Poll

If NASA were directed to return to the moon, how should they do it?

Constellation
Boeing SLS proposal
ACES
Golden Spike
Direct (70t SLS)
Spudis/Lavoie
ELA
Cannot select one of the above.

Author Topic: Best NASA lunar architecture for today  (Read 31258 times)

Offline Lar

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #20 on: 06/10/2013 04:00 AM »
Well, of course the best architecture is the Platts Whipple Crater Gold Mine architecture. Am writing it up as we speak! ;)
Cool!  Can't wait to see it!  Sounds like the perfect vehicle for an NSF article.

Is there a thread around here someplace for otherwise unpublished plans?

I've seen people start a thread for their plan and get some crowdsourced feedback. At least once since I started hanging out here recently. Maybe more in the past.
« Last Edit: 06/10/2013 04:02 AM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline RocketmanUS

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #21 on: 06/10/2013 04:45 AM »
Voted # 8 "Cannot select one of the above."

NASA to have all hardware though American commercial companies.
Gets commercial ready to take over latter.

1a ) propellants depots ( gas stations in space )
1b ) Lunar ISRU with Morpheus lander or like.
2 )   OTV ( Orbital Transfer Vehicle )
3 )   Reusable Lunar lander from LLO and EML1/2 capable. Fueled on Lunar
       surface, LLO, and EML1/2.
4 )   Build up propellant ISRU automated operations on the moon.
5 )   Launch crew and cargo to LEO.
       From LEO using OTV's to EML1/2 or LLO depending on the sortie
       need.

This would help for a sustainable future exploration. This would then set up for Mars, NEA, and beyond. The cost effective RLV to LEO would be also needed for sustainable NASA exploration and also commercial operations.

Why propellant depots ( gas stations )?
Allows us to use lower cost launch vehicles ( around the world ). HLV's don't see high enough flight rates to keep their cost down. If a HLV is grounded for a given period or it can't use it's launch site ( weather ) then there would most likely not be a back up provider unlike the smaller launchers.

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #22 on: 06/10/2013 05:20 AM »
Well, of course the best architecture is the Platts Whipple Crater Gold Mine architecture. Am writing it up as we speak! ;)
Cool!  Can't wait to see it!  Sounds like the perfect vehicle for an NSF article.

Is there a thread around here someplace for otherwise unpublished plans?

I've seen people start a thread for their plan and get some crowdsourced feedback. At least once since I started hanging out here recently. Maybe more in the past.

I was looking for a thread where people here can put down and compare their ideas, Warren's got a plan, John Fornaro says his is better than the plans listed above, I've got my ideas.

At the moment 23% vote "Cannot select one of the above", so what would these people select?
I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #23 on: 06/10/2013 06:20 AM »
At the moment 23% vote "Cannot select one of the above", so what would these people select?

I was one of the ones who chose "Cannot select one of the above".  That's because I would go for a COTS/CRS-style program: have NASA determine the goals that must be met and then open it up to competitive bidding for firm fixed-price, milestone-based, pay-for-performance contracts with multiple companies.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #24 on: 06/10/2013 09:04 AM »
Should be able to pick more than one. E.g., a combination of Golden Spike (for affordable human precursor missions) ULA/ACES (because of their heavy landers, big 3rd stages, and passively cooled depots), and Spudis and Lavoie (because of the emphasis on ISRU.) IMHO opinion, while each of them is a step in the right direction, to really get where we need to be, we need to take the best aspects of all three IMHO.

Sorry about that, yeah I should have.

There are some options to 'edit poll' but apparently not that one.

Never mind, the large number of "cannot vote" votes suggest it would be worth redoing the poll in the future, if we can figure out the right additional options to say cut that number in half.

Still.. Im happy to see discussion of named plans which was part of my goal.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #25 on: 06/10/2013 05:38 PM »
Well, of course the best architecture is the Platts Whipple Crater Gold Mine architecture. Am writing it up as we speak! ;)
Cool!  Can't wait to see it!  Sounds like the perfect vehicle for an NSF article.
It would be an awesome article, but even better, a great VC presentation :)

Sure, why not? Start my own power point company, and travel around the country giving spiffy presentations, schmooze with people in the space scene, raise just enough money to keep the tour going. It'd be better than having a real job! Only one problem--I'm not as good looking as Chris Lewicki! ;)
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #26 on: 06/10/2013 06:41 PM »
The number of "cannot reply" answers is also interesting. I think every poll should include that option.

