if they advertise such overly optimistic numbers.

4x Vulcan 6 booster ACES at ~$160M each (boosters cost $10M each) = $640M
1 Lander = $230M
1 BEO CST100 = $230M
Total per mission ~ $1,100M

Um. Dragon V2x (~25t) as well as the lander (~20t) are inserted into LLO. If we assume the same numbers for BEO CST100 and your lander ACES needs to be refueld in LEO. So 6xVulcan.
« Last Edit: 07/31/2015 04:59 PM by Oli »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Total = 1593M, so it looks to me they can still do 1 mission per year with an all expendable architecture.

So you just doubled the price. The question is how we can trust the study's cost estimates in general if they advertise such overly optimistic numbers.

4x Vulcan 6 booster ACES at ~$160M each (boosters cost $10M each) = $640M
1 Lander = $230M
1 BEO CST100 = $230M
Total per mission ~ $1,100M

Um. Dragon V2x (~25t) as well as the lander (~20t) are inserted into LLO. If we assume the same numbers for BEO CST100 and your lander ACES needs to be refueld in LEO. So 6xVulcan.

You are correct I went throught the delta V from LEO-eq to LLO of 4.04km/s and the total prop needed to push the dry weight ACES and payload (6mt for ACES and 25mt for lander or CST100) you need an additional 14mt of LH2/LOX. So 1 additional tanker flight to add 16mt of prop to each of the EDS use ACES to increase their propellant loads to 46mt is needed to get the ACES and payload (CST100 or lander) to LLO, so it loads up with an extra 16mt of prop to 48mt to have additional margins.

Thanks for the critic.

That increases the the launch costs to 5 - Vulcan 6 booster ACES for total of $800M and a total per mission of $1,260M. But follow on missions since an ACES delivering only prop for the lander is required. A ACES with 48mt of prop can deliver to LLO once less Vulcan ACES flight is needed because an ACES with 48mt of prop can deliver 15mt of prop to LLO to refuel the lander.

A Lander with 11mt dry weight and 25mt wet (14mt prop) can get to Moon from LLO and return in whole SSTO mode. (1.85km/s)

Offline Hop_David

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it seems to me, it make the argument of moving ISS to higher orbit, more compelling- and the sooner the better.
First there is less debris at higher orbits. Second there is more volume of space- so even same number of objects, there is less in the path. Third the velocity difference is lower. Fourth the delta-v of change of trajectory is less.

At 400 km altitude the atmosphere is still thick enough to deorbit debris. Going higher would send the I.S.S. into regions of higher debris density

A diagram from the Wikipedia space debris article:



Debris density falls after 2000 km.

There's some sats at Medium Earth Orbit from about 14,000 to 23,000 km altitude: GPS. Glonass and Galileo. This would be a region to avoid.

Attached is a graphic showing delta Vs for moving to different regions

Worst case Hohmann delta V is to an orbit 15.58 times the radius of the I.S.S. orbit. This is about 99,225 km altitude in which case the Hohmann delta V would be 4.11 km/s. Higher than that altitude, Hohman delta V drops from 4.11 and very slowly approaches 3.18 km/s. So there's little delta V benefit for going higher than geosynch unless we send the I.S.S. way high up.
« Last Edit: 07/31/2015 06:50 PM by Hop_David »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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It is interesting to Note that the same lander used as an sortie lander without refueling on Lunaer surface can be used without change to do missions originating from L2 to the poles if refueling at the Moon can be done. Additionally this 11mt dry weight and 14mt prop lander can deliver 8mt of additional payload in each direction. 8mt of equipment down and 8mt of water up.

I like the ACES use in the infrastructure since it requires little additional development to make it useful for the cis-lunar infrastructure. For L2 lander mission support 3 - Vulcan 6 booster ACES that meet up in LEO such that one is completely refueled to max capacity 102mt wet weight (96mt prop) can deliver 48mt of prop to L2. Add sun-shields and a few other amenities and you have a self contained throw away depot once it is empty.
[These depot ACES may even be re-purposed as water tanks, follow on depots for Lunar derived prop, or even used as a pair for a heavy lunar lander that slings 100mt or more of cargo between two ACES. See some of the concepts for ACES derived landers.]

That is enough to support 3 Landing missions such that use of the Vulcan for prop support of the Lander makes the Landing portion of a Mission cost just $160M (avg of one Vulcan ACES for each landing)  Now add a single FHR that can deliver 8mt of cargo to L2 so that the Lander can then deliver it to the Moon and the total cargo support for a Moon base is $230M + the cost of the cargo. that is only $100M more than the current ISS cargo mission costs for the same amount of cargo!!!! Use of a Cargo Dragon on the FHR could even support return of samples from Lunar surface in this architecture as well as pressurized cargo for a Manned Lunar base.

Cost of a Cargo Dragon to L2 of $170 using FHR per mission and cost of a Cargo CST100 using Vulcan/ACES to L2 ~$400M (requires 2 Vulcan flights to get CST100 to L2 whereas it takes 2.5 to get the CST100 to LLO 3.43km/s vs 4.04km/s). Total costs of Cargo Dragon support top Moon surface $330M and for CST100 cargo to Moon surface $560M. [The empty ACES stage could be re-purposed easily (spare engines and parts for the lander if the lander uses ACES technology and parts) once it reaches L2 but the FHR US would be difficult to re-purpose.]

The real key here is what can be accomplished to establish with a low development cost an infrastructure that supports a redundant set of providers for crew and cargo to the Moon

Offline TrevorMonty

Here is my take on using ULA Vulcan and Masten Xeus lander (Centuar based).
1 x 40t Vulcan LEO fuel tanker. $150m.
1 x 40t Vulcan LEO with 10t CST100. Top up from tanker and proceed to L2. ACES provides all propulsion for CST100.  $150m + $100(CST100) = $250m
1 x 30t Vulcan delivering lander with crew rover to L2. $125m +  $100m(Lander, guess) + $231m (Rover) = $456M
Lander delivers its self from LEO to L2, tops up at L2 for landing mission.
Total cost for first manned mission = $856M. NB Rover is only rated for crew of 2 for 14days.

Follow on missions.
2 x 40t Vulcan LEO fuel tanker. $150m + $180m (Has Depot ACES) uses 60t LEO fuel to deliver approx 25t fuel to L2 via slow route.
1 x 20t Vulcan LEO with CST100. 20t top up from LEO tanker and proceed to L2. $100m + $100m = $200m
Total cost $530m.

Following missions will be same except L2 tanker will be standard ACES as Depot has already been delivered.
So $500m.

If a lower cost RLV starts supply LEO fuel then mission costs would drop. eg $2,500/kg would save $100m.

A one way 10t cargo mission would be.
1 x 35t Vulcan LEO + Cargo Lander. $140m + $100m= $240m. Lander would require approx 7t of L2 fuel $60m ($8.5m/t). Total $300m for 10t to surface.
Here are my numbers for this.

Vulcan is 40t to LEO this came from a ULA presentation/chart at New space 2015. The graph you linked to is klbs to GTO, I couldn't see any LEO numbers.

I'm assuming $8m per SRB which came from a member, there is no official price.
Lander specs. 3t dry + 6t rover and crew +20t fuel. ISP465. DV = 5,333m/s.

CST100 = 10t. Remember ACES provides all propulsion LEO-L2-Earth.
ACES 60t standard = 5t. Guess.
ACES 100t tanker =7t. Guess

LEO- L2  = <3.8km/s. 8 days direct ie crew trip.
Approx 3.2km/s if slow route of 3 months
L2- moon -L2= 5km/s
L2-Earth = <800m/s. Capsule rentry.

For lander launches there is the option of no ACES and using Lander as 2nd stage, this should also reduce the number of SRBs. Refuel lander in LEO.
This would add additional LEO fuel launches, trades to be done here.
« Last Edit: 07/31/2015 07:36 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline Hop_David

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L2- moon -L2= 5km/s

That fits with an assumption I've always made: 2.5 km's from moon to L2. Based more or less on the Vis Viva equation for a 2.3 km/s ascent and about .2 km/s to match velocities with EML2 at apolune.

However that doesn't include gravity loss. Yes, the moon's 1/6 gravity isn't as difficult to climb as earth's. On the other hand, the lunar lander/ascent vehicle probably won't have the 9 Merlins of an Earth booster.

How many engines does the lunar lander/ascent vehicle have? What thrust? What is starting mass at ascent?

Having more thrust during ascent lessens gravity loss. On the other hand adding rocket engines for additional thrust increases the dry mass fraction.

For descent, the ascent/lander has used most of it's propellent and left it's payload at EML2. So gravity loss incurred for a soft landing is less of an issue.
« Last Edit: 07/31/2015 09:08 PM by Hop_David »

Offline TrevorMonty

I've never taken gravity loss in to consideration for lander, not sure how to calculate it.

ULA Centuar based lander concept, lands and takes off horizontally. Uses multiple small thrusters for vertical landing/takeoff, once at altitude (3000ft?) RL10s fire and accelerate it horizontally until it is at escape velocity. 2x RL10 = 23t thrust, while lander only weighs around 2.4t (16t/6) at lift off.

Offline gbaikie

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it seems to me, it make the argument of moving ISS to higher orbit, more compelling- and the sooner the better.
First there is less debris at higher orbits. Second there is more volume of space- so even same number of objects, there is less in the path. Third the velocity difference is lower. Fourth the delta-v of change of trajectory is less.

At 400 km altitude the atmosphere is still thick enough to deorbit debris. Going higher would send the I.S.S. into regions of higher debris density

A diagram from the Wikipedia space debris article:



Debris density falls after 2000 km.
Interesting. It looks like 800 km would be a bad location. But it doesn't necessarily mean that 600 km would be bad.
Other stuff re: Kosmos 2421 & Iridium 33:
"Analysis by both NASA  and outside experts indicates that more than half of the Iridium debris will remain in orbit for at least 100 years, and much of the Cosmos debris will remain in orbit at least 20 to thirty years. "
http://swfound.org/media/6575/swf_iridium_cosmos_collision_fact_sheet_updated_2012.pdf

And this:
"The International Space Station adjusted its orbit to avoid debris fragment 33246 from the Kosmos 2421 breakup. That piece was predicted to have a 1 in 72 chance of hitting the station without a change. Kosmos 2421 was in a higher orbit than ISS, so when ISS's apogee (high point of orbit) surpassed the debris field's perigee (low point of orbit), many fragments would cross ISS's orbit."
This stuff is "raining down" now and will continue for decades.
When first saw graph above, I checked SMAD chart on orbital decay for 800 km- and got number of 420 years. But these things hit each other and pieces would altered there trajectory, plus since there are little bits I suppose they would  decay faster than a normal satellite [50 to 200 kg per square meter cross section].
But all altered trajectory would still have an apogee of 800 km- but would have varying perigees. Though with spinning pieces I suppose one piece could go higher and other lower. And I suppose there could some alteration of inclination.
And this quote:
"As of September 3, 2010, the U.S. Space Surveillance Network (SSN) had cataloged 528 pieces of debris from Iridium 33 and 1,347 pieces of debris from with Cosmos 2251 larger than 10 cm (4 inches) in size.
Of these totals, 29 pieces of the Iridium have already decayed from orbit into the Earth’s atmosphere along with 60 pieces from Cosmos 2251."
So within 1 and 1/2 year about 5% have ended their lives plunging to Earth. And since they hit at what looks like around 90 degree to each other- not too surprising. Or a full contact with equal mass "could almost" immediately de-orbit all of them:)
If they don't have lower perigee, they should remain at 800 km for quite while, but ones with lower perigees are going to lower their apogees, due to their higher velocity and higher drag at the lower elevation. 
I don't think it rule out 600 km- but need to run sim on it, and other than that, yearly graph like above showing the pattern of the the decay over the years. Or all this stuff coming past ISS right now, and single moment snap shot to indicate whether 600 is safer than 400. Or 400  could be safer now, but in 10 years may be not.
But as said for other reasons than above, [which I was not aware of] I was not keen on just a little higher than 400 km. But it seems to rule out 800 km or anything crossing 800 km. Though while moving ISS higher one going to have cross 800 km, and spiraling thru 800 doesn't seem like a good idea [or only should/could use ion after a GTO type boost].

Quote
There's some sats at Medium Earth Orbit from about 14,000 to 23,000 km altitude: GPS. Glonass and Galileo. This would be a region to avoid.

Attached is a graphic showing delta Vs for moving to different regions

Worst case Hohmann delta V is to an orbit 15.58 times the radius of the I.S.S. orbit. This is about 99,225 km altitude in which case the Hohmann delta V would be 4.11 km/s. Higher than that altitude, Hohman delta V drops from 4.11 and very slowly approaches 3.18 km/s. So there's little delta V benefit for going higher than geosynch unless we send the I.S.S. way high up.
A thing about delta-a is with higher orbits one could use ion. As said above you don't want to spiral out of LEO with ion- because debris and because takes forever and uses a lot of delta-v [and you lack sunlight{unless plan is to beam power from earth- maybe??}].
And I would say a plan could be to send ISS way high up, but sending ISS way high up isn't necessarily
an immediate part of mothballing. I would say sending ISS "way high up" is removing ISS completely from a Russian oribt. And moderately high has it still in Russian orbit- though may have other launch inclination which could possible also reach it.
« Last Edit: 08/01/2015 08:40 AM by gbaikie »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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850km seems to be an unlucky altitude in that the DMSP battery explosion creating even more debris at that altitude.

Edit: To get this back to the Moon. The estimate for gravity losses can be made (really rough estimate) is to take the 1/6g =1.6333m/s acceleration and multiply times the burn time for the ascent or descent then divide by 2. For a 240 second ascent descent burn time to LLO that is about a 200m/s gravity loss. for faster ascent descent the gravity loss is less. Remember this is a very rough estimate method. A 60 second burn time would be a 50m/s gravity loss a 2% increase in delta V almost negligible and within the margins for any propulsion system.

