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#1 2014-03-20 11:45:30

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,380
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Expedite US access to space

In light of Crimea, I believe it's necessary to expedite US access to space. Since the Shuttle was retired, the US has been dependant on Russia to transport American astronauts to ISS. Three American spacecraft are under development to transport American astronauts: Orion, Dragon Rider, and DreamChaser. I feel the US should expedite development, ensure these vehicles are operational as soon as possible. This does not mean spending more total money, but will require getting funds to contractors more promptly. Boeing had scheduled the first unmanned test launch of Orion on a Delta IV Heavy this September or October, but that has been delayed to December in order to launch a military satellite. Getting Boeing to do anything quickly is problematic, but we need to try. But SpaceX believes in getting the job done quickly. Getting SpaceX to launch an unmanned test of Dragon Rider quickly should be possible. All that requires is delivering funds promptly, not more total funds, just delivered more quickly. And most importantly, removing bureaucratic obstacles. An unmanned test of Dragon Rider should be possible this summer. And the lifting body spacecraft DreamChaser should also be expedited. All of them, without prejudice.

I am asking the American members of the Mars Society to write the White House and their Congressmen to do this. I'm Canadian, so they wouldn't listen to me.
White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

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#2 2014-03-20 13:34:04

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,246
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

I quite agree with Robert Dyck. 

It's time to "crash" the commercial manned launch program.  I think if that takes more money,  it would be well worth it.  Besides the astronauts-riding-on-Soyuz problem,  there are only 3 commercial launch vehicles (Atlas-5,  Delta-4,  and Falcon-9),  soon a 4th (Falcon-Heavy). 

None of those are man-rated yet.  But,  of the four,  one (Atlas-5) uses Russian engines in its first stage.  So we are vulnerable there,  too. 

Saving the extra money by choosing now from among manned Dragon,  CST-100,  or Dreamchaser would be penny-wise,  pound-foolish management.  And there's been way too much of that already,  thank you very much. 

So,  fund them all to completion,  at best-possible-speed.  That way,  we get redundant means of launching astronauts,  as soon as possible.   

By the way,  I suspect that CST-100,  manned Dragon,  and Dreamchaser could be launched by any of 3 launchers:  Atlas-5,  Delta-4,  and Falcon-Heavy.  All that is needed is a set of adapters for each spacecraft on each rocket,  and some wind tunnel data.  That would be a very good investment,  and not a very large one. 

It wouldn't hurt to invest in another engine to use in Atlas-5,  either. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#3 2014-03-20 17:18:03

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,299

Re: Expedite US access to space

It has been known for several years that the 180 engine could be produced by Pratt n Whitney but the cost to do so makes the engine for replacing the Russian built unattractive.
The Atlas-5 was on its way to becoming man rated by the Dreamchaser and bigelow usage but since these are military rockets I am sure it is made harder for commercial use. The same holds true for the beoing delta 4 cst-100 use even though nasa would control only the capsule purchase and use side of that equation.
I am unsure of the space x contracts with nasa as to if they can even sell any units to non nasa interests for use. That said while the Falcon is a launcher of possibility it lacks a means for a crew to be transferred to space in.

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#4 2014-03-21 14:26:26

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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#5 2014-03-21 16:41:52

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,380
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

Promoted a bit. I posted this link to facebook, on the timeline of The Mars Society, The Moon Society, National Space Society, and The Planetary Society.
Don't just "like" on facebook, actually click the link to sign the petition.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2014-03-21 17:46:18)

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#6 2014-03-23 14:45:54

Excelsior
Member
From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Expedite US access to space

Sadly, our President is not interested science or engineering that doesn't support his political ideology, and our Congresscritters are far more interested in buying votes at home with juicy contracts than they are actual progress in our space program.


The Former Commodore

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#7 2014-03-23 15:58:19

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,380
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

Get the 100,000 signatures necessary, and see how quickly the Congresscritters claim it was their idea.

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#8 2014-03-23 16:47:15

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,299

Re: Expedite US access to space

Welcome back what took so long Commodore
While Pratt N Whitney would love to have the business to make the clone I would rather have the F1 engine of Saturn for use going forward for a Kerosene LOX system. Then throw a pair of SRB's onto it and we could put in one shot to orbit the whole thing.

