Author Topic: NASA Request for Information Synopsis for the Flagship Technology Demonstrations  (Read 38387 times)

Offline 2552

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« Last Edit: 07/07/2010 04:00 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline A_M_Swallow

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This RFI looks like the missions that will invent the technology for Moon and Mars missions.

Quote
The following general Principles guide the preliminary selection and implementation of the four (4) demonstration missions:

Costs, from initiation to launch, should range from $400M to $1B each

Project lifetime no longer than five years (initiation to launch)

First in-space demonstration is targeted for no later than 2014, with the next three (3) to be launched by 2016. Thereafter, a FTD mission will be flown every 12-18 months.

International, commercial and other government agency partners should be actively pursued as integrated team members where appropriate

No single NASA Center should implement all demonstration missions

and

Quote
The first set of missions will target the following technologies, with the goal of establishing new capabilities:

Advanced Solar Electric Propulsion: This will involve concepts for advanced high-energy, in-space propulsion systems which will serve to demonstrate building blocks to even higher energy systems to support deep-space human exploration (crew and cargo) and eventually reduce travel time between Earth’s orbit and future destinations for human activity.

In-Orbit Propellant Transfer and Storage: The capability to transfer and store propellant—particularly cryogenic propellants—in orbit can significantly increase the Nation’s ability to conduct complex and extended exploration missions beyond Earth’s orbit. It could also potentially be used to extend the lifetime of future government and commercial spacecraft in Earth orbit.

Lightweight/Inflatable Modules: Inflatable modules can be larger, lighter, and potentially less expensive for future use than the rigid modules currently used by the International Space Station (ISS). NASA will pursue a demonstration of lightweight/inflatable modules for eventual in-space habitation, transportation, or even surface habitation needs.

Aerocapture, and/or entry, descent and landing (EDL) technology: This involves the development and demonstration of systems technologies for: precision landing of payloads on “high-g” and “low-g” planetary bodies; returning humans or collected samples to Earth; and enabling orbital insertion in various atmospheric conditions.

Automated/Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking: The ability of two spacecraft to rendezvous, operating independently from human controllers and without other back-up, requires advances in sensors, software, and real-time on-orbit positioning and flight control, among other challenges. This technology is critical to the ultimate success of capabilities such as in-orbit propellant storage and refueling, and complex operations in assembling mission components for challenging destinations.

Closed–loop life support system demonstration at the ISS: This would validate the feasibility of human survival beyond Earth based on recycled materials with minimal logistics supply.

Offline stealthyplains

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super exciting!

Offline neilh

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super exciting!

Indeed! I'm rather perplexed at all of those (in this forum, Congress, and elsewhere) who are claiming that developing and demonstrating these key technologies (at a cost of $400M-$1B per mission) isn't a good investment for NASA.
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Offline neilh

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Also, since the text wasn't selectable in the PDFs, I took the liberty of typing out the mission descriptions and goals/objectives for each of the missions/technologies. Feel free to copy this elsewhere, and let me know if there's any typos.

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230948/Section3.pdf
Quote
FTD 1 - Advanced In-Space Propulsion Demonstration

Mission Description:
Expand capability of future space exploration by demonstrating Multi-Use High-Energy Upper Stage based on emerging advanced space propulsion and high performance photovoltaic array technologies - First Mission Opportunity to Demonstrate AR&D [autonomous rendezvous & docking]
* >> 10 km/sec Delta-V Capability at GTO on Falcon 9 class launchers
* Demonstrate SEP Stage Operations -- leaving LEO
* Leverage DoD partnership

Applications: NASA: Step toward direct ESMD Human and Robotic Operations; Science. DoD: Earth-Space Operational missions. Commercial: OTV, OS, Orbital Debris Removal, GEO

Goals and Objectives:
Deliver revolutionary benefits by combining advanced space propulsion with lightweight array technology

Notional Key Mission Milestones:
* Start-Up 2011
* Mission Launch 2014
* Mission Duration: 2 Years
http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230949/Section4.pdf
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FTD 2 - In-Space Propellant Transfer and Storage Demonstration

Mission Description
* ARDV (AR&D Vehicle) and Tanker demonstrate AR&D
* Tanker demonstrates cryo-propellant fluid management for No Less Than 180 days.
** Baseline concept is LOX/Methane for mission.
** Option for LOX/H2 (this or more likely for a later mission)
* Demonstrate quick disconnect capability
* Internal to tanker: Demonstrate propellant transfer
** Potential to develop an international standard propellant transfer interface
* Tanker engine demonstrates a series of thrusts-on-need

Goals and Objectives
* Mission will demonstrate key technologies required for the development of propellant depots thus supporting exploration beyond LEO.
* Specifically the mission will:
1. Demonstrate in-space cryogenic fluid management systems
2. Demonstrate in-space propellant transfer
3. Demonstrate LOX/Methane engine in-space thrust-on-need.
4. Demonstrate Automated/Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking

Notional Key Mission Milestones:
* Start-up 2011
* Mission launched in 2015
* Mission Duration: No Less Than 200 days
http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230950/Section5.pdf
Quote
FTD 3 - Inflatable ISS Mission Module Demonstration

Mission Description:
The ISS Inflatable Mission Module provides the demonstration of a human-rated flexible, deployable module for habitation & storage in the space environment under full structural and human applied loads.
* Begins as structural demonstration, evolves to advanced systems accommodation module, AR&D, ECLSS, EVA suitport, and other interfaces.
* Once those systems have been validated, it can be used as a Mars/NEO mission duration analog.
* Applicable to pressurized function (habitats, logistics, laboratories, airlocks), or location including ISS, lunar and Mars surface, and in-space transfer vehicles

Goals and Objectives: Advance, demonstrate and integrate technologies needed for lightweight/inflatable modules

Flagship will:
* Demonstrate ability to deploy a human scale inflatable structure in space
* Demonstrate long duration of an inflatable habitat in space environment (MMOD, thermal) while being occupied daily by humans
* Demonstrate integration of advanced technology systems for ECLSS/waste management and reduced logistics with an inflatable structure... advanced lightweight materials

Notional Key Mission Milestones:
* Start-up 2011
* May include Small Structural inflatable on ISS (2013)
* Large inflatable mission module launched and connected to ISS in 2015
* ECLSS closed-loop system delivered post 2015
* Mission Duration: 36-48 months (possibly to end of ISS life)


http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230958/Section6.pdf
Quote
FTD 4 - Aero-Assist Demonstration

Mission Concept 1 - Inflatable Aerodynamic Declerators (IADs) at Mars

Mission Description
* Advanced aero-capture and large mass delivery EDL technologies using instrumented in-situ Mars based flight technology demonstration system
* Can use either rigid or flexible vehicles
- Hypersonic inflatable Aero Decelerators (HIAD)
- Supersonic Inflatable Aero Decelerators (SIAD)
- GN&C - Ability to control "flexible structure"
- TPS -- flexible performance
- Deployment after extended storage
- Fluid-Structures Interactions
- Terminal Descent and Landing ALHAT demo

Mission Concept 2 - Slender Rigid Mid Lift-to-Drag (L/D) Ratio Aeroshell at Mars

Mission Description
* Advanced aero-capture and large mass delivery EDL technologies using instrumented in-situ Mars based flight technology demonstration system
* Can use either rigid of flexbiel vehicles
- Rigid Slender Mid L/D Shape
- Control of slender structure via Body Flap & RCS
- TPS -- Dual Heat-Pulse capable rigid
- Supersonic Inflatable Aero Decelerators (SIAD)
- SIAD Deployment after extended storage
- Fluid-Structures Interactions
- Terminal Descent and Landing ALHAT demo

(below is listed for both Mission Concept 1 & Mission Concept 2)

Goals and Objectives
Enable higher mass missions -- and higher altitude landing sites -- on Mars and other destinations with atmosphere and enhance the Earth-EDL stage of round-trip missions to the moon and elsewhere.