To get to a 60 second burn time for a 25mt wet weight lander a 187klbf engine would be needed. BTW the BE3 made into a Vacuum engine would be an excellent engine to use. The reason a larger engine would be better even with a lower ISP such as 448 vs the RL-10 465 is that the differences in burn times gravity losses make the higher thrust actually better performance than a lower and longer burn time of a pair of smaller RL-10 engines. So alternately use of 4 RL-10 engines for a 25mt wet weight lander would be recommended.
« Last Edit: 08/01/2015 09:01 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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The use of 4 RL-10 engines makes me think of a design in which the payload is slung underneath and shielded from the 4 engines mounted next to them with the tanks up on top. This means that the payload can be lowered to the surface easily between the legs and engines without any complex cranes. Wide separation between engines allows for use of large expansion nozzles. Also during engine out the opposite engine is not restricted in the amount of gimbals as well as the other two can gimbals side to side a larger amount.

The only problem with this design is that it needs either a large 8-10m faring on launch or for the engines to be mounted once in space.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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The use of 4 RL-10 engines makes me think of a design in which the payload is slung underneath and shielded from the 4 engines mounted next to them with the tanks up on top. This means that the payload can be lowered to the surface easily between the legs and engines without any complex cranes. Wide separation between engines allows for use of large expansion nozzles. Also during engine out the opposite engine is not restricted in the amount of gimbals as well as the other two can gimbals side to side a larger amount.

The only problem with this design is that it needs either a large 8-10m faring on launch or for the engines to be mounted once in space.

The hole between the 4 engines is not needed during launch. Since the engines gimbal their pipes and wires are probably flexible. The lander could be launched from Earth with the engines touching and opened out using extra hinges.

Offline TrevorMonty

The use of 4 RL-10 engines makes me think of a design in which the payload is slung underneath and shielded from the 4 engines mounted next to them with the tanks up on top. This means that the payload can be lowered to the surface easily between the legs and engines without any complex cranes. Wide separation between engines allows for use of large expansion nozzles. Also during engine out the opposite engine is not restricted in the amount of gimbals as well as the other two can gimbals side to side a larger amount.

The only problem with this design is that it needs either a large 8-10m faring on launch or for the engines to be mounted once in space.
Thanks oldAtlas on gravity loss information.
In regards to lander designs check out the link below and Google Masten Xeus lander concept which refines the idea. Alternatively see interviews with Dave Masten on moonandback site below.

http://selenianboondocks.com/2008/11/lunar-depot-enabled-multi-sortie-missions-part-ii-centaur-derived-landers/

http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Published_Papers/Upper_Stages/CentaurApplicationtoRoboticandCrewedLunarLanderEvolution.pdf

http://moonandback.com/section/video/
« Last Edit: 08/01/2015 11:44 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline TrevorMonty

Most HSF BLEO missions use a capsule for crew, this does reduce the return DV requirements eg 700m/s from L2 to earth compared to 3700m/s for propulsive return to LEO.

There benefits to propulsive return to LEO using dedicated human OTV. A dedicated Centaur based OTV with crew cabin eg Cygnus would have more room than cramp capsule allowing for larger crew and more cargo plus should be considerable lighter per person than capsule.
Every 1t mass uses approx 1t more fuel (3000m/s) for propulsive return to LEO than the capsules 700m/s direct return to earth.
Using my earlier calculations the Vulcan with distributed launch can deliver fuel to L2 for <$10M/t.
To return 10t to LEO would cost <$100M. When it comes to paying passengers this extra $100M would allow for PAYING passengers to be increased by 2.5. Capsule = 2crew + 2 passengers, OTV = 2 crew + 5 passengers.

The OTV would rendezvous with CST100 carrying crew, OTV would be fueled from ACES that delivered CST100. There some merits to having OTV based at LEO spacestation but it isn't essential. 

There are the trades of developing OTV compared to BLEO CST100 or Dragon. The OTV could borrow heavily from NASA EAM development. 
 
This architecture allows for a visit to LLO for a few days with a top up at L2. This a would make for near term tourist destination.
« Last Edit: 08/02/2015 01:42 AM by TrevorMonty »

Offline jongoff

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Here is my take on using ULA Vulcan and Masten Xeus lander (Centuar based).
1 x 40t Vulcan LEO fuel tanker. $150m.
1 x 40t Vulcan LEO with 10t CST100. Top up from tanker and proceed to L2. ACES provides all propulsion for CST100.  $150m + $100(CST100) = $250m
1 x 30t Vulcan delivering lander with crew rover to L2. $125m +  $100m(Lander, guess) + $231m (Rover) = $456M
Lander delivers its self from LEO to L2, tops up at L2 for landing mission.
Total cost for first manned mission = $856M. NB Rover is only rated for crew of 2 for 14days.

Follow on missions.
2 x 40t Vulcan LEO fuel tanker. $150m + $180m (Has Depot ACES) uses 60t LEO fuel to deliver approx 25t fuel to L2 via slow route.
1 x 20t Vulcan LEO with CST100. 20t top up from LEO tanker and proceed to L2. $100m + $100m = $200m
Total cost $530m.

Following missions will be same except L2 tanker will be standard ACES as Depot has already been delivered.
So $500m.

If a lower cost RLV starts supply LEO fuel then mission costs would drop. eg $2,500/kg would save $100m.

A one way 10t cargo mission would be.
1 x 35t Vulcan LEO + Cargo Lander. $140m + $100m= $240m. Lander would require approx 7t of L2 fuel $60m ($8.5m/t). Total $300m for 10t to surface.

a small nitpick. ULA advertised capability of Vulcan:
--  using Centaur 22mt LEO
--  using ACES 32mt LEO

http://spacenews.com/from-atlas-to-vulcan-34-years-of-rocket-evolution-in-1-image/

See the chart's top values for LEO payloads.

Umm... unless I'm reading things wrong, that's not mT to LEO but klb to GTO...

I misread it when I first saw it too.

~Jon

Offline Hop_David

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850km seems to be an unlucky altitude in that the DMSP battery explosion creating even more debris at that altitude.

Edit: To get this back to the Moon. The estimate for gravity losses can be made (really rough estimate) is to take the 1/6g =1.6333m/s acceleration and multiply times the burn time for the ascent or descent then divide by 2. For a 240 second ascent descent burn time to LLO that is about a 200m/s gravity loss. for faster ascent descent the gravity loss is less. Remember this is a very rough estimate method. A 60 second burn time would be a 50m/s gravity loss a 2% increase in delta V almost negligible and within the margins for any propulsion system.

To get to a 60 second burn time for a 25mt wet weight lander a 187klbf engine would be needed. BTW the BE3 made into a Vacuum engine would be an excellent engine to use.

From the Astronautix BE-3 page:

WRE solid rocket engine. 34 kN.
Gross mass: 100 kg (220 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 28 kg (61 lb).
Height: 0.60 m (1.96 ft).
Diameter: 0.60 m (1.96 ft).
Thrust: 34.00 kN (7,643 lbf).
Burn time: 9.00 s.

Each 100 kg engine is good for 9 seconds  of 7.6 klbf. To get 60 seconds of 187 klbf would take 164 engines? That's 16.4 tonnes or about 2/3 the 25 tonne wet mass.

Is the lander/ascent vehicle supposed to be reusable? If so, propellent should come from local ISRU sources. I agree that high thrust/low ISP rockets are good for minimizing gravity loss but it's hard to see how the solid rubber propellent could come from lunar resources.

Offline Nilof

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850km seems to be an unlucky altitude in that the DMSP battery explosion creating even more debris at that altitude.

Edit: To get this back to the Moon. The estimate for gravity losses can be made (really rough estimate) is to take the 1/6g =1.6333m/s acceleration and multiply times the burn time for the ascent or descent then divide by 2. For a 240 second ascent descent burn time to LLO that is about a 200m/s gravity loss. for faster ascent descent the gravity loss is less. Remember this is a very rough estimate method. A 60 second burn time would be a 50m/s gravity loss a 2% increase in delta V almost negligible and within the margins for any propulsion system.

To get to a 60 second burn time for a 25mt wet weight lander a 187klbf engine would be needed. BTW the BE3 made into a Vacuum engine would be an excellent engine to use.

From the Astronautix BE-3 page:

WRE solid rocket engine. 34 kN.
Gross mass: 100 kg (220 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 28 kg (61 lb).
Height: 0.60 m (1.96 ft).
Diameter: 0.60 m (1.96 ft).
Thrust: 34.00 kN (7,643 lbf).
Burn time: 9.00 s.

Each 100 kg engine is good for 9 seconds  of 7.6 klbf. To get 60 seconds of 187 klbf would take 164 engines? That's 16.4 tonnes or about 2/3 the 25 tonne wet mass.

Is the lander/ascent vehicle supposed to be reusable? If so, propellent should come from local ISRU sources. I agree that high thrust/low ISP rockets are good for minimizing gravity loss but it's hard to see how the solid rubber propellent could come from lunar resources.

Wrong BE-3. This is the engine being referred to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BE-3

As far as the initial post is concerned, moon gravity*burntime / 2 is an overestimate because the squares of the velocities add, not the velocities themselves, because they are orthogonal and add according to pythagoras. The moon has no atmosphere, so there is no phase of vertical acceleration/gravity turn, you flip the vehicle right after liftoff and keep it inclined at an angle to cancel out gravity.

With a 180s burn you need ~1.6 km/s horizontal delta-v and 0.15 km/s vertical delta-v. The total delta-v is then sqrt(1.62 + 0.152) km/s = 1.6 km/s *sqrt(1+ (0.15/1.6)2) ~ 1.6*sqrt(1.01) ~ 1.6*1.005 km/s, adding 8 m/s to the total burn. So the actual gravity losses with a 180s burn time are still negligible compared to the loss from the short initial ascent before the craft can turn over.
« Last Edit: 08/03/2015 07:12 PM by Nilof »
For a variable Isp spacecraft running at constant power and constant acceleration, the mass ratio is linear in delta-v.   Δv = ve0(MR-1). Or equivalently: Δv = vef PMF. Also, this is energy-optimal for a fixed delta-v and mass ratio.

Offline Hop_David

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Wrong BE-3. This is the engine being referred to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BE-3

Okay, that makes more sense. Liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen is amenable to ISRU propellent (if it turns out the cold traps have rich water ice deposits).

490 kilonewton thrust. Wish the Wikipedia article gave mass of engine.


As far as the initial post is concerned, moon gravity*burntime / 2 is an overestimate because the squares of the velocities add, not the velocities themselves, because they are orthogonal and add according to pythagoras. The moon has no atmosphere, so there is no phase of vertical acceleration/gravity turn, you flip the vehicle right after liftoff and keep it inclined at an angle to cancel out gravity.

With a 180s burn you need ~1.6 km/s horizontal delta-v and 0.15 km/s vertical delta-v. The total delta-v is then sqrt(1.62 + 0.152) km/s = 1.6 km/s *sqrt(1+ (0.15/1.6)2) ~ 1.6*sqrt(1.01) ~ 1.6*1.005 km/s, adding 8 m/s to the total burn. So the actual gravity losses with a 180s burn time are still negligible compared to the loss from the short initial ascent before the craft can turn over.

Where does the .15 km/s vertical delta V come from?

Right after lift off, the acceleration vector needs to have a vertical component of at least 1.62 meters/sec2 or the ship will lose altitude and experience lithobraking.

You're thinking of an acceleration vector where the horizontal component is about 11 times as large as the vertical component? At this moment I'm seeing This acceleration vector:



If the ship's maintaining altitude at 10 kilometers, it'd take about 94 seconds to achieve orbital velocity.

The acceleration would be 17.9 meters/sec2, almost 2 g's. To accelerate a 25 tonne ship at 17.9 meters/sec2, the thrust needs to be 447.5 kilonewtons. So one Blue Origin BE-3 490 kilonewton engine could handle that. Do you know what the BE-3's mass is?

« Last Edit: 08/04/2015 12:53 AM by Hop_David »

Offline Nilof

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Wrong BE-3. This is the engine being referred to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BE-3

Okay, that makes more sense. Liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen is amenable to ISRU propellent (if it turns out the cold traps have rich water ice deposits).

490 kilonewton thrust. Wish the Wikipedia article gave mass of engine.


As far as the initial post is concerned, moon gravity*burntime / 2 is an overestimate because the squares of the velocities add, not the velocities themselves, because they are orthogonal and add according to pythagoras. The moon has no atmosphere, so there is no phase of vertical acceleration/gravity turn, you flip the vehicle right after liftoff and keep it inclined at an angle to cancel out gravity.

With a 180s burn you need ~1.6 km/s horizontal delta-v and 0.15 km/s vertical delta-v. The total delta-v is then sqrt(1.62 + 0.152) km/s = 1.6 km/s *sqrt(1+ (0.15/1.6)2) ~ 1.6*sqrt(1.01) ~ 1.6*1.005 km/s, adding 8 m/s to the total burn. So the actual gravity losses with a 180s burn time are still negligible compared to the loss from the short initial ascent before the craft can turn over.

Where does the .15 km/s vertical delta V come from?

Right after lift off, the acceleration vector needs to have a vertical component of at least 1.62 meters/sec2 or the ship will lose altitude and experience lithobraking.

You're thinking of an acceleration vector where the horizontal component is about 11 times as large as the vertical component? At this moment I'm seeing This acceleration vector:



If the ship's maintaining altitude at 10 kilometers, it'd take about 94 seconds to achieve orbital velocity.