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#9 2014-03-23 21:01:55

Excelsior
Member
From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Expedite US access to space

RobertDyck wrote:

Get the 100,000 signatures necessary, and see how quickly the Congresscritters claim it was their idea.

I would love to be proved wrong.

But between the election this year, and pending the results, I don't see a whole lot of new policy being decided. It will be more about correcting the past.


The Former Commodore

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#10 2014-03-23 23:36:06

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,380
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

Expediting an existing program isn't anything new. Considering how alpha-male the Congresscritters are, I expect ending reliance on Russians for transport would be a no-brainer. And getting money more quickly into the hands of contractors who employ engineers and technicians in their district? Why would you have to even discuss this? But I've been pleasantly surprised to find many voters want international cooperation and peaceful relations. The response on facebook hasn't been positive. I was all for that, and the strongest advocate here on NewMars, until Crimea. I don't know how that can be reconciled with what happened in Crimea.

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#11 2014-03-24 04:07:51

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

Cooperation =/= interdependence.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#12 2014-03-24 19:06:17

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,299

Re: Expedite US access to space

If it was not for its military useage we would be looking at why do we not have a first stage engine that has its capability for kerosene LOX since most of America's engines are LH2 LOX which is why we are having this problem.

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#13 2014-03-25 10:40:33

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,246
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

There are good technical reasons why you want dense propellants in (at least) the first stage of a launch rocket.  Both kerosene-LOX and liquid methane-LOX qualify,  LH2-LOX does not.  Kerosene-LOX is older and more developed.  Liquid methane-LOX offers higher ISP at not much of a density disadvantage.  Storables such as NTO-MMH are more-or-less almost comparable to kerosene-LOX.

Atlas-5 uses kerosene-LOX,  then a LH2-LOX upper stage (the venerable old Centaur).  It's only real problem is a Russian-made first stage engine in a time when we and the Russians are no longer cooperating.  For heavier-lift,  you add solid strap-ons.  The higher Isp of LH2-LOX overcomes its density disdavantages in the smaller upper stage.  It came from a single-stage-and-a-half Atlas ICBM,  to which Centaur was added as an upper stage. 

I'm not sure without researching it what Delta-4 uses.  But I do know that for heavier-lift,  you add solid strap-ons.  It originally came from the single-stage Thor ICBM. 

Falcon-9 uses kerosene-LOX in both stages.  No strap-ons,  for heavier lift,  you stack up more first stage units in parallel and cross-feed their propellants (Falcon-Heavy).  This one was never a missile design. 

The SLS design is the LH2-LOX design,  with solid strap-ons.  It's based mostly on shuttle engine and SRB stuff,  and made to resemble the old Saturn-5 in the way it is stacked together. 

The old Saturn-5 was kerosene-Lox in stages 1 and 2,  and LH2-LOX in the third stage.  It originated not as a moon rocket,  but a family of ICBM designs.  The Apollo-Saturn moon mission architecture was made to fit around the biggest of the ICBM designs.  It took an idea from outside NASA (lunar orbit rendezvous) to make it work at one launch-one mission.  Before that was adopted,  each moon mission required two Saturn-5 launches.  The Apollo-CSM was the lander.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2014-03-25 10:43:18)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#14 2014-03-26 17:52:19

Excelsior
Member
From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Expedite US access to space

RobertDyck wrote:

Expediting an existing program isn't anything new. Considering how alpha-male the Congresscritters are, I expect ending reliance on Russians for transport would be a no-brainer. And getting money more quickly into the hands of contractors who employ engineers and technicians in their district? Why would you have to even discuss this? But I've been pleasantly surprised to find many voters want international cooperation and peaceful relations. The response on facebook hasn't been positive. I was all for that, and the strongest advocate here on NewMars, until Crimea. I don't know how that can be reconciled with what happened in Crimea.

They have to be in the right district though. SpaceX, Bigelow, and Orbital simply are not in the right districts.


The Former Commodore

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#15 2014-04-29 18:09:00

Excelsior
Member
From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Expedite US access to space

It was only a matter of time...

