Author Topic: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid  (Read 116705 times)

Online Robotbeat

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Here's a thread to discussion Lockheed Martin's CRS-2 bid and the "Jupiter" reusable/refuelable space tug.
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/ssc/crs2.html
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Offline Bob Shaw

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #1 on: 03/13/2015 11:24 pm »
Overly complex, and a solution seeking a market.



Online Robotbeat

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #2 on: 03/13/2015 11:37 pm »
Overly complex, and a solution seeking a market.
Huh?

Currently, Cygnus dumps an entire, perfectly good spacecraft into the ocean every mission. That's needlessly wasteful. And how complex is it to build a dozen spacecraft, when you really only need to build one?

I mean, I suppose we should just scuttle Chinese cargo ships when the reach the US, because hey, it's overly complex to reuse them.

NASA needs a capability like this. ISS could have been built this way (or at least finished). Jim has a thread on the topic somewhere on this site. It's essentially a robotic and FAR cheaper version of what Shuttle did with logistics flights to ISS, just with a shorter version of MPLM (although there's no reason in principle they couldn't use a whole MPLM sized container, especially once the tug is placed in orbit).
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

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #3 on: 03/13/2015 11:39 pm »
...a solution seeking a market.
It's bidding on CRS-2, but I suppose that doesn't count.
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #4 on: 03/13/2015 11:41 pm »
I mean, I suppose we should just scuttle Chinese cargo ships when the reach the US, because hey, it's overly complex to reuse them.

As I understand it, there's an abundance of cargo containers in many places in the world as it's cheaper to send the cargo ship back unloaded and no shortage of cargo container makers in China.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline robertross

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #5 on: 03/13/2015 11:42 pm »
Thanks for the splinter thread.

I've been thinking this over for the last day, and that suspicious part of my mind finds this concept not entirely in line with CRS.

What it does fall in line with is the other notes discussed in the CRS thread: Hubble & satellite servicing,

But the biggest is autonomous (or tele-operated) functions.

Let's start with Hubble: It needs a de-orbit plan, and this could be a secondary aid in that goal to ensure all goes well for a deorbit module.

Second, what about ISS EOM? There is lots of life left in ISS, but whether Russia is on board or not has a major role in its future, as does major ORU replacement, a deorbit plan, a secondary station out of certain modules already up there. There are some interesting possibilities with Jupiter.

Orion & BEO. Orion's SM does not have an arm. There can be a case made for certain Mars mission assembly requirements where using this type of spacecraft advances the state-of-the-art, or at the very least keeps the money flowing to the companies that could be keep to making it happen. MDA certainly needs 'skin in the game' to keep a keen edge on space robotics (not that I mind as a Canadian for a Canadian technology).  ;)

I'm also thinking there could be some military requirements that we don't necessarily know about, but nevertheless exist, for a technology employing a robotic arm (although the X-37 probably has that sewn up) probably not for something in plain view of earth-based observers.

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #6 on: 03/13/2015 11:53 pm »
I mean, I suppose we should just scuttle Chinese cargo ships when the reach the US, because hey, it's overly complex to reuse them.

As I understand it, there's an abundance of cargo containers in many places in the world as it's cheaper to send the cargo ship back unloaded and no shortage of cargo container makers in China.
Perfect analogy. Cheap metal boxes (i.e. the cargo modules) are cheap, the actual vehicle (i.e. Jupiter) is not.

The whole concept is the epitome of the "80-20" rule. You get 80% of the benefit of reuse with 20% of the dev costs.
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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

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #7 on: 03/13/2015 11:56 pm »
Has no one acknowledged the similarities between this concept and Shuttle's ISS logistics flights?
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 jongoff

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #8 on: 03/14/2015 12:01 am »
(Transferred from CRS-2 thread post)

Keep in mind that with a precision launch, Jupiter does not need to do too much more then in/out of the KOS. In theory.

And the chief issue with use of the US is the lifetime of the stage - within hours (or less) you want to do the swap and disposal.

If ULA can get IVF working for Centaur, both of these issues get a lot easier. IVF has much better in-space maneuvering capability than the existing Centaur, and mission durations can be a lot longer if necessary. Though you probably want to keep the deliveries brief anyway to minimize requirements on the cargo pod.

