Author Topic: Modular Interiors  (Read 1920 times)

Offline sanman

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Modular Interiors
« on: 08/09/2018 05:54 AM »
For a suitably large spacecraft (BFS? New Armstrong?), would the idea of modular interiors be practical, feasible, desirable, useful?

Airbus has a project called "Transpose" under development to make modular interiors for cargo planes that would make them suitable for passengers:














Could something like this work for a large enough upper stage on a rocket?

Consider that such modules could be offloaded at the destination, to provide ready-made quarters / facilities for personnel.

A vehicle could then become more versatile / multi-purpose, and able to be re-tasked for different mission types, whether for cargo or passengers, or some flexible combination.

What are the pro's, cons, and challenges for this idea?

Could this be part of the future of spaceflight?

https://flytranspose.com/
« Last Edit: 08/09/2018 06:53 AM by sanman »

Online speedevil

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #1 on: 08/09/2018 10:44 AM »
For a suitably large spacecraft (BFS? New Armstrong?), would the idea of modular interiors be practical, feasible, desirable, useful?
The BFS which was shown in the 2017 presentation has something like 33 2.4m or so roughly cubic modules, 55 if you delete the 'nice' crew areas.

If these were attached to circumferential rails, and one longitudinal rail, these can be rapidly swapped out - perhaps even to allow pre-loaded passenger cabins to be loaded, flexibly, pre-weighed, along with cargo, instead of passengers getting on and off.

They fit easily through the ~3.6m wide door also shown.

Another couple of rows of cabins can be fitted below the ones shown, taking us to 55 modules.
These can fit for example 6 people in modest comfort for short duration (end entry, 1.2*80cm*2.4m), with crew access at the far end.
Or 2 people who can actually look out the windows and are probably allowed out for other than emergencies.
Or around 15, in 3*5 dense rows of seating, comparably dense to economy seating on aircraft.  (825 total).

As well as any mix of cargo, changable rapidly per flight, and probably loadable faster than fuel.

Changing over from passenger to light orbital cargo (Up to three payloads that fit  in a 3.5*3.5*8m envelope) is very fast, and in principle 'small' sats (that fit in one cube) could be dumped out on passenger flights.

It's not clear if you'd want to entirely rip everything out for mars, or if this could be more or less a days work, adding some long duration solar panels and ...

Of course, the illustration could be entirely notional, and there be no desire to do anything like this.

But it would enable everything from passenger/cargo mixes, to fully custom capsules for those that desire to travel in style.
It does of course cost mass. But, it could - done right - vastly speed up loading and reconfiguration, which might be worth it.

As your upper stage gets larger, reconfiguring payloads you want into rigidly segmented things becomes less of an issue.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #2 on: 08/09/2018 11:59 AM »
Modular interiors may be useful in fitting out large spacestations and habitats. The outer shell of a wheel spacestation could be taken up 'flat' and assembled in space. Over several years the inside could them be filled in using several types of module. The thick outer shell of habits could be made from local materials.

Offline ThereIWas3

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #3 on: 08/09/2018 12:52 PM »
I think something like this is used on modern cruise ships.
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Online RonM

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #4 on: 08/09/2018 02:17 PM »
As mentioned in the OP, the modules can removed and used at the Mars settlement. A dedicated passenger BFS would be wasting cargo capacity to Mars by returning the cabins, furniture, etc. to Earth. Modular passenger spaces provide useful equipment and materials.

Online speedevil

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #5 on: 08/09/2018 04:54 PM »
As mentioned in the OP, the modules can removed and used at the Mars settlement. A dedicated passenger BFS would be wasting cargo capacity to Mars by returning the cabins, furniture, etc. to Earth. Modular passenger spaces provide useful equipment and materials.

If cargo BFS numbers are dominating crew, and there is a ramp in flight rate, and you have some people wanting to come back, with semi-reasonable assumptions it is plausible that you will always have a full or mostly full passenger craft on the way back, which will obviously need crew comfort features.

The idea on its face seems to make sense - though the other rather less modular 'big cargo capsule and hinged nose' also has its own plusses.

Offline sanman

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #6 on: 08/09/2018 09:25 PM »
If we include the Moon in the discussion, then presumably traffic will be much more frequent, since travel time is much shorter and there are no proximity-based synods to constrain things. If BFR, New Armstrong, etc are capable of being utilized for both Moon and Mars missions reusably, it would probably make most sense to give them shakedowns via lunar flights ahead of Mars synods.