I chose only options that were "on the table" in some sense...

You see, young Paduan, but you do not comprehend.  The only ideas on the table are the ones "invented there".  They have been "pre-decisionally" rigorously examined, and have been put out for public consumption.

One is "free enough" to propose one's own approach, some of these companies have done, with their independent funding source.

If you're expecting your tax dollars to make a useful proposal to the OP, your expectations will not be met in this cultural milieu.

Quote from: Kelvin, in his previous post
What if we went to the moon, started doing ISRU and then concluded methane from lunar volatiles was a much more convenient, safer fuel?

Which is a valid question, but it in turn depends on an assay of the mineral content of those craters.

At the moment 23% vote "Cannot select one of the above", so what would these people select?

As was mentioned up-thread:  Those of us with the capacity for abstract thought are votin' for "yose truly":


Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline gbaikie

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #27 on: 06/11/2013 07:52 AM »
*If NASA were directed to return to the moon, how should they do it? *

I think NASA should be going to Mars.
I think NASA on longer term should be working towards providing
Earth with energy from Space.
I think NASA should encourage/begin a market of rocket fuel
and energy market in space.
And all the above is related to need of lowering the cost of going
into space.

I don't personally care too much about NASA manned Mars. I could get as excited if the destination was Mercury, so I am not a Mars fan- in my opinion biggest thing going for it is it seems to have public support.

Biggest problem of going to Mars is there is no viable plan of doing it,
and it will cost a lot of time and cost a lot of tax dollars.

Despite there not being what what I regard as a viable plan to do Manned
Mars, chances highly favor that lots of rocket fuel will be needed to go to Mars, and therefore fuel depots will be needed. And using fuel depots
isn't something NASA does currently.

So requirement for Manned Mars will almost certainly require fuel depots.
Fuel depots in addition to allowing one to go to Mars also enable going to
any other destinations. And most importantly, fuel depots are market for
rocket fuel in space.

It is only thru competitive markets that lower costs of going into space can be achieved. And as it seems that if we did not have a satellite market, the cost of getting into space would much higher than it is currently- without satellite market the robotic/orbital missions to other planets would not exist or be far more expensive [making them more unlikely to occur].

I think NASA should explore the Moon to determine whether there is minable water and I think to get to the Moon, NASA should use fuel depots. It seems to me that NASA should have a higher priority to explore the Moon then anywhere else, because by exploring the moon
NASA can lower the costs of getting into space. NASA can lower the costs by doing the exploration needed to determine whether there is minable lunar, and if there is minable water, this can be a new market in space.

With a new markets and competition, costs of getting into space will be lowered.
In near term the costs aren't going to lower because lunar rocket fuel is cheaper, but because lunar water can mined and sold at a profit.
Just as satellite can launched at cost low enough to make them viable- and the services are not too high for the market to bear.

Said differently if lunar rocket fuel can shipped to High Earth orbit for about the same price/cost as rocket fuel can be shipped from Earth, this isn't necessarily significantly affecting the price rocket fuel at High Earth orbit. If suppose rocket fuel at high Earth is $6000 per lb, lowering costs of getting into space isn't about lower this $6000 lb price.
It's bit silly, because we don't  even know what the price is or would be would be, so either $3000 to $9000 is not what important about lower costs to get into space.
But rather you have investment money which getting a return on investment, and what follows is more investment dollars going into it or related activity.
You have trajectory of increasing investments and competition seeking ways to lower costs and gaining more market share.

Which is exactly what you would NOT have if NASA were mining lunar water. NASA mining lunar water is waste of money and time.

If NASA goes to Mars [or Mercury, if sudden shift in public opinion] then NASA could be a potential buyer for lunar rocket fuel. So NASA going to Mars, can be part of lowering the costs of getting into space. They can be one customer. In a way the fact that doing Mars will take decades is
good aspect in terms of lowering costs. And also a good thing because NASA could be enabled to spend enough time to adequately explore Mars.

