Though this may seem a minor occurrence, the Orion Spacecraft has been mated with its heat shield.
Avcoat and Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator – with a technical name of AVCO 5026-39 HCG (Filled Epoxy Novalac in Fiberglass-Phenolic Honeycomb) will be the ablating material of choice for this particular heat shield.
Right now, this heat shield will not likely be used on future Orion flights as it does not posses the needed ablative properties for a return from Mars flight. However, the heat and G loads on the structure itself will provide valuable, updated data for the later manned Orion Flight (EMT).
If anyone else has been following this, the heat shield itself has gone through multiple revisions and this one is the intermediary until the new design is announced later this year.
Currently, Orion is scheduled to launch between December 4th and December 15th 2014. It will ascend to an altitude of 3700 Miles where a series of checkouts will occur before it then commences re-entry.
This will be the first unmanned testing of a human spacecraft since Apollo as the Space shuttle was not given an unmanned flight.
I'm a member of nasaspaceflight.
If you have cash to throw at it (Or work in the military or work in the space industry like I do) then you can join L2 for more exclusive information.
Other than that spaceflightnow is strongly recommended.
Otherwise, I will try to keep this forum updated. Back from 2007ish until 2011 I was a frequent poster on /g/ detailing space flight related news and real time launch coverage.
However, after the end of the space shuttle program I stopped posting on /g/ and my work requirements post 2011 earthquake and tsunami kept me busy. Now that I'm back in the states doing telemetry at Wallops, I have time to give updates again. So, if all else fails, tune in here on /sci/ and I will keep the page up to date on the most recent spaceflight related news and maybe a satellite launch if it is noteworthy.
Unrelated image, concept model of the Orion EFT launch system for December.
This launch is not man rated FYI
Well there is always spacenews spaceref and spacedaily.
They won't give you the same level of information, though they do cover Virgin Galactic a little bit more.
Were you looking for something specific? I will gladly post whatever news I happen to be privy to.
If need be, I can start a new one, or even maintain a daily spaceflight thread. I will not be able to monitor it 24/7, but I can at least take care of making sure this board has at least 1 thread up a day.
As of this post, this thread too can be considered a spaceflight and space general thread. No image dumps though unless if there are requests for certain things (Like all available Apollo 13 images (Of which..I have a fair few).
Also, I'm going to look into how I can compress my 30 gig flight folder and upload it somewhere. I have one metric fuck-ton of videos and pdfs and pictures.
cool! Looking forward to the June 17 Antares flight! Is that the type of launch you monitor, or are you working with sounding rockets?
I'm unclear, what is Orion's first mission? When is it supposed to happen?
>I'd always wanted to try this but was afraid it would be condemned for being a "general".
It seems like /sci/ could benefit from generals. I remember people seemed to try it recently but I don't know what happened with it.
>maintain a daily spaceflight thread
Sadly this might be necessary due to the low amount of posting on this board.
Those types of launches. With the influx of orbital launches that have begun filling up the qeue, there are more than just sounding rockets which also have to be monitored.
Same with the drone that does regular flights to the arctic to study ice movement and changes in temperatures. Though most work is done via Satellites, when it comes to tracking and final approach configuration, they have their own data channels that have to be monitored and checked regularly.
I like to think the low amount of posting is because this place got a bad rap for having just homework boards, I hugboxes (Seriously, why even take those tests? They mean nothing. I've never taken one in my life but look at me.) and "My degree is the best" type boards.
That all being said, I prefer to keep a spaceflight general thread relevant to only the spaceflight discussions. If people wanna have pissing contests over which one is better, I personally consider those off topic and do not contribute to the discussion. That's why, if you see such, mark it and hide it. That's what I'm going to do.
My only regret is that more in depth rules couldn't exist to prompt people to act like the adults they are.
Anyways, this will be the last update for me tonight. I will check in with the board, do a blurb about any new news, and then off to work and the likes.
>It seems like /sci/ could benefit from generals
Indeed it would
>I remember people seemed to try it recently but I don't know what happened with it.
Well, let's see...
There was a 'grad school information general' a month or two ago where people offered advice about searching for grad programs, sharing experiences at their schools, etc...
That ended with the thread being deleted and a bunch of people getting banned.
There was a 'research general' a few weeks ago were people were encouraged to share about projects they were working on and offer advice for undergrads on getting into research, people even posted copies of posters, papers, and presentations...
That ended with the thread being deleted and a bunch of people getting banned.
There was a 'space general' a few weeks ago that was full of people posting all sorts astronomy news stories, asking and answering astrophysics questions, discussing planetary science missions, etc...
That ended with the thread being deleted and a bunch of people getting banned.
Yeah, /sci/ could definitely benefit from generals... unfortunately our mods/janitors are a bunch of stupid cunts.
>There was a 'space general' a few weeks ago that was full of people posting all sorts astronomy news stories, asking and answering astrophysics questions, discussing planetary science missions, etc...
>That ended with the thread being deleted and a bunch of people getting banned.
No, I was the one who did a Space/Planetary missions general (we bitched about Uranus and Neptune having no missions and then went on panic spree about the JWST), they were good threads but there's not enough new information released to sustain threads like that on a regular basis.
Tried to do a Deep Space one, but there's nothing to talk about, until CHEOPS or JWST go online and that's years from now (we could bitch about SOFIA I guess).
>I'm unclear, what is Orion's first mission?
Orion doesn't have a mission. It has a test program.
It's a vehicle without a purpose, a classic government "bridge to nowhere". They're spending money just to spend money.
Well there is GAIA which is undergoing commissioning not to mention missions people are probably unaware of like SPICA, TESS, HXMT, CHEOPS or other ESA missions particularly the M slots that have been recently selected.
It also doesn't have to be purely space based in which case there is a lot to talk about. VLT second generation instruments, GPI, the ELTs, LSST.
I just checked in with this thread. As was made clear in the thread, I was referring only to American spacecraft.
Orions mission objectives are as such:
1. deep orbit maneuvers and asteroid landing checkout.
2. Deep space mission: Mars.
When I get home tonight I will give a more in depth explanation of the Orion program and its goals as well as its main timeline as it currently stands.
I welcome more in depth discussions of the instruments. I have a number of questions I look forward to getting answred concerning the SpaceX's new craft. So I will be digging up info on that as soon as possible.
I welcome it. If you want to start a new thread, then all I ask is that you post the link here as I am only leaving this up on my tablet (More discreet).
Think of that as more of a favor than anything else.
No, that's commercial crew launch. There are three vehicles under development for putting Americans into space. Between them, they should be capable of launching several to many times per year.
SLS/Orion is just to keep the dumptrucks of money headed toward the old shuttle contractors. It's been slowing the commercial crew program (the real manned launch capability) way down because it's sucking up all of the money.
Basically, it's a third-rate Saturn V cobbled together from old shuttle parts, not because we're going to the moon or shuttle parts are a good choice, but because this is the ugly compromise between people who think it's embarassing that what NASA was doing in the 60s was better than anything it has done since, and people who just want to keep using NASA to hand out money to their political allies. It's significantly less capable than the Saturn V in the form that's actually launching, and there are no prospects for it to ever be cost-effective.
>Orions mission objectives are as such:
>1. deep orbit maneuvers and asteroid landing checkout.
>2. Deep space mission: Mars.
It's obviously not doing Mars. Orion isn't designed for propulsive landing capability. It's designed to land on Earth and nowhere else.
The asteroid landing mission is a joke, which is probably not going to happen.
That plan is to send a robotic probe to go out, catch a tiny asteroid, and (here's why it needs to be tiny) fly it back to Earth orbit. Then we send some guys up to do a space walk next to it and stick a flag on it.
Why propose such a silly mission? Because the manned part of it is easier than going to the moon, let alone Mars. Therefore it's possible with something less capable than the Saturn V, and without doing anything fancy like assembling the mission in orbit (which assumes that you have a vehicle you can launch more than once per year).
As a bonus, it can plausibly be said that it would take years of R&D to figure out how to catch a tiny asteroid, so this mission can be scheduled far in the future, and nobody, least of all the president, will still be around to take blame for its failure.
Olympus by Bigelow is currently being developed to facilitate long term travel.
Image as follows.
This is the first I've heard of Olympus. Is this just the continuation of the BA-330 module or is this a completely new inflatable module design?
It builds on the lessons learned by the Ba-330 but is meant for long duration spaceflight. It more closely mirrors the 2100 but utilizes a different propulsion suite. It was only proposed and submitted in February. However, it looks to be a favored mars transport system at this time.
More information to come.
You know, I'm not gonna hold my breath for those big missions from Bigelow, Virgin or SpaceX. I'm sure they have the best interest at heart, but I don't think any government will be willing to dump the money needed. Especially considering the political climate and economical situation.
None of those are dependent on government money.