The difference in lunar and martian mission types alone could justify the use of swappable modules custom-made for their specific voyages. Differences in travel time could mean associated differences in radiation exposure, perhaps warranting different levels of shielding. (What about excursions out to the asteroid belt?)

Or, differences in consumer types - a group of billionaires flying together, as opposed to a group of scientists - might also make the case for modules that cater to different levels of flight experience.

What if there were people with injuries or medical problems needing urgent transport back to Earth for care? You could have custom medical modules designed to provide the sort of care they require while in transit.

Plus, at higher flight frequencies for the Moon, it would be easier/safer to swap out modules than clean up the interior of a rocket in between flights.

While cost efficiencies can be one factor, the pursuit of different market segments simultaneously can also be be another motivating factor.
« Last Edit: 08/09/2018 09:49 PM by sanman »

Offline sanman

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #7 on: 08/13/2018 04:44 AM »
As per the Transpose videos above, modular interiors were shown with a semi-circular cross section (almost like quonset huts) which can be wheeled into the upper half of the horizontal tube that is an aircraft fuselage.

But a large upright upper stage (eg. BFS/NewArmstrong) would be a large vertical cylinder, not a horizontal one. How could modular interiors be done in this case? Would they be short puck-shaped cylinder sections that somehow get pushed inside the fuselage?

The BFR video shows passengers boarding the vehicle via an elevator tower and bridge/walkway. How would the same thing be done if the passengers were pre-boarded inside passenger modules? I'm imagining the elevator tower transformed into a giant "pez dispenser", loading modules into the cargo-clamshell version of BFR.

(Hmm, somehow it seems to vaguely resemble a Hyperloop pod loading scenario, but with vertical stacking rather than horizontal)

What are the best solutions for module shapes, as well as the loading/unloading of modules?
« Last Edit: 08/13/2018 04:57 AM by sanman »

Online speedevil

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #8 on: 08/13/2018 09:33 AM »
As per the Transpose videos above, modular interiors were shown with a semi-circular cross section (almost like quonset huts) which can be wheeled into the upper half of the horizontal tube that is an aircraft fuselage.

But a large upright upper stage (eg. BFS/NewArmstrong) would be a large vertical cylinder, not a horizontal one. How could modular interiors be done in this case? Would they be short puck-shaped cylinder sections that somehow get pushed inside the fuselage?

The BFR video shows passengers boarding the vehicle via an elevator tower and bridge/walkway. How would the same thing be done if the passengers were pre-boarded inside passenger modules?
Place rails around the circumference every module-height (modules around 2.4m cubes), with a couple of vertical rails at either end.
Module is slid into airlock, and engages with the vertical rail next to the airlock and is slid up it, before being slid along the correct horizontal rail.
(actual shape has inner side about half the width of the outer one, for obvious reasons.)

Long modules could span both vertical rails, and allow easy loading of 3.5*3.5*8m or so cargo, at the cost of most or all passenger features. Existing satellites nearly all fit in this envelope.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #9 on: 08/16/2018 08:30 PM »
A hint for modulair module interiors: look for the NASA concept: RAF Random Acces Frames.
A very good alternative for ISPR's. I'm amazed that NASA didn't test this in PMM.
« Last Edit: 08/16/2018 09:04 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline sanman

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #10 on: 08/17/2018 04:11 AM »
This is what came up first:

https://archinect.com/RMSaet/project/raf-ii-dshab-random-access-frame-2-deep-space-habitat

So it also naturally compartmentalizes the interior of the spacecraft, which can limit danger in the event of depressurization.

Offline colbourne

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #11 on: 08/17/2018 06:32 AM »
When setting up a base on Mars I would expect the number of spaceships arriving from Earth to vastly outnumber the number returning to Earth, mainly due to the need to refuel the craft on Mars.
This is a waste of the craft sitting on Mars waiting to be re-fueled.
I suggest stripping most of the ships down on Mars and removing all the expensive equipment eg. rocket motors, pumps , electronics etc. that will have little use to the colony, and then placing these onto one ship which can return to Earth.
Almost everything else will be of value on Mars , so it is  a waste to send so much material back to Earth while the base is still being established. If designed correctly the space ships can be converted into habitats on Mars. The more modular  the ships the easier the dissassembly will be and also the easier the reassembly of the ships on Earth will be.


