Author Topic: Development of a Commercial LEO Station  (Read 46755 times)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #60 on: 01/21/2014 04:03 AM »
$20 million a year is enough to hire 100 people working full time at an average pay of $200,000 per year. Is that not enough to train a few dozen individuals per annum? Each person could have a small team of PhDs training them personally for 6 months ahead of time (though I'd bet this time would be greatly shortened for commercial operations let alone space tourism). That is far more than should really be required. Also, ground support costs would be tremendously simplified compared to ISS. Remember, ISS has been the centerpiece for a couple of NASA centers for a decade and a half. A commercial station would have a tiny, tiny fraction of the overhead.
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Offline DarkenedOne

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #61 on: 01/22/2014 02:25 PM »
You guys are missing the fact that the ISS cannot last forever.  From what I have seen there is still going to be demand for a space station from NASA.  Not $100 billion dollars of demand, but still some demand. 

I think a commercial partnership between NASA and some commercial entity to build a commercial space station can definitely work.  A space station with the same habitable volume as the ISS can be build with just a few of Bigelows BA-330 modules.  NASA would serve as the primary customer, and would take up most of the space with their operations.  The rest of the space station would then be rented out to various clients including other space agencies, space tourism companies like Space Adventures, and organizations looking to do research.

Online clongton

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #62 on: 01/22/2014 02:34 PM »
The price of the flight from the ground to the commercial station is totally off topic for this thread. I think we should try to stay on this excellent topic. I like what Jon had to say about free flyers. Done properly, there shouldn't be much need for a crew member to don a spacesuit and go outside. Think of the UAV fliers. They sit in a comfortable flight station and fly their aircraft from half way around the world. There's no reason we can't do that same kind of thing with a properly designed free flyer for telerobotic operations all around and on the station exterior. Commercial station designers ought to include 1 or 2 such stations in their designs. ISS would have greatly benefited from such operations. It's still "eyes and hands on the mission", just from inside the station instead of inside a spacesuit outside the station. If surgeons can perform delicate telerobotic operations on a person from thousands of miles away using properly designed "hands" and tools, there's no reason we couldn't do the same kind of delicate missions telerobotically, but from inside the station, instead of outside.
« Last Edit: 01/22/2014 02:41 PM by clongton »
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #63 on: 01/22/2014 03:17 PM »
You guys are missing the fact that the ISS cannot last forever.  From what I have seen there is still going to be demand for a space station from NASA.  Not $100 billion dollars of demand, but still some demand. 

I think a commercial partnership between NASA and some commercial entity to build a commercial space station can definitely work.  A space station with the same habitable volume as the ISS can be build with just a few of Bigelows BA-330 modules.  NASA would serve as the primary customer, and would take up most of the space with their operations.  The rest of the space station would then be rented out to various clients including other space agencies, space tourism companies like Space Adventures, and organizations looking to do research.

If ISS is replaced by a Bigelow SSA (660m3) then the rent of 550m3 which is equal to the space they currently have on ISS at a price of $1-1.5B per year to both US and Russian clients. For which US pays 2/3 of the costs or $.7B to $1B a 1/6 to 1/3 that of the current ISS US budget of $3M.

The high cost value is based on $307M per year for rental of 110m3 of space, 1 astronaut  (2 transports for 6 months stay) and csrgo support.

If US kept their budget of $3M for station operations and they rented space from a commecial station they could purchase 3 to 6 times the space for 3 to 6 times the number of astronauts currently on ISS. This would be 1100m3 to 2200m3 for US portion and 12 to 24 continuous astronauts for US and affiliate nations (Non-Russian astronauts). Basiclly 6 to 12 BA330 modules in one station. Also a total of 6 to 12 crew transport flights and 9 to 18 cargo flights.

NOTE: The low value is based on $200M per year where rental is the same but astronaut transport and cargo transport due to reuse of Dragons and LV costs of astronaut transport drops $100M because the costs to Bigelow for astronauts per seat drops from $25M to $10M and cargo per flight costs to Bigelow drops from $140M to $50M.

