Author Topic: Building a real spaceship  (Read 12087 times)

Offline DarkenedOne

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Building a real spaceship
« on: 07/27/2011 02:06 PM »
We all know about how NASA wanted to go back to the moon apollo style.

The question I have been wondering what the technological and infrastructure hurtles to making a real spaceship, like the Nautilus. 

We built the ISS in orbit and it has a mass of almost a half a million kg.  If I remember correctly these are similar to the mass projections of early Mars mission architecture.  That is ones that did not include ISRU or advanced propulsion.

Unlike architecture that require a HLV it seems to me that all support infrastructure for such a vehicle is already in place, since such a space ship would be built and supported with the same techniques, technology, and infrastructure that was used to build space stations.  In fact the only real difference between a space ship and a space station would be a space ship would be smaller, carry much more fuel and rocket power.

« Last Edit: 07/27/2011 02:10 PM by DarkenedOne »

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #1 on: 07/27/2011 06:15 PM »
Actually there WAS an HLV involved in assembling the ISS; The Shuttle :)
And also the Russian Proton Launch Vehicle :)

"We" have had this discussion before in a couple of threads:
Number of Medium-LV Launches for assembly of an Exploration Vehicle
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25633.0;all

And an older one on Exploration Ships themselves
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18231.0;all

However I don't think other than discussions on the Nautilius-X design there have been to many discussions on what KIND of ship to build and how to do it...

There is a thread here on this paper models site:
http://www.papermodelers.com/forum/pasa-paper-aeronautical-space-administration/7948-deep-space-cruiser-off-shelf-near-term-1.html

Where a suggested design "I" happen to like is brought up:
The "Deep Space Cruiser: Off-the-Shelf/Near-Term"

The designer is thinking along the same line I believe you are, using ISS and existing LV parts to assemble an interplanetary ship in LEO for Lunar and Beyond trips.

The On-Orbit parts suggested are:

Landing Vehicle (Granted not an "off-the-shelf" part but one would be needed)
Habitat (Bigelow BA-330)
ISS Node with Cupola with three docking ports (One used by the BA-330)
Two (2) ISS Truss Segments
Fuel Tanks using modified Ariane-V and Atlas-Centaur upper stages
Solar and Radiator arrays
Propulsion Module

Now the "suggested" propulsion system is a VASMIR module and Nuclear Reactor but I'd modify it with chemical propulsion to start with.

The set up is this: The Lander docks to one port on the BA-330 module, the other port on the module is docked to one port on the Cupola. The two other ports are open for use, suggested possible options is two Soyuz "life-boats" or other mission specific modules or equipment. The Cupola is attached to the two ISS Truss sections, it also is used to support the deployable sensor and communications arrays as well as being the "bridge" during travel. Attached along the "spine" of the ISS Trusses are Ariane-V and Centaur-derived propellant tanks along with the Solar Power Arrays and Radiator system. ISS mobile base and CANADARM type manipulator systems could also be attached since they are designed to run the ISS trusses normally anyway. At the far end from the lander is the Propulsion Module, this can be anything from a modifed Centaur stage to a dedicated new propulsion system.

So how does something like that fit your concept?

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #2 on: 07/27/2011 08:33 PM »
I'll argue that the first consideration for interplanetary exploration craft is: are you using aerocapture? I think you have to given the change in velocity available by using it, and that, if you're going to Mars, you can use it going there and coming back.

Not using aerocapture makes as much sense as deorbiting from LEO using only rocket power.
 Once you accept you're using aerocapture, everything else is going to come back to what is the optimum heat-shield, and how to hide everything on your ship behind it when doing aerocapture (you're going to have bits sticking out; radiators, solar panels, and observation and communication systems while you're in interplanetary space).

Of course there is the possibility of using an inflatable heat-shield, http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/aug/HQ_09-188_IRVE_launch.html
Which might make things easier.
« Last Edit: 07/27/2011 09:54 PM by Andrew_W »
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Offline RanulfC

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #3 on: 07/27/2011 09:10 PM »
Inflatables is one way yes, deployables another, see the ParaShield:
http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/skidbladnir-parashield.htm
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1998JSpRo..35..434M
http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/publications/2010/SpaceOps2010ParaShieldx.pdf
http://www.aiaa.org/tc/st/documents/TERPS.PDF
http://www.nianet.org/rascal/forum2006/presentations/1010_umd_paper.pdf
http://microsat.sm.bmstu.ru/e-library/etc/bremsat2.pdf

In any case equipment adjustments and modifications including reinforcing will be required even if propulsive braking is used. (You can only Aerobrake at Venus, Earth and Mars really)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #4 on: 07/27/2011 09:58 PM »
Thanks for the links Randy, makes me wonder if even spaceplanes shouldn't reenter tail first using parashields instead of heatshields.
« Last Edit: 07/27/2011 09:58 PM by Andrew_W »
I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
Wilbur Wright

Offline clongton

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #5 on: 07/28/2011 01:32 AM »
Combine the para-shield with a reentry ballute to rob the spacecraft of some of its reentry velocity and you have a winner.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #6 on: 07/28/2011 05:13 PM »
Combine the para-shield with a reentry ballute to rob the spacecraft of some of its reentry velocity and you have a winner.
Hmmm, for some reason the second link I posted changed from the actual article to the abstract instead... How strange...