Settlements in space are not too important- but settlements would indication that there is market activity in space and settlement are a market. Settlements are good symptom- rather than causal.
Some define settlement as raising children somewhere. I don't there is a need to raise children somewhere to be a settlement. It will occur eventually but we could decades of what I would call settlements which lack any children being born there.
Where children are born, isn't something we need to plan on.
Instead the focus should be lower costs to get to places like Mars.
Where children maybe born, or a pregnant martian woman might want to return to Earth to have a child. One woman might choose to stay on Mars and other woman might want to leave Mars.
Some people like raising children in the country than the city. Others might want to do the opposite. Maybe there be nursery and kindergarten on an artificial gravity settlement- not really an issue.
But there is no shortage of energy in space, so eventually, getting to or from Mars could as easy as moving to another town.
It's non-issue in the long term.

So my lunar architecture is go the Moon with robots and then crew, find minable water. Leave the Moon, then go to Mars.
The question of whether after this NASA Lunar exploration, it will be commercially mined, is question best answered once the Moon has been explored.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2013 08:37 AM by gbaikie »

Offline Spaniard

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #28 on: 06/11/2013 08:25 AM »
My choice is to industrialize space massively.

http://data.spaceappschallenge.org/aerospace.pdf

Because there is reasons to think that launch costs won't lower enough.
But robotics advanced without doubt. So, if we want real colonization, our best choice is to use local resources massively.
The Moon offer the best path for this, because we could use telepresence on near real time.
If we want a manned program, perhaps some missions to Moon and Mars coulb be build on a Apollo or Mars Direct style. But full colonization can not be done with this approach.

So... if budget allows it, two parallel programs. Massive robotics to the Moon, and austere manned program to Moon and Mars.

If we suffer budget constraints, massive robotics only (and manned to LEO, to only maintain the manned programs "frozen") , because the capacity of space manufacturing will flourish to some point enough to drop the costs of supplies beyond LEO, to drop the costs of the manned programs.

A only manned program would lead inevitably to a dead end by costs overruns.

But massive robotics need a different approach that now we have. A lot of similar machines deliveried on the same place oriented to industrialization, not exploration.

The document I linked at first is the basic idea.

Offline gbaikie

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #29 on: 06/11/2013 11:03 PM »
My choice is to industrialize space massively

http://data.spaceappschallenge.org/aerospace.pdf

Because there is reasons to think that launch costs won't lower enough.
But robotics advanced without doubt. So, if we want real colonization, our best choice is to use local resources massively.
The Moon offer the best path for this, because we could use telepresence on near real time.
If we want a manned program, perhaps some missions to Moon and Mars coulb be build on a Apollo or Mars Direct style. But full colonization can not be done with this approach.

It seems to me that it's NASA task to explore space so that any industrialization of space can occur [sooner]. And that industrialization of space will be related energy production in space- as industrialization of Earth is also dependent upon energy production.
I believe energy production in space will related to current energy demands in space- which are largely related to chemical energy of rocket fuel.
In our solar system we have lots of water and lots of solar energy and
water is relatively easy to mine.
It seems that in comparison to Earth's use of energy, if there was tiny amount energy available in Space- such as to equal 100 to 1000 tons of rocket fuel per year this would significantly effect the costs of getting into space.
Considering such small quantities, and the Moon possibly having millions of tons of minable water with a gross worth of hundred billions of dollar.
The Moon seems like good location as beginning of the industrialization of the space environment.

On Earth 1 million ton of water is insignificant- a small lake, a swamp, amount water flowing down a river in one day. A cubic km of water is
a billion tons. We live on water planet with massive amount of water falls from the sky and even areas which have a drought of water, water is relatively cheap commodity.
There is a lot of water on Earth, very little on the Moon, and though Mars has hundreds of times more water than the Moon, Mars is very parched planet in comparison to Earth. But of the space rocks inside Jupiter's orbit, there is probably more water than all the oceans of Earth- and in our entire solar system thousands of Earth oceans of water.

So probably enough water on the Moon for the beginning of a industrial
process which result in the cost of getting into space being expensive
but at a price range which the middle class could afford. So access to space by middle class, instead space being accessible by billionaires and governments.

So NASA job is not to industrialize space. NASA job is to explore space
in such a manner that it will lead to industrialization of space. Or NASA's
job is to do things which develop markets in space which lead to an ever
increasing level of industrialization- or said differently, an ever increasing production of energy in space.