Offline simpl simon

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #64 on: 01/22/2014 03:28 PM »
You guys are missing the fact that the ISS cannot last forever.  From what I have seen there is still going to be demand for a space station from NASA.  Not $100 billion dollars of demand, but still some demand. 

I think a commercial partnership between NASA and some commercial entity to build a commercial space station can definitely work.  A space station with the same habitable volume as the ISS can be build with just a few of Bigelows BA-330 modules.  NASA would serve as the primary customer, and would take up most of the space with their operations.  The rest of the space station would then be rented out to various clients including other space agencies, space tourism companies like Space Adventures, and organizations looking to do research.

Can you elaborate on just what NASA's demand for a space station would be post-ISS?
Isn't NASA already moving in the direction that utilisation activities in LEO should be commercially driven? Isn't the CASIS model now adopted for ISS a sign of future LEO activities?
 

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #65 on: 01/22/2014 03:46 PM »
If NASA paid the same amount for commercial space station time (including probably sending NASA astronauts up) as they do now for just commercial crew and cargo, there'd be no problem with the business plan of a commercial space station. Even if they spent half as much (say, just $500 million), it'd still be a good deal for all parties involved. And with any other commercial space companies renting time (or orbital tourism), it'd be a no-brainer.

Heck, it might even make sense to use such facilities to help build and man a Mars transfer vehicle or some such (such as outfitting and in-orbit checking and maintenance and refurbishment when it returns).

And before someone suggests NASA wouldn't do it because it wouldn't be "NASA": About half of NASA is contractors already. NASA has no problem working with companies to accomplish research goals.
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

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #66 on: 01/22/2014 03:54 PM »
You guys are missing the fact that the ISS cannot last forever.  From what I have seen there is still going to be demand for a space station from NASA.  Not $100 billion dollars of demand, but still some demand. 

I think a commercial partnership between NASA and some commercial entity to build a commercial space station can definitely work.  A space station with the same habitable volume as the ISS can be build with just a few of Bigelows BA-330 modules.  NASA would serve as the primary customer, and would take up most of the space with their operations.  The rest of the space station would then be rented out to various clients including other space agencies, space tourism companies like Space Adventures, and organizations looking to do research.

Can you elaborate on just what NASA's demand for a space station would be post-ISS?
Isn't NASA already moving in the direction that utilisation activities in LEO should be commercially driven? Isn't the CASIS model now adopted for ISS a sign of future LEO activities?
NASA would still want to continue the microgravity research they do now. NASA spends tens of millions each year on stuff like drop towers and zero-gravity parabolic flights and the like. Probably over $100 million annually if you include vacuum chamber facilities and the like. No doubt they'd want to procure services in orbit if they were available. Heck, a commercial space station would be a great place to train astronauts for Mars or Moon (or beyond) missions, too, if the price were low enough.
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

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #67 on: 01/22/2014 04:12 PM »
You guys are missing the fact that the ISS cannot last forever.  From what I have seen there is still going to be demand for a space station from NASA.  Not $100 billion dollars of demand, but still some demand. 

I think a commercial partnership between NASA and some commercial entity to build a commercial space station can definitely work.  A space station with the same habitable volume as the ISS can be build with just a few of Bigelows BA-330 modules.  NASA would serve as the primary customer, and would take up most of the space with their operations.  The rest of the space station would then be rented out to various clients including other space agencies, space tourism companies like Space Adventures, and organizations looking to do research.

Can you elaborate on just what NASA's demand for a space station would be post-ISS?
Isn't NASA already moving in the direction that utilisation activities in LEO should be commercially driven? Isn't the CASIS model now adopted for ISS a sign of future LEO activities?

It's not so much of a technical demand but what Congress will budget for LEO operations.

