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#1 2005-09-16 00:15:08

kaci_m
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From: Southern California
Registered: 2005-08-30
Posts: 9
Website

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

I don't know if this has been posted anywhere on here, but Space.com has an article about the upcoming Moon plan from NASA (article at http://space.com/news/050914_nasa_cev_update.html).

Most of it sounds good, and they seem to be borrowing Mars Direct's "living off the land" concept. However, they are attaching a rather high price tag to the project ($100 billion over 12 years), and, it seems, they will be using the Moon mission to "justify" the Crew Exploration Vehicle's existance, post-ISS:

Once the Earth departure stage and lunar lander are safely in orbit, NASA would launch the Crew Exploration Vehicle capsule atop a new launcher built from a four-segment shuttle solid rocket booster and an upper stage powered by a single space shuttle main engine.

The CEV would then dock with the lunar lander and Earth departure stage and begin its several day journey to the Moon.

So, if I'm understanding this correctly (and, mind you, I may not be), The Crew Exploration Vehicle will be used to transfer astronauts from Earth onto the in-orbit lunar lander. Seems silly and redundant to me. The only explanation (excuse?) they could be thinking is that it's for the safety of the astronauts. However, during the Apollo program, none of the missions destined for the moon blew up going into orbit, so why would this one? And who's to say the Crew Exploration Vehicle couldn't blow up either?

This smells like it will be a pork magnet to me. And, of course, the politicians will be aghast that the project had gone overbudget after having so much pork added. What do you all think?

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#2 2005-09-16 01:14:47

John Creighton
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From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
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Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Using the stick to carry the crew separates the crew from the bulk cargo delivered by the shuttle derived vehicle adds safety and increases the payload delivered to LEO. The stick can deliver an extra 30 tons to LEO beyond what the SDV can. This new result is a more robust safer moon mission.

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#3 2005-09-16 04:43:29

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,793

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Here is some more of that pork smell.

[url=http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9355479/]NASA to unveil plan for moon mission in 2018
White House officials briefed on $100 billion proposal [/url]

NASA briefed senior White House officials Wednesday on its plan to spend $100 billion and the next 12 years building the spacecraft and rockets it needs to put humans back on the Moon by 2018.

Yup 2006 + 12 sure equals 2018 but there is no way that Nasa budget is going to do this on as little as 8 billion a year.

NASA has been working intensely since April on an exploration plan that entails building an 18-foot (5.5-meter) blunt body crew capsule and launchers built from major space shuttle components including the main engines, solid rocket boosters and massive external fuel tanks.

Sounds like Lockheed to LEO or osp project revisited.

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#4 2005-09-16 06:58:58

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

To be blunt SpaceNut, you don't know what you are talking about

A large 5m capsule is EXACTLY what NASA needs, and is precisely the opposit of what Lockheed is selling!

This must not wind up being a repeat of Apollo, if it is, then NASA is probobly doomed. This being the case, missions to the Moon must be able to accomplish more, much more, than Apollo missions did. In order to do that, Lunar missions must support larger crews (4-6) for longer stays (two weeks surface), carry light cargo all over the surface (~5MT), and have the option to land heavy (20-25MT+) payloads at a base.

The Apollo Lunar lander was sufficent to carry two men for a day or two, but a vehicle of similar scale just won't cut it with four men for two weeks (or six for a few days). Also, in order to avoid redundncy of lander hardware, launch vehicles, and generally simplify each mission then each manned lander must be able to carry the light cargo in addition to the crew and acent vehicle.

The Lunar-orbit rendezvous method for getting to the Lunar surface saves large amounts of fuel, it is a safe & proven concept, plus gives you two independant vehicles for Apollo-XIII style redundncy. Direct return with a single vehicle is simpler, but we want access to the entire Lunar surface, and not forcing all missions to land at a central base. In this case, a direct-return mission that doesn't land at base cannot reasonable refuel on the Moon, which forces it to carry Earth-return fuel all the way to the surface and back. This eliminates any chance of carrying the light payload or expanded crew requirement even with the big SDV, which disqualifies direct-return.

