Author Topic: NASA-Funded Study on Low-Cost Public-Private Return to the Moon  (Read 32834 times)

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.
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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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

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

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.

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