Author Topic: NASA Plans Bigger Moon Base, Sporty Rovers for Future Missions  (Read 29402 times)

Offline renclod

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PurduesUSAFguy - 22/9/2007  7:51 PM
If the goal of the program is go to Mars, then we should go to Mars,
The goal is to include our local star's planetary system in our economic sphere.
Or even better, in our enjoyable eco-sphere.
To go live on any body outside Earth. And come back when the fun of the trip dries up.
As the chemical propulsion is the only space flight tried and tested propulsion, Luna is one-point-five orders of magnitude closer than Mars.
In terms of resources, time is the most precious resource to each and every human.
Right now, the minimum travel to Mars and back is at 2years/70y = 1/35 of the lucky human's lifetime.
To Luna and back, say 2weeks/(70yearsx52w)= 52 times shorter.
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the lunar base is going to be a very costly detour with very little directly applicable to the program other then the nebulously termed Ďexperienceí.
Directly applicable to "the program" is the political will to experience astro bases at all, in the near future.
Right now:
- the orbital eco-sphere is a target for non-gov.
- the lunar eco-sphere is a target for governments.
- the martian eco-sphere is not a target.


Offline jongoff

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JIS,
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I'm not worried about Ares I availability. Ares 1/Orion should be quite routine flight. Ares 1/Orion will be standing ready on the pad on it's MPL attached to LUT at the moment of Ares V launch. I hope that Americans can achieve what Russians are doing with Soyuz several decades already.

And of course in your world only EELVs and commercial launchers ever suffer from last-minute glitches or scrubs...

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Not depending on extra facilities, launches, manoeuvres, docking, fuel transfer etc. doesn't make it more fragile but less complex. Keep it simple is the best way to success.

Not really.  There's a reason why staging points and way stations are used so often in other terrestrial logistics chains.  Once again though, I gave specific examples of the fragility of the ESAS planned architecture (particularly places where Loss of Crew events caused by single-point failures could be mitigated), and you just respond in platitudes.  KISS is a great principle, but can be taken too far.  There's always some complexity that buys you sufficiently large amounts of extra safety and flexibility that its worth it.  

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They make sense from some point of development. If there is a traffic between the Earth, Moon, asteroids or Mars then the lag. points are necessary.

Propellant depots in LEO make sense far earlier.  Although, even without an actual manned depot in L1 or L2, just having a small waystation that could serve as an emergency shelter in case of TEI failures would be a good start.  When I'm talking about infrastructure, I don't assume that is has to be super-massive with all the bells-and-whistles, right from the start.  I'm more assuming something more organically developed as needs and markets demand.  Ie for a propellant depot, at first it might just be a spent upper stage with some extra systems for long-term storage built in docked to a Bigelow Sundancer station.  Later, as needs develop, it could include stuff like tugs for moving stuff around, more tanks so it can carry different sorts of propellants, and eventually hangars and repair shops.  But all that develops organically in a market-driven way.

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But VSE will be mostly about one way traffic. Only crew and samples are coming back in a can on chutes. Travelling from the lunar surface to the Lagrange point requires big, heavy and complex (reusable) lunar ascend module.
Isn't better to begin with small, cheap, simple and expendable one? Nasa can build large rockets but can't build reusable lunar module (yet).  

The approach you advocate seems really similar to someone in the early 60s advocating Direct Ascent.  After all, DA architectures would've been a lot simpler, and that whole rendezvous thing could've been developed after the fact...but you and I both know what would've happened if a fetish for supposed simplicity had overruled good engineering judgement.

Lagrange based way stations don't absolutely require reusable lunar modules from the start, though that would be the smart way to do it.  And while NASA at this very second couldn't do a reusable lander, by the time they actually start the project, the start of practice in the suborbital VTVL community will be far enough along that maybe a reusable lander right from the start would make sense.

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They want to do that for ISS so why not to do that also for the lunar base one day?