Mars Surface Payload: 1mT SOA [state of the art], 10mT Post-Flagship
Landing Accuracy: 10km SOA, 1km Post-Flagship
Mars Destination Altitude: 0km SOA, +1km Post-Flagship

Notional Key Mission Milestones:
* Start-up 2011
* Mission launched in 2016/2018
* Mission Duration: 13 months

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230952/Section7.pdf
Quote
AR&D Demonstration Vehicle

Mission Description:
* Primary platform for AR&D demos on missions
* Multi-purpose vehicle used across Flagship Technology Demonstration (FTD) Missions
- De-orbit/dispose of completed missions
- Carrier, with services, for ETDD & OCT demonstration missions as secondary payloads
- delta-V capability scalable for mission
- Option for reusable architecture with on-orbit refueling (hypergolic & cold gas)
- Delivers FTD Missions to destinations

...
Timeframe and ROM Resources: Developed as part of 1st FTD mission with additional builds for subsequent missions that require it

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230953/Section8.pdf
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Closed-Loop Environmental Control System

The current Point of Departure Mission for the Flagship advanced ECLS hardware would be as follows. The hardware would be launched onboard one of the current or future unmanned ISS cargo vehicles in the 2014 to 2016 time frame. Once aboard the ISS, the hardware would be deployed inside one of the station modules where the hardware’s performance can be demonstrated in a micro-gravity environment. An additional goal will be to deploy this technology in the Flagship inflatable module where the equipment’s performance can be demonstrated while being exposed to both reduced pressure and elevated oxygen. The hardware is not planned to be returned to Earth after all demonstration tasks have been completed.
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Offline neilh

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Also, it looks like one potential secondary mission for the FTD-1 Advanced In-Space Propulsion Demonstration would be to have it operate as a simple space tug:

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230948/Section3.pdf
Quote
Mission concepts might include (but are not limited to) currently planned and future human spaceflight or robotic missions to: a) Mars, Asteroids, or Deep Space; b) Cis-Lunar operations; c) Earth-space operations such as orbit transfers, orbital repositioning, orbital rendezvous and docking operations, or orbital servicing (e.g. – of an observatory or spacecraft too large or too fragile to launch, replace scientific instruments, replenish consumables such as propellant or coolant).

Technologies considered for a mission may include, but are not limited to, a) scientific, communications, or other payloads enabled by the SEP Stage; b) Autonomous Rendezvous, Navigation, and Docking; and c) robotic systems for on-orbit servicing; etc. With the exception of the NEXT Ion Propulsion System and the advanced array technology, all proposed bus technologies must be at a NASA Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL6) by PDR, assumed to be June 2011.
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Offline stealthyplains

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this is the most excited i've been about nasa's spaceflight direction in a long time -- i'm just going to read this and smile and forget the HLV debate exists

Offline Robotbeat

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...
http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230953/Section8.pdf
Quote
Closed-Loop Environmental Control System

The current Point of Departure Mission for the Flagship advanced ECLS hardware would be as follows. The hardware would be launched onboard one of the current or future unmanned ISS cargo vehicles in the 2014 to 2016 time frame. Once aboard the ISS, the hardware would be deployed inside one of the station modules where the hardware’s performance can be demonstrated in a micro-gravity environment. An additional goal will be to deploy this technology in the Flagship inflatable module where the equipment’s performance can be demonstrated while being exposed to both reduced pressure and elevated oxygen. The hardware is not planned to be returned to Earth after all demonstration tasks have been completed.
I'm glad that NASA is willing to explore the whole trade space for atmospheric conditions instead of JUST sea level pressure. Apollo saved weight by using just oxygen for most of the time, and ISRU would probably be easier without having to worry as much about nitrogen. Also, it may provide some logistical synergies if you could completely eliminate nitrogen once beyond LEO (except for launch and landing) since you could possibly use LOX from prop tanks for crew consumption and cabin pressurization, thus allowing more flexibility in emergencies or contingencies.
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Offline neilh

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this is the most excited i've been about nasa's spaceflight direction in a long time -- i'm just going to read this and smile and forget the HLV debate exists

Reading and smiling is all well and good, but if you actually want it to happen be sure to also phone and write letters/emails to your congresspersons. :)
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Offline stealthyplains

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Reading and smiling is all well and good, but if you actually want it to happen be sure to also phone and write letters/emails to your congresspersons. :)

Just emailed my congressperson!  But I think Nancy has a thing or two besides NASA to worry about.  :)

Offline 2552

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Also, since the text wasn't selectable in the PDFs, I took the liberty of typing out the mission descriptions and goals/objectives for each of the missions/technologies.

Isn't there a "select text" button on the toolbar? I know there is one in Foxit Reader, not sure of there's one in Adobe Reader. Which PDF reader do you have?

Offline 93143

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super exciting!

Indeed! I'm rather perplexed at all of those (in this forum, Congress, and elsewhere) who are claiming that developing and demonstrating these key technologies (at a cost of $400M-$1B per mission) isn't a good investment for NASA.

I don't think anyone on this forum has claimed that.  This isn't the part we're complaining about...

Offline simonbp

I don't think anyone on this forum has claimed that.  This isn't the part we're complaining about...

Yep, there's a difference between "demonstrating technology" for the sake of demo'ing tech and actually using that technology. Aerocapture, inflatable modules, and automated docking is fine and good, but none of it is actually new, and none of it means anything if it's not used in a mission. The FY11 budget is annoying because it eschews the use of the tech for cheap but pointless demos...

Offline neilh

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Also, since the text wasn't selectable in the PDFs, I took the liberty of typing out the mission descriptions and goals/objectives for each of the missions/technologies.

Isn't there a "select text" button on the toolbar? I know there is one in Foxit Reader, not sure of there's one in Adobe Reader. Which PDF reader do you have?

There is, but the text I retyped is in a table embedded as an image and thus non-selectable. Of course, if it actually can be selected, I guess I just gave myself a nice typing workout. ;)
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Offline neilh

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I don't think anyone on this forum has claimed that.  This isn't the part we're complaining about...

Yep, there's a difference between "demonstrating technology" for the sake of demo'ing tech and actually using that technology. Aerocapture, inflatable modules, and automated docking is fine and good, but none of it is actually new, and none of it means anything if it's not used in a mission. The FY11 budget is annoying because it eschews the use of the tech for cheap but pointless demos...

Just to be clear, but do you consider these Flagship Technology Demonstrators and the ETDD demonstrators "cheap but pointless demos"?
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Offline MP99

Quote
The first set of missions will target the following technologies, with the goal of establishing new capabilities:

Advanced Solar Electric Propulsion: This will involve concepts for advanced high-energy, in-space propulsion systems which will serve to demonstrate building blocks to even higher energy systems to support deep-space human exploration (crew and cargo) and eventually reduce travel time between Earth’s orbit and future destinations for human activity.

In-Orbit Propellant Transfer and Storage: The capability to transfer and store propellant—particularly cryogenic propellants—in orbit can significantly increase the Nation’s ability to conduct complex and extended exploration missions beyond Earth’s orbit. It could also potentially be used to extend the lifetime of future government and commercial spacecraft in Earth orbit.