So, to get a sizeable Lunar lander with its light payload to the Moon and a capsule for six to Lunar orbit with its TEI stage will require about 150MT. No suped-up modified SDV could carry this much payload, the most powerful iteration with four SRBs able to lift ~130MT, so no single rocket can accomplish the mission. Period. End quote. Full stop.

Now, how then do you get 150MT to orbit? We have The Stick, which will be the safest medium launch rocket ever devised by man by using the safest large rockets ever developed, plus since it is a smaller rocket pulling out all the stops to maximize safety will be more affordable. Its maximum payload, 30MT or so, should be able to carry the capsule and the TEI/service module. Convienant, no?

The other ~120MT, which will be all cargo, can fit into a single inline SDV. This is important since the TLI and perhaps lander decent stage will be Hydrogen powerd, and so the quicker you can reliably use these rockets, the more payload can you pack. It doesn't make sense to split up the unmanned payload if you don't have to, and with one big SDV, you don't. The TLI stage can be "dumb" and cheap, and you only have one rocket to worry about.

Plus, if you are in the base building business, then build a modified lander decent stage for pure payload then put it on top of the big SDV, and you could easily send large 20MT payloads to the Moon in a single flight. Large in mass AND diameter, perfect for sending fully-assembled HABs or cryogen fuel tanks.

The Griffin plan is perfectly logical, and will accomplish much more while being safer then a single rocket mission.

And why won't $8Bn a year be enough? Spread over twelve years, and adding a few percent for inflation, that does add up to $100Bn. That should be plenty despite signifigant inefficiencies.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#5 2005-09-16 09:35:38

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,793

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

To be blunt SpaceNut, you don't know what you are talking about

A large 5m capsule is EXACTLY what NASA needs, and is precisely the opposit of what Lockheed is selling!

Actually capsule are not considered blunt, only lifting bodies are lumped into that term usually.
Also going with lockheeds plan means keeping the most of the shuttle army. That would be why Nasa would start with there plan.

As for size Apollo was only 3.9 meters so going to 5.5 is not all that much room.

As for 8 billion not being enough per year. There would need to substantial cost reductions in all of Nasa and of the SDV use and design costs to be able to make the fully functional manned date of use in 2010.

We did not even save a dime while shuttle was not flying, so how would we do so in the future while it is still in use.

What the articles all lack so far are the number of missions to get to the first lunar landing, how many after we start going to explore and no definition of when the next cycle of design for mars begins.

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#6 2005-09-16 10:56:48

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Huh? "Blunt crew capsule" still sounds like a capsule to me; there are different variations of capsule, like the Corona/tSpace CXV capsule, which is relativly "sharp" on the reentry end. The Apollo capsule would be a "blunt" type because its reentry end is of course quite blunt.

A 5m diameter capsule is alot bigger then you give credit for, it is after all a cone shape, so any change in diameter yeilds a disproportionatly large increase in volume. 5m is just what the doctor orderd for the CEV capsule.

I doubt that the 2010 mark is achieveable, but thats okay... a two or three year gap between Shuttle retirement and CEV manned missions is not too long. As far as money goes, I think that Shuttle is finished: the cost of trying to do the impossible and get it working again followed by a safety-wrecking mad dash to finish the ISS has now reached the point where its just not worth it anymore. Even the Russians are planning for this and may build a space tug to replace Shuttle.

Even if it is not however, Shuttle will be gone by 2010 one way or another, which will free up $6-7Bn a year for eight years, which adds up to over $50Bn. While that isn't a massive number, it should be enough to get the Lunar program started.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#7 2005-09-16 11:00:00

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

How much might an unpressurized lunar descent module (cab) cost? One which could mate with CEV and bring it down to the lunar surface?


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#8 2005-09-16 11:08:09

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

No more than a few tonnes I would think, but adding those few tonnes would exceed the maximum payload of the CEV. And then, you still have to send supplies and stuff for those astronauts to do on the Lunar surface, so you would have to send another flight with light payload anyway.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#9 2005-09-16 11:42:30

John Creighton
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From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 2,401
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Re: NASA's Moon Mission

There is only one thing I don't quite like about the NASA moon architecture. I don't like that two astronauts are left in orbit while the other 4 go down to the moon. I would rather 5 astronauts go down to the moon and the vehicle orbit the moon autonomously then 2 stay in orbit and a  4 go down to the moon. What is the purpose of keeping two astronauts in orbit around the moon? Could they perhaps be controlling robots on the surface through tell robotics? I also wonder how extensible this architecture is to longer missions. How long can two astronauts stay in orbit around the moon and not experience to much radiation exposure. Will both the lunar obiter and the Lander be protected from radiation or just one of them. If so which one. This I think is one advantage of lunar base. A lunar base should be easier to protect from radiation.

