Author Topic: Proposed ITS Cargo Modules to Initiate a Chemical Industry on Mars  (Read 16264 times)

Online speedevil

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The purpose of the unhinged lower panel is to allow the entire heatshield side of the spaceship to be produced as one piece. When we proposed this as an option in the paper, we didn't know that SpaceX would want to develop this capability. Apparently they do.

What are you basing this on?
Just the pictures of the hinged 'fairing' of the cargo vehicle?

Offline Valerij

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From my point of view, the concept of the proposed cargo module has two very serious problems. The first is that the production of fuel on Mars must be deployed as quickly as possible, since it is necessary to return the ITS to Earth for the next flight. To allocate a large number of ITS ships exclusively for the delivery of modules of the fuel complex will be difficult. The second problem is that to start working with such a large cargo module it is necessary to have heavy and bulky equipment on Mars. At the initial stage of development of Mars, the availability of such equipment there is unrealistic.
   
According to the attached scheme, to ensure the flights of twelve ITS it is necessary to have a complex of twenty-eight cargo modules. And twenty-four of them are used exclusively for the storage of products and intermediate materials. And this does not include the necessary energy source and infrastructure for the construction and maintenance of the complex.
   

   
It seems to me that most of the elements of the fuel complex are better mounted on the Earth, under the fairing 2-3 copies of the ITS, leaving a passage in the middle. In the central pass, load a nuclear reactor on a cart, a universal transport and construction rover and materials for assembling a fuel complex. For their unloading a small crane, located above the entrance hatch, is necessary. As technological capacities of a fuel complex to use fuel and oxidizer tanks of these ITS, their other capacities.
   
Produced fuel can be directly loaded into the ITS, standing on the launch pad. To this end, next to each of them will need to place a small heat exchanger and supply them with a coolant. As a result, it will be possible to create a fuel complex on Mars in just 2-3 flights of ITS, while ensuring further development of the colony by the energy of the reactor and a small construction and transport infrastructure.

Online Lar

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I don't see this "build a chemical industry" proposal as being how the first ISRU fuel is produced, but rather how to ramp up an industry once your (single load?) ISRU plant is producing fuel and oxidizer. The diagram you show is at a relatively late stage, and there is useful propellant produced well before that many loads are required.

Your organization certainly makes sense as a possible configuration for the first load pilot plant, though. Whether it's exactly right would be a matter of working the trades and trying to engineer it, but it struck me as not that far off.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Valerij

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The diagram you show is at a relatively late stage, and there is useful propellant produced well before that many loads are required.
So I'm talking about this. It seems to me that it would be justifiable to sacrifice two or three ITS at the first stage to build a complex for the production of fuel at the first stage. And there is no point in bringing to Mars 24 huge storage tanks for fuel storage while expanding this complex. The complex for the production of fuel simultaneously produces raw materials, from which it is possible to make fiberglass and carbon plastics. Using this material it becomes possible to build a building such as a huge hangar for an airship. And in this hangar, it will be possible to build both fuel storage tanks and other large modules necessary for the construction and maintenance of the colony.
   
Large reservoirs with effective thermal insulation will be a mass product for the Martian industry. Therefore it is necessary to learn as soon as possible how to do them locally, from local materials, and not to bring them from Earth.
   

Offline DaveH62

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Wouldn’t it be ironic if Musk started an oil and gas industry on Mars, while trying to replace it on earth.

Great thread. You guys are doing great stuff.

Online Lar

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The diagram you show is at a relatively late stage, and there is useful propellant produced well before that many loads are required.
So I'm talking about this. It seems to me that it would be justifiable to sacrifice two or three ITS at the first stage to build a complex for the production of fuel at the first stage. And there is no point in bringing to Mars 24 huge storage tanks for fuel storage while expanding this complex. The complex for the production of fuel simultaneously produces raw materials, from which it is possible to make fiberglass and carbon plastics. Using this material it becomes possible to build a building such as a huge hangar for an airship. And in this hangar, it will be possible to build both fuel storage tanks and other large modules necessary for the construction and maintenance of the colony.
   
Large reservoirs with effective thermal insulation will be a mass product for the Martian industry. Therefore it is necessary to learn as soon as possible how to do them locally, from local materials, and not to bring them from Earth.
   

I think the very first plant has to be a single load. That means power, any mining or drilling equipment, any preconditioning, reactors, and in process storage, as well as pumps, plumbing, etc. all have to fit in the cargo hold of a single BFS. The BFS itself can be the tankage, yes.

This proposal is for later. Even 2 or 3 loads is later than what you send first. IMHO.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online rakaydos

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The diagram you show is at a relatively late stage, and there is useful propellant produced well before that many loads are required.
So I'm talking about this. It seems to me that it would be justifiable to sacrifice two or three ITS at the first stage to build a complex for the production of fuel at the first stage. And there is no point in bringing to Mars 24 huge storage tanks for fuel storage while expanding this complex. The complex for the production of fuel simultaneously produces raw materials, from which it is possible to make fiberglass and carbon plastics. Using this material it becomes possible to build a building such as a huge hangar for an airship. And in this hangar, it will be possible to build both fuel storage tanks and other large modules necessary for the construction and maintenance of the colony.
   
Large reservoirs with effective thermal insulation will be a mass product for the Martian industry. Therefore it is necessary to learn as soon as possible how to do them locally, from local materials, and not to bring them from Earth.
   

I think the very first plant has to be a single load. That means power, any mining or drilling equipment, any preconditioning, reactors, and in process storage, as well as pumps, plumbing, etc. all have to fit in the cargo hold of a single BFS. The BFS itself can be the tankage, yes.

This proposal is for later. Even 2 or 3 loads is later than what you send first. IMHO.
If they think they can get decent landing accuracy, I could see having the mining/drilling bots, and piping in the second bfs, where they can unload and use it as extra tanks, but have all the fuelmaking equipment in the first ship.

Offline niwax

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Since a major part of your plan is "wasting" upper stages on storage modules, would it be possible to use some kind of balloon arrangement? Instead of 24 essentially empty storage tanks, fill a ship with 50t of high tensile strength balloons and inflate them with the necessary gasses on mars. Maximum pressure for space efficiency isn't exactly an issue when you have the entire planet for yourself. Also, you could probably cut down on final product tanks and use the rocket itself for some. It's unlikely, at least in the short term, that a rocket would land and immediately take off again. As for longer term storage solutions, plastic tanks can be produced locally and even buried to enable liquefied storage without worrying about heat from the sun.

EDIT: Quick back of the envelope calculation shows that a 10m radius sphere stores about 6t of oxygen per bar of pressure at 0°. A single layer of mylar that size weighs just 12.5kg. A typical plastic at 1g/cm² and 1mm thickness would weigh 1250kg.
« Last Edit: Today at 11:11 AM by niwax »

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