Author Topic: Apollo Mission Modules  (Read 5979 times)

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Apollo Mission Modules
« on: 03/22/2009 01:31 PM »
I haven't seen any mention of this and a discussion over on the Orion/Altair forum made me wonder.

Was there, at any time, any serious discussion of a one-shot Apollo space lab module to be used in LEO flights? It could have been proposed as a cheap alternative to Skylab or as a post-Skylab manned space science tool.

The vehicle in question would have been flown up in the Saturn-IB's LEM bay and extracted by the SM once in orbit.  Basically it would have had some of the same functions as the Soyuz orbital module, increasing the crew's 'leg room' (possibly increasing the LEO supportable crew to four) and allowing science to be carried out without having to cram everything into the CM.

It occurs to me that such a module could have been jerry-rigged out of the moulds for the LM ascent module cabin plus some solar arrays of the type used by Skylab's Apollo Telescope Mount.  This could have been a critical part of a post-Skylab Apollo LEO program used to fill the 'gap' until Shuttle introduction.
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Offline Archibald

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #1 on: 03/22/2009 02:35 PM »
There had many studies like that, all before 1967-68
(after that, Saturn production stop as NASA budget drops, and future programs are re-oriented toward the shuttle-station-mars)

Apollo LM-lab http://www.astronautix.com/craft/apolmlab.htm

Apollo with a small inflatable on the "nose"
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/apollox.htm


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Offline Jim

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #2 on: 03/22/2009 03:06 PM »

The vehicle in question would have been flown up in the Saturn-IB's LEM bay and extracted by the SM once in orbit.  Basically it would have had some of the same functions as the Soyuz orbital module, increasing the crew's 'leg room' (possibly increasing the LEO supportable crew to four) and allowing science to be carried out without having to cram everything into the CM.

That was one of the Apollo Telescope Mount ideas

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #3 on: 03/22/2009 03:29 PM »
There were a lot of proposals like this.  Give me a week or so and I'll scan some and drop them here.  I have one that would have used an LM upper stage for laser comm experiments.  There were also proposals for an LM upper stage equipped with Earth remote sensing payloads.  And the same for the Moon.  Lots and lots of studies.

I think NASA really messed up soon after Nixon came into office by proposing more than they could chew.  They could have proposed continuing lunar science missions and possibly gotten that.  Instead, they proposed Mars, a big space station, and a shuttle.  Try to figure out how that worked out.

Offline Jorge

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #4 on: 03/22/2009 03:37 PM »
There were a lot of proposals like this.  Give me a week or so and I'll scan some and drop them here.  I have one that would have used an LM upper stage for laser comm experiments.  There were also proposals for an LM upper stage equipped with Earth remote sensing payloads.  And the same for the Moon.  Lots and lots of studies.

I think NASA really messed up soon after Nixon came into office by proposing more than they could chew.  They could have proposed continuing lunar science missions and possibly gotten that.  Instead, they proposed Mars, a big space station, and a shuttle.  Try to figure out how that worked out.

It wasn't just NASA after Nixon came into office. They proposed more than they could chew during the Johnson administration as well. In 1966, the Apollo Applications Program manifest showed 26 Saturn IB launches and 19 Saturn V launches.
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #5 on: 03/22/2009 03:40 PM »
One mission module that did make it into space was, of course, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Docking Module.

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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #6 on: 03/23/2009 04:31 AM »
It wasn't just NASA after Nixon came into office. They proposed more than they could chew during the Johnson administration as well. In 1966, the Apollo Applications Program manifest showed 26 Saturn IB launches and 19 Saturn V launches.

I didn't mean to imply that it was only under Nixon.  That's merely when they blew their opportunity.

One of the things overlooked in the histories is that NASA got very bloated very fast by 1965, possibly even earlier.  Reportedly JFK thought that NASA had a lot of fat in it by 1963.  And they were pursuing an awful lot of studies and technology development by the middle of the decade, obviously assuming that after the Moon landing they were going to get a Mars mission and lots of other stuff as well. 