Maybe because by waiting until after the fact to start soliciting private sector help, they'll have wasted most of the potential benefit?  COTS, while a good idea, is also too-little-too-late to really make ISS an affordable piece of space infrastructure.  Commercial involvement could've and should've been solicited earlier, and would've resulted in a much better, more affordable system that probably would be much larger, and more capable by now.  But NASA seems to always learn the wrong lessons from any mistake.

~Jon

Offline wingod

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MKremer - 21/9/2007  10:34 PM

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tnphysics - 21/9/2007  9:57 PM
You could set up a Mars mission such that the ISRU plant was launched first and had produced enough supplies for the entire mission by the time the manned spacecraft is launched.

Quite a big assumption - that your manned lander will actually be able to land anywhere near enough to the production base to refuel.

A challenge - if you don't think I'm correct, produce already published/verified landing accuracy data that proves a Mars *manned* lander can get within 0.5km of a predetermined location.
(bet you can't  :laugh: )

You lose

Apollo 12 landed 143 meters from the Lunar Surveyor 3.

Precision landing ain't that big of a deal, especially if you have a beacon.


Offline CuddlyRocket

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jongoff - 22/9/2007  7:56 PM

Propellant depots and in-space transportation nodes just make too much darned sense.  If NASA ignores that reality, they'll just end up buying services from those who do "get it".
NASA does think a LEO propellant depot is a good idea. Griffin has suggested just that to leverage Ares V launches.

But it's riskier than the present approach, and minimising risk of not achieving the mission objective is the prime consideration at this time.

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PurduesUSAFguy - 22/9/2007  5:51 PM

If the goal of the program is go to Mars, then we should go to Mars...
As said, it's not the goal. Mars mission are one step on the way to the goal. But the principal reason NASA is not starting with a Mars mission is that it's impossible to sell to the politicians. Not only will it cost a lot more, but it's not certain we can actually do it (for instance, we do not know how to keep life support going for that length of time without resupply from Earth), and if we can't then that money will (as far as the voters are concerned) have been wasted. We know we can do a Luna mission.

There are a lot of posters on this board (though not me) who are convinced that the lunar missions will be cancelled on cost grounds as they take multiple Congresses and Administrations to achieve. Now magnify both the cost and time for a Mars mission....

One step at a time. With each step being a modest increment from what we know we can do and involve a demonstrated achievement. That's the best way to achieve things in the long run.

Offline jongoff

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CuddlyRocket,
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NASA does think a LEO propellant depot is a good idea. Griffin has suggested just that to leverage Ares V launches.

But it's riskier than the present approach, and minimising risk of not achieving the mission objective is the prime consideration at this time.

Oh, I agree that Griffin and Stanley have mentioned interest in propellant transfer and propellant depots.  The problem is that while there is technical risk associated with developing the transfer capabilities, that the risk is relatively small.  More importantly, there are risks inherent in *not* doing it that way, and I think on net NASA would be money ahead trying to do risk reduction on those key technologies sooner rather than later.  When you have a good idea, but aren't 100% sure you can make it work, and it has this big of a potential impact on your future decisions, you try to do something to find out if the idea will work.  By the time Ares V is built, most of the benefit of a propellant depot will have been lost.  Adding a little marginal capability to an overpriced, underwhelming architecture instead of actually allowing you to do things in ways that are much more effective.

As I said to JIS, the Apollo guys could've said the same thing about orbital rendezvous capabilities.  Orbital rendezvous was completely unproven at that point, much riskier then than propellant transfer is now (between Russian experience, Centaur, and now Orbital Express).  Direct Ascent while it would've required a much bigger booster completely eliminated the need for putting such a risky and expensive-to-develop technology on the critical path for a return to the moon.  It could've "been put off till later" as an enhancement to a Nova-based mission to boost the payload to the lunar surface.  However, NASA made the right call, and made sure they put the time and money into beating the problem into the ground instead of wringing their hands about how difficult the problem might be.