Offline sanman

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #12 on: 08/17/2018 06:50 AM »
If this kind of modular interior approach were taken, then wouldn't you really only just need to make the Tanker version of BFS and a (non-Tanker) Cargo clamshell version? You wouldn't really need any "passenger" version, because you'd just use your Cargo (clamshell) version and put the appropriate passenger modules in there. The clamshell would enable more flexibility on the size/geometry of the interior modules, for ease of loading/unloading.

But then again, Musk said he didn't like "box inside of box" when it came to fuel tankage - so would he be averse to "box inside of box" for interior modules?

Online speedevil

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #13 on: 08/17/2018 09:43 AM »
But then again, Musk said he didn't like "box inside of box" when it came to fuel tankage - so would he be averse to "box inside of box" for interior modules?
Box inside of box is not because he hates boxes.
It's because for the propellant tanks, it causes several issues, and adds weight. (It may also solve some issues, but...)

Box in box, for interiors, may have more pluses than minuses.
Either little boxes - 2-3m on a side, which can go out a small hatch.
Or large boxes taking up most of the volume of the cargo compartment and requiring a big door.

They add lots of flexibility between going between configurations, and that may be very valuable for service inside the moon, where loading and unloading quickly are important.

Offline Darren_Hensley

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #14 on: 08/17/2018 03:58 PM »
A hint for modulair module interiors: look for the NASA concept: RAF Random Acces Frames.
A very good alternative for ISPR's. I'm amazed that NASA didn't test this in PMM.

I found RAF to be incredibly inefficient, IMO. You have to move too many items to get at what you want to do. Even though some of the areas are permanent, just not enough space for daily operations. The 80" tunnel created by ISPRs is really the best solution for work space and access to the work areas.
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Offline MickQ

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #15 on: 08/18/2018 11:13 AM »
As per the Transpose videos above, modular interiors were shown with a semi-circular cross section (almost like quonset huts) which can be wheeled into the upper half of the horizontal tube that is an aircraft fuselage.

But a large upright upper stage (eg. BFS/NewArmstrong) would be a large vertical cylinder, not a horizontal one. How could modular interiors be done in this case? Would they be short puck-shaped cylinder sections that somehow get pushed inside the fuselage?

The BFR video shows passengers boarding the vehicle via an elevator tower and bridge/walkway. How would the same thing be done if the passengers were pre-boarded inside passenger modules? I'm imagining the elevator tower transformed into a giant "pez dispenser", loading modules into the cargo-clamshell version of BFR.

(Hmm, somehow it seems to vaguely resemble a Hyperloop pod loading scenario, but with vertical stacking rather than horizontal)

What are the best solutions for module shapes, as well as the loading/unloading of modules?

Eight or twelve pie wedge shaped modules per level.  Loaded individually thru a single hatch and moved sideways around the circle to allow the next module to enter.  Reverse for unloading.  Truncate the pointy ends of the wedges to fit doors opening onto a central shaft linking all the different levels.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Modular Interiors
« Reply #16 on: 08/23/2018 10:57 PM »
I found RAF to be incredibly inefficient, IMO. You have to move too many items to get at what you want to do. Even though some of the areas are permanent, just not enough space for daily operations. The 80" tunnel created by ISPRs is really the best solution for work space and access to the work areas.
Do you have actual experiance with the hardware? (I don't)
I agree narrowing the 80x80" (2x2m)tunnel is a bad idea. The ISS modules have a diameter of about 4,5m (15ft), if you extend the radius to <7m placing two rows of racks behind another might be the best option. I think this is the best option for the radial expending modules from Bigelow Aerospace. When the diameter expands further; it's most probably beter to make multiple tunnels. For example the core can be filled up besides the outside. Possibly the  space between the core and the outside can also be filled up with some passage locations. I've not looked at these very wide modules. I've added a simple illustration of the two rows of racks concept compared to the ISPR system. I think the spaces behind the Utility truss beams can be accessed via some stowage locations with ISPR racks (hinged forward to reach behind the beams)).

For PMM I was thinking about one or two sides with the RAF system instead of ZSG's or RSR's. In one ISPR rack location the full RAF system for one side of PMM can be launched (4 ISPR racks) This will create much easier acces to stowed equipment. But to install it in PMM will take a lot of crew time (I'm assuming about a week; 40hours). One full side of PMM has to be emptied. Than a two Rails has to be mounted against the PMM utility beams (top & bottom), afterwards the RAF frames can be mounted onto the rails and stuffed with stowage items.