When spending for something is at a certain level and it has been going steady at a flat budget for it for a decade or more (by 2024 ISS $3M budget will have continued for >2 decades), Congress is unlikely to just kill the budget for that line item. Even in the case of ISS not existing anymore. Congress would demand NASA keep spending the same amount for LEO operations whether NASA wanted to or not. Evidence of this case is the Constellation spending and SLS follow on spending to Constellation. Congress didn't want NASA to stop spending. Unlike Apollo which was a balloon budget, ISS is a "small" continuous budget portion of NASA that congressmen expect to be spent. If the changeover from direct spending to Commercial rental is done slowlly then it will not ruffle feathers. A hard abrupt changeover is more likely to result in a 0 budget.

So a flat budget of $3M per year for LEO operations, at least through 2028, and coupled with operations savings on crew transport and cargo transport could allow for the rental of space on a next door free-flyer station that could eventually be the ISS replacement.

A next door free flyer to ISS is an interesting option. The same crew transport could service both stations. Delivering 3 crew to the free-flyer and 4 to ISS. NASA could transport 7 astronauts for the price of 4, the current crew complement for crew missions to ISS. If NASA can save $.5B on crew and cargo transport costs by 2020 they could afford to rent 330m3 of yearly space on a next door free-flyer.

Offline simpl simon

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #68 on: 01/22/2014 04:31 PM »
Thanks for that post, oldAtlas_Eguy. Rather than extend the thread unnecessarily by quoting your post, I would just like to be sure that you are referring to an annual budget for LEO operations of $3B not 3M.

What about the major decision facing NASA and Congress, that the future U.S. human spaceflight program, in an era of flat budgets, can include either space exploration or LEO operations, but not both?

And that $3B per year is for ISS operations. How much does NASA actually budget for the science, I wonder?


Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #69 on: 01/22/2014 05:00 PM »
oldAtlas_guy, you mean $3B, not $3M, right?
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

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #70 on: 01/22/2014 05:09 PM »
In regards ferrying crew between ISS and commercil station, I had same idea. We had a discussion about this on another thread
while back. Conclusion was that the two stations would be stationed to far apart for this to work.

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #71 on: 01/22/2014 05:10 PM »

A next door free flyer to ISS is an interesting option. The same crew transport could service both stations. Delivering 3 crew to the free-flyer and 4 to ISS. NASA could transport 7 astronauts for the price of 4, the current crew complement for crew missions to ISS. If NASA can save $.5B on crew and cargo transport costs by 2020 they could afford to rent 330m3 of yearly space on a next door free-flyer.

That doesn't work.  One vehicle, two stations leaves one station with the crew stranded on it and without an emergency escape vehicle in the event it becomes necessary. 

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #72 on: 01/22/2014 05:37 PM »
How about a commercial expansion to the ISS? Bigelow is going to do something like that as a small scale test with BEAM. I could imagine doing this on a much greater scale with BA modules when the time is right.

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #73 on: 01/22/2014 05:45 PM »
How about a commercial expansion to the ISS? Bigelow is going to do something like that as a small scale test with BEAM. I could imagine doing this on a much greater scale with BA modules when the time is right.

Ripe with complications.  The module would essentially be parasitic to ISS.  Because ISS is the vehicle and the module is just that, all standard rules, regulations and procedures would apply to that module as every other module that make up the ISS vehicle. 

Depending on what one wants to do with this "commercial station" that could make it prohibitive. 

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #74 on: 01/22/2014 06:06 PM »

Ripe with complications.  The module would essentially be parasitic to ISS.  Because ISS is the vehicle and the module is just that, all standard rules, regulations and procedures would apply to that module as every other module that make up the ISS vehicle. 
Depending on what one wants to do with this "commercial station" that could make it prohibitive.
I am not 100% sure, but I believe that the BA modules will come with their own power supply, life support and station keeping thrusters, might also be that Bigelow wanted to do an extra module for that. Either way, they should be able to function without being parasitic to the ISS, at least as far as possible while being attached to it.