The acceleration would be 17.9 meters/sec2, almost 2 g's. To accelerate a 25 tonne ship at 17.9 meters/sec2, the thrust needs to be 447.5 kilonewtons. So one Blue Origin BE-3 490 kilonewton engine could handle that. Do you know what the BE-3's mass is?

I was thinking of something smaller. Centaur 551 dry mass + apollo lunar ascent module dry mass is roughly 4.4 tonnes.  The RL-10 thrust is roughly 100 kN depending on variant and bell size. The mass ratio should be on the order of 1.5 for a lunar ascent. For a real lander integration would make the dry mass smaller, or you might go for the two-engined Centaur and a higher payload. Thus,  ~2 gees during ascent is not an unreasonable ballpark assumption for a Centaur-derived lander.

For the 0.15 km/s, I accidentally took the number that was divided by two from the post I was replying to. So the total gravity losses to maintain altitude during the burn in my 180 second scenario should have been ~30 m/s, ignoring the fact that the gravity drops as the horizontal speed increases. That is still fairly small.

My point was that one doesn't need to consider the BE-3 or ludicrous 60 second burn times to keep gravity losses low, they will be small even with RL-10-powered landers.
« Last Edit: 08/04/2015 01:05 PM by Nilof »
For a variable Isp spacecraft running at constant power and constant acceleration, the mass ratio is linear in delta-v.   Δv = ve0(MR-1). Or equivalently: Δv = vef PMF. Also, this is energy-optimal for a fixed delta-v and mass ratio.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Wrong BE-3. This is the engine being referred to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BE-3

Okay, that makes more sense. Liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen is amenable to ISRU propellent (if it turns out the cold traps have rich water ice deposits).

490 kilonewton thrust. Wish the Wikipedia article gave mass of engine.


As far as the initial post is concerned, moon gravity*burntime / 2 is an overestimate because the squares of the velocities add, not the velocities themselves, because they are orthogonal and add according to pythagoras. The moon has no atmosphere, so there is no phase of vertical acceleration/gravity turn, you flip the vehicle right after liftoff and keep it inclined at an angle to cancel out gravity.

With a 180s burn you need ~1.6 km/s horizontal delta-v and 0.15 km/s vertical delta-v. The total delta-v is then sqrt(1.62 + 0.152) km/s = 1.6 km/s *sqrt(1+ (0.15/1.6)2) ~ 1.6*sqrt(1.01) ~ 1.6*1.005 km/s, adding 8 m/s to the total burn. So the actual gravity losses with a 180s burn time are still negligible compared to the loss from the short initial ascent before the craft can turn over.

Where does the .15 km/s vertical delta V come from?

Right after lift off, the acceleration vector needs to have a vertical component of at least 1.62 meters/sec2 or the ship will lose altitude and experience lithobraking.

You're thinking of an acceleration vector where the horizontal component is about 11 times as large as the vertical component? At this moment I'm seeing This acceleration vector:



If the ship's maintaining altitude at 10 kilometers, it'd take about 94 seconds to achieve orbital velocity.

The acceleration would be 17.9 meters/sec2, almost 2 g's. To accelerate a 25 tonne ship at 17.9 meters/sec2, the thrust needs to be 447.5 kilonewtons. So one Blue Origin BE-3 490 kilonewton engine could handle that. Do you know what the BE-3's mass is?

I was thinking of something smaller. Centaur 551 dry mass + apollo lunar ascent module dry mass is roughly 4.4 tonnes.  The RL-10 thrust is roughly 100 kN depending on variant and bell size. The mass ratio should be on the order of 1.5 for a lunar ascent. For a real lander integration would make the dry mass smaller, or you might go for the two-engined Centaur and a higher payload. Thus,  ~2 gees during ascent is not an unreasonable ballpark assumption for a Centaur-derived lander.

For the 0.15 km/s, I accidentally took the number that was divided by two from the post I was replying to. So the total gravity losses to maintain altitude during the burn in my 180 second scenario should have been ~30 m/s, ignoring the fact that the gravity drops as the horizontal speed increases. That is still fairly small.

My point was that one doesn't need to consider the BE-3 or ludicrous 60 second burn times to keep gravity losses low, they will be small even with RL-10-powered landers.

Thank you for the detailed analysis.

So we are back to a pair of RL-10 sized engines for a fully loaded 25mt at landing or take-off lander. Increase that to 4 engines to provide engine out during landing and initial take off and the lander has increased reliability in operation. The engines can be throttled if need be or shut down to limit g's and maintain good ISP during the majority of the descent or ascent.

For the initial lander design being discussed as part of this study the lander at landing and take off is only 16mt and so a dual engined lander that provides engine out during the last or first critical part of the burn improves the reliability. An engine failure during landing is an abort back to orbit event. An engine failure during launch from surface is still and abort to orbit.

Offline Hop_David

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So we are back to a pair of RL-10 sized engines for a fully loaded 25mt at landing or take-off lander. Increase that to 4 engines to provide engine out during landing and initial take off and the lander has increased reliability in operation. The engines can be throttled if need be or shut down to limit g's and maintain good ISP during the majority of the descent or ascent.

For the initial lander design being discussed as part of this study the lander at landing and take off is only 16mt and so a dual engined lander that provides engine out during the last or first critical part of the burn improves the reliability. An engine failure during landing is an abort back to orbit event. An engine failure during launch from surface is still and abort to orbit.

RL-10 Dry mass 131 kg, thrust 66700 newtons.

My misgivings were unfounded. Rocket engines of modest mass can provide enough thrust to make gravity loss negligible.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2015 03:41 PM by Hop_David »

Offline TrevorMonty

Wrong BE-3. This is the engine being referred to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BE-3

Okay, that makes more sense. Liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen is amenable to ISRU propellent (if it turns out the cold traps have rich water ice deposits).

490 kilonewton thrust. Wish the Wikipedia article gave mass of engine.


As far as the initial post is concerned, moon gravity*burntime / 2 is an overestimate because the squares of the velocities add, not the velocities themselves, because they are orthogonal and add according to pythagoras. The moon has no atmosphere, so there is no phase of vertical acceleration/gravity turn, you flip the vehicle right after liftoff and keep it inclined at an angle to cancel out gravity.

With a 180s burn you need ~1.6 km/s horizontal delta-v and 0.15 km/s vertical delta-v. The total delta-v is then sqrt(1.62 + 0.152) km/s = 1.6 km/s *sqrt(1+ (0.15/1.6)2) ~ 1.6*sqrt(1.01) ~ 1.6*1.005 km/s, adding 8 m/s to the total burn. So the actual gravity losses with a 180s burn time are still negligible compared to the loss from the short initial ascent before the craft can turn over.

Where does the .15 km/s vertical delta V come from?

Right after lift off, the acceleration vector needs to have a vertical component of at least 1.62 meters/sec2 or the ship will lose altitude and experience lithobraking.

You're thinking of an acceleration vector where the horizontal component is about 11 times as large as the vertical component? At this moment I'm seeing This acceleration vector:



If the ship's maintaining altitude at 10 kilometers, it'd take about 94 seconds to achieve orbital velocity.

The acceleration would be 17.9 meters/sec2, almost 2 g's. To accelerate a 25 tonne ship at 17.9 meters/sec2, the thrust needs to be 447.5 kilonewtons. So one Blue Origin BE-3 490 kilonewton engine could handle that. Do you know what the BE-3's mass is?

I was thinking of something smaller. Centaur 551 dry mass + apollo lunar ascent module dry mass is roughly 4.4 tonnes.  The RL-10 thrust is roughly 100 kN depending on variant and bell size. The mass ratio should be on the order of 1.5 for a lunar ascent. For a real lander integration would make the dry mass smaller, or you might go for the two-engined Centaur and a higher payload. Thus,  ~2 gees during ascent is not an unreasonable ballpark assumption for a Centaur-derived lander.

For the 0.15 km/s, I accidentally took the number that was divided by two from the post I was replying to. So the total gravity losses to maintain altitude during the burn in my 180 second scenario should have been ~30 m/s, ignoring the fact that the gravity drops as the horizontal speed increases. That is still fairly small.

My point was that one doesn't need to consider the BE-3 or ludicrous 60 second burn times to keep gravity losses low, they will be small even with RL-10-powered landers.

Thank you for the detailed analysis.

So we are back to a pair of RL-10 sized engines for a fully loaded 25mt at landing or take-off lander. Increase that to 4 engines to provide engine out during landing and initial take off and the lander has increased reliability in operation. The engines can be throttled if need be or shut down to limit g's and maintain good ISP during the majority of the descent or ascent.

For the initial lander design being discussed as part of this study the lander at landing and take off is only 16mt and so a dual engined lander that provides engine out during the last or first critical part of the burn improves the reliability. An engine failure during landing is an abort back to orbit event. An engine failure during launch from surface is still and abort to orbit.
With horizontal lander designs there a multiple/ redundant small thrusters doing the finally landing stage. These thrusters take lander from  eg 5000ft to surface and back. The RL10s take lander from orbit to 5000ft and back to orbit.

With cargo lander dual redundancy is all that is needed, while human lander may require triple redundancy in landing thruster banks.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2015 05:48 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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5000ft is probably too high. Small horizontal thrusters should only be fighting against the Moon gravity ~x2 thrust level vs vehicle weight in Moon gravity for a short duration. A 16mt mass lander has only 5,867lb weight in Moon gravity field. 5000ft means a 60 sec duration on these small thrusters. 500ft would be just 15 sec and plenty of time for maneuvers and abort sequences. The main engines bring the lander to almost a zero vertical and horizontal velocity at 500 ft followed by the 8 2klbf thrusters firing (pressure fed by the ICE) will easily land or accelerate a 16mt (mass) lander at landing or takeoff. These thrusters are simple pressure fed electric start thrusters.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Here's a new summary of the Evolvable Lunar Architecture study.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline QuantumG

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Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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That report was posted in the first post of this thread!
« Last Edit: 12/16/2015 05:48 AM by Steven Pietrobon »
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline QuantumG

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Ha! How do you know a thread is too long? :)
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Hotblack Desiato

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It is what I have said before. 10,000,000 space fans and proponents chipping in $100 a year would make a $1B/year private space program. That could buy say 4 Falcon Heavy launches and the payload for them per year. 200+ tons of stuff to grow your Lunar endeavors.

Just a simple idea:

That organisation could team up with either Netflix, Youtube Red or Amazon Prime. 10-25$ per month, depending on the stream quality, the streaming partner provides the service, the billing and so on, and the organisation provides the actual content, construction of the hardware, interviews with the staff and so on.

With 10 million customers/supporters, it should be easily possible to exceed 1B$ per year, enough to host such a program.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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The NASA study members were probably hopping the stimulus to private entities such a public private Lunar mission would result in this sort of private services competing for NASA business where NASA just buys individual services from various providers or a re-seller sells them a complete package of transport and housing with cargo support on the Lunar surface for scientific exploration.

Offline gbaikie

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Quote
The NASA study members were probably hoping the stimulus to private entities such a public private Lunar mission would result in this sort of private services competing for NASA business where NASA just buys individual services from various providers or a re-seller sells them a complete package of transport and housing with cargo support on the Lunar surface for scientific exploration.
NASA is not a business.
And what these study members are hoping for, has always been the case. And the only hope involved is that NASA to stop throwing a numerous wrenches into the this process which is hoped for.
Or if there is a NASA business, it is appear the long term practice of this business is to inhibit what these study members are are hoping for.

NASA assigned task is to explore space. And what NASA should be exploring in Space is the Moon. And NASA is doing just about everything imaginable other than exploring the Moon.
In terms of how NASA should explore the Moon, NASA should explore the Moon to determine if and where there is minable lunar water in the Lunar poles.

Once this exploration is done, then NASA can use this information to determine what other things NASA should explore in Space. And it seems likely to me, that after exploring the Moon to determine where and if
there is minable lunar water, that NASA should then explore Mars to determine if and where there could locations on Mars where human settlements could be viable [or most viable].

So NASA does not build lunar bases in the near term- as these are not needed to explore the Moon to determine if and where there is minable lunar water.
In terms of bases built- NASA should build bases on Mars [probably]. Because a base on Mars is needed to explore Mars.
Perhaps Europe or other countries can build bases on the Moon in order to "explore other aspects of the Moon"- once more is  known regarding whether there is minable lunar water.
Or it's certainly possible lunar bases might be needed at some point in the future. Though it's possible that instead of "a base",  a hotel on the Moon might be made for lunar tourists. And/or mining operation other than mining water may be started and bases might related to building and operating lunar telescopes or various other kinds of projects.
But NASA doesn't need to get bogged down with lunar base building or mining lunar water, in same way that NASA do not try to manage Earth's global satellite market. Or NASA lunar base building and lunar water mining would be continuation of "the business" throwing wrenches into the process.
 
Edit: Here is article somewhat related [though nothing about space exploration is mentioned in it]:
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/429021/secular-creationists-matt-ridleys-evolution-everything

[Oh, actually, other than this bit:
"No one, writes Ridley, anticipated that when Gutenberg made printed books affordable, increased literacy would create a market for spectacles, which would lead to improved lenses and the invention of telescopes, which would produce the discovery that the Earth orbits the sun."]

« Last Edit: 12/27/2015 07:39 PM by gbaikie »

Offline Paul451

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Because a [manned] base on Mars is needed to explore Mars.

No it isn't. Putting humans on the surface is a terrible way to explore Mars.

For exactly the same reasons that it's not necessary to put a manned base on the Moon to "determine if there's minable water-ice on the Moon".

Offline QuantumG

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Putting humans on the surface is a terrible way to explore Mars.

That's just a terrible goal.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline gbaikie

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Because a [manned] base on Mars is needed to explore Mars.

No it isn't. Putting humans on the surface is a terrible way to explore Mars.