So exploring the Moon to determine if and where there is minable water is
something which is NASA's duty to do. As finding minable water, provides an opportunity for this water to be mined and sold as rocket fuel to anyone who needs it.
Since the Moon is close to Earth, it seems teleoperation will be used as part of NASA exploration of the Moon, and for the steps towards increasing levels of industrialization of the Moon. Which would begin with mostly, being about making easier to get to the Moon.

What draws into development in regions on Earth is access to enough electrical energy and at a reasonable cost. With Moon if one gets price of electrical power as low, so it's only about 10 times the typical electrical costs on Earth, this will significantly increase the access to the Moon.

Quote
So... if budget allows it, two parallel programs. Massive robotics to the Moon, and austere manned program to Moon and Mars.
When talking about NASA and budget of +15 billion dollars per year, austere programs are not so much attempts estimate costs as it has to
with years that NASA is engaged in doing it.
So a major lunar robotic program prior to and leading to the Manned Lunar program. And from start to finish of both lunar robotic and Manned finished within a decade {so roughly 1/2 total money 75% years being robotic or more than "normal" weighed in robotics. And also Mars might be around 1/2 and 1/2}.

Edit: Fuel depots could/should be considered as mostly robotic- if add in fuel depots in terms of time of lunar program- then about 15 year in total and depots should be started now, as in started yesterday.
So, 2013 + 15, by 2028, NASA being done with it's lunar exploration program- or sooner.
PS: if one has a major robotic program- fuel depots would be more easily seen as part of robotic program. You use fuel depots for robotic as well as manned- and of having such a thing as manned fuel depot is not the direction to go in [it's like imagining Manned GEO satellites].


Mars is much further away than the Moon. It has limited times in which anything can sent there. And compared to the lunar polar region, vast amount of area to explore. Or all this adds up to requiring more time to explore Mars.
So an idea of exploring Mars within a decade of time, just means flags and footprint- mostly a stunt. With very little exploration done per total dollar spent.
So less than 10 years is mostly a waste of money and time.
So if going to explore Mars, it should be something done over decades and it will be expensive- more expensive than any other NASA program, and that includes the Shuttle program.

« Last Edit: 06/12/2013 09:31 AM by gbaikie »

Offline Rhyshaelkan

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #30 on: 07/06/2013 07:48 PM »
In the end I voted for Spudis & Lavoie. The plan is great and flexible. The only issue I have with it is it is based on a political system with a short shelf-life.

While no NGO or private group has stepped up yet, I see them as the true future for making mankind an extraterrestrial species.


In the end it comes down to ISRU. Using space resources for space needs. Instead of launching everything from Earth. Build industry in space to manufacture what you need from space resources. However you cannot put the cart before the horse. So you need a step by step plan. This is handily done with the Spudis & Lavoie plan.
I am not a professional. Just a rational amateur dreaming of mankind exploiting the universe.

Offline HappyMartian

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #31 on: 07/07/2013 10:59 AM »
I chose Spudis and Lavoie, as it at least builds something that makes future spaceflight better.



Amen!
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #32 on: 07/07/2013 01:14 PM »
If NASA goes to Mars [or Mercury, if sudden shift in public opinion] ...

Good point.  As I've mentioned, the public needs to know if the fish on Mercury contain Earth.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline rusty

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #33 on: 07/08/2013 01:00 PM »
Cannot select one. If there was one as a starting point, it would be --

Early Lunar Access: LEO rendezvous followed by direct to surface landing of equipment and Hab followed by manned missions. Establishes a reusable Lunar Base camp, but Crew Vehicle is single use.

-- except I would include a LLO depot (highly elliptical, precessing polar orbit) and reusable lander, similar to --

Boeing: EML2 or HLO Station and Depot with fully reusable Lander.

-- Unmanned supplies, fuel and surface equipment would be brought to the depot from LEO via solar electric and transported to the surface using the same lander devoid of habitat module. At a later date and at polar locations in situ production begins, similar to --

Spudis and Lavoie: Establish LEO Depot. Begin teleoperated robotic mining, refining and storage operation near the poles for water and propellant. Lunar Base landed and robotically assembled. Manned missions follow to determine feasibility of increasing production, agriculture, construction and/or production using local materials.