And I missed a paper besides:
http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/academics/791S04/ParaShield.SmallSat1990.pdf

The third link here:
http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/publications/2010/SpaceOps2010ParaShieldx.pdf

Gives a good over-view of the possibilities the para-shield allows. You don't NEED the ballute, the Para-Shield is exactly that: both your reentry heat shield AND your decelleration device :)

Part of the overall "goodness" of the design is you are no longer constrained by your reentry foot-print in designing your crew space!
The fifth link down
http://www.nianet.org/rascal/forum2006/presentations/1010_umd_paper.pdf

Is the study of a concept for meeting the original CEV requirment using a Falcon-V LV! To meet the crew number and functions criteria the group used a para-shield to allow a fully cylindrical vehicle design which is highly optimized to meet the CEV goals. Since the F-5 (LEO Payload at the time listed as 4,100kg or @9,000lbs) probably won't be built now, I've been wondering/thinking of going back over the concept with an eye to upgrading to allow the full use of the Falcon-9 LEO payload. (333,400 kg, or @735,000 lb) They limited the concept-vehicle to 3268.6kg, or 7,200lbs, with @330,131kg or @728,000lbs more to play around with I suspect something that could give Dragon and the rest a run for their (actually the governments ;) ) money!

As the third linked paper shows as size of a para-shield gets bigger you become less and less constrained on the eventual length of the payload behind the shield. So if you size it for something the size and weight of the Deep Space Cruiser for example, all you have to do is angle the Solar Panels and radiators far enough to fit into the overall "wake" of the shield and they should be safe.

Quote from: Andrew_W
Thanks for the links Randy, makes me wonder if even spaceplanes shouldn't reenter tail first using parashields instead of heatshields.
Well they PROBABLY could since one concept of the para-shield has it held away from the "main" vehicle to allow CG direction control during reentry, but if you're going that way why put wings on the "vehicle" at all? I think spaceplanes will probably keep their wings ;)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #7 on: 07/28/2011 10:08 PM »

Quote from: Andrew_W
Thanks for the links Randy, makes me wonder if even spaceplanes shouldn't reenter tail first using parashields instead of heatshields.
Well they PROBABLY could since one concept of the para-shield has it held away from the "main" vehicle to allow CG direction control during reentry, but if you're going that way why put wings on the "vehicle" at all? I think spaceplanes will probably keep their wings ;)

Randy

There seems to be the potential to decrease the weight of the heat shield by increasing the area, so it's a question of which is heavier, an all aluminium bird carrying an umbrella, or a bird with no umbrella but with a thick ceramic bottom?
 Another option would be to have a skirt that increases the shield area while retaining thinner insulation on the birds bottom.
I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
Wilbur Wright

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #8 on: 07/29/2011 08:14 PM »

Quote from: Andrew_W
Thanks for the links Randy, makes me wonder if even spaceplanes shouldn't reenter tail first using parashields instead of heatshields.
Well they PROBABLY could since one concept of the para-shield has it held away from the "main" vehicle to allow CG direction control during reentry, but if you're going that way why put wings on the "vehicle" at all? I think spaceplanes will probably keep their wings ;)

Randy

There seems to be the potential to decrease the weight of the heat shield by increasing the area, so it's a question of which is heavier, an all aluminium bird carrying an umbrella, or a bird with no umbrella but with a thick ceramic bottom?
 Another option would be to have a skirt that increases the shield area while retaining thinner insulation on the birds bottom.
Well there is a large potential which is rather the "point" of the whole thing, I guess. The issue I see is while deployment may be pretty straight forward in a vacuum (imagine something like twin hydralic arms coming out of the Shuttle bay and then the ParaShield being opened in-front/below the Shuttle from there) once your spaceplane is down in the atmosphere "at-speed" how do you dump the ParaShield in such a way as to not hit the spaceplane AND then retract the arms?

All while maintaining sufficent forward air-speed?

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #9 on: 08/04/2011 09:07 PM »
Ahh, those heady days when even model-companies knew what lay ahead for Space Exploration:
Pilgrim Observer
http://ninfinger.org/models/kitplans/mpc9001.html

I especially like the Book-2 Mission overview (suplemental booklet)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline MickQ

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #10 on: 08/05/2011 07:27 AM »
Ahh, those heady days when even model-companies knew what lay ahead for Space Exploration:
Pilgrim Observer
http://ninfinger.org/models/kitplans/mpc9001.html

I especially like the Book-2 Mission overview (suplemental booklet)

Randy

I love it.  As a point of discussion and speculation, how far off would this be with current tech ???

Mick.

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #11 on: 08/06/2011 12:17 AM »
     Too bad somerone can't figure out how to build an inflatable Space Shuttle that would actually work.