Lightweight/Inflatable Modules: Inflatable modules can be larger, lighter, and potentially less expensive for future use than the rigid modules currently used by the International Space Station (ISS). NASA will pursue a demonstration of lightweight/inflatable modules for eventual in-space habitation, transportation, or even surface habitation needs.

Aerocapture, and/or entry, descent and landing (EDL) technology: This involves the development and demonstration of systems technologies for: precision landing of payloads on “high-g” and “low-g” planetary bodies; returning humans or collected samples to Earth; and enabling orbital insertion in various atmospheric conditions.

Automated/Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking: The ability of two spacecraft to rendezvous, operating independently from human controllers and without other back-up, requires advances in sensors, software, and real-time on-orbit positioning and flight control, among other challenges. This technology is critical to the ultimate success of capabilities such as in-orbit propellant storage and refueling, and complex operations in assembling mission components for challenging destinations.

Closed–loop life support system demonstration at the ISS: This would validate the feasibility of human survival beyond Earth based on recycled materials with minimal logistics supply.

I'm rather perplexed at all of those (in this forum, Congress, and elsewhere) who are claiming that developing and demonstrating these key technologies (at a cost of $400M-$1B per mission) isn't a good investment for NASA.

Some of those are inextricably embedded in the DIRECT proposal - rendezvous (phase 2) & depots (phase 3).

With Orion now added back into FY2011, Earth aerocapture seems less relevant to Lunar & NEO exploration, or return from Mars. Reliable aerocapture at Mars would be very valuable, but only for robotic missions for at least the next 20 years. This work needs to be done, but not *right now* if (*if*) it's at the expense of assured continuance of ISS (for instance).

FY2011 doesn't propose BEO exploration until at least 2025, so stuff like GTO + 10Km/s won't be required until then (it will take time to mature).

These are all things which would be most valuable towards a space-faring society, but FY2011 prioritises sexy research over boring ISS supply, despite that NASA can't even list the requirements for a more heavily utilised ISS. It might be OK, but we just don't know yet.

cheers, Martin

Offline kkattula

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Just to be clear, but do you consider these Flagship Technology Demonstrators and the ETDD demonstrators "cheap but pointless demos"?

All this stuff should have been done over the last 20, 30, 40 years.

It should still be done now, but NOT at the expense of ongoing development and operations.

<soapbox>

IMNSHO, NASA should have a substantial minimum budget each year for each of:

  Advanced Technology R & D
  New Systems Development
  HSF Operations
  Science Operations
  Infrastructure maintenance
  Admin

None of them should be shorted to pay for 'high priority' projects. Those projects could get extra funding if the politics allow, but not at the expense of the other areas.

Over time, tech R&D should flow into new systems dev, into operations and science. It shouldn't be this crazy method of massively funding the flavour of the month. Which is then useless because every other area has fallen apart.

</soapbox>

Offline JohnFornaro

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I don't think anyone on this forum has claimed that.  This isn't the part we're complaining about...

Precisely.  What I hope I hear you saying is that the idea of misallocated budget priorities in the BSE is finally catching on, as well as the idea of emphasizing the use of current abilities and de-emphasizing future possibilities.

Yep, there's a difference between "demonstrating technology" for the sake of demo'ing tech and actually using that technology...

Precisely.  What I hope I hear you saying is: Ditto.

...This work needs to be done, but not *right now* if...

These are all things which would be most valuable towards a space-faring society, but FY2011 prioritises sexy research over boring ISS supply...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you just said "Ditto".

All this stuff should have been done over the last 20, 30, 40 years.

It should still be done now, but NOT at the expense of ongoing development and operations....

Over time, tech R&D should flow into new systems dev...

There's many different ways to express the same thing.  Ditto is a convenient shortcut for that expression.  Were there to be a vote among sensible players, another similar word would be "Aye".
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline neilh

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Some of those are inextricably embedded in the DIRECT proposal - rendezvous (phase 2) & depots (phase 3).

Yup, that's one of the good things about DIRECT.

Quote
With Orion now added back into FY2011, Earth aerocapture seems less relevant to Lunar & NEO exploration, or return from Mars. Reliable aerocapture at Mars would be very valuable, but only for robotic missions for at least the next 20 years. This work needs to be done, but not *right now* if (*if*) it's at the expense of assured continuance of ISS (for instance).

Aerocapture is actually the only one of the FTD missions which I think could be delayed -- that's also probably why it's the last of the initially-planned missions. It's main multiplier effects are for potential use in reentry capsules more cost-effective than Orion, various robotic missions, and planning of a Mars architecture. It doesn't have the same urgency as depots, rendezvous, inflatable modules, or advanced propulsion. It is of extreme relevance though to the question of what sort of HLV (if any) is needed for exploration.

Quote
FY2011 doesn't propose BEO exploration until at least 2025, so stuff like GTO + 10Km/s won't be required until then (it will take time to mature).

Sure, that's why it's important to start now. It'll also be invaluable for increasing the cost-effectiveness and capability of robotic missions in the interim, with its usefulness increasing as the technology progresses. Advanced propulsion is also an enabler for space tugs and other forms of reusable spacecraft, which are key to cost-effective space exploration.

Quote
These are all things which would be most valuable towards a space-faring society, but FY2011 prioritises sexy research over boring ISS supply, despite that NASA can't even list the requirements for a more heavily utilised ISS. It might be OK, but we just don't know yet.

ISS supply is quite important of course, and must be assured (whether through Shuttle extension or commercial capabilities), but it's rather besides the topic. There's also an aside about people who want to prioritize a "sexy" HLV over the boring technology development required to make space exploration sustainable.
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Offline MP99

Edit: this post was temporarily removed, as it was based on calculations which were badly incorrect. Now restored with note of the faulty section.


FY2011 doesn't propose BEO exploration until at least 2025, so stuff like GTO + 10Km/s won't be required until then (it will take time to mature).

Sure, that's why it's important to start now. It'll also be invaluable for increasing the cost-effectiveness and capability of robotic missions in the interim, with its usefulness increasing as the technology progresses.

I tried working up some rough numbers for the robotic delta-V that could be achieved by the Boeing HLV with a DIVHUS kick stage.

Edit: These numbers were badly incorrect:-
Ignoring the "start from GTO, then add 10Km/s" restriction (which is understandable for a SEP demonstration, but not for chemical), it seems to be able to lob 5mT+ through 12.5Km/s (gross) delta-V. For a 1mT payload, which I'd assume is more in line with mid-term SEP capabilities (??), almost 20Km/s.

An expensive launch, but I suspect it will be a long while before SEP can match that performance, and be mature enough for flagship missions.




Quote
Advanced propulsion is also an enabler for space tugs and other forms of reusable spacecraft, which are key to cost-effective space exploration.

Yes, I see the dilemma here. This is a capability we want, regardless.



Quote
Quote
These are all things which would be most valuable towards a space-faring society, but FY2011 prioritises sexy research over boring ISS supply, despite that NASA can't even list the requirements for a more heavily utilised ISS. It might be OK, but we just don't know yet.

ISS supply is quite important of course, and must be assured (whether through Shuttle extension or commercial capabilities), but it's rather besides the topic. There's also an aside about people who want to prioritize a "sexy" HLV over the boring technology development required to make space exploration sustainable.

