Author Topic: Cislunar Transporter, what do we know?  (Read 33576 times)

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Cislunar Transporter, what do we know?
« on: 05/21/2023 12:38 pm »
A Key part of the Blue Origin wining proposal is the the Lockheed Martin "CIS Lunar Transporter"... what do we know about it?

There is only a very brief mention of it on the Lockheed site:
https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2023-05-19-Lockheed-Martin-on-Blue-Origins-National-Team-Selected-to-Develop-Human-Lunar-Lander

Is there somewhere where will be able to find out more about this critical piece of space infrastructure... ? Can we read the details of what Lockheed Martin submitted as part of their response

It appears that it will be a very significant re-usable piece of technology as it will be used to shuttle back and forth fuel, food and other resources between the Earth and the moon transferring fuel for Blue Moon manned lander from earth orbit to the lander... here is a study by Airbus for something equivalent...

https://www.militaryaerospace.com/commercial-aerospace/article/14231970/airbus-cltv-moon-cruiser

One thing I noticed is that Lockheed and Blue Origin are both part of the DARPA DRACO program...

https://spacenews.com/darpa-selects-blue-origin-lockheed-martin-to-develop-spacecraft-for-nuclear-propulsion-demo/

Could they be using this technology for the CIS Lunar Transporter from Artemis V from 2029? As it appears that DRACO will launch  about 2027...
https://wccftech.com/nasas-nuclear-engine-will-generated-10000-pounds-of-thrust-launch-in-2027/

« Last Edit: 06/05/2023 11:32 pm by gongora »

Offline joek

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #1 on: 05/21/2023 01:07 pm »
A Key part of the Blue Origin wining proposal is the the Lockheed Martin "CIS Lunar Transporter"... what do we know about it?

There is only a very brief mention of it on the Lockheed site:
https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2023-05-19-Lockheed-Martin-on-Blue-Origins-National-Team-Selected-to-Develop-Human-Lunar-Lander

It appears that it will be a very significant piece of technology as it will be used to shuttle back and forth between the Eart and the moon transferring fuel for Blue Moon manned lander from earth orbit to the lander.

Is there somewhere where will be able to find out more about this critical piece of space infrastructure... ?

Don't think we can draw any conclusions at this point. It's a piece of the team's HLS proposal, not a separately identifiable entity; per the press release "...which will provide a refueling and servicing spacecraft..." Whether it can stand alone (or has a market as a separate entity) is another question.

Quote
One thing I noticed is that Lockheed and Blue Origin are both part of the DARPA DRACO program...

https://spacenews.com/darpa-selects-blue-origin-lockheed-martin-to-develop-spacecraft-for-nuclear-propulsion-demo/

Could they be using this technology for the CIS Lunar Transporter from Artemis V from 2029? As it appears that DRACO will launch  about 2027...
https://wccftech.com/nasas-nuclear-engine-will-generated-10000-pounds-of-thrust-launch-in-2027/

Interesting, but doubtful has much relationship to HLS. HLS has enough on its plate without NTR. Give it a few years (or more likely decades).

Online TrevorMonty

Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #2 on: 05/21/2023 05:08 pm »
Transporter will use Hydrolox whether it is BE7 or RL10 engines we don't know.

One of benefits of Blue design is development of cryocooler to keep LH2 cool long term. This  will also be useful for NTR as they use LH2. Blue spokesman stated this.
« Last Edit: 05/22/2023 04:19 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline GWH

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Offline GWH

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #4 on: 05/21/2023 07:58 pm »
One of the few things we do know is that Blue's lunar VP said everything will launch on New Glenn.

I would really love to know anything and everything about this.  Since a large capacity tug/tanker/whatever else it is could open up so many possibilities. Everything from alternative means to get cargo to Gateway, large cargo to reusable landers, to crew transportation via commercial capsule derivatives or even Orion.  It has the potential to replace almost everything that SLS does, and is in my opinion one of the larger game changers (in addition to Starship) for cis-lunar development.