It's not like by avoiding propellant transfer NASA's actually getting things done in any real hurry, or that they're saving any money.   They're planning on blowing $60-100B over the next dozen and a half years building a boring warmed over remake of Apollo that suffers from many of the same limitations because they're too afraid of taking any risks.  If they're too incompetent to help field a new technology that's closer to being proven out than orbital rendezvous was for the Apollo program, what makes you think they're capable of executing a $60B+ lunar architecture?

I don't know why NASA thinks it can go to the moon if it's so afraid of taking even small and intelligent risks like that.

~Jon

Offline JIS

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jongoff - 23/9/2007  4:08 AM

JIS,
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I'm not worried about Ares I availability. Ares 1/Orion should be quite routine flight. Ares 1/Orion will be standing ready on the pad on it's MPL attached to LUT at the moment of Ares V launch. I hope that Americans can achieve what Russians are doing with Soyuz several decades already.

And of course in your world only EELVs and commercial launchers ever suffer from last-minute glitches or scrubs...

In my world system called Soyuz does exist. The same configuration all the time all bugs cleared. Ares 1/Orion have about 10 years to get there.

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Not depending on extra facilities, launches, manoeuvres, docking, fuel transfer etc. doesn't make it more fragile but less complex. Keep it simple is the best way to success.

Not really.  There's a reason why staging points and way stations are used so often in other terrestrial logistics chains.

The reason is called multiway traffic.

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Once again though, I gave specific examples of the fragility of the ESAS planned architecture (particularly places where Loss of Crew events caused by single-point failures could be mitigated).

TEI failure is mitigated by simple, reliable and good heritage engine. Also backup RCS could help. What is the difference to L2 architecture? Keeping backup there? But first you need far more complex lunar module to get from L2 to the moon and back. New failure modes added. New costly infrastructure added. Less infrastructure on the Moon where needed most.

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They make sense from some point of development. If there is a traffic between the Earth, Moon, asteroids or Mars then the lag. points are necessary.

Propellant depots in LEO make sense far earlier.

When they are ready they can be asily acommodated to the current architecture. Ares V could carry LSAM without LOX but more cargo and fill LOX at the depot. Or refuel EDS. I doubt that it is worth to do that right now but the situation could change in the future.
I'm sure NASA will do some study when the time is right. At the moment there is nobody to service the depot.

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 Although, even without an actual manned depot in L1 or L2, just having a small waystation that could serve as an emergency shelter in case of TEI failures would be a good start.  When I'm talking about infrastructure, I don't assume that is has to be super-massive with all the bells-and-whistles, right from the start.  I'm more assuming something more organically developed as needs and markets demand.

NASA did ISS first and now is creating servicing market for it. Not way round. The reason is the STS was supposed to be the right solution. STS has failed for reasons obvious now - too complex high risk vehicle. Keep it 'simple' is the right way.

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But VSE will be mostly about one way traffic. Only crew and samples are coming back in a can on chutes. Travelling from the lunar surface to the Lagrange point requires big, heavy and complex (reusable) lunar ascend module.
Isn't better to begin with small, cheap, simple and expendable one? Nasa can build large rockets but can't build reusable lunar module (yet).  

The approach you advocate seems really similar to someone in the early 60s advocating Direct Ascent.  After all, DA architectures would've been a lot simpler, and that whole rendezvous thing could've been developed after the fact...but you and I both know what would've happened if a fetish for supposed simplicity had overruled good engineering judgement.

Apollo was a good solution to get people there and back. Can you imagine what mass you can land on the Moon with the Direct ascend? Some often dream about building ISS in one or two launches. What about building Lunar Base in one or two launches?
I think that ISS construction has taught us something. Cargo Ares V is direct 20t one way what I consider good enough, but 25t would be even better. Is 25t with refueling at depot better than 20t direct? What about 40t vs 20t? I don't know. We urgently need a good engineering judgement.
'Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill' - Old Greek experience

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Refueling basically involves docking a spacecraft to a satellite, starting the pumping, a long pumping session, completing the pumping and undocking.  The only part of that operation that needs large (heavy) spacecraft is the main pumping section = the repetitive bit.  Could refueling be developed using small spacecraft lifted on cheap rockets like the Pegasus?