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#10 2005-09-16 12:28:00

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

I am sure that the capsule will be able to operate automatically if it needs to, leaving two men on the capsule is a safety measure for missions away from the base.

Again, the big point is that this mission arcitecture will not and must not be limited to missions only to the base. The Moon must not become another ISS!

Having two men in the capsule gives the capability to override the capsules' control systems if they fail, or even to effect repairs on the vehicle if they had to. This is important for missions away from the base since ground crews have to return to the capsule before Lunar night or their supplies expire. If you are at the Lunar base and your circling capsule fails, no big deal, you just stay on the base and wait for the next ride out. If you are far from the base however, and there is a problem, you are out of luck.

Having a crew on the capsule increases its reliability, which is more important for missions away from the base. Besides, that many men in the lander for two weeks would also be a psychological concern.

Edit: Solar flares will be a hazard, but there is only so much that you can do about that. I wonder if putting a few inches of water and aluminum would be sufficent protection, which wouldn't be too hard to carry.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#11 2005-09-16 13:24:12

publiusr
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From: Alabama
Registered: 2005-02-24
Posts: 682

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

You are quite right. Lockheeds CEV is just another SLI/OSP rehash they are using to get some Air Force attention. Let the russians have their Kliper--and we will stick to capsules. That beats us all doing the same thing.

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#12 2005-09-18 10:49:29

Ad Astra
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Registered: 2003-02-02
Posts: 584

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

There is only one thing I don't quite like about the NASA moon architecture. I don't like that two astronauts are left in orbit while the other 4 go down to the moon. I would rather 5 astronauts go down to the moon and the vehicle orbit the moon autonomously then 2 stay in orbit and a  4 go down to the moon.

Everything I've read is that four astronauts will fly to the moon in the CEV, and all four will land on the moon.  The CEV will orbit unmanned until it's time for the LSAM to lift off.

The Lockheed design that we've seen in public is a clunker, but I suspect that it's not the final form the design will take.  If anything, it might be a leak aimed at making Boeing-NorthGrum feel too cozy with their capsule design.  NASA clearly wants a capsule, so Lockheed's offer is unacceptable as-is.  But we may see the forward section of their CEV proposed as their final entry.  Personally, I liked their "circumcised Gemini" capsule a lot more than I liked the current "lifting monstrosity."

As far as pork in the CEV program, there will be ample opportunity for that.  Politicians always find a way.  The retention of the shuttle army (instead of a genuine effort at automation, on the scale of Delta IV and Atlas V) is the first pork chop being thrown to central Florida.  More will certainly come.


Who needs Michael Griffin when you can have Peter Griffin?  Catch "Family Guy" Sunday nights on FOX.

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#13 2005-09-18 18:24:04

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

The Lockheed design makes no sense, either they aren't serious about it and are just trying to pump up PR, or else they are counting on VSE to fail, in which case they will have the ISS-only "OSP redux" in hand ready to go.

There is also the fact that long developments are usually more expensive overall then short ones; given NASA's dismal financial situation though, they may have no choice since their anual budget is so tight.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#14 2005-09-19 05:39:11

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,793

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

[url=http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050918/NEWS02/509180340/1007]Fla. jump-starts mission

Team promotes KSC sites for next-generation moon-Mars trips[/url]

While the Nasa unvailing is to occur today, one can only wonder if what is mentioned in quotes below will be enough to appeal to all since the amount of money is so high.

Presentations by Shank and Nagel, as well as other NASA and White House documents obtained by FLORIDA TODAY, show the agency intends to field two new rockets and a new spacecraft for twice-a-year moon missions.