In my opinion it's a bigger deal than the lander since you can't build a more capable lander without propellant depots/tankers.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2023 08:05 pm by GWH »

Offline GWH

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #5 on: 05/21/2023 08:19 pm »
In regards to storage and FUTURE capabilities (ie not for HLS) Blue's press release sums up the storage capabilities:

https://www.blueorigin.com/news/nasa-selects-blue-origin-for-mission-to-moon/

Quote
Under this contract, Blue Origin and its National Team partners will develop and fly both a lunar lander that can make a precision landing anywhere on the Moon’s surface and a cislunar transporter.
These vehicles are powered by LOX-LH2. The high-specific impulse of LOX-LH2 provides a dramatic advantage for high-energy deep space missions. Nevertheless, lower performing but more easily storable propellants (such as hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide as used on the Apollo lunar landers) have been favored for these missions because of the problematic boil-off of LOX-LH2 during their long mission timelines. Through this contract, we will move the state of the art forward by making high-performance LOX-LH2 a storable propellant combination. Under SLD, we will develop and fly solar-powered 20-degree Kelvin cryocoolers and the other technologies required to prevent LOX-LH2 boil-off. Future missions beyond the Moon, and enabling capabilities such as high-performance nuclear thermal propulsion, will benefit greatly from storable LH2. Blue Origin’s architecture also prepares for that future day when lunar ice can be used to manufacture LOX and LH2 propellants on the Moon.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2023 08:21 pm by GWH »

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #6 on: 05/21/2023 09:10 pm »
One of the few things we do know is that Blue's lunar VP said everything will launch on New Glenn.

I would really love to know anything and everything about this.  Since a large capacity tug/tanker/whatever else it is could open up so many possibilities. Everything from alternative means to get cargo to Gateway, large cargo to reusable landers, to crew transportation via commercial capsule derivatives or even Orion.  It has the potential to replace almost everything that SLS does, and is in my opinion one of the larger game changers (in addition to Starship) for cis-lunar development.

In my opinion it's a bigger deal than the lander since you can't build a more capable lander without propellant depots/tankers.

Agreed... the CISLunar Transporter ultimately is THE BIGGER deal than the lander and makes a economic sustainable lunar eco-system in the next six + plus years from now..the lander is merely a connector from the gateway and back...the CISLunar Transporter turns it into a profitable business model ....and I posit that Blue is thinking strategic with this, and that means [I am spit balling here..and guessing where they are going with this...]:

1. The CISLunar Transport will be re-usable, and not one off.

2. In the mid-term to long term.. Launching SLS rocket to the lunar gateway will not be sustainable... when you can shuttle, fuel, food, and other resources, and perhaps even people via a more economic and sustainable CISLunar Transporter... by that stage NASA would be more interesting in using SLS for other space exploration projects... whereas Blue is clearly looking to set up infrastructure that it can build upon, and most importantly CHARGE service and transportation fees... that is how they will make this venture profitable.

3. Once the CISLunar Transporter deliver its goods to the Lunar Gateway, that means there is an empty transporter going back to Earth that Blue can use to return cargo [Mining? High value Minerals? ] back to Earth...

4. Whilst the connector to the Moon will be the Lunar Gateway, I posit that CISLunar Transport would return to that warehouse in Earth orbit... Blue's Orbital Reef to pick up the consolidated cargo in terms of fuel, food, people [including Dr Heywood Floyd going to Clavius Base... because they have found something that has been deliberately buried!! ] going out to the Moon, and receive the cargo coming back.... and you can bet the Blue and it's partners are going to CHARGE warehousing, service and transport fees [no doubt this this cargo will be launched via New Glenn, and returned via a Jarvis ...]

I am sure this is the strategic plan for Blue Origin in the mid term.... that is 8-10 years from now....  because utimately this Moon enterprise is all about logistics and you can bet Blue and its partners are going to provide the hardware at near cost to NASA... but make a profit on the service fees.

Ultimately I suspect Blue intends to use the hydrogen from the water that it has mined in the Moon to provide fuel for the CISLunar Transporter, and I posit that it will be a Nuclear Thermal Rocket in about 10-20 years from now.... because of the greater Isp... I only hope they ensure they have plenty of AE-35 units in stock on the moon.... just in case!