SpaceX and Bigelow might get slowed down by a lack of government support, but they're not going to stop. Virgin Galactic isn't even really looking for government money.
SpaceX in particular is competing successfully in the commercial satellite market. They'll take whatever extra cash and contracts they can get from the government, because they can use it to make things happen faster, but they're not dependent on it.
Pretty soon, SpaceX is going to have a fleet of reusable rockets and space capsules, and then they'll be unstoppable. Virgin will be flying regular space tourism flights. Bigelow will have a space station that they'll be able to rent out to moviemakers, billionaire tourists, and corporations trying to get a lead in the coming explosion of space technology and industry.
They all have big private money behind them, and solid revenue models, with incremental paths laid out to develop to greater and greater things.
>Even if costs do come down the first ones are going to cost billions
Falcon Heavy's supposed to be able to put over 50 tons in LEO. When it's fully reusable, it might fly for $10 million.
Bigelow is figuring out how to do things in space with people. So let's say they've got a runabout which can pick unguided things up after they've been launched to LEO and bring them together at their station.
So let's say ten Falcon Heavy launches: one 50-ton space habitat and supplies, one 50 ton load of colonist equipment, 8 50-ton loads of space-storable fuel, such as NTO/50-50 or H2O2/kerosene. Then a couple of Falcon 9 / Dragon launches, with the crew.
Conceivably, this could all be prepared and launched for half a billion dollars. Now you've got a hundred-ton manned mission to Mars, and the propellant to send it on its way.
So they say, "This is happening. Who wants to be a part of this? Who wants their representative to be the first man on Mars? We open the bidding at $200 million! We have three other seats bidding from $100 million."
Do you really think they wouldn't make money?
I'd also like it to be known that history has demonstrated that those who get good contracts with Government agencies end up with amazing profits and lucrative contracts. All of the major launch systems such as Atlas Delta etc, are all built by civilian agencies who won contracts.
That's really not a positive example.
The Atlas V and Delta IV were spectacular failures in the market, to the point that the government approved a merger of the only two competitors at the time into an anticompetitive cartel, and agreed to support it with huge "capability maintenance" subsidies just to keep it in business.
They drove the cost of launch services in the USA up, they failed so badly.
A terrible example of "too big to fail".
Perhaps. They were mainly meant for commercial payloads and satellites and, to be frank, had it not been for challenger, they would not have made it out of the 80's.
I am now monitoring the feed again.
So, this picture is unrelated to the discussion.
However, I felt like lightening the mood right now. This was made after the Ares 1-x's initial delay due to triboelectrification issues.
Kathy winters was....
Not liked on /g/ because of her constant abort calls, and as a result we kind of lampooned her a little.
SpaceX is currently working toward a 6/12, Launch with a T-0 of 2107-2200L and an alternate date of 6/13, 2045-2138L. Pending Range approval.
F-10 Day 5/29
F-5 Day 6/6
Static Fire 6/9
F-1 Day 6/11
Readiness summaries have been submitted, should any changes to status be noted please report to Mission support as soon as possible.
No, they're just launching a satellite on the Falcon 9.
We're going to see at least a few months of videos of the new Dragon doing pad hops and other propulsive landing tests before it gets launched into actual orbit.
Each Falcon 9 flight is interesting, though, because they're trying to recover the stage each time now. Last time, they brought it in for a soft landing on the ocean. Unfortunately, it was in a storm, and it broke up after bobbing around in crashing waves, so they couldn't recover it.
They're making incremental progress toward a proper landing on a landing pad on solid ground. Currently, the major obstacle is regulatory: they have to prove to the FAA that it's safe for them to aim it back at the continent, that they can target a landing zone with consistent good accuracy.
They've had a setback recently with their helium tanks. They didn't just need to repair this one stage, they may also need to make changes to how they make the helium tanks, and modifications to other stages they previously built.
Speaking of regulatory.
The first 3 came out on the 28th of May, so they are essentially hot off the presses.
>Ph.D. in space technology
>Any job I want
Do you have any concept of how much changes in 5000 years? 200 Years ago we were just figuring out electricity. 70 years ago computers were the size of buildings and had less power then birthdaycards, 50 years ago the internet didnt exist and we were just then leaving earth. Now we are seriously thinking about sending people On a 100 million mile round trip to walk on mars
everytime i see something leave earth i get renewed hope for my dream of being an old man standing infront of a viewport on a spaceship quoting starwars.
extended life span is within my natural lifespan and hopefully comercial interplanetary travel will be within my extended life.
>extended life span
I'm sorry, it's not. We might be able to have enough medicine to keep you alive to around 100 years old without no sever medical conditions, but there's too much unknown and too many regulations to advance human lifespan. Truth be told, we've no solid idea on how theoretically that can happen, much less on bringing it into practice.
>hopefully comercial interplanetary travel will be within my extended life
The moon will probably be within your lifespan. Mars most likely not, simply because the travel time will not be something people could afford (this remaining either extremely expensive or non existent).
Look on the bright side, you'll get to go to Luna Hotel.
I think people are going to go to Mars, regardless, though I agree that the Moon is likely to develop much faster.
Despite the five-month ride, and the window for launch only coming up once every couple of years, there is the advantage of aerobraking when you arrive. It actually takes less delta-V to go to Mars.
Orion's a space capsule, not a launch vehicle. Propulsion is provided by the launch vehicle and the service module.
It's planned to launch on different launch vehicles with various service modules.
I assume you are speaking of the Nuclear concept craft as no matter the module, the only way to escape from a gravity well of any type would be use of thrusters and the ESA built SM is not designed to do long range planetary maneuvers independent of a larger craft, which is recently approved and under development. See my odyssey posts concerning this.
I for one do not have any information on the old orion spacecraft designs though. Those were always conceptual and never made it beyond the drawing board.
After some decades of budget cuts and NASA committee redesign, there is some doubt that the Orion spacecraft is still capable of withstanding nuclear blasts.
I suppose we'll find out on its first manned launch.
they REALLY should have chosen another name for this capsule. I hear this confusion all the time.
Orion was originally designed to launch on Ares-I, but now it is the payload for the various configurations of SLS. It is scheduled to have a test flight on a Delta IV Heavy this year, though that only gets it to low earth orbit.
What I'm never going to understand is why we didn't just go for the simplest expendable shuttle replacement: 2 of the same old boosters, the same 3 SSMEs, the same external tank, the same arrangement with the fairing/frame attached on the side of the external tank, and capable of manned (with a small capsule *and* lots of cargo) and unmanned configurations.
Changing the boosters, the number of main engines, and the relative spacial arrangement messes with everything. You're designing a new vehicle, rather than stripping down an old one. We could even have had a winged fairing to keep the ascent aerodynamics from changing -- as long as we didn't have the thermal protection system we'd still save lots of mass.
We'd have immediately had a more capable cargo launch vehicle, and we could have been flying unmanned ISS resupply missions with plenty of surplus capacity for unmanned tests of the capsule.
With the funding that's been dumped into shuttle successors, we probably could already have had something like Dream Chaser riding on top of 50 tons of cargo.
Orion is the capsule that's supposed to launch on top of the (incredibly unimaginatively named) Space Launch System. They're all part of the same system, which is meant to replace the space shuttle.
You need the Orion to carry people in, and you need the SLS to put people in space.
Of course, you don't actually need either, but the idea is that NASA should have its own vehicles, and SLS is a "super-heavy lift" vehicle, with an Earth-departure stage, like the Saturn V.
1. the SSMEs are hella expensive
2. the boosters are hella expensive
3. the side mount configuration had flaws, as shown by the Columbia disaster.
4. you'd still need to develop new avionics for unmanned use, hella expensive
>What I'm never going to understand is why we didn't just go for the simplest expendable shuttle replacement: 2 of the same old boosters, the same 3 SSMEs, the same external tank, the same arrangement with the fairing/frame attached on the side of the external tank, and capable of manned (with a small capsule *and* lots of cargo) and unmanned configurations.
Unfortunately endeavors such as NASA are usually expected to return profits through patents. Using old technology =/= new patents.
except Dragon v2 is only designed for LEO taxi service, a week of free flight and life support maximum. They even reduced the solar panels for this purpose.
Orion is designed for long, long BEO trips; many months. Also can do spacewalks directly from the capsule. Now all we need is to identify a BEO mission that the nation can get behind! As it stands, Orion is literally putting the the cart before the horse!
>1. the SSMEs are hella expensive
>2. the boosters are hella expensive
True and true, but neither Ares nor SLS has addressed that.
>3. the side mount configuration had flaws, as shown by the Columbia disaster.
Only a serious concern if you've got a big exposed thermal protection system. This wouldn't be an issue for a capsule or small spaceplane mounted on top (which would be necessary for it to have a useful launch abort system).
>4. you'd still need to develop new avionics for unmanned use, hella expensive
Not true. Shuttle was unpiloted on the way up, and orbital maneuvers were always handled by computer.