For exactly the same reasons that it's not necessary to put a manned base on the Moon to "determine if there's minable water-ice on the Moon".

First I am guessing you not against having humans within 2 light seconds from Mars, if so, as far as I am concerned "on Mars " can be any manned base within 5 light seconds of the Mars surface.

But I generally favor Mars manned base on the martian surface for the purpose of exploring Mars.
At this point in time, I can't say where exactly this base should be, or I think we need more robotic mission to explore Mars in order to find a site for the first manned Mars base.
And such robotic exploration for a site for a base, could include Mars moons.

Or generally speaking I think NASA should have more than one base on Mars and it seems possible that a space station or base on one of Mars moons could be the first Mars base.
But I see the purpose of all Mars exploration being related to whether Mars is suitable location for human settlements.
And at this point in time I would rule out the Mars moons as suitable location for Mars settlements- possible a location similar to Earth's moon, a location to mine and do various human activities. Or rather than possible, make that, a probable location for various kinds human activity/projects.

In terms the Moon vs Mars exploration. I think NASA exploration for minable lunar water should be limited to Lunar polar regions and within 1 meter of the lunar surface. So the Moon target of exploration is less
than 1/2 million square km and is concerned with the lunar surface.
And in terms of Mars, I have no clue what regions should be excluded from exploration, so at this point in time, 144.8 million square km and plus it's moons. Plus we should some exploration of Mars L-points- particularly 1 and 2.  And 4 and/or 5 could be useful locations for satellites which support a Mars exploration program though not sure if it's near term priority.

Finding water on Mars is an important aspect related to whether Mars can have human settlement, and this water which could be useful may be hundreds of meters below the surface. So Mars NASA exploration may be more 3 dimensional than the NASA lunar exploration for minable water.
« Last Edit: 12/31/2015 12:41 AM by gbaikie »

Offline DLR

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I couldn't be bothered to go through the entire thread so this may have been addressed already.

SpaceX is currently developing a Methalox architecture, possibly replacing the Kerolox Falcons later this or early next decade.

Using Kerolox/Methalox for Earth launch and Hydrolox for in-space propulsion is bound to increase costs as two separate propulsion systems have to be developed and maintained. Relying purely on Methalox would allow for increased commonality across the board, all the way from Earth to the Moon and to Mars.

In this light, an interesting question is: could sufficient quantities of methane be mined from Lunar polar ice to sustain a cislunar architecture based solely on Methalox propellant?

Offline gbaikie

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I couldn't be bothered to go through the entire thread so this may have been addressed already.

SpaceX is currently developing a Methalox architecture, possibly replacing the Kerolox Falcons later this or early next decade.

Using Kerolox/Methalox for Earth launch and Hydrolox for in-space propulsion is bound to increase costs as two separate propulsion systems have to be developed and maintained. Relying purely on Methalox would allow for increased commonality across the board, all the way from Earth to the Moon and to Mars.

In this light, an interesting question is: could sufficient quantities of methane be mined from Lunar polar ice to sustain a cislunar architecture based solely on Methalox propellant?

"The suite of LCROSS and LRO instruments determined as much as 20 percent of
the material kicked up by the LCROSS impact was volatiles, including methane,
ammonia, hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide"
http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov/observation.htm

"With a combination of near-infrared, ultraviolet and visible spectrometers onboard
the shepherding spacecraft, LCROSS found about 155 kilograms (342 pounds) of water
vapor and water ice were blown out of crater and detected by LCROSS. From that,
Colaprete and his team estimate that approximately 5.6 percent of the total mass
inside Cabeus crater (plus or minus 2.9 percent) could be attributed to water ice alone."
And further down in article:
"Then came the ‘much more.’ Between the LCROSS instruments, the Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter’s observations – and in particular the LAMP instrument (Lyman Alpha Mapping Project) –
the most abundant volatile in terms of total mass was carbon monoxide, then was water,
the hydrogen sulfide. Then was carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, methane, formaldehyde,
perhaps ethylene, ammonia, and even mercury and silver."
http://www.universetoday.com/76329/water-on-the-moon-and-much-much-more-latest-lcross-results/


So in terms making CH4, and assuming one is spliting water and having H2, and then combining
the H2 with Carbon monoxide [CO] gives methane. Or converting iron oxide with CO to get
CO2, then combining it with H2, one could have plenty of CH4. Or even if one just uses CH4 which exist
one might have hundred of tons of it if mining say 1000+ tons of water.

But we need the Moon to be explored to determine if and where there is minable water.
And generally it seems to me that exporting lunar water and lunar LOX could be a better
value than exporting H2 or CH4. Or the moon would a have surplus of O2 and the energy
needed to split water, would tend to make water [not split] quite cheap.
Or lunar LOX and water would more competitive with LOX or water shipped from Earth and
less competitive or not viable to be competitive with Earth launched H2 and CH4.

Or NASA mars exploration can't make lunar water mining "minable" as it's too small of a
market, with Mars settlement it's a different matter.

Edit: One should not think of Mars exploration getting much of lower cost of rocket fuel from Moon. Or lunar export will sell stuff at market value, and market value of rocket fuel will influenced by earth launched
cost and prices***. Should not expect lunar LOX to be 1/2 price of Earth shipped LOX, but even if it was, it would not effect the cost much of a NASA mars exploration program [at 1/2 price it's hundreds of millions difference compared to 100 billion dollar program- or expecting cheaper rocket fuel reduce program costs by more than 1% is unlikely to impossible].
So lunar rocket fuel is mostly about the Moon, and selling to NASA for Mars exploration probably could seen as secondary market.
But commercial lunar activity will lower NASA costs in different ways, other than significantly cheaper rocket fuel.
And a more important aspect is political support for Mars exploration- or program which should require decades of exploration would get funding: were there commercial lunar water mining on the Moon- or even if there was serious interest in investing in such commercial enterprise.

If people are mining the Moon, it does require a visionary congress to see the possibility that eventually there will be commercial interest in Mars, and particularly if congress has lobbyists of a variety commercial interest wanting Mars as part of their market.

Now with Mars settlement one has private buyers of lunar rocket fuel, and larger market size- those factors can lower prices by quite a bit. And then the prices would disconnected from Earth launch costs- assuming there is free lunar rocket fuel market in competition.

*** One factor is with lunar competition, this will add competition to earth launched rocket fuel.
Or SpaceX lower costs aren't lowering NASA cost in sense it gets low cost launcher, but it's competition to other major aerospace companies will make their higher cost "less sellable" to NASA. Or SpaceX main influence is it's effect upon entire US and global aerospace industry. So, lunar rocket fuel could be a check upon excessive price inflation and will be another driver of innovation.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2016 06:02 AM by gbaikie »

Offline DLR

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So large quantities of LCH4 could potentially be produced on the Moon ... that certainly is good news.

Fundamentally however, whether Lunar mining makes economic sense depends on a range of factors: geology, technology, launch costs and production volumes. A fully and rapidly reusable BFR could very well ruin the business case for any near-term space-based propellant mining operation, be it on the Moon or a NEA.

Offline gbaikie

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So large quantities of LCH4 could potentially be produced on the Moon ... that certainly is good news.

Fundamentally however, whether Lunar mining makes economic sense depends on a range of factors: geology, technology, launch costs and production volumes. A fully and rapidly reusable BFR could very well ruin the business case for any near-term space-based propellant mining operation, be it on the Moon or a NEA.

I would say that high Earth launch costs make commercial operations of any type on the Moon harder. Or any dramatic lower of Earth launch cost makes any commercial lunar operation easier.
If one had invested 10 billion dollars and starts mining lunar water, and then one get a fast and massive lowering  of earth launch cost, the party investing 10 billion dollar at older higher launch cost, will have a degree of de-valuation of that investment. Or suddenly one could a lot competition, because competitors can now spend 5 billion rather than 10 billion and have same infrastructure.

But business is not that simple, as business is all about time and the future. So the party who spent 10 billion is in position to dominate the market- one could go public, or one merge a bigger capital investor, and in such a disaster can actually be something that ends up making a lot money. Or lose 5 and gain 50 billion in investment dollars. And one change the business plan from 100 tons a year, to 5000 tons per year.
Or the party there already on the Moon could have huge advantage, of course it could be disruptive and cause bankruptcy.
But if mining water on the Moon- the default mode is a possibility of bankruptcy due to multiple factors, and lower earth launch rate should be something one expects to happen and one plays it accordingly.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2016 06:04 AM by gbaikie »

Offline KelvinZero

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So large quantities of LCH4 could potentially be produced on the Moon ... that certainly is good news.

Fundamentally however, whether Lunar mining makes economic sense depends on a range of factors: geology, technology, launch costs and production volumes. A fully and rapidly reusable BFR could very well ruin the business case for any near-term space-based propellant mining operation, be it on the Moon or a NEA.
IMO there is a far more immediate reason why mining the moon to reach mars does not really make sense.
(a) The primary argument for Mars as a HSF destination is that it has the volatiles and other elements we need to make living there possible.
(b) The amount of volatiles needed to run your rockets far exceed what the volatiles you need for basic living requirements.

So.. if you can produce enough volatiles on the moon to reach Mars, you have just proven you don't need to go there. You have a glut of resources to begin learning how to live of the land right there on the moon, four days from earth.

Sure, Mars is big whereas the lunar poles are just patches of icy turf, but master the lunar poles and all the asteroids and beyond are yours as well, an endless field of patches of icy turf that extend from here out to the Oort cloud.

Offline gbaikie

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So large quantities of LCH4 could potentially be produced on the Moon ... that certainly is good news.

Fundamentally however, whether Lunar mining makes economic sense depends on a range of factors: geology, technology, launch costs and production volumes. A fully and rapidly reusable BFR could very well ruin the business case for any near-term space-based propellant mining operation, be it on the Moon or a NEA.
IMO there is a far more immediate reason why mining the moon to reach mars does not really make sense.
(a) The primary argument for Mars as a HSF destination is that it has the volatiles and other elements we need to make living there possible.
Mars has earth levels of CO2 and water.
25 trillion tonnes of CO2 in Mars atmosphere whereas Earth has about 3 trillion tonnes CO2 in it's atmosphere [though 1000 times as much in the oceans].
Without at least 150 ppm of CO2 in earth atmosphere, plants would die and therefore Earth would not support animal life.
Quote
(b) The amount of volatiles needed to run your rockets far exceed what the volatiles you need for basic living requirements.
Not if you include farming as a basic living requirement.
In space environment where crew are shipped supplies to live, per crew in ISS one needs about 10 tons of water per year. And if crew stay at ISS 6 month, each crew uses more than 100 tons of rocket fuel getting to and from ISS. Or uses more than 100 tons of LOX per year per crew per year by the rockets to get them there and back.
But anyone living on Earth is using about 1000 tons of water or more to live for a year. Or:
"Overall, the world is using 9,087 billion cubic meters of water per year. "
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/graphic-science-how-much-water-nations-consume/
So 9 trillion tonnes for 7 billion people.
World use of rocket fuel per year is roughly about 50,000 tonnes.
Or human settlement in space is different than human space exploration.
And leaving Mars or the Moon require less rocket fuel than going from earth surface to LEO.
To start commercial lunar water mining one needs somewhere around 100 tons of water mined per year
which one need to increase to about 1000 tons per year within a decade of starting lunar water mining- to be profitable.
If the the total water mined on the Moon was around 2000 tons per year, this could support any rocket fuel NASA needs for it's Mars exploration program, and support a crazy amount use of the Moon- several bases/research/hotels, lunar telescopes, etc.
To provide support related to Mars settlements, and even more lunar activity than easy to imagine, one would need about 20,000 tonnes of lunar water mined per year. Or that would be a moon with more space launches than Earth has today.
If you want swimming pools and/or to grow crops on the Moon that kind stuff, one could  would add addition 20,000 tons or more of water needed to be mined per year. 
But this is roughly around less than 100 population on the Moon and there would high cost of water and much recycling of water. Or water could cheap in terms current value of water- it could be about $10 per kg- which is 100 to 1000 times more for water as one spends for water on Earth.

In comparison were there 100 population on Mars, water could be about $1 per kg.
If one were to get 100 population on Mars, this suggests one would "have to" have a rapid growth of population- or within 10 years one should assume a population growth resulting in a Mars population of 1000. Or if this does not happen, one could provide this as proof that Mars settlements are not viable.

Or it has to have high population growth or eventually Mars will only have ghost towns.
And a factor related having such growth is having water which is less than $1 per kg [$1000 per ton].

Within a century the moon is unlikely to have water less than $1 per kg- unless it's importing it from space- space rocks.

Now were the Moon to have water valued at around $1 per kg, one is at "a point in time" of shipping stuff off of the Moon is about $10 per kg. Or to ship solar panel from Moon to GEO should cost much less than $100 per kg- which translates into the potential of  Earth SPS as viable.
It also roughly translates into electrical power on the moon as cheap or cheaper than electrical power on Earth.

