Author Topic: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)  (Read 36793 times)

Offline Lobo

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #20 on: 05/14/2010 04:30 PM »
I think we need to start clarifying the terminology because it can lead to confusion, and this Wikipedia article is a prime offender.

Two main teams submitted bids to NASA for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) contract, Lockheed-Martin and Northrup-Grumman/Boeing. Lockheed-Martin won and their vehicle is now known as Orion. Proposed derivatives of this vehicle also have Orion in the name.

Boeing and Bigelow are teaming on a Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) vehicle based on Northrup-Grumman/Boeing's losing bid for CEV. Since NASA dictated the outer moldline of CEV, the Northrup-Grumman/Boeing vehicle bore a strong resemblance to the Lockheed vehicle, as does the Boeing/Bigelow derivative. However, neither Boeing nor Bigelow have ever referred to this vehicle as "Orion", "Orion-Lite", or any other name with "Orion" in it, and it is not accurate to refer to it as such.

Hmmm....Jorge, did you go edit the Wikipedia listing?  Someone did along the lines you mentioned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_Lite

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_CCDev_capsule

Would seem to be more accurate now?

And to be honest, if this does get built (and I really hope it does), it would pretty much be what I’ve been advocating in this thread.

1)  It’d be light enough launch on a non-heavy EELV (The Atlas V, or Falcon 9 from the looks of things).
2)  It’d have a mid-air recovery for reduced crew stress and increased reusability potential.  Likely using a parafoil.
3)  It (should) be a relatively inexpensive LEO taxi.

Leave a full BLEO capsule to NASA (which could do LEO duty if necessary as a contingency) to do exploration, hopefully wiht a Jupiter HLV.  And let a commercial outfit do a cheap, reliable, innovative, LEO only taxi, as there interesting things yet to do there, but it’s not as much “exploration” as what NASA needs to do BLEO.

I'll be following this with great interest.I'll be following this with great interest.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2010 04:46 PM by Lobo »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #21 on: 05/14/2010 04:45 PM »
I think we need to start clarifying the terminology because it can lead to confusion, and this Wikipedia article is a prime offender.

Two main teams submitted bids to NASA for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) contract, Lockheed-Martin and Northrup-Grumman/Boeing. Lockheed-Martin won and their vehicle is now known as Orion. Proposed derivatives of this vehicle also have Orion in the name.

Boeing and Bigelow are teaming on a Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) vehicle based on Northrup-Grumman/Boeing's losing bid for CEV. Since NASA dictated the outer moldline of CEV, the Northrup-Grumman/Boeing vehicle bore a strong resemblance to the Lockheed vehicle, as does the Boeing/Bigelow derivative. However, neither Boeing nor Bigelow have ever referred to this vehicle as "Orion", "Orion-Lite", or any other name with "Orion" in it, and it is not accurate to refer to it as such.

Hmmm....Jorge, did you go edit the Wikipedia listing?  Someone did along the lines you mentioned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_Lite

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_CCDev_capsule

Would seem to be more accurate now?
...
It was Mmeijeri who did it, I read the Wikipedia revision history ;).
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #22 on: 05/14/2010 04:51 PM »

It was Mmeijeri who did it, I read the Wikipedia revision history ;).

Ahhhh....

On the "Boeing CCD_Dev Capsule" page, there's still several places where they call it "Orion Lite" rather than the Boeing CCD/Dev Capsule that still need to get changed.  Sounds more accurate now regardless.

Hopefully Boeing/CCD_Dev will come up with a catchy name soon.  The "Boeing CCD_Dev Capsule" is a little cumbersome.  ;)

Offline Jorge

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #23 on: 05/14/2010 05:01 PM »
I think we need to start clarifying the terminology because it can lead to confusion, and this Wikipedia article is a prime offender.

Two main teams submitted bids to NASA for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) contract, Lockheed-Martin and Northrup-Grumman/Boeing. Lockheed-Martin won and their vehicle is now known as Orion. Proposed derivatives of this vehicle also have Orion in the name.