As for docking at the ISS, that's really a non-issue. The same manual interface could be remotely done from inside the station.
When they started the commercial crew program, Orion development was already underway. They didn't ask anyone to make capsules suitable for the same capabilities Orion was designed for. SpaceX has gone far beyond the requested capabilities, because they've got their eye on non-NASA customers and Mars colonization.
The configuration of Dragon v2 we've seen is made for a single specific purpose. There's no reason it can't launch on top of or rendezvous with a service module for long stays in space.
Dragon on Falcon Heavy is going to be about equally capable to Orion on SLS (more capable in some ways, less in others), for a fraction of the cost.
The constellation program was a system of multiple rockets carrying heaier payloads into orbit that would be utilized in moon landings. You had the Orion (The only thing to make it through) being lofted up on an Ares-1 Rocket. (Ares-1X was a demonstration of the stack and a checkout of the first stage. It was a partial success in that it launched but separation happened too soon and it impacted the ballast tank. Further, one of the main chutes failed to deploy properly and as a result the velocity caused damage to the first stage) Then you had the Antares which was a larger issue Lunar lander that would be lofted up into orbit on an ARES-V rocket (Imagine a smaller Saturn V booster). The big draw was supposed to be the reuse of shuttle technology to cut back on costs.
The Constellation project was cut 2 years after the ARES-1X launch and only the Orion crew module survived. The constellation project has been replaced by the SLS project.
This is my personal take:
The next guy will come in, proclaim something amazing, and cut the SLS project and we will once again be back at 2003, drawing up new plans for the next thing. Which will then be cut.
In the meantime, commercial interests such as spacex are picking up that slack.
Attached is an image (Resized) of the ARES-1X launching.
The major issue is that Dragon V2 nor spacex have direct contract agreements with Bigelow for their Olympus module which is meant to be the facilitator of the long duration flights. I included some backround further up the thread.
>Imagine a smaller Saturn V booster
Ares V was bigger than a Saturn V.
SLS has the benefit of not coming from the administration so it may very well survive and it will be very close to flight at the next election, to close to cancel. Once it's on TV I think there will be no stopping it.
My hope is that the next guy will just straight-up get NASA out of the vehicle and space station business, and plow its budget entirely into the stuff that private companies aren't doing, like planetary science.
If we're going to have 50-ton launches for $140 million, dropping to $50 million, then $20 million, then $5 million as the reusability stuff gets sorted out, and new vehicles coming out to beat that, it doesn't make sense to spend billions of dollars developing a 70-ton launcher based on 70s technology with a rather optimistic goal of costing $500 million per flight.
That is a fair argument. However, as you well know, the biggest hurdles are of course developing technology which can withstand the stresses of launch many times over, with plenty of spares, and adequate man power to accomplish the high turn around.
As we've seen in the past, the complexity of the individual systems, to say nothing of the launch system as a whole, were big limits to the resuability of a space craft. Until this major hurdle is overcome (And I strongly advise you to sit back and start coming up with ways too. The more brainpower there is looking at the problem, the better) launches will still be as they are with only minor improvements. I for one would like to see a space plane which carries its launch technology with it, then is able to land efficiently. Kind of like an overgrown X-15 though where most of the fuselage is, you have, say, an atlas booster of some make.
This is an impractical idea, of that I am certain. However, it is the recognition of the problem and the efforts to come up with a better solution , that drives innovation.
SpaceX has their own ideas about providing for long term comfort during the months-long coast to Mars. It's called the "Mars Colonial Transporter", and they're playing it close to the chest.
No sense in sharing their ideas with the competition years before they're ready to put into production.
They're a much bigger and more capable company than Bigelow, and when it comes down to it, making a can for people to live in is just not a particularly difficult part of space travel, especially when you own reusable rockets that you're itching to keep flying, so you've got surplus capacity to spend testing hardware in space.
>technology which can withstand the stresses of launch many times over
This isn't really the problem. If it can barely withstand the stresses of launch once, it won't be reliable even as an expendable. To make a reliable vehicle non-reusable even if gently recovered, you have to do something like use ablative cooling in the engines, or build a shitty engine that loses blades out of its turbopump because you cut the margins too close.
The problem is how to recover the vehicle with less stress than launch puts on it.
The propulsive landing SpaceX has demonstrated does that. Their reusable upper stage will also enjoy a low-stress recovery, thanks to its ablative heat shield (and propulsive landing), as opposed to one made of fragile tiles that are never all there for the reentry.
>adequate man power to accomplish the high turn around
If the vehicle is properly reusable, rather than pretend-reusable like the shuttle, it doesn't really require much manpower to turn it around.
Low-flight-rate expendables require lots of manpower to launch because it's the first flight of a new vehicle built with a lot of touch-labor. You test everything, monitor everything, and often there's stuff that needs fixing. Pretty much each vehicle is different because you keep coming up with fixes for previous issues.
Proper reusables aren't going to need nearly as much attention. They'll fly several times with no maintenance between flights, and then be taken aside for routine maintenance. You won't need engineers supervising each launch, any more than you have with airliners.
>currently being developed
it's a powerpoint concept at this stage, and whether Bigelow has a viable business case for it and the competency to build it is up in the air.
Bigelow makes a few computer graphics images or models and you take it verbatim.
pic related, its Bigelows fantasy moonbase. He's not really developing a moon base even though he has models and pictures and the idea of it.
>If the vehicle is properly reusable...it doesn't really require much manpower to turn it around.
Yes but that's not saying anything. You're just saying if it's reusable then it is reusable.
The real question is whether or not SpaceX will provide on their claims. We don't know. It's easy to claim they will need little attention but we have absolutely no idea.
>we have absolutely no idea
It was one thing to say this before Grasshopper, but now they've demonstrated propulsively soft-landing a booster stage on the ocean, as part of a successful orbital launch.
While they're still working the bugs out, it's pretty firm that this is going to work as intended.
>It was one thing to say this before Grasshopper, but now they've demonstrated propulsively soft-landing a booster stage on the ocean, as part of a successful orbital launch.
None of which is about reuse. We are not privy to the around of work put into grasshopper or how a falcon stage will compare. The ocean controlled crash doesn't show is anything about this.
Even if they get all the landings to work it could still be a waste of money (SRBs). We don't know.
I suspect you aren't aware of this, but Bigelow secured a contract in February to begin construction on the Olympus. That is not taking it verbatim, that is simply reporting the facts as they are.
Wrong. That article about a report Bigelow funded himself on concept pitches for NASA.
Please point to any evidence of your belief that they have a contract for Olympus.
Bigelow only has a ~20million dollar contract for a tiny closet sized module for ISS and nothing more.
Prove your claim they have a contract for Olympus.
Don't waste your time looking for it. You have confused a report about Bigelow options released in February by Bigelow himself for an actual contract when such a contract does not exist. Olympus is a paper pitch.
MOre to the point, while it illustrates your point well, the Gate and 2 reports, issued as a part of the 20 million dollar contract information, highlighted the intentions for the long range space flight to Mars.
More specifically, included in the negociations from December 2012, were the following:
William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, says he chose Bigelow as the agency’s lead in investigating commercial opportunities beyond low earth orbit precisely because of his independence and recent arrival in the field. “I wanted to pick someone that I thought would have a broader exploration focus, someone that I thought would be respected, had a good business sense, and could look much broader than any particular product line,” he says. “He’s been trying to do things on his own.”
So, the development is contained within the actual contract itself.
So, the problem here is actually that you misinterpreted the December 2012 deal. Contained in that contract was such a stipulation. While it would be easy to assert the deal only applied to the BA module, the contract itself details that Bigelow is tasked with developing larger craft such as the Olympus. The vetting is still going on however, until that selection has been made, the craft focus is not yet determined. This allows for other groups who are also in negotiations to come up with better solutions. However, given that Bigelow is the only one who has submitted detailed proposals, it is unlikely that an additional means will be given.
Here is more information. As is noted by NASA itself, this is a multi phase project. The BEAM phase demonstrates that the technology is viable.
The further phases emphasize the larger habitat modules. Right now, admittedly, Olympus remains on paper. However, provided that the actual test goes well, the probability of it happening (And I will be fair and admit there is a probability it won't happen) goes up. If all goes well that could very well be the long range transport.
The report and the BEAM contract are two separate things. The Bloomberg business week article you sourced that quote from didn't give proper context to it and lumped it together.
There is a BEAM contract with no implicit or explicit follow on. There is a pointless unfunded study by Bigelow which will also not be followed up upon by NASA nor is any follow up assumed.
I think you should really read this article.
The point that they are making with the demonstration is that if it all checks out, there is a high probability that they will use it. Otherwise they wouldn't be bothered to go with it in the first place.
people are living longer and longer i still have 60 to 80 years left naturally if i stay healthy. thats more than enough time for something to come about be it freezing me becoming a cyborg or fucking with my genetics.
