Author Topic: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor  (Read 24301 times)

Offline PeterAlt

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SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« on: 11/15/2011 06:26 PM »
I realized that SLS would have the capability of putting 70+ tons space station modules to orbit. Imagine the huge size of a space station built from 70+ ton modules! One of these modules would be over three times the size of a single Mir core module. I think this would be a good follow-up in the years when ISS becomes no longer usable.

Of course that would be years away and there's no need to even plan for this now, but it is good to take comfort that a much larger station could be assembled when the time has come using 70 ton modules launched via SLS.

Offline Cherokee43v6

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #1 on: 11/15/2011 06:41 PM »
Interesting idea. 

The module size might even be sufficient to experiment with industrial scale, microgravity manufacturing.

Also, depending on the faring size, it might be possible to actually launch a 'garage module' that would allow for man tended in space assembly of deep space probes from pre-assembled components launched on smaller rockets.  Say, for example, a Mars probe and its TMI/Cruise stages mated and tested before being sent over to a fuel depot and off to their destination.

Imagine the reliabilty gains if components could be assembled and tested in the microgravity environment before they are sent off to other planets.  Today's Space.Com article about how hard space flight is makes specific mention of the far less than benign environment satellites are subjected to at launch. 

Wouldn't it be nice to minimize those impacts?
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Offline Jim

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #2 on: 11/15/2011 06:44 PM »
I realized that SLS would have the capability of putting 70+ tons space station modules to orbit. Imagine the huge size of a space station built from 70+ ton modules! One of these modules would be over three times the size of a single Mir core module. I think this would be a good follow-up in the years when ISS becomes no longer usable.

Of course that would be years away and there's no need to even plan for this now, but it is good to take comfort that a much larger station could be assembled when the time has come using 70 ton modules launched via SLS.

Not going to happen.
There is no NASA need for such a station or even modules.  There is no need for an ISS type followon.
NASA can buy time on commercial stations
« Last Edit: 11/15/2011 06:48 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #3 on: 11/15/2011 06:47 PM »

Imagine the reliabilty gains if components could be assembled and tested in the microgravity environment before they are sent off to other planets.  Today's Space.Com article about how hard space flight is makes specific mention of the far less than benign environment satellites are subjected to at launch. 

Wouldn't it be nice to minimize those impacts?

Not really, microgravity and vacuum are worse environments than launch.

Do you have a link?
« Last Edit: 11/15/2011 06:48 PM by Jim »

Offline Cherokee43v6

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #4 on: 11/15/2011 06:53 PM »

Imagine the reliabilty gains if components could be assembled and tested in the microgravity environment before they are sent off to other planets.  Today's Space.Com article about how hard space flight is makes specific mention of the far less than benign environment satellites are subjected to at launch. 

Wouldn't it be nice to minimize those impacts?

Not really, microgravity and vacuum are worse environments than launch.

Do you have a link?

Here Jim,

http://www.space.com/13620-spaceflight-difficult-launch-mission-failures.html

Quote
Developing the systems to harness and direct that energy is tough, Logsdon added, as is devising spacecraft that can survive the bumpy blastoff and work in the harsh environment of space.
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Offline nethegauner

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #5 on: 11/18/2011 12:43 PM »
I realized that SLS would have the capability of putting 70+ tons space station modules to orbit. Imagine the huge size of a space station built from 70+ ton modules!

Why modules? I mean, why several of them? You could build something like the Option C re-design of Freedom -- a can. One launch -- and You're as good as done . . !

Not going to happen. There is no NASA need for such a station or even modules. There is no need for an ISS type followon. NASA can buy time on commercial stations

Agreed, but You could launch a 70 ton commercial station using SLS, right? So the issues are related, I'd say.

Offline Moonshot69

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #6 on: 11/18/2011 01:32 PM »
I would love to see a cost study on if they used the Saturn Delievery system to build the ISS VS the Shuttle. You could have built it with much fewer launches using the Saturn V, albeit more expensive per launch. Crew launches could have followed on the smaller (less expensive) Saturn 1B flights. I find it just amazing that we had this very reliable working family of Rockets called Saturn Launch System (SLS!!!!). And now we have to spend all this money devolping and building another system with very simular capabilities. The Saturn sysem had the same flexability as the new SLS. Think of what NASA could have done with the Saturn family of rockets with 30 years of upgrades.

Offline sdsds

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #7 on: 11/18/2011 06:48 PM »
As regards an SLS-launched modular successor to ISS, wouldn't it be better to build a small station at a Lagrange point rather than another large station in LEO?
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Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #8 on: 11/18/2011 07:12 PM »
I realized that SLS would have the capability of putting 70+ tons space station modules to orbit. Imagine the huge size of a space station built from 70+ ton modules! One of these modules would be over three times the size of a single Mir core module. I think this would be a good follow-up in the years when ISS becomes no longer usable.