Guilty!

cheers, Martin
« Last Edit: 05/20/2010 09:04 PM by MP99 »

Offline neilh

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FY2011 doesn't propose BEO exploration until at least 2025, so stuff like GTO + 10Km/s won't be required until then (it will take time to mature).

Sure, that's why it's important to start now. It'll also be invaluable for increasing the cost-effectiveness and capability of robotic missions in the interim, with its usefulness increasing as the technology progresses.

I tried working up some rough numbers for the robotic delta-V that could be achieved by the Boeing HLV with a DIVHUS kick stage.

Ignoring the "start from GTO, then add 10Km/s" restriction (which is understandable for a SEP demonstration, but not for chemical), it seems to be able to lob 5mT+ through 12.5Km/s (gross) delta-V. For a 1mT payload, which I'd assume is more in line with mid-term SEP capabilities (??), almost 20Km/s.

An expensive launch, but I suspect it will be a long while before SEP can match that performance, and be mature enough for flagship missions.

I can probably rehash the argument of the cost-effectiveness of developing/operating an HLV vs. other technology-dependent approaches, but ideally not in this thread. ;)
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Offline Robotbeat

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FY2011 doesn't propose BEO exploration until at least 2025, so stuff like GTO + 10Km/s won't be required until then (it will take time to mature).

Sure, that's why it's important to start now. It'll also be invaluable for increasing the cost-effectiveness and capability of robotic missions in the interim, with its usefulness increasing as the technology progresses.

I tried working up some rough numbers for the robotic delta-V that could be achieved by the Boeing HLV with a DIVHUS kick stage.

Ignoring the "start from GTO, then add 10Km/s" restriction (which is understandable for a SEP demonstration, but not for chemical), it seems to be able to lob 5mT+ through 12.5Km/s (gross) delta-V. For a 1mT payload, which I'd assume is more in line with mid-term SEP capabilities (??), almost 20Km/s.

An expensive launch, but I suspect it will be a long while before SEP can match that performance, and be mature enough for flagship missions.

...
Quote
http://www-ssc.igpp.ucla.edu/dawn/mission.html
"Dawn will carry enough propellant to change its speed by more than 10 kilometers/s (or about 6 miles per second) over the course of the mission, far more than any spacecraft's propulsion system has ever accomplished..."

So it has already matched it (in a real science mission, not just a tech demo mission). And BTW, there have been multiple beyond-LEO missions which have used it for propulsion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Space_1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayabusa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn

There have also been countless satellites that have used ion propulsion (or electric propulsion in general) for station-keeping and attitude control over the decades.

A delta iv heavy upper stage can only do 7.7 9.3 km/s with no payload. And that's if placed in LEO orbit. Such a large stage (30.7 tons) couldn't be placed in GTO without an HLV or in-space rendezvous with other stages.

Dawn was launched with just a Delta-II on an Earth-escape trajectory (11.46km/s was from the Delta-II vs ~11.186km/s for Earth escape), and the 10km/s is on top of that. In order to launch a 31-ton Delta-IV Heavy upper stage (plus any payload) directly to Earth escape velocity would require an HLV.

It should be noted that there has been significant advances in solar array specific power since many of these ion-thruster-propelled missions were developed. Ultraflex arrays are roughly double the power for the same amount of weight as many other arrays used, and that's certainly not the end when it comes to high "specific power" (i.e. watts/kg) solar arrays.

EDIT: So, I corrected MP99, but then he corrected me! That's the nice thing about NSF, you will usually be corrected quickly if you are wrong. ;) Delta IV Heavy upper stage could do >9.3km/s without a payload (or with only a small payload) if somehow you could get it in orbit fully fueled. Of course, without modification, all the hydrogen would probably be boiled off before you got to Ceres. ;)
« Last Edit: 05/21/2010 04:04 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline MP99

A delta iv heavy upper stage can only do 7.7 km/s with no payload.

Sorry, yes, a big bug in my calculations there.

I'll edit the post to recognise this.

cheers, Martin

Offline Robotbeat

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A delta iv heavy upper stage can only do 7.7 km/s with no payload.

Sorry, yes, a big bug in my calculations there.

I'll edit the post to recognise this.

cheers, Martin
And, as you pointed out in a PM, that 7.7 km/s figure is too low. 9.3km/s is more accurate (and that's with slightly pessimistic figures, too).
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Offline neilh

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Am I correct in my understanding that the Automated Rendezvous & Docking vehicle would also be potentially useful for delivering new modules (e.g. inflatable module for FTD and centrifuge module) and unpressurized cargo to the ISS?

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230952/Section7.pdf
Quote
ARDV Spacecraft Bus
Preliminary assessment and analysis has lead to the following high level attributes the ARDV spacecraft bus must possess:
• Vehicle can be stacked with a FTD payload and launched on a medium sized ELV. This is illustrated in the following figure:
• Vehicle serves as a demonstration test-bed for Automated Rendezvous and Docking systems and capabilities. It is envisioned that this vehicle will demonstrate AR&D capabilities through the performance of AR&D sorties on multiple Flagship missions using the co-launched Flagship payload as the passive target vehicle and the ARDV performing as the active vehicle.
• Vehicle is capable of transporting an FTD payload from an initial ELV ISS co-elliptical orbit to the ISS and both docking and berthing the payload with ISS.
• Vehicle can be developed and qualified for the first FTD mission to be launched in 2014 and the second and third FTD missions planned to launch in 2015.
• The docking system used for FTD AR&D demonstrations will be a production version of NASA Low Impact Docking System (iLIDS) which meets the international Docking System Standard currently being developed. An overview of the iLIDS is provided in the reference library associated with this RFI.
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Offline Robotbeat

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That sounds really cool! (modified Cygnus or some other spacecraft bus)

ISS-rendezvous exploration precursor missions sound like a realistic possibility under FY2011.
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Offline Bernie Roehl

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The first set of missions will target the following technologies, with the goal of establishing new capabilities:

Advanced Solar Electric Propulsion
In-Orbit Propellant Transfer and Storage
Lightweight/Inflatable Modules
Aerocapture, and/or entry, descent and landing (EDL) technology
Closed–loop life support system demonstration at the ISS

Where it gets really interesting is when those technologies get combined.  For example, an inflatable module with a closed-loop LSS, an aerocapture shell and a refuelable propulsion system could be used as kind of "shuttle" between LEO and EML2.  An inflatable module with a closed-loop LSS and a SEP stage could be used for crewed deep-space missions.  And so on.

If I had to pick a set of technologies to develop, those are definitely the ones.  The only one I might add to the list is ISRU.

Online DigitalMan

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Where it gets really interesting is when those technologies get combined.  For example, an inflatable module with a closed-loop LSS, an aerocapture shell and a refuelable propulsion system could be used as kind of "shuttle" between LEO and EML2.  An inflatable module with a closed-loop LSS and a SEP stage could be used for crewed deep-space missions.  And so on.

If I had to pick a set of technologies to develop, those are definitely the ones.  The only one I might add to the list is ISRU.


ISRU is already part of the Enabling Technology Development and Demonstration program that was announced last week and looks to be tested on the moon in 2015.  If you haven't seen that list you should check it out, nice to see fission power on there.

Offline neilh

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That sounds really cool! (modified Cygnus or some other spacecraft bus)

ISS-rendezvous exploration precursor missions sound like a realistic possibility under FY2011.

