<snip>All of this needs to be done by astronauts, in microgravity, and parts of it while wearing EVA suits.<snip>
It was originally proposed in he wet workshops, that a hatch opening be installed at the top of the upper tank. Then when the second stage is launched with a habitat module attached to the upper tank and a docking hatch on the other end. The habitat will be pressurized and ready for shirt sleeves. Then, the upper tank released to vacuum of space with a valve then closed. Once closed, the upper tank will be pressurized with air for the astronauts to breathe. Then they open the hatch to the tank, go inside and begin constructing work places, exercise areas, storage areas, and experimental areas with components brought up on cargo flights. Then they eventually have a huge habitat module. If the second stage is designed with a common bulkhead, another hatch can also be made between them, and the process repeated. This idea was floated around all the way back to the Atlas I days in the 1960's, since the entire 10' diameter rocket reached orbit. Idea was to attach docking hatch to the nose of a spent Atlas rocket, purge, pressurize with air, and go inside and build a space station. Just because something may be hard don't mean it can't be done, instead of wasting large bulk tanks to burn up in the atmosphere. Gives astronauts a lot of in space building experience for larger space stations, etc.
When the astronauts will be working inside a metal tank. EVA suit might be replaced with IVA type suits that could have umbilical connections. Eventually an utility pressure suit for working in vacuum and zero-G inside a spaceship will be needed.
I wonder if it would be better to use a different term to "wet workshop". One of the lessons of both Mir and the ISS is how much space is used just for storage.Describing the space created as a workshop implies a level of complexity that may not be needed. My thought is that the habitat would be divided such that the dedicated section seen at the top is the only living and research area, with the hydrogen tank used just for storage. It would be a much simpler use of extra space, adapting it for storage in orbit could be done by lining the interior with large canvas bags.The familiar arguments against a wet workshop station are less relevant, the wet part of the habitat is used much like the Leonardo module on the ISS.
I wonder...if the "wet storage closet" has no ECLSS of its own, it's entirely reliant on systems from the attached "real" station, does that make it easier to retrofit in orbit? You'd probably want some fans to recirculate air regardless, as well as lighting and (therefore) electricity, so there's still some retrofitting, but maybe something that could be done in a shirtsleeves environment (perhaps with respirators to compensate for the not-fully-circulating air).
Not generating waste is better than figuring out what to do with it...
The arguments against wet workshops are qualitative and decades old. They are about as solid as the arguments that reuse doesn't pay or any other bits of common wisdom that have been proven wrong in the last decade.
That said, the reasonable path forward is reusable rockets where you just don't have a bunch of "free" fuel tanks in orbit..
I think it could work as an hybrid: integrate a whole habitational module to the upper stage. You could probably add some extra external protection, solder sails and such to the US tank. So they could work from the fully functional and powered payload half.The question, of course, is if so much work and customization is worth to get the extra volume. I would assume it wouldn’t.
An interesting post today from Robert Gitten, a Systems Engineer-Advanced Development Programs at Blue. Along with a bunch of job postings:https://twitter.com/radishesonmars/status/1433486091126919170?s=20
Blue Origin is looking to hire for a variety of roles on its "Orbital Destinations" team, specifically to build a "flight unit" under NASA's Commercial LEO Destinations program:"We are building the next space station."
Given they're recruiting to build flight hardware, are there any up to date renders (or even descriptions)? All I've seen is a few ancient PowerPoint slides ...--- Tony