On the Moon one can easily get something which is comparable to Earth SPS.
One have network of solar power at lunar pole which provide constant electrical power from the sun, without  any need to store electrical power [though making rocket fuel is storing electrical power as chemical energy which can converted back into electrical energy- so with rocket fuel being made, one doesn't need twice or more of power plant capacity to handle the varying loads on the grid- it can be balanced easily.
So with solar alone the Moon can get as much electrical power as needed- making more electrical energy then Earthlings currently use. But the Moon is also a good place to make nuclear energy.
So with the Moon one could have electrical power at 1/2 the cost as on Earth and have water, 100 times the price on Earth. That not a great place to grow crops.
For purpose of crops, Mars can get more solar energy than earth can get for growing crops- unless Earth grow crops in the oceans. Or per acre, on Mars one can get more sunlight for crop use- because Mars doesn't have thick atmosphere and lacks clouds. Or California has best crop land in the world because it's a desert and they have cheap water to use. All of Mars could be like California, if it had a lot of water to use.
Quote
So.. if you can produce enough volatiles on the moon to reach Mars, you have just proven you don't need to go there. You have a glut of resources to begin learning how to live of the land right there on the moon, four days from earth.
The Moon is the gateway to this solar system. The Moon is Hong Kong to Earth as Hong Kong was to China and the world.
A difference is the Moon could be used to mine more iron than all iron ever mined on Earth.
Though Mercury would be better place to mine iron.
Quote
Sure, Mars is big whereas the lunar poles are just patches of icy turf, but master the lunar poles and all the asteroids and beyond are yours as well, an endless field of patches of icy turf that extend from here out to the Oort cloud.
Yes, but Mars could be good match for the moon to trade with- Mars has cheap CO2 and might have cheap water. Though in terms of cheap water the solar system has many earth oceans of water, but Mars also could good place to mine space rocks. So even if Mars doesn't have more fresh water than Earth, it could get more fresh water than Earth.
 
« Last Edit: 01/02/2016 06:18 AM by gbaikie »

Offline KelvinZero

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Sorry gbaikie I just couldn't process most of that. You have to find a way to argue more succinctly.

You will probably feel im picking tiny elements and ignoring the rest, but there is just nothing anyone can do when faced with an infodump like that.

Quote
Not if you include farming as a basic living requirement.
In space environment where crew are shipped supplies to live, per crew in ISS one needs about 10 tons of water per year. And if crew stay at ISS 6 month, each crew uses more than 100 tons of rocket fuel getting to and from ISS. Or uses more than 100 tons of LOX per year per crew per year by the rockets to get them there and back.
But anyone living on Earth is using about 1000 tons of water or more to live for a year. Or:
"Overall, the world is using 9,087 billion cubic meters of water per year. "

I could pretty much rest my case on the above evidence. ISS: 10 tons of water, 100 tons of rocket fuel.

However, that ten ton figure is because ISS throws water away. It is not claiming to be a recycling environment. It is a bunch of research projects cobbled together. It is not converting that water into energy via E=MC2 !!!

In a properly recycling environment water usage for just living should be just leakages.

Anyway, if you master the moon you also master all those other places I mentioned before, so it is ignoring what I said to compare the resources on mars to the resources on the lunar poles.
« Last Edit: 12/31/2015 10:50 PM by KelvinZero »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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For purpose of crops, Mars can get more solar energy than earth can get for growing crops- unless Earth grow crops in the oceans. Or per acre, on Mars one can get more sunlight for crop use- because Mars doesn't have thick atmosphere and lacks clouds.

Sunlight on Mars per unit area is much less on Mars, since Mars is at about 1.6 AU, which means sunlight is about 60% less. The atmosphere on Earth doesn't reduce the amount of sunlight by that much, except in the presence of clouds. The Mars atmosphere can also greatly reduce the amount of sunlight due to dust storms.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Arb

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Or for a grade 8-10 level explanation see http://tomatosphere.org/teachers/guide/grades-8-10/mars-agriculture

Quote
Above the Earth's atmosphere the solar irradiance is slightly more than 1300 W/m2 (1300 watts per square metre). The Earth's atmosphere is not perfectly transparent to sunlight and about one quarter of the Sun's light is absorbed or scattered before it reaches the surface.

At the Earth's surface, with the Sun directly overhead at local noon (clear dry atmosphere), the solar irradiance is reduced to about 1000 W/m2 (1000 watts per square metre). This value is highly variable depending upon such things as the amount of dust and water vapour in the atmosphere.

At local noon on Mars, with Sun directly overhead, the solar irradiance is 590W/m2 (590 watts per square metre).

All the above measurements are taken with the incident light perpendicular to the absorbing surface. Of course if the sunlight falls on the surface at an angle, less energy will be incident (per square metre) on the surface.

...

The Sun's intensity on a horizontal patch of the Earth's surface of 590W/m2 occurs when the Sun is a mere 36 degrees above the horizon.

« Last Edit: 01/01/2016 12:02 AM by Arb »

Offline gbaikie

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For purpose of crops, Mars can get more solar energy than earth can get for growing crops- unless Earth grow crops in the oceans. Or per acre, on Mars one can get more sunlight for crop use- because Mars doesn't have thick atmosphere and lacks clouds.

Sunlight on Mars per unit area is much less on Mars, since Mars is at about 1.6 AU, which means sunlight is about 60% less.
Correct
Quote
The atmosphere on Earth doesn't reduce the amount of sunlight by that much, except in the presence of clouds. The Mars atmosphere can also greatly reduce the amount of sunlight due to dust storms.
The atmosphere on earth doesn't reduce the amount of sunlight by much- when the sun is near zenith.
And only a small portion of earth at anytime has the sun near zenith.
When sun is near zenith with a clear sky on earth it reduces  the sunlight of 1360 watts per square meter to about 1000 watts per square meter of direct sunlight. If include direct and indirect sunlight then it's total is about 1120 watts per square meter:
"...the direct sunlight at Earth's surface when the Sun is at the zenith is about 1050 W/m2, but the total amount (direct and indirect from the atmosphere) hitting the ground is around 1120 W/m2"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunlight
But as I said only a small portion of earth at anytime has the sun near zenith.
Or this small portion of Earth is about 78.5 million square km of the total area of 510 million square km
of entire earth surface. Or  78.5 million square km  of the sunlit half of the Earth which is 255 million square km.
Or this area is about 1/3rd of sunlit portion of earth.
So this portion which has more intense sunlight is 3 hours [45 degrees] east, west, north and north of where the sun is at zenith on Earth. During either Equinox the zenith is at the equator, and at mid summer of northern hemisphere it's directly above the line of Tropic of Cancer. And with the winter solstice it's above the line of Capricorn.
3 hours east is 45 degrees, and 90 degrees of longitude for east and west of zenith. And north it's 45 degrees latitude, or both north and south it totals 90 degrees of latitude.
And a degree of latitude or longitude is about 111 km. Or 111 times 360 degree equals 39,960 km. And Earth's circumference is about 40,000 km.
Or the area of circle with 4995 km radius- or say 5000 km is 78.5397 million square km.
So in region further than 5000 km from the point of zenith the sun is below 45 degree at noon.
And were one at equator at the time of Equinox, 3 hours before noon and 3 hours after noon, has the sun below 45 degree above the horizon.

"The Sun's intensity on a horizontal patch of the Earth's surface of 590W/m2 occurs when the Sun is a mere 36 degrees above the horizon."

So 2/3rd of sunlit earth has 45 degrees or less.
And in terms of 36 degrees or less it's about 1/2 of the sunlit earth- or about 1/2 of which earth gets less sunlight on a clear day during a daylight than 590W/m2 - and Earth can have clouds during the daytime.

Now the level surface of Mars during the 12 hours of daylight does not get 590W/m2, but if you point at the sun one can get near this amount of sunlight during daylight.
And other than having a "southern exposure effect" crops can't be pointed at the sun, so crops are NOT going to get  590 watts per square meter for 12 hours of daylight [not going to get 7 kW hours of sunlight- whereas an array which points at the sun CAN. But there is isn't much of Earth which can get 7 kW of sunlight per average day if one is pointing an array at the sun. Or cloudy weather prevents this- so places like deserts on Earth can get this much sunlight-  regions like the southwest US, Sahara desert, and large parts of Australia, do get this much or more.  But these are a small portions of the total Earth surface, and don't have much of the world's population living in or near these areas.

Edit: I should note that plants don't need much solar flux per square meter to grow well. A 100 watts per square of sunlight [direct and/or indirect sunlight] would be enough. Or what plants need is UV and something like 10 watts per square meter of UV for indoor plants is about enough. Or growing lights don't give more more than this. Or referring back to above wiki reference:
"In terms of energy, sunlight at Earth's surface is around 52 to 55 percent infrared (above 700 nm), 42 to 43 percent visible (400 to 700 nm), and 3 to 5 percent ultraviolet (below 400 nm)."
And most earth gets of UV is 3 to 5% of 1000 watts [30 to 50 watts of UV]. And plants grow when total sunlight on Earth is less than 500 watts per square meter [15 to 25 watts UV per square meter]. Or crops grow at amazing rate in Alaska and Alaska does not get much more than 500 watts of sunlight. And UV light bulb watts is not just UV- or plants don't use all wavelength of such light bulbs- though perhaps a large percentage- depending on the type. Or LED plant light might be designed have a very high percentage usable by plants- and or course as they are highly "energy efficient" they also don't have much total watts used.
Ie: Amazon ad:
"These growing lamps emit the wavelength of light which can be fully absorbed by the plants photosynthesis; no energy waste like fluorescent lights etc. 660 and 430nm; 630 and 460nm are respectively 4 peaks of growth spectrum for maximum chlorophyII A and B production. Sources rich in red light are more efficient and beneficial for photosynthesis, best for blooming and fruit .The Chlorophyll and Carotenoid need blue much, good for the photosynthesis, best for promoting the leaf."
http://www.amazon.com/Efficient-Hydroponic-TaoTronics-Greenhouse-Combination/dp/B00GNWK2XO
« Last Edit: 01/02/2016 06:57 AM by gbaikie »

Offline gbaikie

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Sorry gbaikie I just couldn't process most of that. You have to find a way to argue more succinctly.
Ok. I have to start by stating your premise.
Which is, if the Moon can support human settlements, why explore Mars?
Or why not just focus on the Moon- it's got everything that is needed.

That is hard to explain succinctly.

I could say it's for political reasons. Though that's not saying anything or that is saying
everything. Everything is not in the direction of being succinct. And not anything because the whole
problem is political {it goes without saying- and applies any topic you like}.

I could say that if the Moon doesn't have commercial minable water, that I am not interested
in the Moon as destination in the near term. Or in the near term [a couple of decades], the moon would not be a gateway.

Or the point of the Moon having billions of tons of water is not important. It's only important in the sense
that indicates it's possible that the Moon has some minable water [less than 1 million tonnes of minable water is enough to make the Moon relevant].

I think it would be a bad idea for NASA to explore the Moon to determine if and where there could be lunar settlements. Though that could be almost be the same as NASA exploring the Moon to determine if and where there could be minable lunar water.
Or former is bad idea because it's going in the wrong direction.

Now it's a wrong direction because I am talking about what NASA should do, or not talking about what **people**should do- what people should do is not the issue.

Though I will say,  that it appears to me that most people do not appear to want to live on the Moon- though many might want to work on the Moon. Or if there was lunar job offers, one should not have shortage of people who want that job.

« Last Edit: 01/01/2016 08:55 PM by gbaikie »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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A 100mt production of water from a source with 5% concentration by mass that exists only in the first 10cm of regolith depth would require a processor/digger that digs a 1m wide swath to travel at .7cm per minute or 2.5m/hr. This is using a digger processor that rolls out an umbilical that provides power and has a tube to pump back water to the storage and power facilities on the crater rim. The processor would dig up the 10cm's of regolith 1m wide process it cool it back down and then deposit it back onto the surface.

This is an example that 100mt of water mined in 1 year is not a very high rate for a small machine. Water produced is 190ml/minute so the tube in the umbilical would not have to be very large ~1cm diameter at most for low pressure levels for significant volume.

What I am saying is a single crawler processor machine can easily produce water at this rate. It is only then a matter of additional power to support more crawler processors or ones that cut a wider swath 2m, 5m or even 10m to greatly increase production over 10 years to 5000mt/year. With a fully reusable Lunar lander Xeus based on the Vulcan ACES doing 20 round trips per year carrying 100mt of prop per trip to EML2 making available 2000mt of prop/year at EML2 for interplanetary HSF missions.

All of this is probably doable (just the mining equipment and operations part) with $2.4B in investments (~$1.2 for development and exploration, and $1.2B for mining systems and deployment) spent over 15 years. At 20 years total profits have reach $2.35B on the total investments of $2.4B at a water sale price at Lunar surface of $500/kg.

Estimated price of prop (LH2/LOX) at EML2 to be $2,600/kg. Best price for prop from using a FHFT reusable at $75M per launch (15mt per launch delivered to EML2 at a time) is $5,000/kg at EML2. So the price is durable over long period possibly as long as 20 years of operations until new LV's with >1/2 the costs of $/kg or other sources (asteriods) are developed. Even then value of water and prop on Lunar surface would still be under any other competitor for possibly longer than even 20 years of operations. 10 years of operations at 5000mt/year at $500/kg price for water at a 20% profit margin is $5B in PROFIT or a revenue amount of $2.5B/year. This would not be a small company.

Offline gbaikie

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A 100mt production of water from a source with 5% concentration by mass that exists only in the first 10cm of regolith depth would require a processor/digger that digs a 1m wide swath to travel at .7cm per minute or 2.5m/hr. This is using a digger processor that rolls out an umbilical that provides power and has a tube to pump back water to the storage and power facilities on the crater rim. The processor would dig up the 10cm's of regolith 1m wide process it cool it back down and then deposit it back onto the surface.

This is an example that 100mt of water mined in 1 year is not a very high rate for a small machine. Water produced is 190ml/minute so the tube in the umbilical would not have to be very large ~1cm diameter at most for low pressure levels for significant volume.

What I am saying is a single crawler processor machine can easily produce water at this rate. It is only then a matter of additional power to support more crawler processors or ones that cut a wider swath 2m, 5m or even 10m to greatly increase production over 10 years to 5000mt/year. With a fully reusable Lunar lander Xeus based on the Vulcan ACES doing 20 round trips per year carrying 100mt of prop per trip to EML2 making available 2000mt of prop/year at EML2 for interplanetary HSF missions.