[url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10795372/Ukraine-crisis-EU-sanctions-target-separatists-and-Russian-spies.html]Ukraine crisis: EU sanctions target separatists and Russian spies
New EU sanctions target separatists and their Russian military sponsors as Moscow threatens American astronauts on ISS[/url]

...
In a significant political move, General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian military general staff, has been added to the sanctions list for his responsibility "for the massive deployment of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine and lack of de-escalation of the situation".
Following the announcement, Mr Rogozin said that fresh US sanctions against Moscow could compromise US astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).
"If their aim is to deliver a blow to Russia's rocket-building sector, then by default, they would be exposing their astronauts on the ISS," the Interfax news agency quoted Mr Rogozin as saying in Crimea.
...

If Obama had any strategic sense, he'd give secret orders to the US astronauts get themselves and the Japanese crew member off on one of the Soyuz capsules and land it in Nebraska, and then maneuver an orbital asset, the X-37 currently in orbit perhaps, into a menacingly close orbit, demanding the Russians detach their segments, or we will collide the asset into our own segment. If we sit on our hands on this, and the Russians make the first move, we'll never get our people back.


The Former Commodore

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#16 2014-04-29 18:13:43

JoshNH4H
Member
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

The ISS is a $100 billion dollar and counting scientific resource outpost, most of which was spent by the US government.  I contend that it doesn't make any sense to demand that the Russians detach their segments (Is that even possible, realistically?) and doesn't serve anyone's interests to do so.


-Josh

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#17 2014-04-29 18:14:08

JoshNH4H
Member
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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Re: Expedite US access to space

Related question:  There are 50 states.  Why Nebraska?


-Josh

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#18 2014-04-29 19:36:52

Excelsior
Member
From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Expedite US access to space

JoshNH4H wrote:

The ISS is a $100 billion dollar and counting scientific resource outpost, most of which was spent by the US government.  I contend that it doesn't make any sense to demand that the Russians detach their segments (Is that even possible, realistically?) and doesn't serve anyone's interests to do so.

Russia has apparently decided to be openly hostile to our values, making cooperation increasingly difficult to justify. And you don't leave such a valuable assets in the hand of rival, even if it means losing it yourself. If anyone understands the policy of scorched Earth, its the Russians.

The Russian have made clear they want to keep their segments after the other expire, so let them. They would just have a station with 10% of the capability it did before.

Whether or not we are ultimately able to save our segments on their own is irreverent. With the will and newly developed commercial resources, we can replace it with something with greater capability for both us and the rest of our international partners within a couple of years for less than it would cost to maintain the old station.

Of course, an utter lack of will/spine is precisely why Obama will do nothing about this as the crisis in Ukraine escalates into either open war or ethnic cleansing between the Russians and Ukrainians.

Why Nebraska?

I figure its the closest to Kazakhstan that we have.


The Former Commodore

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#19 2014-04-29 19:38:03

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 21,299

Re: Expedite US access to space

The Russian portion of the ISS... saw an article from last year on that subject. Russia may recycle space station modules

The ISS currently has five Russian-built modules -- the Zvezda service module, the Zarya cargo block, the Pirs docking module, the Poisk ("Search") research module and Rassvet ("Dawn") research module and may at some point use modules it sends to the International Space Station to build its own orbital station.
Russia plans to launch four new ISS modules by 2020, but could re-use them when the time comes to de-orbit the existing international space station which is set to be de-orbited in 2020, but the project's participants -- the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and 11 members states of the European Space Agency -- are discussing the possibility of extending its life until 2028.

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#20 2014-04-30 04:21:16

Terraformer
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From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

Do you really want to fire the first shot in a space war? Then it really will be the shot seen round the world, every 90 minutes.

Do you seriously think the astronauts would be held hostage by Russia when they return? Or that the Russians onboard would be able to overpower them and force them into the Soyuz capsules? Or steal both, leaving them stranded, and destroy the life support so that they can't be picked up later? Do you seriously think the astronauts themselves would be willing to do all that, or that the Russians would destroy the station and thus prove that they're a threat to the entire world?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#21 2014-04-30 10:56:15

Excelsior
Member
From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Expedite US access to space

Terraformer wrote:

Do you really want to fire the first shot in a space war? Then it really will be the shot seen round the world, every 90 minutes.