Edit c/easy/repetitive/

Offline clongton

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A_M_Swallow - 23/9/2007  12:34 PM

Refueling basically involves docking a spacecraft to a satellite, starting the pumping, a long pumping session, completing the pumping and undocking.  The only part of that operation that needs large (heavy) spacecraft is the main pumping section = the repetitive bit.  Could refueling be developed using small spacecraft lifted on cheap rockets like the Pegasus?


Edit c/easy/repetitive/
Yes. But the delivered payload would be small.
But hey, if it makes a profit for the launch provider, isn't that the name of the game? Big profit, or small profit, it doesn't matter. That's what it's going to take to make commercial space work. Profit. If it makes a profit, it works.
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Online mike robel

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In my opinion NASA is once again persuing grandious visions instead of concentrating on getting there with enough capability to provide a sustained program.  Grandious plans lead to a battlestar galactica type project which will not be funded.

I will point out that we don't even have a lunar lander designed and under construction.  A little too soon to start woofing about huge moon bases and fancy-dancy rovers.

I fear that going to the moon will spell the end of any Mars Mission in my lifetime.  In fact, the way things are going I am resigned to (1) living in an era where no one living has walked on the moon, and (2) a very real possibility we will not return to the moon in my lifetime (I am 54).  The moon base will suck all the funds away from Mars, just like completing ISS/shuttle is postponing development of lunar/mars capability.

With current engines, propellent transfer is too expensive in terms of the effort necessary to orbit the depots.  Previous transfers are hypergolics and relatively small quantitites.  We are talking about huge quanties of super cold liquids and a transfer mechanism that will likely be difficult at best in a weightless environment.  To say nothing about long term storage processes.  If the storage problem can be solved, then if you have a big booster like Jupiter than can put a massive load into lunar orbit and you only need small quantities of fuel for the return to earth, they may have some utility.  Color my unconvinced...


Offline clongton

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mike robel - 23/9/2007  3:23 PM

In my opinion NASA is once again pursuing grandiose visions instead of concentrating on getting there with enough capability to provide a sustained program.  Grandiose plans lead to a battlestar galactica type project which will not be funded.

I will point out that we don't even have a lunar lander designed and under construction.  A little too soon to start woofing about huge moon bases and fancy-dancy rovers.

I fear that going to the moon will spell the end of any Mars Mission in my lifetime.  In fact, the way things are going I am resigned to (1) living in an era where no one living has walked on the moon, and (2) a very real possibility we will not return to the moon in my lifetime (I am 54).  The moon base will suck all the funds away from Mars, just like completing ISS/shuttle is postponing development of lunar/mars capability.

With current engines, propellant transfer is too expensive in terms of the effort necessary to orbit the depots.  Previous transfers are hypergolics and relatively small quantities.  We are talking about huge quantities of super cold liquids and a transfer mechanism that will likely be difficult at best in a weightless environment.  To say nothing about long term storage processes.  If the storage problem can be solved, then if you have a big booster like Jupiter than can put a massive load into lunar orbit and you only need small quantities of fuel for the return to earth, they may have some utility.  Color my unconvinced...
Lets just pick some numbers out of the air.
Lets say it costs NASA $50 per pound to purchase LOX
Lets say it costs NASA $2,000 a pound to launch anything, including LOX.
That means it costs NASA $2,050 per pound for the LOX it launches.
Thatís because everything the government does is more expensive. Fact of life.