« Last Edit: 05/21/2023 09:18 pm by DrHeywoodFloyd »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #7 on: 05/23/2023 01:26 am »
Why would the cislunar transporter choose NTR? ...which is far more expensive (including launch) than hydrolox...
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Offline trimeta

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #8 on: 05/23/2023 01:50 am »
Why would the cislunar transporter choose NTR? ...which is far more expensive (including launch) than hydrolox...
Because DrHeywoodFloyd is obsessed with NTR.

Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #9 on: 05/23/2023 01:53 am »
Why would the cislunar transporter choose NTR? ...which is far more expensive (including launch) than hydrolox...

yeah, far more likely they just go with a BE-3U, or BE-7 cluster. RL-10 is an option I guess, but are those few seconds of ISP worth it for an engine that likely costs more? Idk. At the same time, if you want to reuse this thing over and over and over upfront cost might not be such a huge deal.
« Last Edit: 05/23/2023 01:54 am by spacenuance »

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #10 on: 05/23/2023 05:39 am »
Why would the cislunar transporter choose NTR? ...which is far more expensive (including launch) than hydrolox...
Because DrHeywoodFloyd is obsessed with NTR.

Absolutely, because, consider NERVA...
Specific impulse, vacuum   841 seconds (8.25 km/s)
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NERVA ]

As a reference, consider Raptor...
Specific impulse, vacuum   363 s (3.56 km/s)
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Raptor]


That means I get twice the bang for my buck with a NTR than with the corresponding chemical rocket, which means I can move twice the amount of cargo to and from the moon, than if I was using a corresponding chemical rocket.

I do agree the first iteration of the cis lunar transporter in the short term 7-10 years will be a chemical rocket, but beyond 10+ years...Blue Origin are strongly hinting with this their intentions...

"....Future missions beyond the Moon, and enabling capabilities such as high-performance nuclear thermal propulsion, will benefit greatly from storable LH2. Blue Origin’s architecture also prepares for that future day when lunar ice can be used to manufacture LOX and LH2 propellants on the Moon...."

[ https://www.blueorigin.com/news/nasa-selects-blue-origin-for-mission-to-moon/ ]

It is no co-incidence that Lockheed Martin and Blue Origin are developing DRACO with General Atomics [what a name!]...

DRACO (Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations): https://www.eoportal.org/satellite-missions/draco ... sound familiar????!!
And...
https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2021-04-12
https://spacenews.com/darpa-selects-blue-origin-lockheed-martin-to-develop-spacecraft-for-nuclear-propulsion-demo/

Why? Because it is in the name of "Blue Origin".... NASA mission is to explore space; Blue Origin mission is to move out from the Earth and make money out of space... earn a profit...because if they intend to put a million people living and working inn space...it will not be out of generosity... but a whole financial ecosystem.. they have to make a profit... using the resources on the moon to build out in LEO makes sense [ because of the smaller gravitational well around the moon when compare to the earth], and having a NTR means they can move more resources from the moon to low earth orbit that would be used in the construction of large space stations, such as the O'Neill cylinder [ https://tinyurl.com/j2rl79x]. And in fact Bezos has made reference to this when he unveiled Blue moon…

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-space-colony-dreams-ignore-plight-millions-ncna1006026

That is why this cis lunar transporter is a really, really important deal, because with this, this is how Blue Origin makes this a reality; and cis lunar transporter with nuclear thermal rocket engines is really the only effective transporter than help them attain this. This is probably 20+ years from now.

This start to make sense of Jeff Bezos statement that he is not interested in LEO… because it is the Moon is where he starts to build the infrastructure for space stations such as the O'Neill cylinder. LEO for him with orbital Reef will be a depot, and a transit hub for mission out to the moon, where fuel, food and other resources will be consolidated as cargo for onward shipment to the moon... as As General Omar Bradley famously said: “Amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics.” The cis lunar transporter is all about logistics, and moving cargo to and from the moon... including spare AE-35 units that some damn astronauts managed to bust!! I hope they have completed the necessary forms!

