Author Topic: Modular Interiors  (Read 1166 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

Offline 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.

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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: Today at 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.

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