For example, NERVA (the development program leading up to it) ate up a lot of money.  Now I personally think that NERVA was a pretty cool and effective technology development program, but it really only made sense if NASA was going to get a Mars mission, and that was a big assumption for them to make in the mid-1960s.  (Truth be told, there was a lot of pork barrel politics supporting the nuclear engine program too.)

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #7 on: 03/27/2009 02:41 AM »
I'll also point out that, in practice, the Saturn IB couldn't lift much more than a CSM into LEO.  The ASTP Docking Module was a relatively small and light unit, smaller and lighter than any AAP mission module would have been, and to get the CSM and the DM into orbit the CSM had to launch with nearly empty SPS fuel tanks.

If I'm remembering correctly, AAP missions using a LM-based Apollo Telescope Mount and a CSM were designed for dual Saturn IB launches, the ATM being launched unmanned and the CSM being launched later to rendezvous and dock with it.  After docking, the ATM (or whatever mission module the mission called for) would be powered up and operated for two to four weeks.

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Offline Capt. Nemo

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #8 on: 03/27/2009 03:47 AM »
I remember i had said once on these boards that the Saturn 1B had flown with the Apollo CSM AND the LEM. Then i was told by someone here (I think Jim) that that never happened. I recently came across a chart of Saturn 1B configurations and it has a little note at the bottom that says that "AS-212 is scheduled to carry a CSM and an LM."

So, they had planned or considered doing it and never did? (I guess the answer is yes.)

I still wonder if the S-1B would have been able to put them both into orbit though. Could someone tell me the answer?
 
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Offline Jim

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #9 on: 03/27/2009 04:38 AM »
I remember i had said once on these boards that the Saturn 1B had flown with the Apollo CSM AND the LEM. Then i was told by someone here (I think Jim) that that never happened. I recently came across a chart of Saturn 1B configurations and it has a little note at the bottom that says that "AS-212 is scheduled to carry a CSM and an LM."

So, they had planned or considered doing it and never did? (I guess the answer is yes.)

I still wonder if the S-1B would have been able to put them both into orbit though. Could someone tell me the answer?
 

No, see 3 posts above

Offline Proponent

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #10 on: 03/27/2009 10:18 AM »
I remember i had said once on these boards that the Saturn 1B had flown with the Apollo CSM AND the LEM. Then i was told by someone here (I think Jim) that that never happened. I recently came across a chart of Saturn 1B configurations and it has a little note at the bottom that says that "AS-212 is scheduled to carry a CSM and an LM."

So, they had planned or considered doing it and never did? (I guess the answer is yes.)

The last post in this thread on the CollectSpace forum provides links to documents indicating that around 1962, there were plans to launch a CSM and LM ascent stage on a single Saturn IB.  At that time, of course, the anticipated weights of the spacecraft were less than what turned out to be their actual weights.

As Jim says, launching a complete LM and CSM on the same IB would not have been possible.  I imagine that by off-loading enough propellant, an ascent stage could have been carried into orbit at the same time as a CSM.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #11 on: 03/27/2009 02:17 PM »
An Apollo CSM was something like 30 000 kg (fully fuelled). The LM (fuelled again) was 15 000 kg
 45 000 kg is nearly three times Saturn IB maximum payload - 18 000 kg.

No way a Saturn IB can carry both LM + CSM.

 

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Offline William Barton

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #12 on: 03/27/2009 02:59 PM »
An Apollo CSM was something like 30 000 kg (fully fuelled). The LM (fuelled again) was 15 000 kg
 45 000 kg is nearly three times Saturn IB maximum payload - 18 000 kg.

No way a Saturn IB can carry both LM + CSM.

 



I don't think anyone is suggesting "fully fuelled" (what would be the point of that, anyway?). Instead, we're talking about the 37.5Klbm weight of Apollo 7, the 3 Skylab taxis, and ASTP (CSM + docking adapter). How much did an unfuelled LM weigh?

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #13 on: 03/27/2009 04:03 PM »
An Apollo CSM was something like 30 000 kg (fully fuelled). The LM (fuelled again) was 15 000 kg
 45 000 kg is nearly three times Saturn IB maximum payload - 18 000 kg.