PS: The other reason why I want a cis lunar nuclear transporter…. Because I do not get stuck for hours trying to figure out the instructions for the space toilet… https://tinyurl.com/2kpfwc37 !!















« Last Edit: 05/23/2023 05:51 am by DrHeywoodFloyd »

Offline GWH

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #11 on: 05/23/2023 06:26 am »
The OP should just start a new thread on Blue and NTR if that's going to be the focus, or rename it.

Online TheRadicalModerate

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #12 on: 05/23/2023 07:42 am »
First, a spelling quibble:  It's "cislunar."  "Cis" is not an acronym; it's a latin prefix meaning "on this side", so cislunar space is the space roughly inside the Moon's orbit.  (We will immediately have trouble with this definition with L2, but just go with it...)

The OP should just start a new thread on Blue and NTR if that's going to be the focus, or rename it.

We need a thread for this.  This one will do just fine.  Let's not create more.

A little calculatin':

If we assume that the BE-7 has Isp=450s, then a 16t dry mass needs 41.8t of prop to do NRHO-LS(polar)-NRHO.  Figure 45t for equatorial access.  (That's a guess.)

If you can develop a Cislunar Transport (CT--gotta have an acronym) with a structural mass coefficient of about 8% (considerably better than Centaur V, which is about 10%), assume an RL10CX Isp=458s, and a delta-v budget of about 3300m/s to do LEO-BLT-NRHO-RPOD (which might be a little optimistic), and then another 3300m/s to return propulsively to LEO, then you can deliver 45t of prop to NRHO for 135t of prop to LEO, which should be 3 New Glenn launches.

First issue:  Doing NRHO-LEOpropulsive costs 13t of prop.  You can reduce that substantially if you're willing to aerobrake from TEI back into LEO.  If your vehicle can handle about 30m/s of delta-v per pass, it'll aerobrake back in a couple of months.  That would make the margins a lot better for everything.

My first thought when I heard that LockMart was providing this thing was that they're for-sure buying ULA (i.e., buying out Boeing's share), using the Centaur V as the basis for the CT, stretching it, and throwing all the ACES stuff at it that Boeing didn't want to do.  Since it could launch dry, it would easily fit on a Vulcan Centaur VC6, maybe even a VC4.

But there are a few problems with this theory:

1) John Coulouris (sp?) said explicitly that the CT would launch on a New Glenn.

2) Stretching Centaur V from 54t of prop to 135t is... a stretch.  Even if you widened it to 6.3m (NG's last known static envelope diameter), it still doesn't fit in the NG fairing.  And mounting it on a PAF is really hard.

3) They could put a C5 variant in as a third stage to NG, but that's a lot of work, likely requires structural work to the NG stage 2, and will mess up their GSE.  New Glenn has enough problems without heaping those kinds of requirements on it.

So this doesn't seem right.

Next thought:  It could be an NG S2 variant.  But:

1) LockMart would hate that.  They're gonna want to go into the orbital prop business big-time, and the last thing they want is to be completely dependent on Blue technology.

2) If I were them, I'd want to build something that could support Orion in case SLS goes belly-up. Adapting Orion to launch on a Falcon Heavy, a New Glenn, or (if you squint) a VC6+, should be relatively straightforward.  But then you still need to get it to NRHO.

In other words, they'd need something a lot like the Constellation Earth Departure Stage, and the CT should be able to fill the bill.  The easiest way to do that is to dock the Orion nose-to-nose with the CT, which results in "eyeballs out" acceleration for the crew, with them hanging from their straps.  That's probably OK at 3m/s˛, but a quick back-of-napkin for a single BE-3U at 50% throttle gave a burnout acceleration of something like 18m/s˛.  Getting humans to perform dangling from straps at almost 2gee doesn't sound viable.

3) It'd be really easy to take something that fit into an NG fairing and make it work with Starship, if the biz relationship or technology went south on them.  But that thing won't be an NG variant; Blue would never stand for it.

So I think it's a new vehicle.  It may be based on a lot of C5 tech (RL10CX, ACES tech, same avionics, same RCS, kinda the same thrust structure), but it needs new tanks.