Of course that would be years away and there's no need to even plan for this now, but it is good to take comfort that a much larger station could be assembled when the time has come using 70 ton modules launched via SLS.

Not going to happen.
There is no NASA need for such a station or even modules.  There is no need for an ISS type followon.
NASA can buy time on commercial stations

Which commerical stations ??

Bigelow just cut their workforce in half, blaming NASA on commerical crew delays. After reading some posts on the Bigelow thread, it sounds like they still have a whole lot of work to do before they can launch modules ready for a sustained scientific mission.


Offline apace

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #9 on: 11/18/2011 07:20 PM »
Which commerical stations ??

Bigelow just cut their workforce in half, blaming NASA on commerical crew delays. After reading some posts on the Bigelow thread, it sounds like they still have a whole lot of work to do before they can launch modules ready for a sustained scientific mission.

The station which will be available for rent in 9 to 10 years... or later... ISS is funded until 2020.

Offline clongton

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #10 on: 11/18/2011 08:00 PM »
I realized that SLS would have the capability of putting 70+ tons space station modules to orbit. Imagine the huge size of a space station built from 70+ ton modules! One of these modules would be over three times the size of a single Mir core module. I think this would be a good follow-up in the years when ISS becomes no longer usable.

Of course that would be years away and there's no need to even plan for this now, but it is good to take comfort that a much larger station could be assembled when the time has come using 70 ton modules launched via SLS.

1. Not going to happen.
2. There is no NASA need for such a station or even modules. 
3. There is no need for an ISS type followon.
4. NASA can buy time on commercial stations

1. May I borrow your crystal ball?
2. Not now, but maybe later. ISS is not immortal.
3. Same as #2.
4. What commercial stations? There aren't any.
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Offline Jim

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #11 on: 11/18/2011 08:07 PM »

1. May I borrow your crystal ball?
2. Not now, but maybe later. ISS is not immortal.
3. Same as #2.
4. What commercial stations? There aren't any.

NASA doesn't have budget nor will it ever for another ISS.  It has no need for one.  Nor does the rest of the US gov't
« Last Edit: 11/18/2011 08:07 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #12 on: 11/18/2011 08:10 PM »

4. What commercial stations? There aren't any.

There can be, just as there wasn't an commercial crew vehicles a few years ago. 
The point is NASA can no longer afford large engineering projects like ISS.  And the country has no need for one.  But if you want a jobs program.....

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #13 on: 11/18/2011 08:24 PM »

4. What commercial stations? There aren't any.

There can be, just as there wasn't an commercial crew vehicles a few years ago. 
The point is NASA can no longer afford large engineering projects like ISS.  And the country has no need for one.  But if you want a jobs program.....

There still aren't any commerical crew vehicles, and the commerical market hasn't proven the need for one.

NASA needs the services of a crewed vehicle. They have decided to outsource to a conpany based in the US instead of a company based in Russia.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #14 on: 11/18/2011 08:51 PM »
As regards an SLS-launched modular successor to ISS, wouldn't it be better to build a small station at a Lagrange point rather than another large station in LEO?

The station need not be small and instead should be sized for the max IMLEO payload of SLS and then use ion propulsion to climb to it's operational orbit.

It also can be sized for the Block II or III SLS vs the 70mt Block one as that's what will be flying when ISS is retired.
As for what it can be I think the BA-2100 or some of the 1960 to 1970s era examples would be a good starting point.

If funding is short worst case would be to modify an EDS as an advanced Skylab type station or pay Bigelow for a BA-2100 or several BA-330s.

I really don't like some of the posts such as NASA cannot afford big engineering projects any more as if that's going to be the case forever.

Recessions no matter how bad always come to an end what is the financial situation today most likely will not be the case ten years from now.

An ISS successor is far enough in the future the economic situation that will exist when it's time cannot be predicted.

Heck I cannot even say with much certainty what would be the launch vehicle used to lift it.
« Last Edit: 11/18/2011 09:01 PM by Patchouli »

Offline clongton

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #15 on: 11/18/2011 09:04 PM »
NASA doesn't have budget nor will it ever for another ISS.  It has no need for one.  Nor does the rest of the US gov't
It's just a matter of priority. NASA doesn't have the budget for it "today", and doesn't need that budget, because it already HAS a space station - ISS. But once ISS goes away it could very well be a completely different situation. When that happens the money will appear. There is more money in this country than you can shake a stick at. It's just being held close to the bankers' chests, scrooge-like, waiting for the economy to loosen up. And it eventually will.

4. What commercial stations? There aren't any.
There can be, just as there wasn't an commercial crew vehicles a few years ago.  The point is NASA can no longer afford large engineering projects like ISS.  And the country has no need for one.  But if you want a jobs program.....

