Author Topic: What would a better Saturn V/Lunar Program have looked like?  (Read 13084 times)

Offline truth is life

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Well clearly if you are looking for a more affordable system with fewer components, then you might not get Saturn V performance, and so your lunar landing strategy might not favor LOR.

As for a TLI burn - my suggestion would be to put a shortened S-IVB as a 3rd/TLI stage for lunar missions. Same tooling and engine as S-IVB.

So with two engines (F-1 and J-2), and one tank tooling (6.6m), you could lift anything from 25t with a single stick, to 85t for heavy variants (or perhaps significantly more). Costs could be brought down by mass-production of the above elements. (BTW my performance numbers are just guesstimates, feel free to correct)

Your numbers are a little high; I've been looking at performance of a similar system for a project I have going, and it would closer to 20 t in the single stick version and ~70-80 t in the three-stick version (this last is limited by thrust/weight ratio, to some extent, although the Saturn V did cut that one awfully close). Since the single-stick is basically the Saturn IB, you'd have a real do it all rocket in the end.

Two engines (H-1 for the commonality with the little Deltas, J-2 for the upper stages), ~two or 2.5 stages (a presumably monolithic first stage and long/short S-IVBs). But the H-1 was already being developed for Saturn I, so this is really only being charged J-2 development and the stages. If you wanted to do it really cheap, use the Saturn IB first stage, too...

Hm. Now, if I were doing this for real, I'd put forth an idea using a 6.6m monolithic kerolox core (using the H-1, probably, for multi-booster commonality) with a 6.6m multi-J-2 upper stage. Additional cores--up to four, perhaps--could be lashed on to increase payload to LEO. In principle, one could also perhaps use SRBs with the idea of providing additional intermediate payloads, but the base version should be pretty close to the C-2 and the value of said intermediates is somewhat questionable. As an EDS it would use the S-IV. This would be using EOR, possibly EOR/LOR, perhaps with super-Gemini (that is, a biggish two-person capsule). I'd have to run the numbers to figure out which...

Offline Proponent

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In a previous post in this thread, I mentioned that I am aware of two detailed studies circa 1960 on how to go to the moon with the smaller Saturns.  The first one was essentially the Army's Project Horizon, for which I gave a link.  Here's the other study I had in mind.  I think it's quite interesting in the context of this thread, because it was done in 1961 and considers techniques ranging from rendezvous of multiple (five, to be exact) Saturn C-3s in LEO to a direct mission with Nova.  Skip to page 671 of the PDF to see a chart of the various modes considered.

Online spacenut

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Since the Saturn 1B was a cluster but had 1.5million lbs thrust as well as the F1.  I think they could have built a 20' diameter tank to match the single J1 upper stage but used an F1 engine.  This should have delivered about 20 tons to LEO.  Cluster three like the Delta IV and get over 50 tons.  Probably add another 10 tons with fuel transfer to core stage.  This also would have been scalable.  You could cluster 5 together to rival Saturn V in capacity.  The systems could have been used longer.  Maybe even upgraded the F1 to the proposed 2.2 million lbs thrust.  Assembly and docking could have built a lunar mission, or a space station.  After the F1 upgrade, the first sage(s) could be parachuted back for reuse.  The Saturn 3rd stage or 2nd on the 1B could have evolved to the plug nozzle engine for reuse also.  I think all this could have been developed cheaper and faster than the Space Shuttle.  Cheaper to operate with the same capacity. 

Offline Ravaun

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The best idea (and it was studied as early as 1965) would be to use a Saturn MS-IC-1.  48.15m long with 5 F-1A's.  [2,524,984] + 169,719 kg (add 31,462.5 for reusable/recoverable config. visa via Sea Dragon concept, 1963).

Interstage mass:  6,769.1 kg

SLS Stage 2, ala Project Horizon (1961).  Adding in a Nylon/SOFI external insulation (essentially Saturn II, with simplified tooling), you arrive at [767,000] + 71,525.2 kg (reusable/recoverable config, as above).

Interstage mass:  4,950.4 kg

Saturn MS-IVB-3B (study 1967, so would have to be used on 1970+ missions)
[159,200] + 20,400 kg

Assuming 4,842 lb Instr. Unit + 118,000 lb lunar mission stage, total payload mass of:  55,720.2 kg

Performance:  800 + 2,382.88 | 5,209.84 | 4,947.45  [total delta-V:  13,340.17 m/sec]

Tooling for External Tank came out of studies done by US Air Force, prep. to executing plan to build SLS (Space Launch System, c. 1959-1961, Project Horizon), therefore weight estimate is within +/- 5% of real world example (tank just slightly larger than STS ET using larger diameter to remain within Launch Tower parameters)
Engines used:  5 F-1A | 2 M-1, ver. 1.1 | 400 k-lb AeroSpike (actually developed, real world testing data never released as system is still USAF classified, meaning high probability it was actually used).
Use of 18Nickel2400 (currently restricted for DOE/DOD use only) would reduce tank masses 62.5%.  Reusable mass addition would decrease, slightly (est. up to 15-20% of decrease)  Use of hardened electronics, post 1975 (when they officially became available) would decrease electronics mass est. -200 kg, or -125 kg if then-classified/just developed Ballistic Missile Inertial Navigator used, increasing electronics reliability from +8 to +15%, respectively.

Offline Burninate

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Sea Dragon. -Bob Truax

Blue-sky options, huh?

A CH4-LOX powered Sea Dragon pushes up a 500 ton CH4 & small amount of LOX third stage, equipped with a fuel transfer system, horizontal clamps, and a modest CH4-LOX thruster.  One launch a month builds up an LEO propellant depot, with temperature moderated to ~95K by a sunshade, radiator, and CH4-LOX powered cryocooler system.  The thrust lines from the chemical thrusters remain clear.

The Apollo program snatches up nuclear engineers to improve a small implementation of the NERVA NTR with CH4 fuel.

Engineers take the design for the third stage tanks and build dedicated habitat modules, adding heavy insulation to diminish radiative heat loss, and erect a column of them starting from the dead center of the propellant depot, surrounded by tanks, out in the anti-thrustwards direction.  The first one, in the tank stacks, serves as a radiation / storm shelter (with CH4 serving as substantial protection) and water reservoir.  The last several, at the front of the craft, are equipped with radial docking ports for manned capsules & landers, and robotic arms / cranes to assemble lander missions.

The nuclear thermal rocket is mounted to the rear of the craft, to be used for low-thrust maneuvers, while the chemical thrusters stay in reserve for any high-thrust requirements.

Several copies of this station are placed into cycler orbits around any objects of interest, starting with Luna.
« Last Edit: 06/13/2014 11:19 AM by Burninate »

Offline Herb Schaltegger

I'm sure we all love Lobo's 7 paragraph, 2,000 word essays, but this really needs to be in Historical Spaceflight ("Missions that were or never will be"), not in the SLS section.
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline Lobo

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I'm sure we all love Lobo's 7 paragraph, 2,000 word essays, but this really needs to be in Historical Spaceflight ("Missions that were or never will be"), not in the SLS section.

Of course everyone enjoys those, why wouldn't they?  ;-)

But yes, I created this thread in the wrong section originally.  It should be in the historical section. However, I think a mod has to move it, right?

Offline Lobo

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Ahhh...there we go.  :-)