Newest report out. It's 285 pages long and provided a refined view of NASA’s current Program of Record, claiming international cooperation including an alliance with the Chinese and the potential use of the Moon as a proving ground, is required to achieve the “Horizon Goal”.
That being noted, some additional information was noted, according to the Liquid Engine Office schedule, the four engines that are scheduled to fly on EM-1 are E2045, E2056, E2058, and E2060.
These are the same engines that flew on the following missions:
E2045 Block IIA STS-89 95 92 102 105
Block II STS-110 113 121 118 127 131 135
E2056 Block IIA STS-104 109
Block II STS-114 121
E2058 Block II STS-116 120 124 119 129 133
E2060 Block II STS-127 131 135
At present the main changes so far have been enhanced combustion chambers.
More information to come.
So, even with the AJ-26 incident, the June 16th launch appears to still be a go. No time window has been announced yet. However, I have secured a rather nice looking mission patch
No updates as to the cause of the AJ-26 failure. Suspicion is that it originated in one of the LOX pumps.
I'm not one to make suppositions into geopolitics.
I assume though that there is likely to be changes with the China policy in the future. Honestly, this law alone is a big hindrance than anything. Deals with the Chinese would be beneficial, just as deals with the Russians (Despite their barnstorming in Ukraine) have produced good results for the ISS as a whole. If we were to change that law then perhaps that would facilitate more co-operation and also signal to China that we do not have intentions of competing with them as rivals.
Hey flight what do you think of the concept of lightcraft and of the chances that some laser or microwave beam will succeed rocketry as the primary launch methodology?
I'll believe it when it demonstrates itself as being a more effective means.
I'm not ruling it out though. Rather, you would have to work out some major hurdles and even then with beam dispersal, I do not believe it would be entirely practical.
I leave the speculation to my more theoretical colleagues.
That being said: if it can demonstrate itself as being viable and more efficient, then right on. Until then, let's just keep moving forward.
I tend to stick with what's currently developing and 5-10 year timelines. So you'll forgive me for not speculating too much.
Actually, I never wanted to be an Astronaut.
When I was young, the notion of the space program existed as a kind of nebulous thing. Neil Armstrong was from the next town over (I grew up in Ohio, just south of Wapakoneta ) so it wasn't huge in my minds world.
However, when Apollo 13 came out I loved it. It was an entirely amazing thing. However, I never wanted to be an astronaut like Jim Lovell. Gene Kranz and his group in Mission control was actually my favorite group. I was amazed how they were able to solve so many problems under so much pressure and save the lives of their crew.
I knew I wanted to do that with my life.
While going into space WOULD be nice, I readily admit, I find more enjoyment in the role of the people who make it happen. Who solve the various problems associated with space flight and save the day if needed.
In a way, that has shaped my lifes work. Getting familiar with satellite systems, working for the Army at various ground sites around the world (In retrospect I should have joined the air force and attempted their space and missile systems career path but it was 2005 and I got ambushed by the army in a way, so hey, live and learn.) and built up the experience needed to have the credentials to say "I am useful, hire me."
Ultimately, it has more or less paid off, I work out at wallops doing telemetry work and have enough job satisfaction that I can say I have no regrets for the interesting twists and turns I have encountered in my life.
You go, man. Hey, if you like telemetry and the ground problem solving in Apollo 13, you should check out a movie called "The Dish". It is about the scramble to get a dish antenna in Australia operational in time to relay mankind's first step onto the moon to the entire world.
I actually have that movie.
To be honest, the humor level is perfect. You have characters who have their eccentricities but are great overall. The pacing was good, the story enjoyable, and so on. It's a movie I will occasionally re-watch for those exact reasons.
Now 11 Days from Launch. We are going through the usual procedures.
That's more or less it. After the engine failure at Stennis, the launch was pushed back. However, they've made enough progress in the investigation to have narrowed the causes to some things that won't affect ORB-2. more information to come.
Random video feed of the night by the way:
I stumbled across this particular server the other day while I was looking at the network itself and discovered this on the public side.
Pulled original post as I got my hands on more information about asiasat 8
The asiasat 8 launch has been scheduled for July.
It will utilize a Falcon 9 launch vehicle, which has a payload to GEO capacity of 8690 lbs. This will launch from SLC-40 at Cape canaveral.
Asiasat 8 is a replacement and upgrade for the PRC with 2 Ku band transponders which is an improvement over Asiasat 7 which only had the three K band transponders. What Asiasat 8 does not contain though, are transponders for the C band. It is not immediately clear is AS8 will replace AS7 entirely (Itself a replacement for AS3S), however, the longitude position will be at 105.5 and cover a footprint from Turkey (Approx) to Midway island (Approx).
It is also the most powerful of the asiasat fleet with a payload power of about 8,500 watts.
Given that 7 only was launched in 2011 and has experienced no major malfunctions, it is likely this will only supplement the coverage of 7 with the addition it its 24 additional KU band transponders. If so, this will facilitate a larger client base in keeping with the business and other needs of the Asian and middle eastern countries.
And apparently reporting on satellites is spam...
Saturday, June 7, is the next launch opportunity for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, which will fly a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space from Hawaii.
This experimental flight test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies to benefit future Mars missions, including those involving human exploration.
Taken from NASA.
It's an interesting design that they have but I'm curious about its practicality. I'll do some coverage of it tomorrow.
Got some updated launch information for the other Falcon 9 launch.
The current time is June 12 at 9:07pm EDT.
he rocket carries six second-generation ORBCOMM OG2 communications satellites, providing significant enhancements to messaging capabilities. Second-generation OG2 satellites include an Automatic Identification System (AIS), allowing AIS-equipped ships tracking, navigation and safety features. ORBCOMM Inc. is the exclusive provider of commercial satellite networks that are 100% dedicated to machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions. The satellites provide two-way data messaging services for ORBCOMM’s global customers.
It's related t a number of procedures in which the Orion will be subjected to in order to ensure it is first ready for its december launch. Another thing is that the RCS systems will be filled with an interesting mix. At this time though, I should probably add that the main computer is now online and going through its check out phase. Within the coming months the final touches will be added to the spacecraft and flight preparations will commence. Ultimately this will cumulate in launch in december on a Delta IV heavy.
bombshell just hit It is now confirmed that EM-2 will use an SLS Block IB with EUS — thus eliminating the ICPS on EM-2 and moving forward development and production of the EUS by two years and one SLS flight.
EM-1, the uncrewed, debut flight of SLS in its Block I configuration, was (and still officially is) slated for December 2017.
the SLS Advanced Development Office has officially put forth a recommended Point of Departure (POD) for the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) based on “guidance for the Block 1B vehicle (EM-2). It now has the Exploration Upper Stage.”
Under this EUS POD, the new upper stage for SLS Block IB will be a four (4) RL-10-C1 engine stage (a switch away from the J-2X engines) with a maximum propellant load of 285,000 lbm.
Z3The EUS will carry a length NTE (Not To Exceed) 60 ft, an LH2 tank diameter of 8.4 m, and a LOX tank diameter of 5.5 m.
The NTE 60 ft length requirement does not relate to performance needs of the EUS but rather to the already baselined launch tower service arm
While there is no reason to think that the EM-2 Block I to Block IB/ICPS to EUS change will have any impact on the EM-1 mission in 2017, the fact that ICPS will now not be flying on EM-2 would seem to eliminate the mission’s ability to fly crew.
Z7The NASA Safety Office and the Astronaut Office are on record as being against flying crew on an unflown stage – which is what EUS will currently be for EM-2.
This would mean, if there are no changes in the stance of these two offices or in SLS funding and/or flight schedule, that EM-2 would have to be an uncrewed test flight (like EM-1) in 2021.
This has the knock on effect of pushing the first crewed flight to 2023
There is the documentary called The story of apollo 1. Apparently it's available on youtube. I suggest checking it out. For a slightly fictionalized version check out the Apollo 1 episode on "From the earth to the moon"
A realistic budget for me would be 20 billion eventually increasing to 28 billion (For the whole program) however, there would be farmed out resources and launch capabilities to commercial crews.
I am not a fan of the current speed t which we've decided to do things. I fer that whoever takes office next will do what Obama did and change things up again, effectively sending us back to the drawing board. This has been an ongoing problem to me and I think it needs to stop. Lock in programs, promote some urgency to accomplish mission goals (Without sacrificing safety) and let's stop wallowing around while private companies put the finest government agency to shame.
If you mean private companies putting the agency to shame, I point you to spacex who has intentions of putting men on mars. While it is not likely to happen any time soon, manned spaceflights on their own systems are enough to indicate that the U.S. has dropped the ball and should stop with these politics games.
Which is ironic considering space travel to date has been primarily political in nature until the Shuttle returned to flight following Challenger.