There's plenty more details in the "Flagship Service Vehicle Requirements Capture Document" in the RFI's reference library:

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230989/FTD%20RFI%20Ref%20Info%20AR&DV.pdf

According to that doc, the rough spec is for 12,000kg of dockable payload launched on top of an Atlas V or equivalent.
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Offline neilh

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These are all things which would be most valuable towards a space-faring society, but FY2011 prioritises sexy research over boring ISS supply, despite that NASA can't even list the requirements for a more heavily utilised ISS. It might be OK, but we just don't know yet.
cheers, Martin

Huh????  Sexy research over boring ISS?
FY2011 increases ISS funding by $2B through 2014 and extends ISS from 2015 to 2020 and beyond.
FY2011 provides an additional $312m in 2011 to help ensure CCdev can actually successfully deliver cargo to station.
FY2011 provides $6B to support development of commercial crew.

FY2011 invests $3.1B in heavy lift, focused on propulsion
FY2011 invests $7.8B in technology demonstration including propellant depots and advanced propulsion.
Deferring the decision on the  development of a heavy lift rocket until after the advanced in-space propulsion demo (2014) and depot demo (2015) allows NASA to determine what level of heavy lift they really need.  It may be that EELV/Falcon class rockets suffice.  Basically that would allow NASA to shift the $40B that Constellation planned to spend on Ares I and Ares V to performing missions.  This sounds pragmatic and exciting to me!

Offline MP99

Huh????  Sexy research over boring ISS?
FY2011 increases ISS funding by $2B through 2014 and extends ISS from 2015 to 2020 and beyond.
(etc)

Since this is about funding for FTD, rather than FTD itself, I've responded to this at the Space Station Primed for New Era of Scientific Discoveries thread.

cheers, Martin

Edit: added quote for context.
« Last Edit: 05/22/2010 03:10 PM by MP99 »

Offline DGH

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The SEP may be more about testing the new solar panel and batteries across multiple radiation environments. These solar panels and batteries could replace the entire ISS array for 6-10 mt  at least an 80% reduction.
Testing of the panels and batteries will help lower mass of future missions and allow solar power further out then ever.


 The Fuel depot request is a 180+ day Methane stage and new methane engine not a fuel depot. 
I have not seen any real work in this area I thought almost all the work had been on Hydrogen not methane and moderate (less then 30 day) tankers and long duration depots.
It does not very useful near term since all current upper stages use Hydrogen not methane. I have to say very disappointing and this is not what has been advertised.

IMO the way these proposals are written say Mars is front and center again the Moon is at best an after thought.



Offline MP99

Edit: sorry, yet another update to the numbers.

I tried working up some rough numbers for the robotic delta-V that could be achieved by the Boeing HLV with a DIVHUS kick stage.

(But those numbers were wrong)

An expensive launch, but I suspect it will be a long while before SEP can match that performance, and be mature enough for flagship missions.

Quote
http://www-ssc.igpp.ucla.edu/dawn/mission.html
"Dawn will carry enough propellant to change its speed by more than 10 kilometers/s (or about 6 miles per second) over the course of the mission, far more than any spacecraft's propulsion system has ever accomplished..."

So it has already matched it (in a real science mission, not just a tech demo mission). And BTW, there have been multiple beyond-LEO missions which have used it for propulsion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Space_1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayabusa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn
...
Dawn was launched with just a Delta-II on an Earth-escape trajectory (11.46km/s was from the Delta-II vs ~11.186km/s for Earth escape), and the 10km/s is on top of that.

That seems to be ~875Kg burnout mass & 425Kg xenon prop.

I re-worked the numbers for Boeing HLV + DIVHUS kick stage, and 550Kg (edit: this number updated) can be pushed through 12.5Km/s gross dV (ignoring gravity loss & Oberth effect). See http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20475.msg594059#msg594059 for details & spreadsheet.

This shows the value of SEP - a Delta II with SEP out-performs a stretched SDLV with large kick stage. Perhaps they're about equivalent if you allow smaller solar panels without SEP.


Quote
Of course, without modification, all the hydrogen would probably be boiled off before you got to Ceres.

And this is another valuable feature - SEP delta-V doesn't have to happen all at once. EG the Vesta-to-Ceres injection in this mission.


Quote
In order to launch a 31-ton Delta-IV Heavy upper stage (plus any payload) directly to Earth escape velocity would require an HLV.

Yes, the HLV performs an initial 3.7Km/s burn before DIVHUS takes over, for 12.5Km/s combined gross delta-V.

This does raise the big issue with SEP, which is the tiny level of thrust. Performing a 10Km/s burn (presumably net of gravity losses) from GTO seems to need a substantial increase in thrust, or much extra propellant. That is presumably the reason for this proposal, and why it was configured this way.

However, this has been a salutary lesson. Now just need to scale it up about 20,000x to be able to perform that 39-days-crewed-to-Mars VASIMR mission.

cheers, Martin
« Last Edit: 05/22/2010 05:07 PM by MP99 »

Offline neilh

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What's most shocking to me is the difference between the FTD RFI and this document.  The FTD RFI was throughly in touch with the cutting edge.  It demonstrated a keen grasp of the possible, the affordable, the necessary and the exciting.  This document could not be more different.

Well...to be fair to the MSFC guys, they don't have a monopoly on out-of-touch pet ideas.  Almost everyone in industry, and most of the people working depots in NASA want LOX/LH2.  But JSC wants LOX/Methane because LH2 is just so hard.  So the FTD RFI calls out a LOX/Methane depot that is seriously stuck about 10 years at least in the past as far as how the thing is designed.

But the other parts of that which I've seen weren't too bad.

~Jon

I thought the baseline choice of LOX/Methane was a little surprising as well, although from the doc it looks like they're still open to the option of LOX/LH2 (for either the initial testbed or a follow-up). I'm personally betting it'll switch to a LOX/LH2 baseline once they get the info back from the RFI.
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Offline Robotbeat

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What's most shocking to me is the difference between the FTD RFI and this document.  The FTD RFI was throughly in touch with the cutting edge.  It demonstrated a keen grasp of the possible, the affordable, the necessary and the exciting.  This document could not be more different.

Well...to be fair to the MSFC guys, they don't have a monopoly on out-of-touch pet ideas.  Almost everyone in industry, and most of the people working depots in NASA want LOX/LH2.  But JSC wants LOX/Methane because LH2 is just so hard.  So the FTD RFI calls out a LOX/Methane depot that is seriously stuck about 10 years at least in the past as far as how the thing is designed.

But the other parts of that which I've seen weren't too bad.

~Jon

I thought the baseline choice of LOX/Methane was a little surprising as well, although from the doc it looks like they're still open to the option of LOX/LH2 (for either the initial testbed or a follow-up). I'm personally betting it'll switch to a LOX/LH2 baseline once they get the info back from the RFI.
It does mean you can fit over twice as much propellant (by mass) into the same sized depot. Also means your lunar lander can have smaller tanks.

If you design the same lander to be used on Mars with ISRU (either CO/O2 or CH4/O2 since they are near the same density and boiling point), it totally makes sense to do it this way. The thermal environment on the Moon's surface also makes it a heck of a lot more difficult if you're using H2/O2 vs CH4/O2.

The greatly increased bulk density makes a single-stage lander less unwieldy and easier to launch on an EELV while also improving the mass fraction.

I actually think methane depots aren't such a bad idea.

We have substantial work done on the CECE engine (modified RL-10) which can be throttled and run on methane. And methane has a pretty high Isp (380s is probably feasible). Not to mention Armadillo (have a liquid methane/LOX VTVL they've done some substantial work and testing with) or XCOR. Sure, we don't have half a century of intense experience with methane like we do with hydrogen, but it does have some potential.