Lets say it costs commercial space $10 per pound to purchase LOX on the open market.
Lets say it costs commercial space $1,000 per pound to launch anything.
Thatís because they are not a federal government entity
So it costs commercial space $1,010 per pound to launch LOX.
They sell it, on orbit from a depot to NASA for $1,530 per pound.
NASA gets their LOX for $520 a pound cheaper than if they do it themselves, a 25% savings.
Commercial space makes $520 per pound profit for something that costs them $10.
Itís win-win for everybody, including the American taxpayer, who foots NASAís bill.
The commercial space stockholders are ecstatic.
Selling LOX to NASA from an orbital depot is a moneymaker for anyone who does it.
I want to own stock in the company that does it.

Granted those are fictitious numbers, but they do approximate reality.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Online mike robel

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Lets say you need 191,000 pounds of LOX and 37,000 pounds of LH2 for a total mass of 228,000 pounds and you want to place that in orbit.  Lets say that the best launch vehicle you have can place 260,000 pounds into orbit.

You probably recognize that as the SIVB fuel load and the Saturn V Payload.  Now, I realize that much of the SIVB load is expended in getting to Earth orbit, but for the sake of argument lets us agree that the booster we are using is a space tug and this fuel load lets it depart earth orbit, break into and out of lunar orbit, and break again into earth orbit.  Letís say this also takes care of the propellants to descend and ascend to/from the lunar surface and the Lunar Lander is left in lunar orbit and is completely reusable.  The only spacecraft we have to orbit then is the crew carrier that takes the astronauts to earth orbit, tags along with the tug, and then is used to reenter.

Launches to orbit 228,000 pounds of propellants

Delta IV Heavy = 56,800 pounds = 4.01 launches
Atlas V Heavy =  55,115 pounds = 4.13 launches
Jupiter/Direct = 101,412 pounds = 2.24 launches
.
Plus, you would still need a crew launch

I do not see how this is cost effective, regardless of who is launching it.  Of course, an engineer could calculate better numbers for the required fuel load for a given payload, and the numbers may improve somewhat.

I am still skeptical.

A nuke may be better and make it worthwhile.

Offline MrTim

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JIS - 23/9/2007  5:39 AM
TEI failure is mitigated by simple, reliable and good heritage engine. Also backup RCS could help.

Sorry, but a better engine is not "mitigation" it's just better odds than a poorer engine. It MAY well be the case that one great engine is safer than two good engines, but one must be careful not to fall into the trap of deciding that a reduction in risk equals mitigation; that thinking gets people into trouble over and over again...  ;)

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JIS - 23/9/2007  5:39 AM
Ares V could carry LSAM without LOX but more cargo and fill LOX at the depot. Or refuel EDS. I doubt that it is worth to do that right now but the situation could change in the future.
I'm sure NASA will do some study when the time is right. At the moment there is nobody to service the depot.

I like the idea of refueling depots in LEO, but they are a joke if not supplied by RLV. If you are going to build a large expendable and park its upper stage in LEO (full of fuel as a refueling depot) then what is the advantage over not leaving anything in LEO between missions and simply having one extra rocket launch of an expendable full of fuel as part of your mission package? If, on the other hand, you plan to loft a refueling depot and then periodically re-fill it and do maintenance on it from an RLV, then it makes sense because it's all about the fuel and not about throwing hardware away.

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JIS - 23/9/2007  5:39 AM
Apollo was a good solution to get people there and back. Can you imagine what mass you can land on the Moon with the Direct ascend? Some often dream about building ISS in one or two launches. What about building Lunar Base in one or two launches?

Apollo was indeed a good solution for a couple of trips to plant flags and prove we were capable of doing this stuff. It was a terrible example of what to do if you are serious about going somewhere and staying. I love the Apollo program for its boldness and its engineering prowess and I get the same shivers of pride from seeing the hardware that anybody else with a beating heart gets, BUT I hope we never repeat it. When we plan for the moon it needs to be a plan to go and never abandon it. We need to make every bit of hardware we send there into something that gets added to the base so it just gradually gets bigger and more capable and more self-sustaining. We need to learn all the lessons there that will enable us to do the same when we go to Mars (as opposed to going there to plant a flag and then return home to cower for 40 years). Not personally a fan of a lunar base in one or two launches (too easy to get trapped into ending-up with a small base that is "complete" and never grows to be truly usable). I'd personally rather see a few heavy loads of building supplies and equipment with initial construction done telerobotically from Earth or by Astronauts camping in an LSAM.