The flights would land crews of four astronauts on the moon, with the first mission targeted for 2018. A permanent base would be built, most likely at the moon's south pole. Crews would use the base to test systems for long-term stays on Mars.

The documents show NASA intends to spend the next five years developing the CEV, capable of carrying four to six astronauts. It would be launched by a single shuttle solid-rocket booster and a new upper-stage engine.

NASA wants to launch that vehicle with humans the first time in 2011 or 2012, just after retirement of the shuttle orbiters.

Only twice a year for moon missions.. gee I though we could have done better than that...
Since the cost of this is based on it being less than shuttle flights..

The public rollout will be monday at 11:00 am at NASA HQ.
September 19, Monday
10 a.m. - ISS Expedition 12 Commentary - JSC (Mission Coverage)
11 a.m. - A New Era of Space Exploration - HQ (Interactive News Briefing)

Nasa TV landing page use the page to select which player type you may have..

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#15 2005-09-19 10:09:55

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,793

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

I hope everyone is enjoying the web cast.

I find that the proposed transportational system is though making the best of where we are, with what we have is but a small step if no non governement missions start. Between now and the first moon landing in 2018.

Laying down a transportational system from this work is indeed costly but how does one get other companies to do the same when the only governement useage of such a systems is all there is at this time.

There is really no tourist needs other than a few launches to the very wealthy to the ISS and no other places to go at this time.

This is like laying down a super highway from anyplace on the map to another but having minimal usage or no one to use it.

Sending scienctist to the ISS even if in numbers will not lead to this system expanding or to future near term colonizational efforts unfortunately unless there are places to go and things to do.

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#16 2005-09-19 10:50:55

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,793

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

NASA - How We'll Get Back to the Moon

123123main3_lunar.jpg

We can say that this is an Apollo re-du but with some twists to the main theme.

6 passenger to ISS or a mix of light cargo with less
same ship to be used a pressurized and unpressurized cargo hauler

4 passenger to lunar missions.

Methane powered in advance of insitu resource

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#17 2005-09-19 11:06:31

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,793

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

NASA estimates $104 billion for return to moon

Griffin defends cost amid Katrina rebuilding: 'We don't cancel the Navy'

This page has animation of the program.

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#18 2005-09-19 12:48:26

PurduesUSAFguy
Member
From: Purdue University
Registered: 2004-04-04
Posts: 237

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Whatever happened to using Lunox? What about a heavy cargo lander?

Other then the inline SDV HLLV I don't see anything about how this is going to get us to Mars. That worries me.

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#19 2005-09-19 13:34:16

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Lunar oxygen is only going to happen down the road, when we have a base built, since you need big time electrical supplies, digging/trucking equipment to haul ilmenite ore, crushers/processors to render it a dust, a furnace or electrochemical reactor to yeild the O2, and finally compressors and cryogen coolers to finally make the stuff into LOX. Then you can put it in a rocket. Using Lunar oxygen for initial missions or missions far from base isn't happening, which is probobly why Lunar oxygen isn't a huge priority.

Heavy cargo lander? Deorbiting and landing on the Moon versus aerobraking and landing on Mars probobly take about the same fuel, so the big lander is probobly good enough to Mars too, maybe rearrange the fuel tanks a little.

The heavy lifter, 125MT class inline SDV, check.

The Lunar acent vehicle is a good starting place for the Martian acent vehicle.

Methane-powerd varient of RL-10/RL-60, check.

Whats the problem? The lander minus the acent/crew section should be big enough to land base componets.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#20 2005-09-19 14:04:40

BWhite
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Except for my belief that early deployment of a lunar LOX facility would be politically useful (at least symbolically) to communicate an intention to stay I pretty much agree with GCNRevenger's last post.

Stick cargo on that lander and land on Luna and there you go.

= = =

Is the RL-10 / RL-60 officially part of the design for the lander? I hadn't seen that yet.

How many engines?