-- This includes eventually using the same solar tugs that carry supplies to LLO, to transport propellant to LEO for manned missions.

=======================================================

Of the plans I consider nonviable, I'd group together the flags and footprints --

Constellation: Apollo Grande repeated one and done missions.
DIRECT: Apollo Nuevo essentially the same as Constellation.
Golden Spike: Apollo Pico using LLO rendezvous of 2man Capsule and Lander.

-- and completely dismiss the space industry welfare without a mission --

ACES: Two Depots in LEO and at EML2 with regular, multiple fuel transfers. Reusable surface/ascent Hab parked at EML2, but single use Lander. Significant waste through extra systems (engines, tanks, etc) and low efficiency design.

Offline rusty

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #34 on: 07/09/2013 05:24 AM »
FYI: I went into greater detail, including design, masses and delta-V of my above lunar architecture over a year ago on page20 of the Altair Alternatives thread.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19189.0

It received no responses other than the predictable "EML/Gateway or bust", but I still believe it, including LLO staging and full reuse, is not only best, but only option for sustainable Lunar presence.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #35 on: 07/09/2013 08:06 AM »
Hi Rusty,
Here is a link to your first post on page 20. (you can can r-click a message title and select "copy link address", then paste it)
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19189.msg874979#msg874979

Offline ciscosdad

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #36 on: 07/09/2013 11:09 PM »
I Selected option 8.
(I'd actually be happy if they just adopted ANY of them).
I think they should contact Elon and tell him and Golden Spike to implement a program. Then just leave them to it (after we tell congress to butt out..)


Yeah I know. Never going to happen.




Offline HappyMartian

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #37 on: 07/10/2013 05:19 AM »
I Selected option 8.
(I'd actually be happy if they just adopted ANY of them).
I think they should contact Elon and tell him and Golden Spike to implement a program. Then just leave them to it (after we tell congress to butt out..)


Yeah I know. Never going to happen.


"Never"?

Congress controls the money and has already politely told the BTDT anti-Moon President "to butt out.."

See: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 also known as PUBLIC LAW 111–267—OCT. 11, 2010
At: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/649377main_PL_111-267.pdf.

Congress has in the past seen the Moon as valuable for the development of cislunar space and has put that perspective into American law. Elon and Golden Spike should be very busy if all of cislunar space is developed as per public law. We are a nation that follows the law, aren't we?

The President makes speeches but doesn't control the money.

Mars is far away and far more costly than international Lunar missions. The Moon is where we are going, one way or another. 
"The Moon is the most accessible destination for realizing commercial, exploration and scientific objectives beyond low Earth orbit." - LEAG

Offline rusty

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #38 on: 07/11/2013 11:22 AM »
Hi Rusty, Here is a link to your first post on page 20.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19189.msg874979#msg874979

Thanks for that, but a few things should be pointed out.
a) There's two weeks of posts missing predating mine, notable by me quoting one from Clongton that no longer exists. Another was my own mentioning polar LLO is accessible all the time, not every two weeks, and the link to stable orbits.
b) It's been a year and I'm a tinkerer, so the masses and delta-v's do not apply to my current iteration.

b1) As mentioned above, I've gone to an elliptical orbit to reduce inclination change delta-v / increase possible inclination change. From either the 86 or 76 degree inclination proposed both poles, the Apollo 15 site and equatorial far side remain accessible, but much more of the surface as well now.
b2) I've increased the mass and function of the tunnel airlock incorporated into the lander. While before it was for docking and emergency ascent, now it can be used regularly for descent and ascent allowing habs to be left on the surface and retrieved later.

Other than that the design remains the same including the three top-mounted, removable tanks containing +15mt propellant total and the removable hab or cargo hung below. As the tanks are mostly reused, the ability to disconnect the hab and return with only one functional tank is a major safety benefit, as well as scaling the number of tanks to sortie.
« Last Edit: 07/11/2013 11:25 AM by rusty »

Offline floss

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Re: Best NASA lunar architecture for today
« Reply #39 on: 07/15/2013 10:56 AM »
How does placing three Bigalo BA 2100 at L1 and renting out space to satellite maintenance companies , fuel depot  companies and foreign states .

A cots style program to provide supplies . And leave the lunar lander till much later.

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