Oh, and the Apollo program also taught us one very critical lesson that all of us space enthusiasts need to remember and hammer into the space critics: When critics complained that all this exploring stuff was costing too much money and the money was better spent on Earth ending poverty and curing diseases etc. the politicians of the Apollo era listened and killed the program. After decades of not flying to the moon, there is still poverty, disease, racism, etc. thereby proving that killing America's exploration activities did NOTHING its critics said it would. Those fallacious, specious arguments should NEVER be allowed to stand again. :angry:

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JIS - 23/9/2007  5:39 AM
I think that ISS construction has taught us something.

Answers only matter if you pay attention to the questions. We need to be careful not to mis-apply what ISS taught us; The lessons of ISS mainly apply to building large structures from small modules in zero-G. Building on the moon or Mars is entirely different; Structures must be built in and deal with gravity and dust but they need not be constrained in size, shape or mass nor by a need to be re-boosted or a need for attitude control (and all the stresses associated) Construction on the moon will likely be easier than in LEO because gravity will make it more like a terrestrial construction. The lessons of ISS will mainly apply to assembling the vehicles that will take us to Mars, and beyond; these vehicles will probably be assembled in LEO and the lessons from ISS will be very valuable. :cool:

Offline MrTim

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mike robel - 23/9/2007  12:23 PM
In my opinion NASA is once again persuing grandious visions instead of concentrating on getting there with enough capability to provide a sustained program.  Grandious plans lead to a battlestar galactica type project which will not be funded.

I am a bit puzzled by the notion that keeps appearing in these forums that the moon will not get funded. Constellation is not structured like Apollo was. The program is being designed to proceed at whatever rate NASA's budgets allow (MONEY constrains the SCHEDULE of the program) whereas Apollo had a fixed deadline (SCHEDULE drove the MONEY and the CAPABILITY). At the beginning there ARE schedule constraints because AresI/Orion are planned to replace STS for ISS access (causing money problems throughout NASA) but that should not be the norm for the overall Moon/Mars plans.

The only things that are likely to kill the moon are:
1. Congress ordering NASA not to go (for example if political forces go all global-warming on us and demand NASA re-focus all spending on monitoring the climate on Earth)
2. A new administration killing the program for political reasons (for example, wanting Bush to have no legacy but the war, and wanting to use NASA for his or her own legacy)
3. Outcry from the public in response to some big disaster (loss of a crew not likely bad enough, we survived two shuttle crew losses without abandoning LEO. More like a major pad explosion with major loss of life and/or facilities, an AresV falling in a populated area, or a major terror incident with nukes that demands all national resources. Something BIG)



Offline A_M_Swallow

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clongton - 23/9/2007  8:23 PM

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A_M_Swallow - 23/9/2007  12:34 PM

Refueling basically involves docking a spacecraft to a satellite, starting the pumping, a long pumping session, completing the pumping and undocking.  The only part of that operation that needs large (heavy) spacecraft is the main pumping section = the repetitive bit.  Could refueling be developed using small spacecraft lifted on cheap rockets like the Pegasus?


Edit c/easy/repetitive/
Yes. But the delivered payload would be small.
But hey, if it makes a profit for the launch provider, isn't that the name of the game? Big profit, or small profit, it doesn't matter. That's what it's going to take to make commercial space work. Profit. If it makes a profit, it works.

I meant this as the development testing.  When everything works change to full size fuel tanks and rockets to launch them.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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MrTim - 24/9/2007  6:22 AM
2. A new administration killing the program for political reasons (for example, wanting Bush to have no legacy but the war, and wanting to use NASA for his or her own legacy)


It may be worth while writing a few back up plans for this.