General Gerasimov just fired a shot across our bow, saying further interference with Russian expansion into Eastern would result in bad things happening to our astronauts and investment. 

What I am suggesting is a peaceful separation of the two segments. Nothing gets damaged unless the Russians fail to comply. International law says we are responsible for our segments anyway, such an act would be in compliance with such standards.

Terraformer wrote:

Do you seriously think the astronauts would be held hostage by Russia when they return?

That's precisely what General Gerasimov just threatened.

General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian military general staff wrote:

If their aim is to deliver a blow to Russia's rocket-building sector, then by default, they would be exposing their astronauts on the ISS

They are threatening Western access to the station as sole launch provider, or the astronauts themselves.

Terraformer wrote:

Or that the Russians onboard would be able to overpower them and force them into the Soyuz capsules? Or steal both, leaving them stranded, and destroy the life support so that they can't be picked up later?

You misunderstand. I'm suggesting that the US and Japanese crew members duck out on a Soyuz to preempt any Russian move. We've already paid for the Soyuz in the contract for seats up, we would just be taking them down, and the Russians would come out ahead on the rocket launch costs. Alternatively, we could keep the Soyuz in orbit to await the separation, and then re-dock with our segment. At that point we would probably have a lot of work to do to put the whole thing in standby mode, and then leave it unmanned until the Dragon is approved for manned flight. In a contingency such as this, I'm sure SpaceX could just bolt some seats into a Dragon, and we could fly with Shuttle safety standards (ie. no LAS) within a year. Anything longer than that and some sort of station keeping method would have to be applied to our segment, as that duty is assigned largely to the Russian segment. Perhaps something as simple as a Falcon second stage with a docking ring for a solid connection. Of course, ultimately to point would be to replace it as quickly as possible with a purchased Bigelow station

Terraformer wrote:

Do you seriously think the astronauts themselves would be willing to do all that, or that the Russians would destroy the station and thus prove that they're a threat to the entire world?

Astronauts are still representatives of the United States. I'm sure that individually they are good friends with their Russian comrades, and our beef is not with them or the Russian people. Nevertheless, Putin's actions must have consequences. Hopefully the Russian people will see that what Putin is doing is harmful to them and vote him and his stooges out.

Last edited by Excelsior (2014-04-30 11:01:09)


The Former Commodore

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#22 2014-04-30 11:15:27

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

I'm fairly certain that the comment was about US access to space, not the people onboard...

What will happen to the US segment with no-one there, I don't know. But they launched there a month ago, so the US has 5 months to develop an alternative. Could Dragon be brought forward in that time?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#23 2014-04-30 11:16:34

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

Alternatively, they could use the X-37 to move a single astronaut there for a few months, and keep doing that until Dragonrider flies.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#24 2014-04-30 11:40:07

JoshNH4H
Member
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: Expedite US access to space

I believe that dragonrider is actually quite close to being ready.  It depends how much NASA is willing to allow in the way of waiving its requirement for an infinite number of launches to demonstrate that the launch system is safe, but I'd think that if NASA were to give SpaceX a boatload of money they could get DragonRider operational within the year.  I believe that downmass capability has already been demonstrated? 

It would really be great to not start a thermonuclear war any time soon.

"War does not decide who is right, but who is left"

-George Bernard Shaw

I don't know about you, but (to borrow from Glandu's sig a while back) I'd rather we all be left, be we right or not.


-Josh

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#25 2014-04-30 12:08:33

Excelsior
Member
From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: Expedite US access to space

JoshNH4H wrote:

I believe that dragonrider is actually quite close to being ready.  It depends how much NASA is willing to allow in the way of waiving its requirement for an infinite number of launches to demonstrate that the launch system is safe, but I'd think that if NASA were to give SpaceX a boatload of money they could get DragonRider operational within the year.  I believe that downmass capability has already been demonstrated?

Elon is tweeting that a Dragon Mk 2 announcement in imminent. I'm sure he saw the Generals comment yesterday and decided now was the right time to pounce.

I wonder if it will simply be the Dragonrider or the powered dry landing version two.


The Former Commodore

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