One of us got this backwards (i think, it's late and I need to go to sleep)
I am agreeing with you, when you say that "private companies put the finest government agency to shame" and adding that I think this is unlikely to change.
Ah, then it was I who got it backwards. I wanted to clarify my position so as to make it clear that while I greatly support the current manned space program, I am dismayed by how it has played itself out to date. Since we agree on this point though, I feel there is no fundamental misunderstanding.
So, since it's late night and there isn't much going on, I thought I would share a few frequencies of interest. The TDRS status is utilized by the WSC for spacecraft state of health monitoring, and a center frequency of 13.731 GHz. The S-Band Telemetry link (when activated) is transmitted at 2211.0 MHz.
This is what I do when it's late and I am reading up on my Communication Radio Frequency Onboard Network Utilization Specialist handbook
>I am dismayed by how it has played itself out to date.
Not him, but I don't think it's as bad as that.
The Shuttle wasn't optimal, but it allowed us to try things that will surely pay off in the future. Rocket wise no space agency, private or national, can match the Apollo program.
All things considered, it's done well, with maybe the Russians being the only competitor.
In 2012 they successfully tested propulsion and secured a contract with ESA. Further demonstration of capabilities are expected circa 2015-2016, with a fully functioning prototype in 2019.
Keep in mind that Syklon is designed for use in LEO, unmanned.
You said "swing around and come back", not land on the moon.
If you asked NASA to land men on the moon again, they'd say, "Okay, we'll need a budget like in the 60s again." because for all of their talk about investing in new technology, they haven't been working in a way that preserves and builds on established capabilities.
There was a very influential book written in 1996: "The Case For Mars", by Robert Zubrin, who is not really that familiar with how NASA does things or, for that matter, all that good at rocket engineering. He's basically a very intelligent layman, so while he's often insightful, he sometimes gets things very badly wrong.
He was looking at the problem of how to accomplish a Mars mission, and he started playing lego rockets with shuttle components, to make a heavy lift vehicle which we could supposedly produce at will. Stretch the fuel tank, slap on a couple extra engines, plop an upper stage on top: no problem, there's your super-heavy-lift launch vehicle. He was giving an offhanded for-instance, rather than a serious proposal, but he did assume it could be done rather easily.
As I say, it was influential. In 2004, when the Dubya in Chief asked for a post-shuttle launch vehicle, Zub's lego rocket concept was pleasing in the eyes of the shuttle contractors, and so Constellation was born, with its Ares V, and it was imposed from on high upon the poor engineers.
But you can't really play lego rockets. After a few years, it became obvious that the 5-shuttle-engined Ares V simply was never going to happen without a large budget increase. See, rocket engines don't operate in isolation. They have extreme power-to-weight ratios, and their heat and vibrations affect each other. They had all sorts of trouble getting three shuttle engines to work together on the space shuttle.
In 2010, Constellation was downgraded to SLS, an unambitious four-engined design, which falls well short of the Saturn V's capabilities... (to be continued)
cont. from >>6578052
By the time Constellation was converted to SLS, Obama was in office. This is probably why it was renamed, though it's obviously a continuation of the same program, after adjustments had to be made.
In 2010, it was mandated by law that the SLS must fly by 2016. So, in order to save time and meet the deadline, they decided they're not just using old component designs, they're sticking used old components on it. It's not just going to fly with space shuttle main engines, it's going to fly with the main engines of space shuttles which have already flown. And they're also going to stick an underpowered little upper stage from a Delta IV rocket on it, just to meet the 2016 deadline and do some test flights, even though it doesn't make any sense.
The SLS currently has a first flight date no earlier than 2017. Further delays would be unsurprising. So much for lego rockets.
So the original lego rockets concept, proposed in the 90s as a quick and dirty way to get a super-heavy-lift vehicle more powerful than Saturn V flying so we can plant a flag on Mars before Bob Zubrin gets old and dies, is going to take more than the entire duration of the Apollo Program to produce the first, disappointing test article, with about half of Saturn V's lift capacity, cobbled together from spare parts we're not sure how to make more of.
The Apollo Program was half a century ago. They had to invent new ways of building light, reliable computers to make it work. They did the calculations with slide rules, and stitched the engine together with welds done by hand. And today's NASA can't compete with that.
>So it's not going to be using second hand parts, right?
Oh it still is.
Meanwhile in the private sector, it would be unsurprising if Falcon Heavy were proven, reusable, and ready to lob 50 tons a week for $20 million a shot before the SLS with its launch rate of "maybe once a year, if we figure out how to make more shuttle engines" and reliability record of "cross our fingers and hope this cobble job doesn't blow up" is ready for its multi-billion-dollar test flight.
That has been a concern for every manned launch vehicle except the shuttle, a notorious crew-killer.
Basically, we're never going to have the reliability to forego launch abort until we're flying reusable vehicles as routinely as commercial airliners.
I perhaps should have clarified. I am used to the space craft itself being considered the payload while the Delta/Atlas/Titan/Falcon etc are termed the launch vehicles.
In the future I will make certain I clarify this if need be.
If we look at the cost of putting a pound of mass into space we get the following few examples:
Falcon 9 v 1.1- $4,109
Delta IV- $13,072
Atlas V- $13,182
The orion spacecraft will weigh: 19,650 lbs. So, take the base launch per pound cost and multiply it across.
On an Atlas V that comes out to 257 million.
On a Falcon though that comes out to 80 million. Cost wise, if I were a mission planner and had the opportunity, I would use a Falcon 9 to save money. Of course, the Falcon 9 cannot lift a craft beyond LEO at 19000 lbs, so this rules it out for the EFT-1 mission. An Atlas V however, can lift an Orion Capsule into a GEO orbit if need be.
A Delta IV offers the weight to Orbit opportunities of the Atlas IV but costs significantly less.
So the prudent mission planner would select the Delta IV launch vehicle. Which, as I believe I noted, is what will happen. The Orion is already a costly spacecraft. I think it has reached the 500 million mark to develop and build by now? I will check my numbers and see. So, taking all this into account, the costs of a spaceflight tend to accumulate quickly.
>The orion spacecraft will weigh: 19,650 lbs. So, take the base launch per pound cost and multiply it across.
That's not how it works at all. The $/lb figure is for maximum payload to LEO. You pretty much never actually get that price, unless your payload is tailored to the launch vehicle.
A Delta IV Heavy launch has an official price around ~$250 million. It's really more like ~$400+ million with the additional capability-maintenance payments.
>An Atlas V however, can lift an Orion Capsule into a GEO orbit if need be.
Atlas V max payload to GTO (not GEO): 19,260 lb
Orion mass: 19,650 lb.
Nope. Can't do it.
By your numbers, Delta IV Heavy can do it. It has LTO (Lunar Transfer Orbit) capability of 22,000 lbs. That's going "to the moon" in the sense of smacking into the moon, or maybe doing a free return trajectory, but certainly not orbiting the moon, much less landing on it.
But your number is just the capsule. The complete Orion vehicle is more than double the mass. Atlas V can't even put it in LEO. Delta IV Heavy is barely capable of it.
The complete Orion vehicle is 21.25 tons, and the maximum Delta IV Heavy payload to LEO is 27.5 tons. The best they can do with Orion on DIVH is to boost it into a slightly higher than LEO orbit, to test the heat shield under higher speed reentry conditions than a normal LEO return (but much lower than needed for return from actual BEO missions). This is the plan for the upcoming EFT-1 test.
The SLS is needed to send Orion to LTO, and is not capable of sending it with what's needed to land it on to the moon surface, which is why we have this silly fantasy about an Orion mission to an asteroid brought to lunar orbit with a robotic mission. (Why not just bring it all the way down to LEO? That's no good, it doesn't require SLS/Orion at all!)
funny you mention that. Space Adventures has lined up two customers for a Lunar Soyuz trip around the moon. Their quoted prices is $150 million per seat (with the third Soyuz seat reserved for the pilot/tour guide).
The best argument I've heard for the whole asteroid mission thing is that it's a good target and then testbed *for all the engineering capabilities you'd need to develop*, which we currently do NOT have, to do such things as send a sufficiently large cargo transporter to Mars ahead of a manned mission (much less pull off the manned mission itself.) There's considerable scientific interest in the moons of Mars which it also works well for.
In of itself it's not that directly "useful", but think of it being a modern equivalent of the Gemini program (except with much shittier funding) and it starts to make sense. NASA haven't done a good job of selling the concept or getting other nations onboard with it, though, and from that point of view should be targeting the moon instead which China et al *do* care about.
>They did the calculations with slide rules, and stitched the engine together with welds done by hand. And today's NASA can't compete with that.
Because Apollo era NASA had ten times the current NASA budget. Also they were more accepting of risk, since it was effectively a war-time (Cold War) political project.
No bucks; no Buck Rogers.