NASA was created to do large engineering projects like ISS and it will do them again - probably many times over. We are in a recession at the moment and money is tight. When the recession is over we will be awash with cash. Look at the economic history. It comes and goes in cycles. Lots of money, very little money, lots of money, very little money; over and over again. But the money is never really gone, it's just locked up by the banks until the economy looses up and then it comes out of the box. When the recession is over and the ISS is gone, the US Government will find a need for a new station - you watch. And they *will* have the cash to pay for it.
« Last Edit: 11/18/2011 09:05 PM by clongton »
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Offline butters

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #16 on: 11/18/2011 09:08 PM »
Maybe a 70-ton habitat for transit to NEO or Mars system.

But let's face it: the only SLS-class payload we can afford is an upper stage full of propellant. Anything else even remotely close to budgetary limitations is at best FH-class or more likely DIVH-class payloads.

Offline Jim

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #17 on: 11/18/2011 09:14 PM »

It's just a matter of priority.
 snip

NASA was created to do large engineering projects like ISS

It will never be a priority.  This isn't scifi or 2001.  There is no real justification for a govt run large space station past ISS.

No, NASA was created to beat the Soviets, that task is no longer needed.  It more like an NSF for space and there is no need for large govt space projects. 
« Last Edit: 11/18/2011 09:14 PM by Jim »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #18 on: 11/18/2011 10:33 PM »

It's just a matter of priority.
 snip

NASA was created to do large engineering projects like ISS

It will never be a priority.  This isn't scifi or 2001.  There is no real justification for a govt run large space station past ISS.

No, NASA was created to beat the Soviets, that task is no longer needed.  It more like an NSF for space and there is no need for large govt space projects. 
NSF has a base at the South Pole, still. I agree that something of the scale and especially the COST of ISS probably won't be attempted by NASA in LEO for the forseeable future after ISS, but if it is cheap enough I wouldn't be surprised if another station is done. You're probably right that this means a commercial station if any.

By the way, operating ISS is about an order of magnitude more expensive than South Pole station, with far fewer people at ISS than are at South Pole Station:
  "The total budget request for the [NSF] Office of Polar Programs (OPP) is a shade over $490 million, an 11 percent increase over OPP’s estimated FY 2008 budget."
But remember this includes a lot of stuff not including actual resupply and building at the South Pole:
  "Coming in at $255 million, Antarctic infrastructure and logistics support accounts for more than half of OPP’s entire budget. "

If we can get a NASA station operating for less than a billion per year with at least as much capability as ISS (probably more), then I can see more post-ISS LEO work for NASA. But it will mean operating with a very different approach than NASA has in the past. The commercial crew and cargo is only the beginning of that, they're going to have to streamline other stuff as well if they want a permanent presence for research in LEO. (Total budget is currently several billion for ISS.) NASA's only real chance at a permanent presence in LEO post-ISS is that some sort of commercial market will grow around commercial crew, etc. If not, NASA will have to abandon LEO entirely while they focus their efforts on beyond-LEO.
« Last Edit: 11/18/2011 10:33 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SLS-launched 70-ton module ISS successor
« Reply #19 on: 11/18/2011 10:33 PM »
...and by the way, don't count Bigelow out, yet. Even if Bigelow fails, another will spring up eventually. And actually, I think there's room for competition. Bigelow isn't the well-oiled machine they claimed to be, so a very energetic and well-focused company could beat them. There are a few Bigelow employees out of work. Biggest thing you need, of course, is to find customers. Find customers, and people will throw money at you (partly why Elon Musk has been successful so far in spite of being a ballsy, somewhat arrogant newcomer is because there is a large market and pent-up demand for good electric cars---people are begging electric car manufacturers to take their money--and a reasonably large global market for affordable launch services... even though Elon has been slow to deliver on both those fronts, there's a real market there, so money will flow if they don't fail technically).

And I think there's good evidence that there are lots of customers for affordable suborbital space tourism, too. Just need to deliver and not spend too much money on it.

Whether there's enough of a market for a commercial space station, though, is a lot harder gamble, in my opinion. So much hinges on affordable launch, and in order to get affordable enough means you need RLVs, and in order for there to be a high enough flight rate for RLVs depends on if there's a market for a commercial space station.... It's a difficult problem to solve. I bet if you could get the per-passenger cost of a human-rated orbital launch vehicle down to a million dollars per person per lauynch, you could get several hundred passengers a year, but it'd be a stretch at best. But to get costs that low would take a very, very high flight rate... It's a chicken-and-egg problem that might never resolve until a new use for a high-flight-rate RLV is found besides tourism (or until we all get a lot richer).

Now, compare all this for the price of a single launch of SLS, and you quickly run out of money (A thousand people going to an orbital space station every year paying a million dollars each only nets you a billion dollars, a small fraction of the annual operating costs of SLS... Your space station is going to need to find a much cheaper way to get up there.)

Find a new use for space that requires an RLV but is still quite profitable and you may open up the solar system. Until then, we're talking about almost a zero-sum game.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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