Boeing and Bigelow are teaming on a Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) vehicle based on Northrup-Grumman/Boeing's losing bid for CEV. Since NASA dictated the outer moldline of CEV, the Northrup-Grumman/Boeing vehicle bore a strong resemblance to the Lockheed vehicle, as does the Boeing/Bigelow derivative. However, neither Boeing nor Bigelow have ever referred to this vehicle as "Orion", "Orion-Lite", or any other name with "Orion" in it, and it is not accurate to refer to it as such.

Hmmm....Jorge, did you go edit the Wikipedia listing?  Someone did along the lines you mentioned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_Lite

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_CCDev_capsule

Would seem to be more accurate now?

It's an improvement. Still a bit confused on nomenclature.
JRF

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #24 on: 05/14/2010 05:07 PM »
If anyone wants to help out... I didn't change the name Orion Lite to Boeing CCDev capsule everywhere as some of the material needs to be moved to the Orion Lite page. Some of it seems to apply to both systems however.
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #25 on: 06/02/2010 05:21 PM »

This stripped down Orion-Lite idea of Obama's is causing even more problems.

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/boeing-crew-capsule-orion-sn-100531.html

Who does he have advising him on this stuff?  Monkeys on tricycles? ...no wait...don't answer that...

We need a full version Orion built by LM and an actual HLV for actual exploration by NASA!  And a commercial taxi for LEO access by a company or two (SpaceX and Boeing-Bigalow).  Let commercial do the [relatively] simple, cheap, and routine stuff.  The taxis can park at the ISS to act as the lifeboat between crew rotations, like Soyuz is now.  A "dedicated" lifeboat is unecassary.

Now -there's- a plan.  If I can come up with it, who are these dolts advising Obama to miss that?  Or is he making these calls with no advice?

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #26 on: 06/02/2010 05:35 PM »
Now -there's- a plan.  If I can come up with it, who are these dolts advising Obama to miss that?  Or is he making these calls with no advice?

Obama's advisers aren't the dolts. A vertically integrated NASA (launcher + capsule + lander) just isn't necessary. It may be very desirable to some, but it isn't necessary. Similarly, LEO crew taxis aren't necessary to do exploration or even just to use the ISS, but depending on your goals they may be very desirable. Different ends, different means.
« Last Edit: 06/02/2010 05:38 PM by mmeijeri »
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #27 on: 06/03/2010 06:07 PM »
Now -there's- a plan.  If I can come up with it, who are these dolts advising Obama to miss that?  Or is he making these calls with no advice?

Obama's advisers aren't the dolts. A vertically integrated NASA (launcher + capsule + lander) just isn't necessary. It may be very desirable to some, but it isn't necessary. Similarly, LEO crew taxis aren't necessary to do exploration or even just to use the ISS, but depending on your goals they may be very desirable. Different ends, different means.

It’s sufficient if we’re just ferrying crews and light cargo to the ISS.

But if we want to do –anything- else, we need a fully capable BLEO vehicle, and a heavy lift vehicle, and eventually some type of lander if we want to do any real exploration again to places like the Moon, NEO’s, Mars, etc.  I don’t think commercial can do that anytime soon.  I don’t know that they can even do LEO taxi yet!

I mean, the components can and likely would be built by contractors, just as they always have.  But they need to be sent to the VAB for integration, and then launched at LC-39 by NASA.  NASA needs to get back into the “exploration” business, rather than just the LEO construction/taxi business. 

So I’ll respectfully disagree with you mmeijeri, and stand by my theory that Obama’s advisers are dolts.
:)
« Last Edit: 06/03/2010 06:14 PM by Lobo »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #28 on: 06/03/2010 06:22 PM »
I don't see why a spacecraft like Dragon couldn't work for BEO if it needed to. Sure, it'd need modifications.

But it's besides the point. If FY2011 now includes CRV Orion with the stated intent of using it in another revision for BEO.

And an HLV is not required for BEO exploration with Earth-orbit rendezvous. In-orbit refueling makes an HLV even more optional.

There ain't no HLV big enough to launch a conventional round heatshield big enough for more than 20 tons to the surface of Mars, so an HLV doesn't fix Martian EDL, either.