Were there any plans for an enhanced Saturn-I in the pipeline?

It seems to me that, in the long term, AAP would have needed a medium-capacity LEO launcher as it would have been wasteful to have to either have a second Saturn-IB as a CaLV or use a Saturn-V every time you need a dual-manifest launch.  On the other hand, given that most of the later Geminis were two-launch missions, it is possible that a 2-launch for LEO missions might have been the favoured solution.
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Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #14 on: 03/27/2009 11:39 PM »
Might be a bit of a retcon but a lunar lander could be considered a mission module, as it is for Orion.
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Offline Archibald

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #15 on: 03/28/2009 09:14 AM »
An Apollo CSM was something like 30 000 kg (fully fuelled). The LM (fuelled again) was 15 000 kg
 45 000 kg is nearly three times Saturn IB maximum payload - 18 000 kg.

Were there any plans for an enhanced Saturn-I in the pipeline?

It seems to me that, in the long term, AAP would have needed a medium-capacity LEO launcher as it would have been wasteful to have to either have a second Saturn-IB as a CaLV or use a Saturn-V every time you need a dual-manifest launch.  On the other hand, given that most of the later Geminis were two-launch missions, it is possible that a 2-launch for LEO missions might have been the favoured solution.

Lot of studies.

Saturn II - no S-IC, J-2s were bad at sea level, so strapons needed to take-off.
Saturn IB with minuteman (INT-14)
Saturn IB with Titan strapons
Saturn IB with different first stages
(2*F-1s, big 260 inch solid, cluster of 120 inch solid, pressure-fed...)

Payload varied from 18 to 40 tons.

Not sure that, even not fuelled, Saturn IB would be able to lift the CSM + LM. I think that's still too heavy.
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Offline spacediver

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #16 on: 03/28/2009 10:20 AM »
Were there any plans for an enhanced Saturn-I in the pipeline?


Maybe something like this would have been a nice IB-replacement:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=12519.msg272305#msg272305


Spacediver

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #17 on: 04/03/2009 04:49 PM »
Here is a proposal for using a CM/LM combination for a large solar reflector in low Earth orbit.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #18 on: 04/03/2009 11:17 PM »
I cannot remember if I posted this before.  It is a 1963 North American study of flying an extended duration Apollo.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #19 on: 04/04/2009 03:11 PM »
@ Blackstar

Very interesting information - thanks for digging that out for us.

Does anyone know what would be cheaper for launching an Apollo and a LEO short-lifespan lab: A 2-launch mission (CLV and CaLV S-IBs) or a 1-launch mission (Saturn-V)?
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Offline Proponent

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #20 on: 04/05/2009 07:47 AM »
Does anyone know what would be cheaper for launching an Apollo and a LEO short-lifespan lab: A 2-launch mission (CLV and CaLV S-IBs) or a 1-launch mission (Saturn-V)?

I suspect there's no easy answer to that question, because it would depend strongly on vehicle production rates, launch rates and other factors.  For example, if you were launching Vs on a regular basis but not using IBs much, then the overheads of maintaining a IB capability divided by a small number of launches make the IB very expensive on a per-launch basis.  On the other hand, if you've just got some old IBs sitting around and are no longer paying for their production, then maybe it's a different story.

In a scenario where you're regularly producing and launching vehicles rather than using up old inventory, then if you've got enough launch business to require several IBs per year, then it's probably cheaper to do it with IBs.  If you've got enough launch business to require several Vs per year, maybe it's cheaper to do it with a V.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #21 on: 04/07/2009 03:43 PM »
Here is a 1967 Apollo Applications Program study final report for a mission to observe the Earth using an Apollo and an attached instrument suite.

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: Apollo Mission Modules
« Reply #22 on: 04/07/2009 04:17 PM »
On the idea of a CSM and LEM carried together on a 1b:
What if each spacecraft independently completed the ascent to LEO? They'd both have as much delta-v as you like, depending on propellant offload.
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