I won't bore you with my algebra, and I don't claim this is optimal, because I didn't want to do the calculus to model the NG fairing's ogive and do the optimization problem, but picking a known spot on the ogive, which was in the 2018 New Glenn PUG (again, really stale), I came up with something that seemed to work.  From the PAF, working upward:

1) LH2 tank:  6.3m wide by 8.5m tall.  19.1t of LH2.

2) LOX tank:  5.5m wide by 4.2m tall.  113.9t of LOX.
Total prop capacity:  133t.

3) Some kind of shelf for non-hydrolox consumables, and maybe unpressurized payload.

4) Thrust structure, engine, and engine bell.  Note that the whole vehicle is basically upside-down.

Note that I'm using O:F mixture = 3.9 5.9 [typo].  I think there are a few extra tonnes with a bit more optimization, but we're in the ballpark.

This is... not a C5.  Indeed, in some respects it looks more like a DCSS, in that you'd probably have the LOX tank suspended from a frustum-like thrust structure, which would transmit thrust from the engines directly to the LH2 tank.  But I suspect that you could use a lot of C5 manufacturing tech to build something like this.

The thing launches empty, so the most difficult structural load will be supporting the upside-down engine/thrust structure way up in the nose of the fairing.  It's possible that this is a non-starter, because the center of mass will be quite high.  But you can pressure-stabilize the hell out of this thing for launch.

I think it's essential that the Blue Moon be able to be completely fueled in a single RPOD/prop transfer operation.  Just like Starship, accidents in LEO are accidents between dumb components at low energy, and they're fairly easily fixed.  Accidents in NRHO, which involve crew-rated hardware, are a disaster.  So if you can reduce the number of RPODs/transfers from 3 to 1, you've done some serious risk reduction.  You've also made a more efficient system, with a better mass ratio.

But that requires some fancy footwork to get everything to fit in the NG fairing.

That's as far as I've gotten.
« Last Edit: 05/23/2023 07:48 am by TheRadicalModerate »

Offline warp99

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #13 on: 05/23/2023 12:07 pm »
First, a spelling quibble:  It's "cislunar."  "Cis" is not an acronym; it's a latin prefix meaning "on this side", so cislunar space is the space roughly inside the Moon's orbit.  (We will immediately have trouble with this definition with L2, but just go with it...)

A little calculatin':

If we assume that the BE-7 has Isp=450s, then a 16t dry mass needs 41.8t of prop to do NRHO-LS(polar)-NRHO.  Figure 45t for equatorial access.  (That's a guess.)

If you can develop a Cislunar Transport (CT--gotta have an acronym) with a structural mass coefficient of about 8% (considerably better than Centaur V, which is about 10%), assume an RL10CX Isp=458s, and a delta-v budget of about 3300m/s to do LEO-BLT-NRHO-RPOD (which might be a little optimistic), and then another 3300m/s to return propulsively to LEO, then you can deliver 45t of prop to NRHO for 135t of prop to LEO, which should be 3 New Glenn launches.

First issue:  Doing NRHO-LEOpropulsive costs 13t of prop.  You can reduce that substantially if you're willing to aerobrake from TEI back into LEO.  If your vehicle can handle about 30m/s of delta-v per pass, it'll aerobrake back in a couple of months.  That would make the margins a lot better for everything.

My first thought when I heard that LockMart was providing this thing was that they're for-sure buying ULA (i.e., buying out Boeing's share), using the Centaur V as the basis for the CT, stretching it, and throwing all the ACES stuff at it that Boeing didn't want to do.  Since it could launch dry, it would easily fit on a Vulcan Centaur VC6, maybe even a VC4.

But there are a few problems with this theory:

1) John Coulouris (sp?) said explicitly that the CT would launch on a New Glenn.

2) Stretching Centaur V from 54t of prop to 135t is... a stretch.  Even if you widened it to 6.3m (NG's last known static envelope diameter), it still doesn't fit in the NG fairing.  And mounting it on a PAF is really hard.