And IMHO, the fixed costs of the VAB and LC-39 are an anchor around NASA's neck when it comes to BEO HSF.
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Offline sdsds

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #29 on: 06/03/2010 06:54 PM »
The over-riding advantage of designing a vehicle to fit the "LEO Taxi" role comes from having high confidence that there will be many LEO taxi missions into the foreseeable future, and that the requirements for those missions will be essentially the same.

Longer term, adding BEO capabilities to an existing LEO taxi design might be the most efficient way to get a BEO spacecraft, but even the best designers sometimes have difficulty avoiding the traps inherent in "feature creep" situations.

Given the state of the aerospace engineering art, I personally hope development of the LM Orion BEO exploration vehicle is continued with as little distraction as possible.  I also hope the same for development of the Dragon LEO taxi.  Separate mission types; separate requirements; separate, focused efforts.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2010 06:55 PM by sdsds »
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #30 on: 06/03/2010 07:07 PM »
I prefer a LEO crew taxi as the basis of a beyond LEO capsule for a number of reasons. For one, it would have less duplication of effort. It also reduces the risk of NASA going it alone later, which is a consideration if you want to maximise commercial synergy as I do. Orion could still be the basis of that LEO capsule, but only if LM decides to enter the crew taxi competition and if NASA ends its involvement with the engineering.

If there's going to be a division of labour, I'd want to see commercial space focus on launchers and EDSs (and later depots), capsules and habs since those have natural synergy with existing and emerging commercial capabilities. NASA could then focus on landers and on doing exploration missions. Both efforts would then be complementary and synergistic. A nice side-effect is that both exploration and reduction of launch costs could happen sooner.
« Last Edit: 06/03/2010 07:07 PM by mmeijeri »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #31 on: 06/03/2010 07:23 PM »
Okay, I actually really like the current plan the way it is now (i.e. lifeboat Orion and commercial crew to ISS), because it could allow ISS-rendezvous-based BEO exploration. That's just cool. I don't know if it's the best way to do it, but it's just cool to me. Since at the minimum there will be two ways to get to ISS (i.e. commercial crew and Soyuz), a stand-down of a man-rated launch vehicle won't necessarily stop any exploration effort.

Also, it allows easy shake-down missions that can test BEO exploration hardware while docked to the ISS.

Plus, there are lots of prop tankers already flown to the ISS, 5 in 2009. We already know how the Russians do it.

We can assemble the spacecraft at ISS, test all the systems, fix any issues, inspect with the Canadarm2, refuel, stock up for the trip, even go for a short cruise to some other orbit before coming back and refueling and doing another check-out of everything. Then, load the crew and depart without worrying about weather delays.

So cool. Doesn't require any Orion LAS systems or crew launch pad  or manned launch vehicle (other than commercial crew).

Probably wouldn't be able to deploy large solar sails or a nuclear reactor while attached to ISS, though.
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #32 on: 06/03/2010 07:35 PM »
Okay, I actually really like the current plan the way it is now (i.e. lifeboat Orion and commercial crew to ISS), because it could allow ISS-rendezvous-based BEO exploration. That's just cool.

Certainly, but it doesn't require an Orion lifeboat. It merely means that the beyond LEO capsule has a rendez-vous with its crew at the ISS. What the heritage of that beyond LEO capsule is, is irrelevant from that point of view.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #33 on: 06/03/2010 07:49 PM »
Okay, I actually really like the current plan the way it is now (i.e. lifeboat Orion and commercial crew to ISS), because it could allow ISS-rendezvous-based BEO exploration. That's just cool.