     In space, you'd still have to have it at about 4.5 Psi, but as you drop into the atmosphere, you could increase the internal pressure gradually, (as there is minimal nitrogen in low pressure environments, bumping the internal pressure up to about 18 to 20 psi shouldn't prove too hazardous) or one could use an inflatable internal framework pressurized to about 80 psi.

     Regardless, such a craft would have a fraction of the mass of the original shuttles.

     If nothing else, it could be flown up unmanned and deflated, be inflated on orbit, and used as a re-entry vehicle.  or sent up, attached to a couple of 'emergency escape hatches', inflated, loaded, and launched just like the old inflatable lifeboats that ocean going ships used to (and still do) use.

Jason
My God!  It's full of universes!

Offline Danderman

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #12 on: 08/06/2011 12:34 AM »
  In fact the only real difference between a space ship and a space station would be a space ship would be smaller, carry much more fuel and rocket power.



If its a Mars space ship, it would have a life support system that absolutely positively would not fail.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #13 on: 08/06/2011 12:47 AM »
Do what you do with computers: redundant functional units.

Now that Paragon has developed a plug and play ECLSS (Commercial Crew Transport-Air Revitalization System (CCT-ARS)) under C3PO that could be a lot easier.
« Last Edit: 08/06/2011 12:49 AM by docmordrid »
DM

Offline Geron

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #14 on: 08/06/2011 01:04 AM »
I'll argue that the first consideration for interplanetary exploration craft is: are you using aerocapture? I think you have to given the change in velocity available by using it, and that, if you're going to Mars, you can use it going there and coming back.

Not using aerocapture makes as much sense as deorbiting from LEO using only rocket power.
 Once you accept you're using aerocapture, everything else is going to come back to what is the optimum heat-shield, and how to hide everything on your ship behind it when doing aerocapture (you're going to have bits sticking out; radiators, solar panels, and observation and communication systems while you're in interplanetary space).

Of course there is the possibility of using an inflatable heat-shield, http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/aug/HQ_09-188_IRVE_launch.html
Which might make things easier.

A more sensible approach in my mind would be to detach from the interplanetary space craft prior to aerocapture and use ion thrusters to decelerate the interplanetery craft slowly over time while the capsule/lander element would use aerocapture to enter Mars orbit more rapidly and land. When the crew leaves the surface the larger interplanetary "ship" would have had time to slow down under ion power and could be parked in orbit waiting. This way you would not have to worry about sheilding large solar arrays that might be used to power the ion propulsion be it VASMR or a Hall Thruster.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #15 on: 08/12/2011 04:08 PM »
Ahh, those heady days when even model-companies knew what lay ahead for Space Exploration:
Pilgrim Observer
http://ninfinger.org/models/kitplans/mpc9001.html

I especially like the Book-2 Mission overview (suplemental booklet)

Randy

I love it.  As a point of discussion and speculation, how far off would this be with current tech ???

Mick.
Sorry for the delayed reply, I missed this one :)

How far off? Depends on the poltical will really. Almost everything about the Pilgrim was near "off-the-shelf" technology for the 1970s. The Augmented-Saturn-V had been studied and deemed feasible, the Nerva-2B was/is the actual "flight-weight" engine that would have been built if the ROVER program had been continued. I suspect the folding/rotary joints for the arms might have needed some serious engineering work but nothing that couldn't be done.

We know better now than to design so many windows into the arm(s) and we could do better than dedicating an entire "arm" to a nuclear power plant, a duel mode engine/power-plant arrangment would be better. We'd cover the arms with TransHab/Bigelow material these days, or make the arms inflatable themselves though there are some advantages to "solid" construction and wrap-around armor/shielding.

How far off? For starters we don't have the Saturn-V to loft the vehicle so we'd have to either wait till an equivelent is built and in operation or break the vehicle up into Medium-Launch-Vehicle sized bites. Beyond that we're just looking at time to decide to do the project and getting it done.

Quote from: danderman
If its a Mars space ship, it would have a life support system that absolutely positively would not fail.
No, like any other thing built (or even touched a lot of the time :) ) by people you work on the assumption that it WILL fail it is just a matter of "when" it will happen. So you install back up systems. Current "base-line" assumes a mechanical system with a biological back-up. The bio system will support waste recycling, and life support while aiding crew morale and food production. In case of failure of the main system it will provide back-up until the main system can be fixed but will be fully capable of supporting the crew for the duration on its own.

Of course an even BETTER plan is multiple back ups of everything, however this takes a "real-space-ship" (:::::gasp:::: shades of being actually "on-topic"!! :) ) because of the size requirements. Something the size of an "Orion-and-a-TransHab" just wouldn't have the space needed to install deep, multiple back up capability.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline michaelwy

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #16 on: 09/11/2011 12:21 PM »
Yes, the Orion seems tiny. What we need is a larger craft assembeled in stages in orbit with the ability to simulate gravity and a nuclear propulsion system, which would give it the possibility of traveling back and forth to Mars. A lot of research should be put into creating radiation shielding of some kind, perhaps some kind of artificial magnetic field.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Building a real spaceship
« Reply #17 on: 11/02/2011 06:55 PM »
Thought I'd pass on this video using the Pilgrim Observer as a Mars vehicle :)



Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

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