3) They could put a C5 variant in as a third stage to NG, but that's a lot of work, likely requires structural work to the NG stage 2, and will mess up their GSE.  New Glenn has enough problems without heaping those kinds of requirements on it.

So this doesn't seem right.

Next thought:  It could be an NG S2 variant.  But:

1) LockMart would hate that.  They're gonna want to go into the orbital prop business big-time, and the last thing they want is to be completely dependent on Blue technology.

2) If I were them, I'd want to build something that could support Orion in case SLS goes belly-up. Adapting Orion to launch on a Falcon Heavy, a New Glenn, or (if you squint) a VC6+, should be relatively straightforward.  But then you still need to get it to NRHO.

In other words, they'd need something a lot like the Constellation Earth Departure Stage, and the CT should be able to fill the bill.  The easiest way to do that is to dock the Orion nose-to-nose with the CT, which results in "eyeballs out" acceleration for the crew, with them hanging from their straps.  That's probably OK at 3m/s˛, but a quick back-of-napkin for a single BE-3U at 50% throttle gave a burnout acceleration of something like 18m/s˛.  Getting humans to perform dangling from straps at almost 2gee doesn't sound viable.

3) It'd be really easy to take something that fit into an NG fairing and make it work with Starship, if the biz relationship or technology went south on them.  But that thing won't be an NG variant; Blue would never stand for it.

So I think it's a new vehicle.  It may be based on a lot of C5 tech (RL10CX, ACES tech, same avionics, same RCS, kinda the same thrust structure), but it needs new tanks.

I won't bore you with my algebra, and I don't claim this is optimal, because I didn't want to do the calculus to model the NG fairing's ogive and do the optimization problem, but picking a known spot on the ogive, which was in the 2018 New Glenn PUG (again, really stale), I came up with something that seemed to work.  From the PAF, working upward:

1) LH2 tank:  6.3m wide by 8.5m tall.  19.1t of LH2.

2) LOX tank:  5.5m wide by 4.2m tall.  113.9t of LOX.
Total prop capacity:  133t.

3) Some kind of shelf for non-hydrolox consumables, and maybe unpressurized payload.

4) Thrust structure, engine, and engine bell.  Note that the whole vehicle is basically upside-down.

Note that I'm using O:F mixture = 3.9 5.9 [typo].  I think there are a few extra tonnes with a bit more optimization, but we're in the ballpark.

This is... not a C5.  Indeed, in some respects it looks more like a DCSS, in that you'd probably have the LOX tank suspended from a frustum-like thrust structure, which would transmit thrust from the engines directly to the LH2 tank.  But I suspect that you could use a lot of C5 manufacturing tech to build something like this.

The thing launches empty, so the most difficult structural load will be supporting the upside-down engine/thrust structure way up in the nose of the fairing.  It's possible that this is a non-starter, because the center of mass will be quite high.  But you can pressure-stabilize the hell out of this thing for launch.

I think it's essential that the Blue Moon be able to be completely fueled in a single RPOD/prop transfer operation.  Just like Starship, accidents in LEO are accidents between dumb components at low energy, and they're fairly easily fixed.  Accidents in NRHO, which involve crew-rated hardware, are a disaster.  So if you can reduce the number of RPODs/transfers from 3 to 1, you've done some serious risk reduction.  You've also made a more efficient system, with a better mass ratio.

But that requires some fancy footwork to get everything to fit in the NG fairing.

That's as far as I've gotten.

The HLS is said to have a dry mass of 16 tonnes and a wet mass of greater than or equal to 45 tonnes.  It will arrive in NRHO in the "dry" state but not completely or it would have no station keeping ability.  As you say it will launch on New Glenn. 

New Glenn cannot inject the HLS into even a TLI let alone get it to NRHO since it can only lift 13 tonnes to GTO.  The culprit is the massive 7m diameter second stage with a dry mass of 23 tonnes if you back work the drop in payload from 45 tonnes to LEO to 13 tonnes to GTO.  The BE-3U has a relatively low Isp of around 405s due to it being an expander bleed system that dumps the turbine propellant overboard. 