Certainly, but it doesn't require an Orion lifeboat. It merely means that the beyond LEO capsule has a rendez-vous with its crew at the ISS. What the heritage of that beyond LEO capsule is, is irrelevant from that point of view.
I agree that it doesn't matter if it's Orion or something else, but Orion's long-duration ECLSS would come in handy, as would it's spaciousness and independent delta-v capabilities (helpful for maneuvering right before reentry... you don't want your MTV to reenter the atmosphere, even if you consider it disposable!). It also uses LIDS, which a commercial crew vehicle wouldn't necessary need (it's smaller, so you can't fit full standard racks through LIDS like you can for CBM), thus allowing the Orion to dock/undock with an unpowered spacecraft.
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Offline gladiator1332

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #34 on: 06/03/2010 08:04 PM »
If NASA does go with multiple taxis, how will crew training be handled?

Obviously Boeing's capsule will be much different from a Dragon capsule and will require different training for the crew. Will NASA train the astronauts in house (as is done now), or will they be shipped off to SpaceX for Dragon training, and off to Boeing for their training?

It might just be easier for Boeing to build a sim for NASA and for SpaceX to do the same, therefore NASA can continue to train crews themselves. That way these companies do not have to set up an astronaut training division.


Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #35 on: 06/03/2010 08:10 PM »
I believe: The companies would provide their own pilots. NASA's astronauts would be passengers.
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Offline sandrot

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #36 on: 06/03/2010 08:10 PM »
[...] Plus, there are lots of prop tankers already flown to the ISS, 5 in 2009. We already know how the Russians do it. [...]

No, I'd say the Russians don't know how to do it, with respect to a fuel transfer massing more than 110 tons.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #37 on: 06/03/2010 08:11 PM »
[...] Plus, there are lots of prop tankers already flown to the ISS, 5 in 2009. We already know how the Russians do it. [...]

No, I'd say the Russians don't know how to do it, with respect to a fuel transfer massing more than 110 tons.
It's only merely a matter of scale. The concept itself is proven.
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #38 on: 06/03/2010 08:11 PM »
I agree that it doesn't matter if it's Orion or something else, but Orion's long-duration ECLSS would come in handy, as would it's spaciousness and independent delta-v capabilities (helpful for maneuvering right before reentry... you don't want your MTV to reenter the atmosphere, even if you consider it disposable!). It also uses LIDS, which a commercial crew vehicle wouldn't necessary need (it's smaller, so you can't fit full standard racks through LIDS like you can for CBM), thus allowing the Orion to dock/undock with an unpowered spacecraft.

I find it helpful to separate out the issues. Long duration ECLSS is very important and if significant work on date has been done, then a way should be found to preserve that. A beyond LEO capsule would likely be larger than a LEO capsule, but that doesn't mean it cannot be derived from a commercial crew taxi. A more powerful propulsion system than on a LEO capsule would be desirable, though again that neither implies basing it on the existing Orion, nor does it rule it out. LIDS should certainly be preserved, and could be useful for commercial applications as well.

The issues are really nearly completely independent. My choices would be as follows:

- LIDS: spun off, perfectly OK for NASA to use it on its own spacecraft

- long duration ECLSS: ditto

- Orion-based crew taxi: OK if LM wants it and NASA has no further involvement

- NASA beyond LEO capsule:
Larger than but based on a commercial crew taxi, and potentially available to commercial clients if the vendor so decides, NASA would probably own its own vehicles instead of buying rides. Capsule would be launched unmanned and rendez-vous with crew and EDS at the ISS or a commercial successor station.

- NASA lander: based on Orion, probably with LM involvement, NASA would probably own vehicles (but LM the design)

If the work on the lander is begun immediately, I'd opt for keeping NASA (specifically JSC) in the spacecraft business. If they wait another ten years (for instance because they want to develop another launch vehicle first), then leaving that too to commercial players makes more sense to me.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Future LEO Taxi Concepts (Orion-lite, etc)
« Reply #39 on: 06/03/2010 08:17 PM »
Look, we have Orion well along in development. Do we want to go exploring, or not?

NASA needs to focus on building BEO spacecraft. Orion is one of those.

While I support commercial crew, at some point, it makes sense to use what you've got. We just about have our BEO capsule: Orion.

I don't think it makes sense to make a lander based off of Orion. Orion is too massive a design. It might make some sense if you are doing direct-ascent (instead of LOR or EOR), but that architecture is dead and buried and decomposed entirely. As it should be.
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