Also, there are fuel cells which can run on methane.
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Online DigitalMan

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The document does indicate they could switch to LOX/LH2 before PDR if necessary.  Seems to me its too early to tell.

What's most shocking to me is the difference between the FTD RFI and this document.  The FTD RFI was throughly in touch with the cutting edge.  It demonstrated a keen grasp of the possible, the affordable, the necessary and the exciting.  This document could not be more different.

Well...to be fair to the MSFC guys, they don't have a monopoly on out-of-touch pet ideas.  Almost everyone in industry, and most of the people working depots in NASA want LOX/LH2.  But JSC wants LOX/Methane because LH2 is just so hard.  So the FTD RFI calls out a LOX/Methane depot that is seriously stuck about 10 years at least in the past as far as how the thing is designed.

But the other parts of that which I've seen weren't too bad.

~Jon

I thought the baseline choice of LOX/Methane was a little surprising as well, although from the doc it looks like they're still open to the option of LOX/LH2 (for either the initial testbed or a follow-up). I'm personally betting it'll switch to a LOX/LH2 baseline once they get the info back from the RFI.
It does mean you can fit over twice as much propellant (by mass) into the same sized depot. Also means your lunar lander can have smaller tanks.

If you design the same lander to be used on Mars with ISRU (either CO/O2 or CH4/O2 since they are near the same density and boiling point), it totally makes sense to do it this way. The thermal environment on the Moon's surface also makes it a heck of a lot more difficult if you're using H2/O2 vs CH4/O2.

The greatly increased bulk density makes a single-stage lander less unwieldy and easier to launch on an EELV while also improving the mass fraction.

I actually think methane depots aren't such a bad idea.

We have substantial work done on the CECE engine (modified RL-10) which can be throttled and run on methane. And methane has a pretty high Isp (380s is probably feasible). Not to mention Armadillo (have a liquid methane/LOX VTVL they've done some substantial work and testing with) or XCOR. Sure, we don't have half a century of intense experience with methane like we do with hydrogen, but it does have some potential.

Also, there are fuel cells which can run on methane.

Offline Jim

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http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId={980D21C5-AF8F-7252-C1BA-507EA54906BB}&path=closed

Can't believe this was overlooked.  This is what NASA should be doing more of.

There are four missions:
FTD 1-- Advanced In-Space Propulsion Demonstration
FTD 2 -- In-Space Propellant Transfer and Storage Demonstration
FTD 3 -- Inflatable ISS Mission Module Demonstration
FTD 4 -- Aero-Assist Demonstration

Three of them require an AR&D Demonstration Vehicle, known at the FSV.
http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument?cmdocumentid=230989&solicitationId={980D21C5-AF8F-7252-C1BA-507EA54906BB}&viewSolicitationDocument=1

So, tugs and depots are demonstrated here.

Where Node 4 falls into this is TBD.  It may be separate from the FTD's. 

Offline Lee Jay

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Sound's good.  I've always said that NASA should be doing more advanced technology development instead of useless sortie missions to the moon or something like that.

Offline Downix

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This is a program with many long term benefits.  I still wish that we'd push for the logical "showoff" mission for it, an Apollo 8 redeux using EELV's.  "What we once needed a super sized, super expensive rocket to do, we can now do with common boosters we fly with every day."
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Offline Lee Jay

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This is a program with many long term benefits.  I still wish that we'd push for the logical "showoff" mission for it, an Apollo 8 redeux using EELV's.  "What we once needed a super sized, super expensive rocket to do, we can now do with common boosters we fly with every day."

But an Apollo 8 redeux isn't a very useful thing to do.  I'd disagree with Jim on this point - to me, if we are to do anything useful, with humans, beyond LEO, we will need HLVs.  But that's mostly to do with what different people consider "useful".

Offline Downix

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This is a program with many long term benefits.  I still wish that we'd push for the logical "showoff" mission for it, an Apollo 8 redeux using EELV's.  "What we once needed a super sized, super expensive rocket to do, we can now do with common boosters we fly with every day."

But an Apollo 8 redeux isn't a very useful thing to do.  I'd disagree with Jim on this point - to me, if we are to do anything useful, with humans, beyond LEO, we will need HLVs.  But that's mostly to do with what different people consider "useful".
I didn't say useful, I said showoff.  It is useful in getting people excited, in getting people reared up.  It is also useful as a demonstration, to demonstrate the technical capability of deep space travel. 

Right now, we cannot demonstrate any sort of long term capability beyond LEO.  This would serve to kill two birds with a single stone, inspiration and technical know-how.  Never discount the beauty of inspiration.

Of course then the issue is what engines can run on LCH4?

*edit* answered it myself:
http://www.asdnews.com/news/27744/NASA_Completes_Altitude_Testing_of_Aerojet_LOX/LCH4_Rocket_Engine.htm

This new direction of NASA is not as ho hum as it first appears...
« Last Edit: 07/07/2010 02:19 PM by Downix »
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Offline agman25

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The In-Space Propellant Transfer and Storage Demonstration is baselined for LOX/Methane not LOX/H2. Is there a working LOX/Methane engine in existence or is that a part of the Demo.

Offline Downix

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The In-Space Propellant Transfer and Storage Demonstration is baselined for LOX/Methane not LOX/H2. Is there a working LOX/Methane engine in existence or is that a part of the Demo.
Aerojet has one that they are developing.  The Russians also have a few. XCOR have one. 

So, the answer is, yes.
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Offline agman25

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The In-Space Propellant Transfer and Storage Demonstration is baselined for LOX/Methane not LOX/H2. Is there a working LOX/Methane engine in existence or is that a part of the Demo.
Aerojet has one that they are developing.  The Russians also have a few. XCOR have one. 

So, the answer is, yes.

None with the RL-10's record.

Offline KSC Engineer

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http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId={980D21C5-AF8F-7252-C1BA-507EA54906BB}&path=closed

Can't believe this was overlooked.  This is what NASA should be doing more of.

There are four missions:
FTD 1-- Advanced In-Space Propulsion Demonstration
FTD 2 -- In-Space Propellant Transfer and Storage Demonstration
FTD 3 -- Inflatable ISS Mission Module Demonstration
FTD 4 -- Aero-Assist Demonstration

Three of them require an AR&D Demonstration Vehicle, known at the FSV.
http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument?cmdocumentid=230989&solicitationId={980D21C5-AF8F-7252-C1BA-507EA54906BB}&viewSolicitationDocument=1

So, tugs and depots are demonstrated here.

Where Node 4 falls into this is TBD.  It may be separate from the FTD's. 

Agree 100%

Offline STS-200

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Best NASA related news I've seen in a long time.

Useful missions with near-term objectives. Let's just hope they are not cancelled in favour of useless programs with no objectives.
"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."

Offline yg1968

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http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId={980D21C5-AF8F-7252-C1BA-507EA54906BB}&path=closed

Can't believe this was overlooked.  This is what NASA should be doing more of.

It wasn't overlooked. There was already a thread on this topic that was started in May:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21677.0
« Last Edit: 07/07/2010 03:47 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Downix

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The In-Space Propellant Transfer and Storage Demonstration is baselined for LOX/Methane not LOX/H2. Is there a working LOX/Methane engine in existence or is that a part of the Demo.
Aerojet has one that they are developing.  The Russians also have a few. XCOR have one. 

So, the answer is, yes.