>Apollo era NASA had ten times the current NASA budget.
Highest NASA budget ever (in 2007 constant dollars): ~$33.5 billion (1965)
Current NASA budget (in 2007 constant dollars): ~$16 billion
What NASA was doing then: developing technology like nothing the world had ever seen.
What NASA is doing now: trying and failing to reproduce capabilities they already had half a century ago, with all of the designs and calculations still in their possession.
The Saturn Program (Saturn I, IB, and V) cost ~$46 billion (in inflation-corrected dollars), including 13 Saturn V launches, 9 Saturn IB launches, and 10 Saturn I launches.
The SLS Program is projected (by NASA) to cost ~$41 billion for only 4 launches, of a far less capable vehicle than the Saturn V. That's not counting the money spent before the name change and downgrade from Constellation, nor the development work on expendable shuttle variants done as part of the shuttle program.
No, the problem at NASA isn't a lack of funds.
But it is partly that, and the rest of the problem is mostly bureaucracy and politics. The SLS has been nicknamed the Senate Launch System for good reason (shame it won't actually launch them all into deep space or the sun, and yes I know you'd need insane delta-v for the latter.) The problems started a long time ago, even before the combined retardation of the Shuttle after the CIA had finished ruining it and the largely pointless but very expensive ISS made manned space missions i)boring and ii)confined to LEO which barely even counts as space really.
NASA still has highly intelligent people passionate about space that WANT to do cool things, they just can't and sadly the US public seem to be mostly disinterested in the topic of loosening those budgetary and political restraints.
Furthermore, the 2 things that give me hope are:
i) Commercial companies like SpaceX etc - read Arthur C. Clarke's "Prelude to Space" sometime if you haven't already, it was written in 1947 so it's so old it may even be out of copyright (and certainly would be in a sane world) and assumed that the first moon landing would be a COMMERCIAL venture. IIRC it's pitched as a giant advertising / publicity stunt. That turned out a bit differently due to the cold war "space race" which was fundamentally a nuclear war capability and propaganda race, but otherwise it's rational to think business could be the future and not governments.
ii) Chris Hadfield's observation that a "space race" must by definition has an end, and that the slower pace of development we have now is - whilst frustrating - more focused on practical applications other than ending human civilisation in a nuclear inferno, therefore it's more sustainable and useful.
$185 million at the time. That's $1.2 billion, in inflation-adjusted dollars. Cheaper than a shuttle launch, once they figured out how to do it.
If they had kept making them, they probably could have streamlined the processes and got costs way down over half a century.
The Saturn V could have put the ISS up in 4 launches, in one year. We used 36 shuttle flights, taking more than a decade.
The Delta IV heavy is being used to launch the Orion this december though. It is meant for a high earth orbit mission.
By the way, my numbers are only for the capsule and give the price tag for use of that vehicle on top of the amount the baseline cost is.
Aside from what has happened to the Rover, China now presents a real challenge to the U.S. when it comes to space programs. Were it not for the military control of the space program, we might know a little more about it.
Still, one cannot deny that this provides a major opportunity for other nations to step up their game.
>China now presents a real challenge to the U.S.
The hilarious part is that the U.S. made that monster themselves. Had the U.S. not blocked China from cooperating with NASA and the ISS, China wouldn't be in a position where they HAD to develop their own, independent program.
Oh, I certainly agree with that remark.
However, in time, this may prove to actually be beneficial to the U.S. Space program. Competition brought us the moon landings and the cold war brought us the modern telecommunications systems we have today. Intercompany competition brought forth a massive boom in technology and for the flaws and bad choices in the past 10 years, none can argue that warfare brought forth even greater advances.
I'm not saying that we should go to war though, I merely posit that there were benefits.
Please, objective points of view only.
This is strictly a science board.
>increasing cost of social programs
Oh yes, the ENORMOUS COST that is simply SKYROCKETING
No, the US didn't want cooperation with the Chinese space effort because they didn't want to provide opportunities for China to steal American rocket and satellite technology with military applications, not because they're opposed to China having moon rovers and a space station.
If I may...
I believe that was the point the poster was making. China has a notorious habit of stealing, reverse engineering, and then going crazy with U.S. technology that Giving them access to U.S. launch technology would have been giving them an advantage in space and Military applications. As a result of the isolation though, they now have their own separate intentions for the Moon and by sheer virtue of fact, this has the opportunity to eclipse our own achievements rather quickly.
That's showing the spending as a percent of GDP. GDP rises over time. Hell, in that diagram there's a slow but reasonably steady increase in the percentage itself.
It's entirely correct to say that funding for social programs is ballooning.
Furthermore, it's evidence in favor of the administrative ineptitude part, since if the programs actually worked we ought to see their cost as a % of GDP diminish in time, because poverty should be alleviated by GDP growth and the effects of the programs themselves.
The graph speaks volumes about governmental dysfunction.
again, agreed. Glad to see there's at least one other anon on /sci/ with an understanding of macro economics.
Frankly, I'm glad there are people with other disciplines on this board. I personally confess to knowing very little about economics. I understand its importance but frankly, that has never interested me.
...Just as molecular biology and neuroscience do not readily interest me.
If you would, I would greatly appreciate contributions to this thread which highlight the economics of spaceflight. I would like to see someone analyze the economic risks and gains that come from spaceflight and space technology. My understanding has been centered around technological benefits such as increased data access for remote sites and so on. Though people have asserted that there are medical benefits which have also helped a lot.
If you feel up to it, that would be greatly appreciated. I would like to see this board as a whole actually discuss topics beyond "My IQ is this," or "Help me with my homework!" and so on.
>The Saturn V could have put the ISS up in 4 launches, in one year. We used 36 shuttle flights, taking more than a decade.
And the Saturn 5 would have had to sit around for two decades doing nothing but burn money while waiting for space station components to be built. HLVs just hide expenses in a different part of the ledger.
>And the Saturn 5 would have had to sit around for two decades doing nothing but burn money while waiting for space station components to be built. HLVs just hide expenses in a different part of the ledger.
Isn't the whole point of a disposable launch vehicle that it *doesn't* sit around burning money? Where/how in your scenario does money get burnt?
Back in 1961, contracts were made during the R/D phase for production. The first component testing was in 1963. Keep in mind that these were the first Saturn V's. Post 1969, the USA wouldn't have to do a quarter of the R/D and testing they did originally because we already have experience producing and using the things.
Because a disposable launch vehicle is going to be (comparatively) simpler than a shuttle, you can start production much later and store it much cheaper.
>the Saturn 5 would have had to sit around for two decades doing nothing but burn money while waiting for space station components to be built
If NASA had continued the Saturn program instead of switching to the shuttle program, even if there were no improvements to make the Saturn rockets cheaper, they could have bought a Saturn V launch PLUS a Saturn 1B launch for every launch of the space shuttle, and still saved money.
Sitting around for two decades waiting for the space station components to be built? How about maintaining a continuous manned orbital presence from 1973 to the present?
They launched Skylab, a 77 ton manned space station, in 1973, using a single Saturn V rocket. In 1979, it fell out of orbit because they had switched from Saturn to shuttle, the shuttle still wasn't ready, and they had no launch vehicle for the reboost mission.
When the Shuttle finally did launch, in 1981, it was incapable of carrying a space station in one launch. So we needed this plan to launch and assemble a space station over many missions.
Skylab could have been expanded to ISS size in a few more Saturn V launches. It could easily have been accomplished before 1981. Actually, it might have been made into a better station than ISS in a single Saturn V launch, with the "wet workshop" plan. They were going to make a custom upper stage, to be incorporated into the space station, so its huge fuel tank could become the interior space of the station.
Imagine how the history would have played out with an ISS-equivalent complete in 1981 instead of the first space shuttle launch. Imagine Saturn Vs coming out of a permanent factory, with a staff of engineers making it cheaper and more reliable, with higher performance. Capable of lifting six shuttle-payloads to LEO in one flight, at lower cost than a single shuttle flight, or efficiently launching large missions to the moon or Mars.
The shuttle was massive, nearly 70 tons when empty, up to nearly 110 tons fully loaded.
The external tank (which went pretty much to orbit) was another 27 tons empty (760 tons loaded). All told, the shuttle was about as powerful as the Saturn V, but it wasted 83% of its capacity lifting non-payload stuff to orbit.
We've never had a system that could move something as massive as the shuttle beyond LEO.
I was looking for an excuse to post this.
They allow greater than 2 Mb pictures these days?
4Mbs is the most allowed.
...Which rules out about half of my pictures...