~Jon

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #9 on: 03/14/2015 12:04 am »
Old NSF space tug thread from *gasp* 2005 that reviews some similar older space tug concepts:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=684.0

EDIT: If anyone can find Jim's old thread about building/completing ISS without Shuttle using something like this, please post it here.
« Last Edit: 03/14/2015 12:07 am by Robotbeat »
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Offline jongoff

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #10 on: 03/14/2015 12:08 am »
Overly complex, and a solution seeking a market.

The key questions are what does this do for delivery price of cargo, and is it too complex to work reliably. Complexity isn't always bad, especially if it enables more affordable operations. Nova/Direct Ascent would've been a lot simpler than Saturn V/LOR for Apollo, but it made the mission actually feasible. I don't think a tug system like this will noticeably decrease the probability of a successful mission--sure it will decrease it somewhat, but is it enough to ever matter? If the answer is no, then the savings of not tossing the spacecraft bus every time, and require less "wrapper" to be launched each time could actually make it very worthwhile. Not to mention as someone else mentioned, this would be a great way to launch new modules to the ISS or other facilities.

~Jon

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #11 on: 03/14/2015 12:14 am »
Ah, found it:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=11968.5
(In it, Jim actually said he didn't think arms would be needed for crew transport craft.)

But yeah, this would make assembling a new station somewhere else a piece of cake. It's like the best parts of Shuttle (from a station logistics standpoint) kind of distilled down into the least expensive form.
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #12 on: 03/14/2015 12:54 am »
Another item for reuse - MAVEN bus already has fine pointing because its a sensor platform. If you're going to develop any imaging/sensor sat, one of the hardest parts is such a capability.

So lets say part of the payload delivered to orbit includes a sensor platform that occupies Jupiter for a few months, then is discarded and another put in its place. You could develop new sats more quickly/cheaply, because you wouldn't need to prove the platform each time in space avoiding commissioning time/cost.

So there would be a number of markets alone for this in commercial, institutional, and national security.

Offline Steam Chaser

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #13 on: 03/14/2015 01:06 am »
Overly complex, and a solution seeking a market.

I don't think a tug system like this will noticeably decrease the probability of a successful mission--sure it will decrease it somewhat, but is it enough to ever matter? If the answer is no, then the savings of not tossing the spacecraft bus every time, and require less "wrapper" to be launched each time could actually make it very worthwhile.

For reliability concerns, I wonder if it would be worth it to have a second copy of the Jupiter tug module on standby in case of problems with the first?

Offline WindnWar

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #14 on: 03/14/2015 01:14 am »
I'd be curious how they can prove the reliability of the Jupiter tug, if there are rendezvous issues or equipment failures on the tug, you'll need to replace it, as if it fails its not like you can dock it at the ISS for repairs by itself, it might not even be allowed near the ISS if redundancy in equipment is lost, if they guess wrong on how often it'll have to be replaced the cost will go up quite a bit. We have seen various failures of equipment on the ATV during it's time on orbit, and most of that time was docked, this will be far more complex.

I like the concept, I'm just not sure how you prove the risk is worth it for this mission. 

Offline joek

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #15 on: 03/14/2015 01:18 am »
NASA needs a capability like this. ISS could have been built this way (or at least finished). Jim has a thread on the topic somewhere on this site. It's essentially a robotic and FAR cheaper version of what Shuttle did with logistics flights to ISS, just with a shorter version of MPLM (although there's no reason in principle they couldn't use a whole MPLM sized container, especially once the tug is placed in orbit).

The CRS-2 evaluation criteria does not care about fuzzy NASA future or potential needs; it cares only about meeting CRS-2 requirements at the lowest cost and risk, as spelled out in the CRS-2 RFP.

If LM can make a competitive bid that addresses CRS-2 requirements and is competitive, wonderful and more power to them.  If LM cannot make a competitive bid that addresses CRS-2 requirements and which is competitive, its ability to meet future or potential NASA needs is irrelevant with respect to CRS-2.

While I agree that LM's proposal has great potential, I have doubts that it will competitive for CRS-2.  In any case, I look forward to reading the CRS-2 selection statement.

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #16 on: 03/14/2015 01:22 am »
I never claimed NASA would judge it based on future use.