The next president is a :

Conservationist - emphasize ISRU

Romantic - poetry of exploration

Warrior - rockets are missiles, taking the high ground and showing the USA's strength

Pacifist - NASA is a civilian organization and Moon trips are not war

Feminist - women astronauts

Wants results - an important launch every year he is in office, including unmanned probes.  Pictures back.


Offline Antares

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Does it mention anywhere that it's 13mT over what the current Ares V can put into TLI?
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline clongton

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Antares - 24/9/2007  2:32 PM

Does it mention anywhere that it's 13mT over what the current Ares V can put into TLI?
That tiny tidbit has been conveniently left out. Do you think anybody noticed? They are hoping not.  :frown:
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Offline stargazer777

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A_M_Swallow - 24/9/2007  11:13 AM  
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 It may be worth while writing a few back up plans for this.  The next president is a :  Conservationist - emphasize ISRU  Romantic - poetry of exploration  Warrior - rockets are missiles, taking the high ground and showing the USA's strength  Pacifist - NASA is a civilian organization and Moon trips are not war  Feminist - women astronauts  Wants results - an important launch every year he is in office, including unmanned probes.  Pictures back.  

Cynical but true.  We should never forget to consider the advantages an active and successful space program can offer to any President.  Whoever wins in 2008, we will need to spin the space program in a way that will be most intriguing and attractive to that President/Administration.


Online mike robel

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My point was that when George Bush the Father asked for a Mars Plan, NASA came back with a multi-billions of dollars plan that some have titled "Battlestar Galactica".  That lost support in Congress and with the American people very rapidly.  Same with protracted ISS development.

I generally believe that you have to have about a 10 year achievable goal to gain political support - so, 10 years to establishing back to the moon/moon base research station is ok.  Obviously, you need to have a follow on plan, but it needs to be thought out in chunks.  You only get a give president for a max of 8 years and his influence, at best, only lasts two beyond his last day in office.  Congress critters are about the same.

It is not that I do not support going back to the moon, I don't support grandious plans that will get defeated because they are not bound by reality of funding and the timelines of political support.

Mike

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MrTim - 24/9/2007  1:22 AM

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mike robel - 23/9/2007  12:23 PM
In my opinion NASA is once again persuing grandious visions instead of concentrating on getting there with enough capability to provide a sustained program.  Grandious plans lead to a battlestar galactica type project which will not be funded.

I am a bit puzzled by the notion that keeps appearing in these forums that the moon will not get funded. Constellation is not structured like Apollo was. The program is being designed to proceed at whatever rate NASA's budgets allow (MONEY constrains the SCHEDULE of the program) whereas Apollo had a fixed deadline (SCHEDULE drove the MONEY and the CAPABILITY). At the beginning there ARE schedule constraints because AresI/Orion are planned to replace STS for ISS access (causing money problems throughout NASA) but that should not be the norm for the overall Moon/Mars plans.

The only things that are likely to kill the moon are:
1. Congress ordering NASA not to go (for example if political forces go all global-warming on us and demand NASA re-focus all spending on monitoring the climate on Earth)
2. A new administration killing the program for political reasons (for example, wanting Bush to have no legacy but the war, and wanting to use NASA for his or her own legacy)
3. Outcry from the public in response to some big disaster (loss of a crew not likely bad enough, we survived two shuttle crew losses without abandoning LEO. More like a major pad explosion with major loss of life and/or facilities, an AresV falling in a populated area, or a major terror incident with nukes that demands all national resources. Something BIG)



Offline marsavian

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This presentation contains the charts used to present NASA's current Lunar Architecture at AIAA's Space 2007 conference last week.

Contents:

Introduction to Session - Doug Stanley

Current exploration strategy and status - Doug Cooke

- Lunar Architecture update - Geoff Yoder
- Lunar Science - Laurie Leshin
- Pressurized Rover and EVA concepts - Mike Gernhardt

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2007/AIAA.ESMD.SPACE2007.pdf

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