Instead the HLS can launch fully fueled to LEO and then get itself to NRHO since it has a higher Isp of the BE-7 of around 450s as a closed cycle expander and has a lower dry mass than NG S2.  I make it that it arrives with about 3.5 tonnes of propellant but in any case enough for an extended loiter in NRHO. 

The transfer vehicle then launches on New Glenn with say 12 tonnes dry mass and 33 tonnes of propellant.  It gets refueled by a tanker with 45 tonnes of propellant that can just be a slightly stretched NG S2 with refueling probe.  This then allows the transfer vehicle to get to NRHO and transfer 29 tonnes of propellant to the HLS.  This leaves the HLS short by about 1 km/s of the delta V to get to the Lunar surface and back.  The transfer stage stays docked to the HLS to do the initial parts of the landing burn and is then discarded and crashes into the Moon well past the landing site while the HLS completes the rest of the mission. 

The advantage is that only three New Glenn launches are required in total for the first mission and two launches for each subsequent mission.  The disadvantage is that the transfer vehicle is expended on each mission. 

Looking at the case where the architecture is extended so that the transfer vehicle returns to LEO to be refueled the propellant requirement increases to 170 tonnes in LEO with a proportional increase in dry mass to around 20 tonnes.  Now it takes a total of five launches for the HLS and transfer vehicle plus three refueling flights for the first mission and three refueling flights for each subsequent mission.  As each flight requires a massive expendable S2 and fairing the cost structure actually favours expending the transfer vehicle.
« Last Edit: 05/23/2023 12:09 pm by warp99 »

Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #14 on: 05/23/2023 12:55 pm »
Many people are very happy that Blue Origin is finally copying SpaceX but one thing they didn't copy is the focus on simplicity.

Why would Blue contract a hydrolox tug to a third party when they're already developing a hydrolox upper stage (project jarvis) and a hydrolox lander (blue moon) all in house?

While SpaceX Star Ship/Super Heavy vehiclesalso have some variation all of them (including the core launcher) are coming off a single production line.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #15 on: 05/23/2023 01:44 pm »
<snip>
Why would Blue contract a hydrolox tug to a third party when they're already developing a hydrolox upper stage (project jarvis) and a hydrolox lander (blue moon) all in house?
<snip>
Off loading some development work to Lockheed Martin for lobbying support from them.

Also will point out that Below Orbit Blue is already working on many projects. The BE-4, BE-3U & BE-7 engines. The New Glenn launcher, the alternate Clipper upper stage (Jarvis) & the Blue Moon 2 lander.The ground support infrastructure around pad SLC-36 at Canaveral and the Florida manufacturing facility. Plus the nascent Orbital Reef platform and the nearly superfluous New Sheppard.

With the list above. You still think that Below Orbit Blue should developed and pay for another complex spacecraft?

Offline meekGee

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #16 on: 05/23/2023 03:25 pm »


Why would the cislunar transporter choose NTR? ...which is far more expensive (including launch) than hydrolox...
Because DrHeywoodFloyd is obsessed with NTR.

Absolutely, because, consider NERVA...
Specific impulse, vacuum841 seconds (8.25 km/s)
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NERVA ]

As a reference, consider Raptor...
Specific impulse, vacuum363 s (3.56 km/s)
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Raptor]


That means I get twice the bang for my buck with a NTR than with the corresponding chemical rocket, which means I can move twice the amount of cargo to and from the moon, than if I was using a corresponding chemical rocket. 

You should do the entire calculation.  Higher ISP reduces the mass of the propellant, but might (and in this case will) increase the dry weight.

So the higher dV the mission, the higher the odds that a high ISP drive will prevail.  And this is not a high dV mission, so the gains, if any, are not large.

Then, factor in complexity and development cost, and you see why nuclear drives are usually discussed for outer planet or fast-Mars-transit missions
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Online TrevorMonty

Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #17 on: 05/23/2023 07:30 pm »
Here are some examples of various ISPs  all vehicles start with 150t.
6km/s
900ISP NTR Finish mass 76t
460 ISP 40.8t
380 ISP  30t

4km/s
95.4t
61.8t
51.3t


8km/s
60.6t
25.5t
17.5t

Need to subtract vehicles dry mass from that finish mass to get payload. In case of NTR drymass of reactor +engine will be lot more than the two chemical engines. NTR does have LOX tank.Methalox will have small fuel tanks, LOX tank is same as Hydrolox and doesn't need cryocooler.