But why do people think this wouldn't be competitive? Earlier, I showed my math about how I thought it would be competitive, so put up some homework to show why you think otherwise.
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Offline nadreck

For reliability concerns, I wonder if it would be worth it to have a second copy of the Jupiter tug module on standby in case of problems with the first?

I definitely see redundancy for ISS support. As well if you were using the Jupiter-Electric (or similar) as a tender for a seriously multi planar LEO/MEO satellite constellation you might have a tender on ever other plane but know that for a little penalty of added time it could deliver service/replacement one more plane over, and of course collect duds for deorbitiing.

I'd be curious how they can prove the reliability of the Jupiter tug, if there are rendezvous issues or equipment failures on the tug, you'll need to replace it, as if it fails its not like you can dock it at the ISS for repairs by itself, it might not even be allowed near the ISS if redundancy in equipment is lost, if they guess wrong on how often it'll have to be replaced the cost will go up quite a bit. We have seen various failures of equipment on the ATV during it's time on orbit, and most of that time was docked, this will be far more complex.

I like the concept, I'm just not sure how you prove the risk is worth it for this mission. 

The reliability is based on the experience with the individual component hardware systems: the MAVEN bus, the arm, etc. all those systems have already been tested with plenty of on orbit time. The combination may require some engineering analysis, but we are not talking anything more rigorous than mating a different comms system to the Boeing 702 bus.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline WindnWar

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #18 on: 03/14/2015 01:43 am »
For reliability concerns, I wonder if it would be worth it to have a second copy of the Jupiter tug module on standby in case of problems with the first?

I definitely see redundancy for ISS support. As well if you were using the Jupiter-Electric (or similar) as a tender for a seriously multi planar LEO/MEO satellite constellation you might have a tender on ever other plane but know that for a little penalty of added time it could deliver service/replacement one more plane over, and of course collect duds for deorbitiing.

I'd be curious how they can prove the reliability of the Jupiter tug, if there are rendezvous issues or equipment failures on the tug, you'll need to replace it, as if it fails its not like you can dock it at the ISS for repairs by itself, it might not even be allowed near the ISS if redundancy in equipment is lost, if they guess wrong on how often it'll have to be replaced the cost will go up quite a bit. We have seen various failures of equipment on the ATV during it's time on orbit, and most of that time was docked, this will be far more complex.

I like the concept, I'm just not sure how you prove the risk is worth it for this mission. 

The reliability is based on the experience with the individual component hardware systems: the MAVEN bus, the arm, etc. all those systems have already been tested with plenty of on orbit time. The combination may require some engineering analysis, but we are not talking anything more rigorous than mating a different comms system to the Boeing 702 bus.

Except it'll be used in a very different manner. It'll need to perform long burns many more times than the bus it's based on normally would if it is used multiple times, it'll need to refuel, something not proven on orbit at all, it'll need to do precision on orbit rendezvous, also not tested with this bus to both the station and to the cargo pods, and it introduces and additional docking that if failed prevents the mission from succeeding. Like I said, the concept is interesting but given the complexities without on orbit testing of it in a complete package, I don't see how they can convince NASA that the risks would be worth it for this mission.

Offline joek

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Re: Lockheed Martin's "Jupiter" reusable space tug, CRS-2 bid
« Reply #19 on: 03/14/2015 01:50 am »
I never claimed NASA would judge it based on future use.
Granted, but future capability seems to be a recurring theme in why people are excited about it, no?  So let's take any future capability off the table and look at it in the cold hard light of CRS-2 requirements and the competitors...

Quote
But why do people think this wouldn't be competitive? Earlier, I showed my math about how I thought it would be competitive, so put up some homework to show why you think otherwise.
Because it is new development, competing with systems which have already been developed and certified.  That does not mean it cannot be competitive, simply that it has a higher hill to climb, with attendant cost and risk.

Taken as a single system capable of satisfying most needs, maybe it is competitive.  However, it is extremely unlikely that Jupiter et. al. would the only system in the equation; it would likely be in addition to an existing capability or capabilities (especially given that it is new and higher risk, at least in the near term).

So what is the cost of the delta capability Jupiter provides?  Given that there will be at least one other provider, and possibly more than on other provider in the equation, is it higher or lower than, e.g., Cygnus+?  That is far from clear.

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