Parallel staging with side boosters is better, giving extra thrust only when you need it (liftoff) without having to develop super monster engines like the Saturn V's F1. The overall vehicle can also be shorter, which makes ground handling easier. The R-7 family (Soyuz) is the most successful example. Among the modern heavy lifters that use side boosters:
* Ariane 5
* Atlas V (optional solids)
* Delta II
* Delta IV (the Heavy was in the picture)
* GSLV (India)
* H-II (Japan)
* Long March 2F and 3B (China)
* Space Shuttle
also the upcoming Angara replacement for Russia's aging fleet of Soyuz and Proton.
also makes a cool jellyfish when launched at dusk
>It looks too much like a dick to me.
Is there a rocket that doesn't?
>It also looks sort of silly with those boosters on it.
Nonesense, they're cute, like a pretty girl's button nose or the perfect combination of a good smiles and bright cloths that perfectly compliment her skin pigmentation.
But to each his own.
>Parallel staging with side boosters is better, giving extra thrust only when you need it (liftoff) without having to develop super monster engines like the Saturn V's F1.
That's an oversimplification.
The Delta IV Heavy and Falcon Heavy are variants of the Delta IV and Falcon 9, conventional two-stage rockets. Sticking extra full-sized first stages on the side is a quick and dirty way to have a bigger rocket for less development cost, in exchange for increased air resistance (reduced efficiency) and more construction cost. Angara takes this same idea to a greater extreme, using up to seven first stages clustered together.
The Soyuz design (a direct descendant of the Sputnik rocket which sent the first object into orbit) dates back to a time when they used parallel staging (with smaller side boosters) because they weren't confident of having engines start in the air. By starting all stages on the ground, they had less reliance on automated systems.
The space shuttle was another kind of booster/sustainer system: the hydrogen-fuelled central stage had excellent specific impulse (fuel economy by mass -- needed for getting to orbit) but limited thrust (actual force -- needed for getting off the ground and into space), while the solid-fueled side-boosters had excellent thrust but limited specific impulse.
This arrangement is used on Ariane 5 and H2B, though they use the central sustainer stage to boost an orbital stage rather than taking it to orbit as in the shuttle.
Some rockets, such as the Delta IV and Atlas V, also can boost payload by adding small solid-fuel strap-on boosters to a vehicle that can launch without them. Strap-on boosters are expensive to make, but cheap to develop, so this is an option similar to, but less extreme than, sticking more first stages together.
There was less budget space available than you imagine post-Apollo, and your comparison against the Shuttle is too generous: you are basically proposing the continuation of the Apollo program minus a lunar lander but with new station components: too generous for the budgets of the period.
Your station in the early 80s vision could be realized, but it would entail adopting the Soyuz/Progress/Proton/Mir model instead of the Shuttle, where a station and vehicles are launched using the rockets that exist for military and commercial satellite purposes. Mir only used 6 Proton flights to put up a Skylab sized equivalent, and Proton flies regularly enough to well outmatch any station component construction and put a Mir in orbit every year or so. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
Kerosene/oxygen is good. It's not primitive, it's practical.
People get all excited about specific impulse, and forget about density impulse. Dense propellant means the pump feeding your rocket engine doesn't need to work as hard, which means you can have higher thrust-to-mass ratio. It also means your fuel tanks can be smaller, which means you can have a lower empty mass and less air resistance.
A high density propellant just makes more sense for the lower stage.
It also makes more sense for a reusable upper stage, unless you're willing to take a throwaway fuel can, like the space shuttle did (at which point, your claim on having a reusable vehicle becomes highly questionable, since rockets are normally mostly fuel tank).
Lower specific impulse on the upper stage, but higher density impulse, has the disadvantage that the lower stage has to be bigger and more powerful, and consumes more energy in fuel. But it has the advantage that less of the upper stage's empty mass will be fuel tank, so more can be stuff needed for reuse.
When you add in the general difficulty of handling liquid hydrogen, reusable upper stages based on kerosene/oxygen, or even kerosene/h2o2 (even higher density impulse, room temperature oxidizer, no insulation needed, mass-saving composite materials easily used for propellant tanks) start to look very good indeed.
>too generous for the budgets of the period
The 70s were a low period in NASA budgets, but they were developing a launch system that turned out to be even more expensive than Saturn V.
Understand: there were absolutely no savings by switching from Saturn V to the space shuttle. The shuttle cost hundreds of millions of dollars more per launch than Saturn V did, enough to pay for an additional Saturn IB launch. Even the Saturn IB could do the shuttle's job, and many things the shuttle couldn't do, at about a fifth of the cost.
From a peak of 33.5 billion constant dollars in the mid-60s, NASA's budget fell as low as 11 billion constant dollars in the mid-70s.
This extremely high budget in the 60s was needed for basic technology development. Once the technology was developed, and the facilities built, they could be used much more cheaply.
In 1972, for instance, they did two manned missions to the moon's surface in a year with a total NASA budget of only about $15 billion, and in 1973 they launched Skylab with a $14 billion total budget. The really expensive stuff was already behind them.
$11 billion is still not a small amount of money. NASA could certainly have continued to launch a few Saturn Vs and IBs per year, using the money spent instead on the shuttle program, even without finding ways to lower costs on Saturn launch vehicle production. They never needed to lose Skylab or abandon moon-landing capability, or lose the ability to launch 140 tons into LEO in one flight.
It all was thrown away for nothing, on a bad idea.
Nah, Saturn 5 was more expensive than you think, by 72 and 73 production was already shut down.
We live in your world now. Shuttle is gone and NASA is building a HLV that's cheaper than the Saturn 5. It's still slow and expensive as shit and not the wonderful world you imagine.
>Saturn 5 was more expensive than you think
It wasn't, though. After the initial development, it was ~$1.2 billion per launch, in today's dollars. Including the initial development, the shuttle turned out to cost ~$1.4 billion per launch.
The total Saturn V program cost $47.25 billion in today's dollars. So dividing the total cost by launches gives $3.6 billion per launch. However, most of that was in the initial development, testing, tooling, and infrastructure. Once those were paid for, it only cost another ~$1.2 billion to add another launch.
The $32 billion needed to develop the Saturn V vehicle and production and launch infrastructure was already spent when the shuttle was proposed, so as a sunk cost, it should not be considered in the comparison between the options of continuing the Saturn V program or initiating the shuttle program.
Furthermore, if the Saturn V program had been continued, the development cost would be amortized over more launches. The $3.6 billion per launch figure would have fallen closer to the $1.2 billion per launch figure with each additional flight. Eventually, the total program cost would have fallen below that of the shuttle, at the same number of flights.
The shuttle was also very expensive to develop, furthermore, it had a much larger and more expensive infrastructure which had to be maintained regardless of how often the shuttle was launching, or whether it was launching at all. This vast expense was justified on the assumption of a very high launch rate, which was unrealistic and never materialized.
In the end, the shuttle program cost ~$185 billion (in today's dollars), or $1.4 billion per launch. It is claimed by NASA to have cost only $450 million per flight, but this was not paying for the infrastructure or replacement of lost vehicles, and the launch rate could not be increased in practice to lower the $1.4 billion figure.
>We live in your world now. Shuttle is gone and NASA is building a HLV that's cheaper than the Saturn 5. It's still slow and expensive as shit and not the wonderful world you imagine.
Building a new expendable HLV is not the same option at all as continuing to use one.
Ending the Saturn V program was abandoning a $32 billion investment and an established capability.
"An unofficial 2011 NASA document estimated the cost of the program through 2025 to total at least $41bn for four 70 t launches (1 unmanned in 2017, 3 manned starting in 2021), with the 130 t version ready no earlier than 2030"
"HEFT estimated unit costs for Block 0 at $1.6bn and Block 1 at $1.86bn in 2010"
When you cut through the bullshit, it's clear that the SLS will cost more than Saturn V by any measure, while being far less capable. Unlike the Saturn V, it's an impractical design, based on favoritism toward certain politically-connected contractors rather than cost-benefit analysis and good engineering.
This is not "my world". In the world in which Saturn V was not abandoned in favor of the space shuttle, NASA had something both cheaper and more capable than the 2030 version of the SLS in 1974, and made incremental improvements from there. In that world, we could have had a moon base in the 80s and a Mars base in the 90s, without giving NASA more money than we did.
>Once those were paid for, it only cost another ~$1.2 billion to add another launch.
Are you sure that's not a context specific marginal cost? ie the cost of the next launch during the height of the Apollo program, rather than the cost of the first or no launch in a continued Apollo program?
Still, it ignores payloads, the Shuttle was its own crewed space system and small space station, and was operated as such during its first two decades or so.
I can better your own architecture. Continue just the Saturn 1b and use the excess budget for payloads for it, like a Mir class space station.
>the Shuttle was its own crewed space system and small space station
>I can better your own architecture. Continue just the Saturn 1b and use the excess budget for payloads for it, like a Mir class space station.
Skylab. One Saturn V launch, and it had already been accomplished nearly a decade before the first shuttle flight.
Switching to just the Saturn IB wouldn't have been a savings in cost per ton to orbit, and abandoning Saturn V was abandoning the capability of launching a mission to the moon, or a whole permanent space station in one launch.