For a radialy expending module (for example US LAB; 6 ISPR racks high); diring launch the core can be stuffed with equipment using the RAF frames. ISPR racks (ECLSS systems) are stowed between the utility beams. In orbit, the module inflates; the ISPR's are moved back one position and the RAF Frames are placed in front of the ISPR's.

I've also added a topology of the ISS. There are in total 95 ISPR locations in the ISS,
- 34 of these can be used for science racks (currently only 28 locations utilized).
- Seven locations are used for crew equipment. (4x CQ; Galley; TVIS2 & WHC {toilet})
- 9 locations are used for Live support systems (ECLSS) after HTV-7 this will be 10.
- The Node 1, PMM and JLP can only be used for stowage 27 racks. (Galley is in node 1) AFAIK COL has three stowage locations, JPM two and LAB also two. So 34 locations can only be used for stowage. (36 if I add the Airlock)
- The other 24 locations are support systems. Most of these hardly ever have to be accessed. 

My thoughts were a reuse of components for a ISS2. Node 1 and LAB are connected to the truss; they are the core of the ISS. I think the Airlock module is also aged so I assumed it's removed as part of ISS-core. What can be reused is Node 2+COL+JPM and Node 3 & PMM. Most simple solution is the launch of one ATV derived module that's the core of ISS 2 (power generation; cooling & communication and control). But this would mean a loss of 13 science locations in LAB. So I envisioned a replacement module for LAB; same length (6 ISPR's) but using radial inflation (Bigelow Aerospace used this on the free flying demo modules). This creates 24 ISPR locations and 24 RAF locations in front of the ISPR's. The RAF's can be used to fill the tunnel; or be stored there during launch.

All these support systems for ISS 2 can be placed in the back position's. ECLSS systems can be positioned in good accesible back positions. (besides the Node 3 stuff)
In orbit for example the crew quarters can be placed on the back row. During the day they are collapsed only occupying the back position. when in use the front position is emptied. This empty position can be used during the day for acces to the back positions. The crew quarters are perfect access-points for the spaces behind the utility beams. The ISS toilet uses half the cabin area of Node 3 (2x1x1m / 80x40x40"); with the RAF system the toilet uses both the forward and back position. And the treadmills or exercise equipment can also be placed at the back positions. While the ecercize equipment is not in use, the front can be used to stow RAF's to acces the ISPR's.
Another benefit is that the RAF's can protect the science ISPR from crew bumping against the racks.
So I see more plusses than minusses. Sorry I'm very ISS minded;
I think Transfer stations using 40mT modules (<7m launch diameter) are much more practical than (ridiculously) giant launchers. If launchers & reentry systems can be reused more often; multiple launches can be made to send stuff up and bring it down. I think the Soyuz and Falcon 9 approach are the safest for crew launch, highly utilized launchers with more checks when launching humans. The SLS and BFR are NO-Go in my opinion; payload only!!!
I thing you in the US are suffering from a bigger is better syndrome. I thing segmentation is much more practical and cost effective. If you have a reusable TSTO with 20-40mT payload to LEO (or a pre staging orbit) capability. You assemble and test transfer systems there; and before earth departure bring crew there you have a much cheaper and safer system. You are also much less volume and mass constrained because the transfer system can stay in orbit. If kN force Electric propulsion gets developed; you can use >1000s ISP propulsion instead off <450s ISP. So halving the required fuel mass. (this is only for in orbit transfer maneuvers).
I'll end my space exploration fanticy here, because it's much more likely that perminant human presence in space ends when Nasa is forced to do exploration than that that the human presence doubles in the coming decade. Besides the ISS/LEO human outpost has a proven purpose for humanity. A microG fundamental and practical research platform. Exploration doesn't have a proven benefit/ purpose.
My space activity priorities are: 1) Earth observantion 2) Communications 3)GNSS/GPS 4)LEO Research station 5) scientific research satellites (telescopes). Human exploration is a subcategory of this scientific research catagory, but it's the most expansive of all. Possibly LEO space manufacturing of stuf cheaper produced in microG will be a catagory added later. I think that will go before LEO Research, but it's most likely a part of it. 

Edit to add: If the ISS has proven one thing; it's that space is bad for humans. And ECLSS systems (Live support systems are very unreliable. They break down all the time.
« Last Edit: 08/23/2018 11:02 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

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