Even at 4km/s NTR has extra 44t compared to Metholox. Need subtract NTR extra dry mass from that. NERVA was 18t for 55klbs engine would hope modern version would be lot lighter say 14t compared to 1t for couple RL10s.

Rocket labs Neutron composite methalox US tank is 385kg for 50t. Larger LH2 tanks will be very light especially if they don't need to handle high Gs of launch with fuel.

I'm going guess the NTR will still have extra 25t payload at 4kms. Higher DV more NTR shines..
« Last Edit: 05/23/2023 11:08 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #18 on: 05/23/2023 11:16 pm »
Here are some examples of various ISPs  all vehicles start with 150t.
6km/s
900ISP NTR Finish mass 76t
460 ISP 40.8t
380 ISP  30t

4km/s
95.4t
61.8t
51.3t


8km/s
60.6t
25.5t
17.5t

Need to subtract vehicles dry mass from that finish mass to get payload. In case of NTR drymass of reactor +engine will be lot more than the two chemical engines. NTR does have LOX tank.Methalox will have small fuel tanks, LOX tank is same as Hydrolox and doesn't need cryocooler.

Even at 4km/s NTR has extra 44t compared to Metholox. Need subtract NTR extra dry mass from that. NERVA was 18t for 55klbs engine would hope modern version would be lot lighter say 14t compared to 1t for couple RL10s.

Rocket labs Neutron composite methalox US tank is 385kg for 50t. Larger LH2 tanks will be very light especially if they don't need to handle high Gs of launch with fuel.

I'm going guess the NTR will still have extra 25t payload at 4kms. Higher DV more NTR shines..

Excellent analysis! However I do have to pick...
"Need to subtract vehicles dry mass from that finish mass to get payload. In case of NTR drymass of reactor +engine will be lot more than the two chemical engines. NTR does have LOX tank.Methalox will have small fuel tanks, LOX tank is same as Hydrolox and doesn't need cryocooler."

Surely being a Nuclear Thermal engine, and considering only that, it is will not need a LOX tank? Because with NERVA it was all hydrogen.. the reactor was a better heat source than the hydrolox reaction....

Offline Asteroza

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Re: CIS Lunar Transporter, what do we know?
« Reply #19 on: 05/24/2023 02:56 am »
Here are some examples of various ISPs  all vehicles start with 150t.
6km/s
900ISP NTR Finish mass 76t
460 ISP 40.8t
380 ISP  30t

4km/s
95.4t
61.8t
51.3t


8km/s
60.6t
25.5t
17.5t

Need to subtract vehicles dry mass from that finish mass to get payload. In case of NTR drymass of reactor +engine will be lot more than the two chemical engines. NTR does have LOX tank.Methalox will have small fuel tanks, LOX tank is same as Hydrolox and doesn't need cryocooler.

Even at 4km/s NTR has extra 44t compared to Metholox. Need subtract NTR extra dry mass from that. NERVA was 18t for 55klbs engine would hope modern version would be lot lighter say 14t compared to 1t for couple RL10s.

Rocket labs Neutron composite methalox US tank is 385kg for 50t. Larger LH2 tanks will be very light especially if they don't need to handle high Gs of launch with fuel.

I'm going guess the NTR will still have extra 25t payload at 4kms. Higher DV more NTR shines..

Excellent analysis! However I do have to pick...
"Need to subtract vehicles dry mass from that finish mass to get payload. In case of NTR drymass of reactor +engine will be lot more than the two chemical engines. NTR does have LOX tank.Methalox will have small fuel tanks, LOX tank is same as Hydrolox and doesn't need cryocooler."

Surely being a Nuclear Thermal engine, and considering only that, it is will not need a LOX tank? Because with NERVA it was all hydrogen.. the reactor was a better heat source than the hydrolox reaction....

I would assume NTR with LOx is a LANTRN setup...

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