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#21 2005-09-19 14:31:10

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Few questions:
-Will methane boil off any more or less H2?
-Where will the crew live during their stay? That assent stage looks about big enough for four coach class airline seats.
-What exactly makes up the 12 tons of cargo this thing is suppose to be landing with.
-Why are we throwing out the earth departure stage? Once its fired and empty, it's surely of more use to us anywhere on surface in any condition in the future than it is in bottom of the sea, and light enough to make planning for its future worthwhile. Likewise, shouldn't the modifications to the ET in order to stack 120tons of cargo on top and have 5 engines pushing it from the bottom solve most, if not all of the structural issues that made saving shuttle tanks "not worth the trouble".
-What happens if the Crewed launch is delayed for any amount of time? How long would we have before the EDS is useless?

I still think we have our mission priorities messed up. The first series of lunar mission should be all about science and resource prospecting, neither of which requires that much cargo, and as a result, that big a launcher, and that much money. We can get there quicker if we stay focused, an we'll cover more sites to boot.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#22 2005-09-19 15:24:17

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Methane boils off much slower then Hydrogen. Storage of reasonable quantities for up to years is possible in space or in the shade on the Lunar surface.

The crew will stay in the Lunar acent vehicle during early missions and missions away from the base.

The 12MT of cargo is for a variety of things:
-Heavy rover for longer-range exploration
-Heavy drill for geology and prospecting
-Space telescope kit, able to match or surpass any current space telescope if it is sited on the Moon's "dark" side
-Ground based communications relay for long range surface exploration at intermediate distance from base, idealy sited on a moutain top.
-Supplies and equipment for your six-month stay at the Lunar base
-Digging equipment to move ilmenite or "snow" ore to the ISRU plant
-Various small base items, like solar pannels or radiators or communications gear.

The departure stage has very little value of its own. All power, control, maneuvering, and docking facilities will be provided by the lander, and hence the thing will be pretty "dumb." A tank of that size should only cost a few tens of millions to produce, and each copy of the RL-10/RL-60 only cost a few million each. The departure stage is not worth trying to save, it cannot soft-land nor be impacted on the Moon with any accuracy, plus would require a deorbit/LOC burn.

Saving the Shuttle fuel tank for any purpose is nonsense. The structural qualities of the tank were never the issue, it is that the skin is too thin and not suitable for space use. The tank itself would also need tug functionality to remain in a useable orbit for later pickup, since all objects without attitude control will inevitibly spin and become un-dockable. BUT, the real biggie is that the tank itself can't be placed into orbit: the upper stage performs the circulization burn and not the big core, so that it will simply fall back to Earth at the end of the first orbit. Substantial payload requirements and the added risk of restarting the engines would be required to prevent this.

The first series of Lunar missions will probobly be about science and prospecting, since we will need to be sure that the base location has the most easily accessable oxygen, hopefully some water, the terrain is suitable, and most importantly that there are interesting sites nearby worth studying over longer terms. I take issue with your assumption that a science mission doesn't need signifigant payload, since it most certainly does. It was amazing just how much Apollo didn't accomplish scientifically, largely in part because they lacked a heavy drill, couldn't bring many samples back, couldn't stay long on the surface, and only had two crew.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#23 2005-09-19 17:52:19

jabe
Member
From: toronto Canada
Registered: 2003-10-02
Posts: 24

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

just curious...I was glad to see that they are using the ssme a LOT but since the ssme was been designed for multiple uses is it over engineered for the task?  would it be just as cheaply produced as another similar engine?  Anyone have stats on cost/isp etc of the ssme and other similar engines?

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#24 2005-09-19 18:12:41

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

Yeah, but I think that M.Griffin will simply bite the bullet concerning SSME for several reasons:
-Its already man rated, savings many millions.
-Reducing its complexity without affecting performance would be difficult, although it is possible.
-It keeps 500 ex-Shuttle engineers in business.
-SSME is unmatched in Isp with high thrust.

The only other engines that come close are the RS-68, with about 150% of the thrust and 410sec Isp, or the old J-2 with 50% of the thrust and 423sec Isp. I would personally like to see RS-68 used in the big heavy lifter core, but that might be a price Griffin is willing to pay due to the above.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#25 2005-09-19 19:06:49

VTTFSH_V
Member
From: Hawaii
Registered: 2005-09-13
Posts: 31

Re: NASA's Moon Mission

What I find hilarious is that, once again, NASA has no good reason for going to the moon.  It's all political.


Have a nice day.  big_smile

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