All of this is probably doable (just the mining equipment and operations part) with $2.4B in investments (~$1.2 for development and exploration, and $1.2B for mining systems and deployment) spent over 15 years. At 20 years total profits have reach $2.35B on the total investments of $2.4B at a water sale price at Lunar surface of $500/kg.

Estimated price of prop (LH2/LOX) at EML2 to be $2,600/kg. Best price for prop from using a FHFT reusable at $75M per launch (15mt per launch delivered to EML2 at a time) is $5,000/kg at EML2. So the price is durable over long period possibly as long as 20 years of operations until new LV's with >1/2 the costs of $/kg or other sources (asteriods) are developed. Even then value of water and prop on Lunar surface would still be under any other competitor for possibly longer than even 20 years of operations. 10 years of operations at 5000mt/year at $500/kg price for water at a 20% profit margin is $5B in PROFIT or a revenue amount of $2.5B/year. This would not be a small company.

I generally don't think the entire operation is done by one company. And biggest company maybe the company that sells electrical power at lunar surface. So it's either solar or nuclear- probably solar.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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A 100mt production of water from a source with 5% concentration by mass that exists only in the first 10cm of regolith depth would require a processor/digger that digs a 1m wide swath to travel at .7cm per minute or 2.5m/hr. This is using a digger processor that rolls out an umbilical that provides power and has a tube to pump back water to the storage and power facilities on the crater rim. The processor would dig up the 10cm's of regolith 1m wide process it cool it back down and then deposit it back onto the surface.

This is an example that 100mt of water mined in 1 year is not a very high rate for a small machine. Water produced is 190ml/minute so the tube in the umbilical would not have to be very large ~1cm diameter at most for low pressure levels for significant volume.

What I am saying is a single crawler processor machine can easily produce water at this rate. It is only then a matter of additional power to support more crawler processors or ones that cut a wider swath 2m, 5m or even 10m to greatly increase production over 10 years to 5000mt/year. With a fully reusable Lunar lander Xeus based on the Vulcan ACES doing 20 round trips per year carrying 100mt of prop per trip to EML2 making available 2000mt of prop/year at EML2 for interplanetary HSF missions.

All of this is probably doable (just the mining equipment and operations part) with $2.4B in investments (~$1.2 for development and exploration, and $1.2B for mining systems and deployment) spent over 15 years. At 20 years total profits have reach $2.35B on the total investments of $2.4B at a water sale price at Lunar surface of $500/kg.

Estimated price of prop (LH2/LOX) at EML2 to be $2,600/kg. Best price for prop from using a FHFT reusable at $75M per launch (15mt per launch delivered to EML2 at a time) is $5,000/kg at EML2. So the price is durable over long period possibly as long as 20 years of operations until new LV's with >1/2 the costs of $/kg or other sources (asteriods) are developed. Even then value of water and prop on Lunar surface would still be under any other competitor for possibly longer than even 20 years of operations. 10 years of operations at 5000mt/year at $500/kg price for water at a 20% profit margin is $5B in PROFIT or a revenue amount of $2.5B/year. This would not be a small company.

I generally don't think the entire operation is done by one company. And biggest company maybe the company that sells electrical power at lunar surface. So it's either solar or nuclear- probably solar.
The only thing this company is doing is mining and selling the water. Someone else 1) provides power, 2)store the water and 3)manufactures (splits the water) LH2/LOX. Then another transports probably a vehicle like Xeus from Lunar surface to EML2. Another provides habitats and another general supply services (food, parts, etc). That's a possible 7 companies. Not counting launch providers and EML2 infrastructure related systems and services.

The question is how much above and beyond NASA purchases of water and prop at EML2 would others (including commercial) purchase. A $1B/year budget to purchase prop at EML2 would give NASA ~400mt of prop per year or ~800mt or prop for each Mars mission every synod. This $1B purchase amount is probably toward the max NASA would be buying even after 20 years from now (year 2036). 800mt of prop at EML2 is ~ a 180mt round trip payload to Mars  low orbit. This is a large mission. For landing and return to orbit the without surface refueling the mission size shrinks a lot because of the propellant for the vehicle that lands and returns to Mars orbit. But still much larger than anything currently seen in NASA planning.

Online ChrisWilson68

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A 100mt production of water from a source with 5% concentration by mass that exists only in the first 10cm of regolith depth would require a processor/digger that digs a 1m wide swath to travel at .7cm per minute or 2.5m/hr. This is using a digger processor that rolls out an umbilical that provides power and has a tube to pump back water to the storage and power facilities on the crater rim. The processor would dig up the 10cm's of regolith 1m wide process it cool it back down and then deposit it back onto the surface.

This is an example that 100mt of water mined in 1 year is not a very high rate for a small machine. Water produced is 190ml/minute so the tube in the umbilical would not have to be very large ~1cm diameter at most for low pressure levels for significant volume.

What I am saying is a single crawler processor machine can easily produce water at this rate. It is only then a matter of additional power to support more crawler processors or ones that cut a wider swath 2m, 5m or even 10m to greatly increase production over 10 years to 5000mt/year. With a fully reusable Lunar lander Xeus based on the Vulcan ACES doing 20 round trips per year carrying 100mt of prop per trip to EML2 making available 2000mt of prop/year at EML2 for interplanetary HSF missions.

All of this is probably doable (just the mining equipment and operations part) with $2.4B in investments (~$1.2 for development and exploration, and $1.2B for mining systems and deployment) spent over 15 years. At 20 years total profits have reach $2.35B on the total investments of $2.4B at a water sale price at Lunar surface of $500/kg.

Estimated price of prop (LH2/LOX) at EML2 to be $2,600/kg. Best price for prop from using a FHFT reusable at $75M per launch (15mt per launch delivered to EML2 at a time) is $5,000/kg at EML2. So the price is durable over long period possibly as long as 20 years of operations until new LV's with >1/2 the costs of $/kg or other sources (asteriods) are developed. Even then value of water and prop on Lunar surface would still be under any other competitor for possibly longer than even 20 years of operations. 10 years of operations at 5000mt/year at $500/kg price for water at a 20% profit margin is $5B in PROFIT or a revenue amount of $2.5B/year. This would not be a small company.

You're glossing over all the hard details of the "processor/digger".  Mining machinery on Earth requires a lot of human labor to do cleaning and maintenance.  The cleaning requires water.  The machinery requires lubrication and hydraulic fluids.  It requires spare parts.  It requires periodic disassembly and reassembly.  And that doesn't even count the thermal and vacuum conditions lunar mining machines would require.

We're not talking about a rover that just drives over the surface.  Once you're talking about processing significant amounts of material you're entering an entirely different realm.

We haven't even really started trying to develop this kind of technology.  There's no telling at this point how much it would cost or how much infrastructure it would require.

Online ChrisWilson68

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I generally don't think the entire operation is done by one company. And biggest company maybe the company that sells electrical power at lunar surface. So it's either solar or nuclear- probably solar.
The only thing this company is doing is mining and selling the water. Someone else 1) provides power, 2)store the water and 3)manufactures (splits the water) LH2/LOX. Then another transports probably a vehicle like Xeus from Lunar surface to EML2. Another provides habitats and another general supply services (food, parts, etc). That's a possible 7 companies. Not counting launch providers and EML2 infrastructure related systems and services.

I can't see how it could be viable to have separate companies for those stages of the process until the scale is really huge, so it can support multiple companies at each stage.  Otherwise, you don't have competition at each stage, so any one company in the pipeline can hold the others hostage.  No sensible business leader is going to let his or her company get stuck in a situation like that.

No, it has to be one company doing all the stages of lunar surface activity.

If it even makes sense to mine anything on the moon for use it orbit, which is highly unlikely until the distant future when there's a huge off-Earth infrastructure.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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A 100mt production of water from a source with 5% concentration by mass that exists only in the first 10cm of regolith depth would require a processor/digger that digs a 1m wide swath to travel at .7cm per minute or 2.5m/hr. This is using a digger processor that rolls out an umbilical that provides power and has a tube to pump back water to the storage and power facilities on the crater rim. The processor would dig up the 10cm's of regolith 1m wide process it cool it back down and then deposit it back onto the surface.

This is an example that 100mt of water mined in 1 year is not a very high rate for a small machine. Water produced is 190ml/minute so the tube in the umbilical would not have to be very large ~1cm diameter at most for low pressure levels for significant volume.

What I am saying is a single crawler processor machine can easily produce water at this rate. It is only then a matter of additional power to support more crawler processors or ones that cut a wider swath 2m, 5m or even 10m to greatly increase production over 10 years to 5000mt/year. With a fully reusable Lunar lander Xeus based on the Vulcan ACES doing 20 round trips per year carrying 100mt of prop per trip to EML2 making available 2000mt of prop/year at EML2 for interplanetary HSF missions.

All of this is probably doable (just the mining equipment and operations part) with $2.4B in investments (~$1.2 for development and exploration, and $1.2B for mining systems and deployment) spent over 15 years. At 20 years total profits have reach $2.35B on the total investments of $2.4B at a water sale price at Lunar surface of $500/kg.

Estimated price of prop (LH2/LOX) at EML2 to be $2,600/kg. Best price for prop from using a FHFT reusable at $75M per launch (15mt per launch delivered to EML2 at a time) is $5,000/kg at EML2. So the price is durable over long period possibly as long as 20 years of operations until new LV's with >1/2 the costs of $/kg or other sources (asteriods) are developed. Even then value of water and prop on Lunar surface would still be under any other competitor for possibly longer than even 20 years of operations. 10 years of operations at 5000mt/year at $500/kg price for water at a 20% profit margin is $5B in PROFIT or a revenue amount of $2.5B/year. This would not be a small company.

You're glossing over all the hard details of the "processor/digger".  Mining machinery on Earth requires a lot of human labor to do cleaning and maintenance.  The cleaning requires water.  The machinery requires lubrication and hydraulic fluids.  It requires spare parts.  It requires periodic disassembly and reassembly.  And that doesn't even count the thermal and vacuum conditions lunar mining machines would require.

We're not talking about a rover that just drives over the surface.  Once you're talking about processing significant amounts of material you're entering an entirely different realm.

We haven't even really started trying to develop this kind of technology.  There's no telling at this point how much it would cost or how much infrastructure it would require.
Correct.
The technical risk elements outnumber the certainties. I was thinking of a development period of 10 years before any water is produced during which most of the $2.4B investment funds needed just on the mining systems is spent. A lot of other things have to be in place before mining starts as well: power, storage, habitats, reusable lander, EML2 station, tugs...

This means that water production and the next item prop production would not be available NET 2026 and probably nearly 2030. So basing costs of operations in the 2020's on use of Lunar source prop is not realistic.

Offline gbaikie

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I generally don't think the entire operation is done by one company. And biggest company maybe the company that sells electrical power at lunar surface. So it's either solar or nuclear- probably solar.
The only thing this company is doing is mining and selling the water. Someone else 1) provides power, 2)store the water and 3)manufactures (splits the water) LH2/LOX. Then another transports probably a vehicle like Xeus from Lunar surface to EML2. Another provides habitats and another general supply services (food, parts, etc). That's a possible 7 companies. Not counting launch providers and EML2 infrastructure related systems and services.

I can't see how it could be viable to have separate companies for those stages of the process until the scale is really huge, so it can support multiple companies at each stage.  Otherwise, you don't have competition at each stage, so any one company in the pipeline can hold the others hostage.  No sensible business leader is going to let his or her company get stuck in a situation like that.

No, it has to be one company doing all the stages of lunar surface activity.

If it even makes sense to mine anything on the moon for use it orbit, which is highly unlikely until the distant future when there's a huge off-Earth infrastructure.
Well you start by making lunar rocket fuel for leaving the Moon, then making lunar rocket fuel for landing on the surface of the Moon, and finally lunar rocket fuel [and lunar water, and LOX in terms of the rocket fuel] for high earth and Mars orbit.***

So a customer for the beginning of lunar rocket fuel production could be lunar tourists, lunar sample return/lunar exploration {for mining something other than water- iron, PGM, or whatever].
So lunar sample return is bringing tons of lunar sample back to earth and selling them at price of somewhere around price of gold per gram- your market is general public- and people who buy samples because they want to support exploitation of space [and they get piece of the moon for what one could call a donation- or like Kickstarter] also this can also be a collectible type market- same people who buy baseball cards, etc. So it's baseball card with small piece of the Moon. Primary market is to educational and research- and give significant discount to educational institutions, and these include elementary schools [private or public, US domestic and rest of the world], With serious research one is selling cores and documentation [kind of how do archeologically dig].
Of course lunar tourism could some people involved with business of returning lunar samples to Earth, and as general matter, probably all tourists would bring back some amount of lunar sample. So every tourist would back say less than 10 kg, whereas in comparison this business would involve removing more than 1000 kg. Or tourist may travel few km and take back small sample or test same equipment, take pictures, or spend the time in whatever fashion.

So the focus starts with return rocket fuel. And assumption is that NASA has already explored the Moon to determine if and where there is minable water. And based upon this information, lunar power company could figure where to generate electrical power- so say at a peak of ethereal light at either of the poles.
So electrical power company has get the needed infrastructure to generate electrical power and needs customers buy the power, and wants a way to get more electrical power on Moon at cheaper costs- or buy lunar rocket fuel at lunar orbit to land on the Moon. So could start with say 10 to 50 KW, with some plan to increase to 1 MW or more in coming months and years.

Also I assuming there is operational depot in LEO which being supplied with rocket fuel and one can use this technology experience gained to establish a depot in Lunar orbit- and have a clue of how much it will cost.
Also of course, NASA has already spent about 40 billion dollars exploring Moon which *probably* includes a few crewed landings on the Moon. So one already has variety of robotic missions flown and and some vehicle which landed crew on the Moon. Or a private sector which wants to sell them to parties other than NASA. And considering this would the plan, the private sector at least can hope it can continue production
of what NASA buys- which means NASA could get lower price from the private sector- because what there doing is the start of their business rather than a limited use by NASA.