None with the RL-10's record.
No engines, period, have the RL-10's record. 

Incidentally, Rocketdyne did do testing with the RL-10 running on LCH4 in the distant pass, so even this is an option.
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Offline Chris Bergin

« Last Edit: 07/07/2010 04:03 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline JDCampbell

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http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId={980D21C5-AF8F-7252-C1BA-507EA54906BB}&path=closed

Can't believe this was overlooked.  This is what NASA should be doing more of.

There are four missions:
FTD 1-- Advanced In-Space Propulsion Demonstration
FTD 2 -- In-Space Propellant Transfer and Storage Demonstration
FTD 3 -- Inflatable ISS Mission Module Demonstration
FTD 4 -- Aero-Assist Demonstration

Three of them require an AR&D Demonstration Vehicle, known at the FSV.
http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument?cmdocumentid=230989&solicitationId={980D21C5-AF8F-7252-C1BA-507EA54906BB}&viewSolicitationDocument=1

So, tugs and depots are demonstrated here.

Where Node 4 falls into this is TBD.  It may be separate from the FTD's. 

Agree 100%

And a fairly recent news update for VASIMR fans: http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2010/06/16/12.xml

You will notice that they bumped up their testing to mid 2014 for the ISS. Rather disappointing. 



« Last Edit: 07/07/2010 09:31 PM by JDCampbell »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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SO the question now is, with the new funding priorities from the Senate bill, how will it affect the Flagship technologies program?  I can definitely see some programs being developed later rather than earlier, the question is which ones? I would bet VASMIR continues on unabated, the question is which will be a higher priority: the autonomous systems or propellant depots.  I will be willing to bet that inflatable modules and aero-assist will be much lower in priorities.
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

Offline jongoff

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SO the question now is, with the new funding priorities from the Senate bill, how will it affect the Flagship technologies program?  I can definitely see some programs being developed later rather than earlier, the question is which ones? I would bet VASMIR continues on unabated, the question is which will be a higher priority: the autonomous systems or propellant depots.  I will be willing to bet that inflatable modules and aero-assist will be much lower in priorities.

I'm *definitely* biased, but I hope it's the propellant depots.  Autonomous rendezvous and docking systems have been done already by several groups in industry.  They're already pretty high TRL.  You have all sorts of projects ranging from Russian ones to Orbital Express, XSS-11, etc, etc.  Groups like MDA are even actively trying to close a business case to build their own operating systems.  The main thing keeping them from being 100% TRL-9 is just the difficulty of getting a toe-hold market, not the technology itself.  This item really seemed like a case of NASA ignoring stuff because it was Not Invented Here.

~Jon

Offline yg1968

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SO the question now is, with the new funding priorities from the Senate bill, how will it affect the Flagship technologies program?  I can definitely see some programs being developed later rather than earlier, the question is which ones? I would bet VASMIR continues on unabated, the question is which will be a higher priority: the autonomous systems or propellant depots.  I will be willing to bet that inflatable modules and aero-assist will be much lower in priorities.

The inflatable modules can be done at the ISS and probably cost less than the rest (especially if you buy them from Bigelow). I can see that continuing.

Offline rjholling

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No mention of nuclear power for in space electric propulsion.  That more than anything else would be the kind of game changing technology the President was looking for.

Offline rcoppola

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No mention of nuclear power for in space electric propulsion.  That more than anything else would be the kind of game changing technology the President was looking for.

This may come by default as the only viable way to scale a VASMIR for deep space missions?
« Last Edit: 07/17/2010 04:29 PM by rcoppola »
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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No mention of nuclear power for in space electric propulsion.  That more than anything else would be the kind of game changing technology the President was looking for.

This may come by default as the only viable way to scale a VASMIR for deep space missions?

Since VASIMR trips to Mars and the asteroids can use solar power any nuclear power would have to wait for a trip to Saturn or Jupiter in 20 or 30 years time.

Offline sdsds

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SO the question now is, with the new funding priorities from the Senate bill, how will it affect the Flagship technologies program?

I'm *definitely* biased, but I hope it's the propellant depots. 

Agreed that propellant depots should be high on any priority list, and it will be important that the reasons for this are made explicit.  What I'm hoping is that over the course of the next few months some deep thought will get put into the selection of missions, based on even deeper thought about the implications of the technologies to be demonstrated.

Moreover, each of these missions provides an opportunity to achieve multiple goals.  Demonstrating a particular technology or set of technologies is somewhat interesting; the real "win" would be actually using those technologies to achieve a goal that has value in-and-of itself.
-- sdsds --

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Agreed that propellant depots should be high on any priority list, and it will be important that the reasons for this are made explicit.  What I'm hoping is that over the course of the next few months some deep thought will get put into the selection of missions, based on even deeper thought about the implications of the technologies to be demonstrated.

Moreover, each of these missions provides an opportunity to achieve multiple goals.  Demonstrating a particular technology or set of technologies is somewhat interesting; the real "win" would be actually using those technologies to achieve a goal that has value in-and-of itself.

The second refuelling at a propellant depot could be used to increase the mass of the probe landed on the Moon.

Offline GClark

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The FTD-1 mission architure appears (according to the presentation) to be fairly well developed and doesn't require anything we don't already have/understand.  Getting an early flight test of NExT thrusters and FASTT arrays would be worthwhile.

Offline telomerase99

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Isn't it kind of depressing that instead of a great deal of research and development and multiple technology demonstration missions we are going to maintain an outdated and expensive assembly line that will fly one mission next year and a mission or two in 2016 and beyond?

If we have technology to develop a launch system that is not so labor intensive why not develop it when needed? I am all for starting the heavy lift program now but why not discard the expensive thirty year old system for manned transport. Its much cheaper to buy soyuz seats than it is to launch our SDHL. By 2016 the Chinese and Russians might even be in a bidding war and maybe prices will come down even more.

I wonder how silly we will look when we are paying over a billion dollars to get 4 astronauts to LEO when tourists are buying rides from either SpaceX, Russia, or China for $10 million a pop. Even if the price is $50 million or $100 million, even at $100 million we would still have an extra $900 million per launch that we could use on inflatable habs, prop depots, solar/nuclear technology, closed loop life support, in situ resource utilization!!

What is going to get us into space further faster, making sure a bunch of union workers stay employed at their thirty year old jobs, or investing in technology?

I guess that I shouldnt be so upset becuase Ares is atleast dead, but I am deeply saddened that so much of what was good in 2011 will be lost to Pork and compromise. Guess I'll have to wait for NASA's budget to go up which will only happen if we get a President who is really pro Space!

Their don't seem to be too many citizens who are pro-Space. Even at the tiny sliver that NASA's budget is, I bet that it is more than the percent of the population that actually cares about the propagation of humanity throughout the cosmos or in deep space science missions, astrophysics, the nature of the universe, etc.

The main thing though that is depressing about the latest turn of events, is that project budgets are left in the hands of congress. The nice thing about moving commercial was that if you hand over money to a private entity that entity can budget it out much more dynamically than an organization that gets checks from the government that could stop at any time.

I'm sure Jim will let me know that I don't know what I'm talking about but this is how I see it. Have a good night.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Isn't it kind of depressing that instead of a great deal of research and development and multiple technology demonstration missions we are going to maintain an outdated and expensive assembly line that will fly one mission next year and a mission or two in 2016 and beyond?

No because you would have to reinvest billions of dollars in infrastructure that would be destroyed after STS anyhow, might as well keep it now.