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #75 on: 01/22/2014 06:17 PM »

Ripe with complications.  The module would essentially be parasitic to ISS.  Because ISS is the vehicle and the module is just that, all standard rules, regulations and procedures would apply to that module as every other module that make up the ISS vehicle. 
Depending on what one wants to do with this "commercial station" that could make it prohibitive.
I am not 100% sure, but I believe that the BA modules will come with their own power supply, life support and station keeping thrusters, might also be that Bigelow wanted to do an extra module for that. Either way, they should be able to function without being parasitic to the ISS, at least as far as possible while being attached to it.

BEAM is not a "BA Module".  It's a test essentially.  And it won't have any of that.

Offline Jim

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #76 on: 01/22/2014 06:23 PM »
I am not 100% sure, but I believe that the BA modules will come with their own power supply, life support and station keeping thrusters, might also be that Bigelow wanted to do an extra module for that. Either way, they should be able to function without being parasitic to the ISS, at least as far as possible while being attached to it.

No, not either way. 
1. It won't be function while attached to the ISS
2. It would be parastic.

And this is why they would be incapable with the ISS. 
1.  Where is the power "supply" going to come from?  Solar arrays?  Not feasible.  There would be shadowing on the ISS and from the ISS.  Same goes for radiators.
2.  Life support?   Can't have an independent system from the ISS, it must be integrated to ensure proper conditions
3.  Thrusters?  Why would they be needed when part of the ISS?

And the reason why another module added to the USOS is not feasible:  No resources (power, cooling, etc) available to the another module.  See what is being done with BEAM.
« Last Edit: 01/22/2014 06:26 PM by Jim »

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #77 on: 01/22/2014 06:51 PM »
I am not 100% sure, but I believe that the BA modules will come with their own power supply, life support and station keeping thrusters, might also be that Bigelow wanted to do an extra module for that. Either way, they should be able to function without being parasitic to the ISS, at least as far as possible while being attached to it.

No, not either way. 
1. It won't be function while attached to the ISS
2. It would be parastic.

And this is why they would be incapable with the ISS. 
1.  Where is the power "supply" going to come from?  Solar arrays?  Not feasible.  There would be shadowing on the ISS and from the ISS.  Same goes for radiators.
2.  Life support?   Can't have an independent system from the ISS, it must be integrated to ensure proper conditions
3.  Thrusters?  Why would they be needed when part of the ISS?

And the reason why another module added to the USOS is not feasible:  No resources (power, cooling, etc) available to the another module.  See what is being done with BEAM.
1. Well, the BAs do have their own solar arrays and radiators. I admit that I believe shadowing from the ISS could be a problem and I actually thought about that possibility myself. I do wonder however, whether the BA modules and solar panels could be arranged in a way that the shadowing would be at a minimum. You are right though that it probably is a problem. Is it insurmountable though?
2. Ok, that is a good point! On the other hand there are currently several different systems on different ISS modules that contribute to the ECLS. So while I agree that these systems have to be synced, this might not be an insurmountable problem.
3. I guess it makes more sense to use the thrusters of the station but maybe the BA modules can contribute in some way.

Either way, I understand the reservation and you are probably right. I am still not 100% convinced that it is so impossible though. The idea of expanding the ISS with Bigelow modules is certainly not new. I have seen it before.
« Last Edit: 01/22/2014 07:03 PM by Elmar Moelzer »

Offline Jim

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #78 on: 01/22/2014 06:56 PM »

2. Ok, that is a good point! On the other hand there are currently several different systems on different ISS modules that contribute to the ECLS. So while I agree that these systems have to be synced, this might not be an insurmountable problem.


They aren't "different", they are all part of the same integrated system.  It is just distributed.

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Development of a Commercial LEO Station
« Reply #79 on: 01/22/2014 07:02 PM »

2. Ok, that is a good point! On the other hand there are currently several different systems on different ISS modules that contribute to the ECLS. So while I agree that these systems have to be synced, this might not be an insurmountable problem.


They aren't "different", they are all part of the same integrated system.  It is just distributed.
Not trying to argue with you, but I was under the assumption that there were at least 3 different, independently activated oxygen generation systems on the ISS (on different modules), some meant as backups. Is that incorrect?

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