***edit. A reason one ships lunar rocket fuel to lunar orbit is to increase the demand per year of lunar water and so you can reuse lunar lander. And increasing market share further  is why one ships it to high earth and Mars. In first year of mining lunar water you could mine less than 50 tons and get to production
rate of 100 tons per year. To get to 100 tons per year or more, probably need to ship rocket fuel to lunar orbit. And mine water and make rocket fuel based upon how demand there is. If you sell 500 tons per year, you ramp up to that production level [invest more money to increase to that capacity]. If for example there was 500 tons demand which included High earth- it depend on cost to make it. It possible that rocket fuel [water and/or LOX] can be sent from Earth at lower price than you can sell it at- so can't increase your market. But it's going to cost more to ship LOX to low lunar orbit from earth and cheaper to send from the Moon to low lunar orbit as compared to high earth [or Mars].
« Last Edit: 01/03/2016 02:43 AM by gbaikie »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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I generally don't think the entire operation is done by one company. And biggest company maybe the company that sells electrical power at lunar surface. So it's either solar or nuclear- probably solar.
The only thing this company is doing is mining and selling the water. Someone else 1) provides power, 2)store the water and 3)manufactures (splits the water) LH2/LOX. Then another transports probably a vehicle like Xeus from Lunar surface to EML2. Another provides habitats and another general supply services (food, parts, etc). That's a possible 7 companies. Not counting launch providers and EML2 infrastructure related systems and services.

I can't see how it could be viable to have separate companies for those stages of the process until the scale is really huge, so it can support multiple companies at each stage.  Otherwise, you don't have competition at each stage, so any one company in the pipeline can hold the others hostage.  No sensible business leader is going to let his or her company get stuck in a situation like that.

No, it has to be one company doing all the stages of lunar surface activity.

If it even makes sense to mine anything on the moon for use it orbit, which is highly unlikely until the distant future when there's a huge off-Earth infrastructure.
Well you start by making lunar rocket fuel for leaving the Moon, then making lunar rocket fuel for landing on the surface of the Moon, and finally lunar rocket fuel for high earth and Mars orbit.

So a customer for the beginning of lunar rocket fuel production could be lunar tourists, lunar sample return/lunar exploration {for mining something other than water- iron, PGM, or whatever].
So lunar sample return is bringing tons of lunar sample back to earth and selling them at price of somewhere around price of gold per gram- your market is general public- and people who buy samples because they want to support exploitation of space [and they get piece of the moon for what one could a donation] also this can also be a collectable type market- same people who buy baseball cards, etc. So it's baseball card with small piece of the Moon. Primary market is to educational and research- and give significant discount to educational institutions, and these include elementary schools [private or public, US domestic and rest of the world], With serious research one selling cores and documentation [kind of how do archeologically dig].
Of course lunar tourism could some people involved with business of returning lunar samples to Earth, and as general matter, probably all tourists would bring back some amount of lunar sample. So every tourist would back say less than 10 kg, whereas in comparison this business would involve removing more than 1000 kg. Or tourist may travel few km and take back small sample or test same equipment, take pictures, or spend the time in whatever fashion.

So the focus starts with return rocket fuel. And assumption is that NASA has already explored the Moon to determine if and where there is minable water. And based upon this information, lunar power company could figure where to generate electrical power- so say at a peak of ethereal light at either of the poles.
So electrical power company has get the needed infrastructure to generate electrical power and needs customers buy the power, and wants a way to get more electrical power on Moon at cheaper costs- or buy lunar rocket fuel at lunar orbit to land on the Moon. So could start with say 10 to 50 KW, with some plan to increase to 1 MW or more in coming months and years.

Also I assuming there is operational depot in LEO which being supplied with rocket fuel and one can use this technology experience gained to establish a depot in Lunar orbit- and have a clue of how much it will cost.
The problem is that water mining needs a minimal infrastructure in place: power, habitats (desirable but not absolutely required, it just makes the maintenance equation easier), propellant depots, tugs, landers...

Once water and propellant are produced this enables a rapid expansion of the existing infrastructure which then enables expansion of the production capability for water and prop. With cyclic almost infinite expansion. As expansion occurs so does the breadth of capabilities into new infrastructure and services not previously existing: tourism, materials (metals, regolith for radiation shielding), solar cell manufacturing, structures manufacturing, SPS, ...

So yes a little bit of water and prop production can achieve a lot in the long run, but you need some infrastructure first before that first mt of water produced. Several gallons will be produced earlier in experiments to test technology assumptions but is not an operational production of water.

Offline gbaikie

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Quote
The problem is that water mining needs a minimal infrastructure in place: power, habitats (desirable but not absolutely required, it just makes the maintenance equation easier), propellant depots, tugs, landers..."
I would the say it is the lack of exploration to determine if and where there could be minable water on
the Moon which is the problem at the moment.

If the infrastructure cost are too high compared to potential profit, by definition, it's not minable.
As in the world's ocean have about 20 million tons of gold, but it's not minable gold.
And reason it's not minable is the infrastructure cost is too high compared to profit of the gold
one could mine in comparison to the cost of infrastructure.

If the Moon doesn't have minable water, then it should not be mined or attempted to be mined.
It could be after NASA spends about 40 billion dollar and about a decade doing a lunar program , that no deposits of water are found on the Moon which are minable.
It seems to me that if this is the case, no country should bother make a lunar base on the Moon.
And then at that point in time one could be actually making a true statement about the Moon already being explored- give the "been there, and done that" thing.
This assume that the Moon was explored in an adequate manner. And I think with total budget of no more
than 40 billion dollar and not more than 10 years, NASA should be able to do this. I am not sure the current Administrator is competent enough, but a NASA administrator should be able to manage it.
And if NASA can do it for less, say 20 billion dollars- it should do that.
Quote
Once water and propellant are produced this enables a rapid expansion of the existing infrastructure which then enables expansion of the production capability for water and prop. With cyclic almost infinite expansion. As expansion occurs so does the breadth of capabilities into new infrastructure and services not previously existing: tourism, materials (metals, regolith for radiation shielding), solar cell manufacturing, structures manufacturing, SPS, ...

So yes a little bit of water and prop production can achieve a lot in the long run, but you need some infrastructure first before that first mt of water produced. Several gallons will be produced earlier in experiments to test technology assumptions but is not an operational production of water.
Maybe Japan space agency could do this after the lunar poles have been explored.
But I think NASA should keep it's cost low, but at same time thoroughly explore the lunar poles. And part doing this would using a lot of robotic exploration with not many crew landings.
And plan to follow lunar exploration with Manned Mars exploration.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2016 07:59 AM by gbaikie »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Yes it is all the elements of infrastructure costs, if developed commercially or turned into a commercial service/product the development costs and operations determine the price for each service/product purchased by the mining company, is the controlling factor for business viability. It must produce a end price of propellant at EML1/2 that would be significantly less than the cost of delivery from Earth.

The largest consumer of such prop would be a NASA Mars or other interplanetary missions program at first. Later commercial interplanetary transport services would become more than even NASA. NASA would be one of their customers, at first the anchor customer, later just one of many.

1)Estimate investments for just the Mining over 20 years $2.4B
2)Estimate for reusable lander Xeus (Vulcan ACES derived, up to 14 crew plus 30mt of cargo or propellant, or as a prop/water tanker delivery to EML2 of 100mt) development and production of 3 vehicles [2 combined crew/cargo and 1 tanker] $1B
3)Estimate for DSH (Bigalow BA330DS version) development and delivery of two BA330's to each location of EML2 and Lunar base $1B [Note most of the cost is getting them to the location]
4)Deep space commercial cargo services (2 providers) from Earth to EML2 [Note Xeus is used to get cargo to surface, possible another reusable lander vehicle is developed by a second provider competing with Xeus and is not part of this] $1B for development of 2 providers [envisioned as upgrade of existing CRS]
5)Deep space commercial crew services (2 providers) [takes over from SLS + Orion to greatly reduce costs for this cis-Lunar regular transport] $2B [Envisioned as an upgrade of soon to exist CC services]
6)Prop depots at LEO, EML2, and Lunar surface [required each required to get to the next location economically from prop delivered initially from Earth and later for EML2 and Lunar surface from ice mining]. $1B

Total infrastructure costs $8.4B development and deployment but does not include operations costs. apportionment to the primary funds source prop sales at EML2 of total 10,000mt of a rapidly expanding prop services over 10 years of operations is $840/kg now add operations costs and profits for each level of service provider to each level of customer [see the earlier diagram of purchase relationships between entities] hopefully all of this is only $2000/kg. If it is much grater then the mining and sales of prop at EML2 to NASA etc may not be a viable business case. Problem is that a lot of these services have to be in development or operating to get investors to invest in ice mining.

The reason there are some asteroid mining investments occurring is the infrastructure requirements are not as complex.

Now getting back to the thread topic. The NASA study was about how using commercial COTS like contracts leveraging existing and soon to exist commercial capabilities to expand infrastructure and serves through ci-Lunar as a  way to reduce development and operations costs for the initial placement of the infrastructure to support further Lunar exploration and support commercial resource exploitation (even asteroids). The ice mining is a result enabled by this emplacement of low cost services. The ice mining would enable lowering costs and expanding services in cis-lunar space. But first the initial infrastructure costs must be low enough to make the ice mining profitable.

Offline gbaikie

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Yes it is all the elements of infrastructure costs, if developed commercially or turned into a commercial service/product the development costs and operations determine the price for each service/product purchased by the mining company, is the controlling factor for business viability. It must produce a end price of propellant at EML1/2 that would be significantly less than the cost of delivery from Earth.
This is incorrect.
Rather lunar rocket fuel must be competitive with Earth shipped rocket fuel to the Lunar surface.
It doesn't even need to be cheaper than Earth shipped rocket fuel- because cheaper price is not everything related to being competitive.
A problem is people might underestimate overestimate how much it cost to ship rocket fuel from Earth to the Moon's surface, therefore imagine they might be able to sell lunar rocket fuel for say $20,000 per kg. Thereby imagine they could be profitable by selling at $20,000 per kg at lunar surface.
Another problem is idea using shorthand, of saying rocket fuel, rather than LOX and Liquid Hydrogen [or high pressure Hydrogen].
It seems to me that on the Moon LOX will be cheaper than Hydrogen- and with Earth LOX is cheaper than Hydrogen. I think Moon will have lower difference of price between the fuel and the oxidizer as compared
to Earth [and Earth will "always" have significant lower cost of oxidizer vs fuel- even in the context of the Moon getting to the point of having some "huge" surplus of O2- ie mining metal oxides and difference of 1 to 6 mass for rocket fuel vs 1 to 8 splitting water ].
On Earth LOX is about 10 cent per kg, and Liquid Hydrogen is more than $5 per kg, so difference of 1 to 50.
With Moon I tend to think the difference will be 1 to 4 [or higher]. And with orbit price the difference would be 1 to 2 or 3.
So if rocket fuel on the Moon was 20,000 per kg on the Moon. LOX would be about $10,000 per kg and Hydrogen would be $80,000 per kg.
And at that price, it one might be able to ship H2 to lunar surface from Earth for less 80,000 per kg, but not be able to ship LOX from Earth for less than $10,000 per kg.
Or if not mining water on the Moon and just shipping from Earth, LOX might be $15,000 per kg and H2 might be $30,000 per kg.
And if a buyer of lunar rocket fuel at lunar surface, one might buy lunar LOX and Earth Hydrogen, thereby increasing supply of Lunar Hydrogen and "possibly" if not enough demand for extra lunar Hydrogen, lower
price of lunar hydrogen.
Now it's possible that rather than ship Hydrogen from Earth one might ship methane or Kerosene- which are as easy to ship as LOX. So wild guess, one have kerosene from earth selling on the Moon for $15,000 kg, and lunar Hydrogen is selling for say $60,000 per kg [because it's competing with Earth shipped kerosene]. So help with my wild guess, if lunar kerosene is $15,000 kg, LOX is $14,000 kg, and hydrogen is $60,000, do you buy the kerosene or the LH [or high pressure hydrogen]?
Now at those high prices, one can send humans to the Moon at much lower cost than you can at the moment.
 And if want to use SpaceX Merlin engines you might be happy to buy the kerosene- might pay more for kerosene than the not usable H2. But anyhow which fuel would you want?
Or if liquid methane was available how much would pay for it?

Now shipping lunar rocket fuel [or just Lunar LOX] to lunar orbit, it lower the cost of operating on the Moon- lowers cost of delivering non crew cargo. And as important, it increases demand for lunar water and lunar rocket fuel.
Obviously it has the added capital cost of a depot in Low lunar orbit- but allowing for this added capital cost, it seems like best direction to take to solve one shortage of demand for lunar rocket fuel.

Another aspect of having low orbit lunar depot is one could start with this depot from the beginning and use earth shipped rocket fuel, thereby lowering cost of getting things to the Moon. One also start with rocket fuel depot on the Moon, before making any lunar rocket fuel, thereby giving one immediate re-usablity of our lunar landers.
Basically how you start will depend on potential customer needs- customers being lunar tourists and/or
lunar sample return Or something else.
But it seems one has different options if NASA develops a depot in LEO, first.
And finally one has shipping to EML1/2. Which mainly seems to me about shipping lunar water for NASA Mars exploration, or at least initially.
Quote
The largest consumer of such prop would be a NASA Mars or other interplanetary missions program at first. Later commercial interplanetary transport services would become more than even NASA. NASA would be one of their customers, at first the anchor customer, later just one of many.
It seems the largest consumer of prop is lunar rocket fuel shipped to low lunar orbit. Or one might need to use hundreds of tons of lunar rocket fuel to get enough lunar infrastructure to allow one to ship water and rocket fuel for use by NASA. So hundreds of tons of lunar water used before one begins to sell rocket fuel or water to NASA.
But NASA could have a need of a lot of rocket fuel if NASA wants to send many crews to Mars and wants to get them there in 3 months or less. Also to return crew from Mars quickly could need a lot of rocket fuel.
But it seems one can start lunar water mining even if great uncertainly of what quantity of rocket fuel NASA needs.***
Of course it's possible that Lunar water miner aren't American, and US government may want to use domestic US launchers to supply rocket fuel and water for NASA Mars exploration. I can imagine Congress passing such laws.