Also flagship technologies will continue, albeit in a longer timeframe. That can be a good thing, as one can refine the process after each iteration instead of launching a massive program right from the beginning, and if it truly is a "game changing technology" We can start to benefit from them immediately.
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

Offline pathfinder_01

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Isn't it kind of depressing that instead of a great deal of research and development and multiple technology demonstration missions we are going to maintain an outdated and expensive assembly line that will fly one mission next year and a mission or two in 2016 and beyond?

No because you would have to reinvest billions of dollars in infrastructure that would be destroyed after STS anyhow, might as well keep it now.

Also flagship technologies will continue, albeit in a longer timeframe. That can be a good thing, as one can refine the process after each iteration instead of launching a massive program right from the beginning, and if it truly is a "game changing technology" We can start to benefit from them immediately.

However the reinvestment of billions for the heavy lift could have made for more efficient and cheaper to operate infrastructure. Esp. if the heavy lift was designed in such a way that NASA was not the sole customer for.

I disagree about the flagship technologies. I don’t think BEO will be affordable and capable without them. If you are tossing a billion dollar Orion, and a billion dollar hab or lander after each misson while attempting to support your own rocket you just won’t have much budget left to do much with.

However at least commceral is funded. Who knows with any luck the SDHLV will suffer the same fate as Ares-1.  Killed by cost overruns and an unsupportable budget. If they can get Orion on delta IV heavy and get propellant depots then there is a chance for some BEO exploration. If not commercial Leo isn’t too bad a consolation prize.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2010 08:37 PM by pathfinder_01 »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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However the reinvestment of billions for the heavy lift could have made for more efficient and cheaper to operate infrastructure. Esp. if the heavy lift was designed in such a way that NASA was not the sole customer for.

I disagree about the flagship technologies. I don’t think BEO will be affordable and capable without them. If you are tossing a billion dollar Orion, and a billion dollar hab or lander after each mission while attempting to support your own rocket you just won’t have much budget left to do much with.

However at least commercial is funded. Who knows with any luck the SDHLV will suffer the same fate as Ares-1.  Killed by cost overruns and an unsupportable budget. If they can get Orion on delta IV heavy and get propellant depots then there is a chance for some BEO exploration. If not commercial Leo isn’t too bad a consolation prize.


First of all I corrected you spelling mistakes.

There is no point in throwing away the current infrastructure.  There is not another customer for a HLV other than NASA and perhaps a few DoD, but that is doubtful so there will not be a commercial HLV, even under the RP-1 scheme.

Secondly, the HLV will not fly enough to recoup the upfront differences in development/infrastructure costs versus reoccurring costs. If you spend $10 billion more on a HLV, you have to fly often to recoup the costs.  If commercial MLV supplements reduce the flight rate for HLV, then you have simply wasted cash.  Again, SD-LV is the optimum design for a HLV, and there is decades of legacy work behind it (unlike Ares)

I am tired of LEO, everyone else is tired of LEO.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard the idea of developing new technologies to "advance human spaceflight" which either fail or simply look good politically.  The same thing happened in the late 80's and late 90's to 2000.  We have technology to go, lets do the system integration necessary.
« Last Edit: 07/19/2010 08:36 AM by Ronsmytheiii »
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

Offline Jorge

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However the reinvestment of billions for the heavy lift could have made for more efficient and cheaper to operate infrastructure. Esp. if the heavy lift was designed in such a way that NASA was not the sole customer for.

I disagree about the flagship technologies. I don’t think BEO will be affordable and capable without them. If you are tossing a billion dollar Orion, and a billion dollar hab or lander after each mission while attempting to support your own rocket you just won’t have much budget left to do much with.

However at least commercial is funded. Who knows with any luck the SDHLV will suffer the same fate as Ares-1.  Killed by cost overruns and an unsupportable budget. If they can get Orion on delta IV heavy and get propellant depots then there is a chance for some BEO exploration. If not commercial Leo isn’t too bad a consolation prize.


First of all I corrected you spelling mistakes.

And in strict accordance with the iron laws of the internet, committed a misspelling of your own. :)
JRF

Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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I am tired of LEO, everyone else is tired of LEO.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard the idea of developing new technologies to "advance human spaceflight" which either fail or simply look good politically.  The same thing happened in the late 80's and late 90's to 2000.  We have technology to go, lets do the system integration necessary.

"Look good politically"? R&D always gets defunded by politicians. That was one of the main arguments against FY2011 - too much R&D, politicians will slash it and downsize the agency if FY2011 passes. Saying R&D programs are uncertain and can fail is a truism. There is no guaranteed success, not even if you're working with "proven" technology.

What happened in the late 80's and 90's? The last major R&D effort was building shuttle (during the 70's which was done on a tight budget). I assume the 90's one would be X-33 (1.3 billion and then the demonstrator got canceled by congress before it even had a chance to fly and crash).

Here's the thing though, those were launchers and they were basically trying to do one thing - make the coveted "space plane" a reality. After decades of trying, I think it's safe to say that won't happen.

The proposed R&D now is about spacecraft technology, not "sexy" new launch vehicles. And each technology would be tested separately, unlike the X-33 which tried to demonstrate multiple technologies by lumping them together in one vehicle.
« Last Edit: 07/19/2010 08:07 AM by Cog_in_the_machine »
^^ Warning! Contains opinions. ^^ 

Offline Drkskywxlt

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I hope the House restores more of the funding to this program and the robotic precursors.  Space-capable nuclear reactors, improved SEPs, ISRU, more efficient solar cells are all techs that are NECESSARY if you want to have real human exploration of the solar system. 

Offline Robotbeat

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I hope the House restores more of the funding to this program and the robotic precursors.  Space-capable nuclear reactors, improved SEPs, ISRU, more efficient solar cells are all techs that are NECESSARY if you want to have real human exploration of the solar system. 
(doesn't look like this happened... :( )
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Online KelvinZero

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I am tired of LEO, everyone else is tired of LEO.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard the idea of developing new technologies to "advance human spaceflight" which either fail or simply look good politically.  The same thing happened in the late 80's and late 90's to 2000.  We have technology to go, lets do the system integration necessary.

I think the impression that we have been doing lots of research for the past few decades is misleading. For example as I understand it the ISS is just leaving the construction phase and entering the research phase, which I interpret to mean that most of the money was going into shuttle and operations with research being a sideline.

I am tired of LEO too, but what annoys me most is that at the end of this period there seems to have been very little attempt to solve all the dragons against long term missions. People are still saying "Can we expect our rockets to start after months in space?", "can fuel depots work?", "What about bone loss?", "will lunar or mars gravity sustain our health?", "What about long term cosmic radiation?", "Can we expect a crew of 4 to survive in a tin can for 2+ years without going nuts?"

These are all technologies that could have been attacked over the past few decades, most in low earth orbit, + radiation with experiments on biological tissue send beyond earth orbit.

Surely, without building the ISS we could have sent up missions to attack each of these problems. People living for 6 months in a capsule tethered to a big bottle of oxygen to test various gravities, for example. I feel like HSF research was put on hold for the construction phase.

Offline catdlr

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Rocket Sled - NASA Retro-Tech Tests Future Planetary Descents

Published on Nov 26, 2012 by VideoFromSpace

NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project's goal is to develop devices to slow the rate of descent of spacecraft entering another planet's atmosphere. The SIAD-R device was tested in China Lake, California in fall 2012.

Credit: NASA/JPL

« Last Edit: 11/27/2012 02:10 AM by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa

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