Saturn V would have been needed to launch payloads such as a nuclear-powered shuttle for routine transit between LEO and low lunar orbit, or launching the components of a moon base capable of producing propellant for the nuclear shuttle and for a lander capable of taking loads between the moon surface and low lunar orbit.
Instead of dicking around in LEO for half a century, we could have been laying real groundwork for exploration, exploitation, and colonization of space.
>Instead of dicking around in LEO for half a century, we could have been laying real groundwork for exploration, exploitation, and colonization of space.
Although I agree with your dislike of the shuttle, what makes you think that if it didn't exist that space exploration would be better off. Why wouldn't we just be dicking around in LEO using expendable launchers?
We were stuck in LEO for the length of the shuttle program because of the shuttle, which could only go to LEO. It was so expensive we couldn't do anything else with manned spaceflight, and it carried such a small payload that we couldn't do anything very interesting with it.
>Flight, your thread has turned into the Economics of spaceflight and the economic pros and cons of the current direction.
This is precisely the kind of debate which needs to happen. As long as everyone gives on their position if it is demonstrated to be an incorrect one.
I want to add a factor into the conversation: The Shuttle was only ever meant to go to LEO and was meant to be a way of getting many people and parts up to a space station that would build the space craft that would go to the moon or mars more effectively. I'm not sure if Van Brahns numbers actually worked out appropriately, if someone could crunch those numbers I would greatly appreciate it.
I'm supposed to be meeting with the IA guys and discussing implementation on a system so I need to read some manuals before tomorrow mornings meeting.
Another delay SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v1.1 launch of six ORBCOMM OG-2 satellites has seen its launch date tweaked to No Earlier Than (NET) launch date to June 15, pending its Static Fire test on Thursday. The slight delay is understood to be related to a re-test requirement on the satellites. Meanwhile, Orbital’s launch of the Antares rocket with the CRS-2/ORB-2 Cygnus – set to ride to the International Space Station (ISS) – was pushed back to a NET July 1 target.
That's not even the worst part. The promise of the shuttle was that being reusable it would make the launches cheaper. That worked out sooo well.
The most efficient craft will be mission specific and that's a tough sell because it's the opposite of what we're used to with our terrestrial economies of scale.
>The promise of the shuttle was that being reusable it would make the launches cheaper. That worked out sooo well.
There was no reason it couldn't have worked out that way. It was just bad management, and bad, politics-compromised engineering.
The original shuttle concept was a small, simple, all-reusable vehicle, with a piloted flyback booster. Both booster and orbiter would land on the same strips, and be ready to refly with minimal servicing. Neither would be gliders, both would have small jet engines for powered landings.
The booster in particular was a good idea. Extra mass on the booster doesn't cost nearly as much, because you're not accelerating it to nearly as high a speed. Investing in the flyback booster would have made the most sense even if it was being used to launch expendable upper stages. This was the most important part of the system for lowering launch costs, and much easier to develop, since it was capable of taking off on its own.
In order to facilitate efficient reuse, and to keep development, construction, and infrastructure costs and times down, the payload of the initial system would have been small, about a quarter that of the shuttle.
This was all good and reasonable, if they had the money to build it. But they didn't. So to sell it to congress and the military, its supporters in NASA started making crooked deals to channel pork to key districts, compromising the design to make it about capabilities rather than cost savings, and telling lies about what it would cost, what it could do, and when it could be ready.
Essentially, it was a good concept spoiled by corruption.
>In order to facilitate efficient reuse, and to keep development, construction, and infrastructure costs and times down, the payload of the initial system would have been small, about a quarter that of the shuttle.
I don't know jack about economics so please correct me if I am mistaken but doesn't this violate the principal of economies of scale? IE one shuttle launch with a max payload of 24000kg is cheaper than 4 launches of 6000kg?
How do you think it would have worked out if the Wright Brothers, or even Ford during the Trimotor days, had tried to go straight to building a 747?
This was the first try at a reusable launch vehicle. They should have expected it not to turn out all that well, and planned to build another with what they learned from the first one. It was important to start small to keep costs manageable.
Anyway, a reusable vehicle needs to have a high flight rate. Large payload capacity and high flight rate are kind of contradictory.
>How do you think it would have worked out if the Wright Brothers, or even Ford during the Trimotor days, had tried to go straight to building a 747?
>Anyway, a reusable vehicle needs to have a high flight rate. Large payload capacity and high flight rate are kind of contradictory.
In aviation the two most dangerous parts of the flight are landing and takeoff. They also cause the most stress on the reusable platform (the airplane). This is why commercial aviation goes so hard towards large payload instead of high flight rate.
I meant high flight rate per vehicle. Commercial airlines don't buy 747s for routes where they'd have to keep them in storage most of the time, inconveniencing customers by requiring everyone to get organized to pile onto rare flights, and having to purchase, maintain, and house a larger, more expensive vehicle.
With the plan of operating a space station, there was always going to be a need for flights which were basically just taking a couple of guys to space, with some spare parts and supplies. That's all the first shuttle should have been designed to do.
The original plan was for a set of vehicles that would launch every week, acquiring more flight experience and amortization of costs in the first three years of operation than the actual shuttle did in three decades.
Interesting fact about the shuttle and SLS: NASA has never wanted the solid-fuel boosters.
They were originally imposed on NASA during the shuttle design process by the Office of Management and Budget, and have been imposed on NASA again by legislation requiring their inclusion in the SLS.
The SRBs were only reusable in the narrowest technical sense, requiring what was essentially a construction project to refuel them. The SRBs are what blew up Challenger. The inferior performance of the SRBs compared to the liquid-fuelled boosters NASA wanted required lower vehicle mass and higher main engine performance, causing the fragile and extremely labor-intensive glass foam tile thermal protection system to be used instead of a rugged metal shield (causing the loss of Columbia), and causing margins to be cut in the main engine which resulted in them requiring a full overhaul (with a lot of part replacement) after every flight.
It was that along with the myriad of design specifications such as the use of particular foam types on the ET, use of the tiles (Which are meant to be lightweight and heat distributive) and other such factors like the arrangement of the spacecraft (In the middle of the entire stack instead of above it like every other one) along with the exclusion of any kind of in flight rescue means (No quick safe separations, bailout only at 50,000 feet, no hardened CM with a parachute just in case) and an urge to fudge safety in favor of numbers. Further, the fact that, in their hubris, NASA deemed an experimental spacecraft "Operational" like some kind of jet liner, contributed to that culture in which deviations of safety were institutionalized norms in the space program.
Until we as a country actually demand high flying projects, a press for more space accessibility, and so on, this culture will continue to exist, eating away at innovation like a virus, giving politicians the chance, every time a new one comes into office, to "Come up with a better way" and scrap the progress made thus far.
>exclusion of any kind of in flight rescue means (No quick safe separations, bailout only at 50,000 feet, no hardened CM with a parachute just in case) and an urge to fudge safety in favor of numbers.
The following is a direct quote from Space Shuttle Final Technical Report: Volume II: Final Vehicle Configurations, written 31st of October 1969
"In the event of abort, the objective will be to keep going."
I hope I'm just interpreting it wrong, but judging by the lack of any safe/plausible/quick abort methods (AFAIK) for substantial durations of the launch, I doubt it.
You mean interplanetary.
Anyway, it's unknown. The next step in space exploration are interplanetary ships constructed in orbit, but those might be 20-40 years into the future due to budget constrains.
>You mean interplanetary.
Same thing, pretty much. "Intra-" means within, "inter" means between.
Travelling within our solar system includes travelling between planets.
the Falcon 9 Heavy will have only 3 less engines than that, so it's a viable concept at least
It only failed due to lack of static testing. They only discovered the various vibration issues in the four test flight failures. In contrast, every part of Saturn V was static tested. More expensive but more reliable in the end.
SpaceX also tests the hell out of everything they fly, both during development and for each production launch. In fact, the next Falcon 9's launch's static test fire is tomorrow!
I wouldn't say it failed at all.
They went with a test-by-flight strategy, fully expecting dramatic failures during these tests.
They were operating on a pittance compared to the lavish spending of the Apollo Program. They did good work, but inevitably the program moved more slowly than Apollo did, and their funding got cut before they reached their goal.
It is kind of amazing that all the dozen contracted Antares launches to resupply the ISS will use fewer NK-33 engines than ONE N1 launch!
on the other hand, they saved a lot of structural weight by having spherical rather than cylindrical propellant tanks. I can't think of another launcher design that pulled that off (except maybe the Romanian ARCA proposal).
Well, I'm not too surprised, there isn't much going on since spacex reveled their new craft and the Engine test issue that has bumped back the Antares launch.
Besides, lurking /sci/ long enough has taught me that this board doesn't care much for space programs and more about their IQ's