Edit: re: anchor customer, NASA. Rather than anchor in sense of start up, NASA might act as future potential anchor customer. Or in terms of growth companies, NASA activity particularly if exploring Mars, could make the stock value of lunar mining be very expensive- because NASA could be a future customer, and Mars settlers could even bigger future customers. So get valuation like Facebook.

*** I mean after NASA explores the Moon. And after someone develops an operational depot in orbit-
and LEO seems easier place for first operational depot {and start with LOX, only, -or even some storable non-cryogenic rocket fuel- could be helpful}.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2016 09:07 PM by gbaikie »

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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There are three interdependent markets for prop: LEO, EML1/2, and Lunar surface. Depending on the source of the "water" the cost and price goes up the farther from the source. To compete on a 1 to 1 with Earth sourced prop at EML1/2 the price of prop at the Lunar surface would be approximately the same as prop at LEO. It is where demand is significantly greater than supply that prices will continue to increase until alternate sources can meet the demand. With a high demand at LEO vs supply the available prop to be shipped to EML1/2 would be restricted probably to lower than the demand. In this situation an alternate source such as the Moon could make a profit even if the price is significantly more than prop form Earth.

Additionally Earth sourced prop would find it difficult to compete with Lunar sourced prop at the Lunar surface and also the same is true for Lunar source prop competing at LEO with earth sourced prop. The true battleground is EML1/2.

The cheapest price currently conceivable for prop at LEO is $2000-2500/kg using an FHFT reusable for delivery. Prices of this LEO prop at EML1/2 would be $4000-5000/kg. Prices from this EML1/2 prop at lunar surface would $8000-10000/kg. At the Lunar surface Lunar made prop will most likely be cheaper than anything shipped from Earth for at least the next 15-20 years. But the prices at EML1/2 would be highly dependent on supply and demand (supply from the cheapest source not able to meet demand).

The discussion about prop markets and prices should be continued in the following more appropriate thread
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=12338.msg1416398#msg1416398

Offline gbaikie

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<snip>
1)Estimate investments for just the Mining over 20 years $2.4B
2)Estimate for reusable lander Xeus (Vulcan ACES derived, up to 14 crew plus 30mt of cargo or propellant, or as a prop/water tanker delivery to EML2 of 100mt) development and production of 3 vehicles [2 combined crew/cargo and 1 tanker] $1B
3)Estimate for DSH (Bigalow BA330DS version) development and delivery of two BA330's to each location of EML2 and Lunar base $1B [Note most of the cost is getting them to the location]
4)Deep space commercial cargo services (2 providers) from Earth to EML2 [Note Xeus is used to get cargo to surface, possible another reusable lander vehicle is developed by a second provider competing with Xeus and is not part of this] $1B for development of 2 providers [envisioned as upgrade of existing CRS]
5)Deep space commercial crew services (2 providers) [takes over from SLS + Orion to greatly reduce costs for this cis-Lunar regular transport] $2B [Envisioned as an upgrade of soon to exist CC services]
6)Prop depots at LEO, EML2, and Lunar surface [required each required to get to the next location economically from prop delivered initially from Earth and later for EML2 and Lunar surface from ice mining]. $1B

Total infrastructure costs $8.4B development and deployment but does not include operations costs. apportionment to the primary funds source prop sales at EML2 of total 10,000mt of a rapidly expanding prop services over 10 years of operations is $840/kg now add operations costs and profits for each level of service provider to each level of customer [see the earlier diagram of purchase relationships between entities] hopefully all of this is only $2000/kg. If it is much grater then the mining and sales of prop at EML2 to NASA etc may not be a viable business case. Problem is that a lot of these services have to be in development or operating to get investors to invest in ice mining.

The reason there are some asteroid mining investments occurring is the infrastructure requirements are not as complex.

Now getting back to the thread topic. The NASA study was about how using commercial COTS like contracts leveraging existing and soon to exist commercial capabilities to expand infrastructure and serves through ci-Lunar as a  way to reduce development and operations costs for the initial placement of the infrastructure to support further Lunar exploration and support commercial resource exploitation (even asteroids). The ice mining is a result enabled by this emplacement of low cost services. The ice mining would enable lowering costs and expanding services in cis-lunar space. But first the initial infrastructure costs must be low enough to make the ice mining profitable.

It seems there are few reasons NASA should explore the Moon.
First reason is to start NASA on path of exploring space.
It's also an argument against exploring the Moon- as long as NASA fails to decide to explore
the Moon, the less money NASA needs to spend [waste] on exploration. I will call that the Obama Plan.
One also has ISS program which is largely unrelated to space exploration. And delaying exploration
can be seen as continuing ISS longer.
I am fan of continuing ISS for another century or more, but I want NASA to not spend much money on
ISS when NASA gets to the point of exploring Mars. But I don't see large budget conflict of ISS and lunar
exploration, other than lunar exploration leads to Mars exploration. The degree that there is budgetary
issue with lunar program and ISS, relates to SLS.
For early lunar exploration, SLS is unrelated or not needed, because early lunar exploration would be
robotic lunar exploration. Of course once SLS is ready to fly, we have people wanting to use it, and if doing
lunar exploration program, will tend to want to use SLS for something related to lunar program- I not worried about that, but point is it's not really needed at all, but with Manned lunar exploration it could be
used if SLS still exists as program at such point in time. So Lunar program is crewed lunar landing is at around 2024 and ends somewhere around 2026.
From 2016 to 2025 one does lunar robotic exploration. From 2016 to 2026 one has depot in LEO and
LEO depot refuels robotic and crewed exploration of the Moon. And continue operating thru Mars exploration program. Btw I would have NASA send crew to Mars from High earth orbit, it seems one still use the LEO depot even if staging at high earth orbits.
And in terms of ISS, should have plans of raising it's orbit and have capability to have crew on it when it's in orbit higher than LEO, within next 5 years or so. And therefore ISS doesn't need yearly reboost for ISS to remain in orbit and thereby allowing it to be in orbit for decades. Not keen to use ISS for operational needs of Lunar or Mars programs- but suppose it's possible. More interested in ISS becoming a real international space station- so it's not question, for example, of whether the Chinese are allowed to be involved in the international space station. And all nations and private sector have way of using the station.

Second reason NASA should explore the Moon is to lower the cost of getting into space. In the only way NASA can actually can lower the cost of getting into space. Or we can say that NASA so far has not lowered the costs of getting into space, but by making a depot and exploring the moon NASA could lower
costs.
Third reason exploring the Moon allows NASA to explore Mars, in terms of politically. Or get the funding to
explore Mars. One should note that Congress has already approved plan of exploring the Moon and then exploring Mars. One should also note that Congress at one point forbid NASA from planning a Mars program.
So when Moon was included, it got Congressional support. Of course Obama is ignoring this- and there is no congressional support to explore an asteroid, instead.

Now, the focus of the lunar exploration program should be to make it a low cost program. Let's not worry about Mars program being low cost at the moment- or that might be impossible.
But it is possible to do a lunar program which includes a depot in LEO, for about 40 billion dollars- though
not allowing for SLS. To include SLS, I would look at it this way, SLS is 1 billion reduction per year in NASA.
 budget. So since lunar program last for 10 years or less, including SLS, it's then about 50 billion for lunar program. Though NASA might spend more money related to SLS, but I think it not needed or should counted for whatever things SLS used for above 1 billion per year. One might tack it on to asteroid or Mars exploration or whatever it's doing. But as said don't need SLS for lunar program, but it will be used
if have it while doing lunar exploration program- should far proper accounting cost of lunar program it seems 1 billion per year is reasonable. But if count as 40 billion lunar program, 20 billion is for depot and robotic exploration, and 20 billion for crewed missions.
And important matter related to lunar exploration making Mars exploration possible, is NASA estimating the cost of lunar program, and ending up costing near this estimated costs. This will help a lot when NASA gives it's estimate for Mars exploration program- NASA will have some credibly to Congress.
And an advantage of exploring the Moon before exploring Mars is terms of what the media does if
NASA gives low cost for exploring the Moon. Or it can't say exploring the Moon will costs trillions of dollars, the media could say exploring the Moon and Mars might costs trillions of dollar [decades into the future]
but if arguing against lunar exploration, that does not work if  the lunar plan is a 40 billion dollar program
over a 10 year period. They might say it's impossible since ISS costs much more- but can't stop the idiots from being idiots.
The other aspect is that if lunar exploration cause lunar water mining to begin to occur, this helps sell idea of exploration of Mars might contribute to Mars settlements. Or Mars exploration is not the same as Apollo
program is terms of going back to the Moon. It's not a dead end.



« Last Edit: 01/03/2016 10:40 PM by gbaikie »

Offline gbaikie

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Quote
The discussion about prop markets and prices should be continued in the following more appropriate thread
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=12338.msg1416398#msg1416398

So topic topic of this thread is should NASA build a NASA base [with some private partnership]?

And my answer to this question is no.
I think NASA should not build a manned lunar base, but I think NASA should build a manned Mars base.
Generally I think any business should not be protected from going bankrupt.
And I think that NASA manned lunar base would like SLS, only worse.
And I think if NASA could/should have some private partnership, they should have done it with the
Shuttle or should be doing it with ISS. Or nothing NASA has ever done, indicates that NASA can do
some private partnership. Or you could say everything NASA has ever done is some private partnership.

So a NASA Mars base would not be business, instead it's a way to explore Mars.
I see little value for a NASA flags and footprints program of Mars, but exploring Mars could/should
be something NASA could do, but first, I think NASA should explore the Moon.

I suppose some could see that building a base on the Moon or Mars is a way of not to having a flags and footprints program. But NASA is planning on de-orbiting ISS, so I would point to this plan, and what NASA has done in the past, as evidence that any lunar or Mars base doesn't prevent a flag and footprint mission.

And I think NASA should build bases on Mars, not a base. And I don't see building a base on Mars as particularly expensive. Or the building and launching of ISS wasn't the majority of of the cost of ISS program, and ISS is a base.
Now a base on the Moon or Mars could be less expensive than the entire ISS program [100 billion or more]- or with 5 billion dollar to spend, one could build and land a manned base on the Moon or Mars. NASA couldn't but it could be done.
But 5 billion to spend is different than raising 5 billion- one has the cost of money.
And one has a larger bureaucracy of sorts involved with "somehow raising 5 billion dollars" rather than just spending the money.
 

And base is sort of like a reusable rocket, or a point of a base [and manned base] is to lower costs by re-using infrastructure.
One doesn't need crew involved with a base. Or ISS could have been an unmanned base- it could have been robotically controlled.
Or fuel depot is a base- which is generally thought of as unmanned.
So a Mars manned base is where you put the life support infrastructure for long duration human habitation. It's also where you put landing/launch pad.
One could call some area where you can more easily land stuff on the moon as a base, and put in addition some landing beacons and communication infrastructure to Earth, and it's a better base.
In that sense, I could favor a few NASA bases on the Moon, but it's generally that's not what people mean by a lunar base.
One could have a couple robotic bases on the Moon and robotic and crew could land there- and that is generally an approach I would recommend for exploring the Moon.
But mainly this is a landing area in which rockets can land close to existing infrastructure [without damaging the infrastructure with the rocket exhaust].

Since the trip to Mars takes months to get there and months to get back, I think the crew should spend a fair amount of time at Mars. I tend to think crew should stay on Mars for about 4 years, and so one needs
a manned mars base.
But the manned base doesn't need to include mining and farming. I would have first Mars base mostly focused on reusable life support infrastructure.
I would not focus on much reusable life support infrastructure with crew capsule going to Mars, instead would have this focus in regards to the Mars base. So send crew to Mars fast, and have them spend most of their time at a manned base. With spacecraft going to mars, I would not focus of using same spacecraft [re-use] for multiple crew, whereas with the mars base would be for multiple crew use and long duration of each crew mission.
 
« Last Edit: 01/05/2016 04:02 PM by gbaikie »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Thought I'd bump this because it's referenced in an article about the Falcon Heavy:

SpaceX’s Big Rocket, the Falcon Heavy, Finally Reaches the Launchpad - The New York Times

Relevant quote:
Quote
The Trump administration has declared that sending astronauts back to the moon is a priority and has advocated a greater role in the space program for private companies. Its budget proposal for 2019, which will be released next month, should include more details of what it plans to do.

Charles Miller, a former NASA official who served in the Trump administration’s transition team, thinks the agency should consider turning to cheaper, commercial alternatives like the Falcon Heavy.

“It’s the core around which I would build a near-term return-to-the-moon strategy,” Mr. Miller said.

He spearheaded a NASA-financed study in 2015 that laid out a plan that could accomplish that in five to seven years. Because the Heavy is smaller than the Space Launch System rocket, the proposed mission would be more complicated, but it would still be faster and cheaper, Mr. Miller said.

I think it's unlikely that the Trump Administration is going to commit significant money to a return-to-Moon effort, but maybe they will surprise us and propose a public/private partnership based on this study? Weirder things have happened in the short life of the Trump Administration...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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