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#26 2015-03-01 21:40:27

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,135

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

To keep ISS resupply and construction commercialized, F9/F9H, Atlas, and D4H should be used.  There should be no SLS flights to ISS unless it's delivering a cargo intended to further our manned space exploration objectives.

I think the crew quarters, galley, shower, and head should be in one module and the station keeping system contained within another module.  Instead of trying to design a module that can perform all required functions, keep it simple.  There's a countdown on these development activities.  The solution doesn't have to be perfect in every conceivable way, just functional.  Obviously the solar panels need to be upgraded to provide more power for electric thrusters, so that's the first activity to fund.

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#27 2015-03-01 23:30:39

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Posts: 4,993
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Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Before the American side had life support, a group of scientists published an article in the journal Science. They complained that operating/maintaining ISS required 2.5 astronauts, and since there were only 3 crew members, that left them with half the time of only one person to get any science done. So yea, there's a need.

I could argue for the US Habitation module. As originally proposed/designed for ISS. Or TransHab. But how do you get it there? Again, the only remaining option that comes to mind is the ATV service module. That means launch on a European Ariane 5 launch vehicle. There will be lobbyists who don't like the fact America has no replacement for Shuttle.

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#28 2015-03-02 05:10:17

Spaniard
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From: Spain
Registered: 2008-04-18
Posts: 53

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Do you forget chinese?

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#29 2015-03-02 18:12:55

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Spaniard, we have not forgotten that they do have orbital space capacity and capability but they have not joined nor chose to join with other partner nations to be part of the ISS colaboration for mankind.

kbd512, I do agree that we should try to use just the commercial launch vehicles where ever possible to add as well as to maintain the station in good working order. We should be able to clone any modules to allow for a lower cost replacement means when they are no longer maintainable.

RobertDyck, I do believe that the ATV unit that will be used for Orions test flight is being supported by Lockheed and should be possible to manufacture as it will have been Americanized by then for Nasa.

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#30 2015-03-07 23:57:30

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

International Space Station 'Lost' Without Russia -

A top NASA official confirmed Wednesday that the US has no backup plan to maintain the International Space Station if Russia should decide to pull out of the joint operation.
The new chairman of the space and science subcommittee, Texas Republican Rep. John Culberson, pressured Bolden into giving a direct answer.

"You are forcing me into this answer, and I like to give you real answers," Bolden finally said. "I don't want to try and BS anybody."

The question of continued US-Russia cooperation on the ISS has come to the fore amid deteriorating diplomatic relations between the two countries over Ukraine’s civil war.  NASA’s admission that they have no other option without Russia confirms growing concerns.

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#31 2015-03-08 01:22:23

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,135

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

If ISS is brought down, then there is no commercial crew program and no platform to test new technologies on.  In nearly two decades of operations, NASA couldn't allocate funding for a crew accommodations module or a propulsion module.  Makes perfect sense to me.

This should mean more funding for tech required for a Mars mission, but I'm guessing it means no space station, no commercial crew program, no lunar missions, and no Mars mission.

Maybe Skylab II development work could start, but that's probably too sensible.  Oh well, what's a few tens of billions between friends?

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#32 2015-03-08 09:50:47

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
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Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Expecting things from NASA to make rational sense at the strategic level is not realistic,  for reasons I have offered elsewhere on these forums.  I tried to pull all of that together into an article title "Stagnation in Space?" posted 1-17-15 at http://exrocketman.blogspot.com

Mr. Bolden is not (and never has been) free to actually-manage the selection-of-projects of the organization he is in charge of;  all its high-dollar items,  down to procurement of items from vendors,  is mandated by Congress,  whose members are pathetically-obviously incompetent to be making such decisions. 

Between that and the effects of growing too bureaucratically large,  you are essentially witnessing the death of the American manned space program.  This has been going on for some decades now;  it just takes the giant a long time to fall over.  It could still be reversed,  but I see none of that going on,  which saddens me greatly.

I think what you will see is an end to all American government-funded manned space flight in the next several years,  without ever really going anywhere,  not even back to the surface of the moon.  The government-funded science and planetary probe efforts will continue,  as the public actually supports some of that.  But manned activities will transition to private entities,  and to other countries like China. 

I really hate being a pessimist,  but that is what I see going on.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2015-03-08 09:53:32)


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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#33 2015-03-08 10:24:33

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

So shift the work to Space X, Sierra and others that are making space possible at a lower cost per mission launch and hand over control of the NASA projects to them with NASA personel guidance...cut the fat and over head for standing armies of people....

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#34 2015-03-09 09:47:26

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,692
Website

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Why use NASA mismangement?  Use what already works in the private outfits.

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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#35 2015-03-09 14:05:20

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,135

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Whether we like it or not, billions of our tax dollars are being squandered on pet projects that this or that bureaucrat has a political/economic interest in.  I just want NASA administrators to focus on what's required for real space exploration and pay lip service to the whimsical and insipid requests of Congress.  There's no benefits to be had by playing political games.  Congress can either choose to defund the manned space program or fund it properly and administer it properly.  Let people who are qualified to make mission architecture and technology selections make them.  Congress and the President need to set goals, step back, and give people who are qualified to do what they want done a chance to work.

Congress is supposed to be a good steward of the taxpayers' money.  They're not supposed to play favorites or dictate every little detail of how to do something to the government agencies and contractors they provide funding for.  Our engineers know how to build rockets, spacecraft, and run space programs, but the constant interference from Congress and special interest groups has made their tasks impossible by dictating things to them that should have been their decisions to make.

If a certain technology selection or mission architecture isn't manageable or is cost prohibitive then NASA needs to accept the breaks and Congress needs to be realistic about what can and can't be done for a given level of funding.  On that note, if Congress wanted to do something that would benefit not just NASA but the military, too, it would prohibit NASA or the military from letting cost plus contracts.  A contractor needs to accurately estimate what a particular technology or tool set costs to develop and build, submit a proposal, and then a proposal that approaches affordability needs to be selected.  This isn't the 1960's.  Spacecraft aren't completely experimental technology and haven't been for decades.  If no suitable solutions are available, then NASA needs to go back to Congress and let them know that what they want accomplished isn't doable with available resources.

For example, is there any reason why the Air Force should be permitted to let contracts to a contractor (ULA) who has violated the law because their cost overruns are so high?  There's no reason whatsoever why all contracts that run into the billions of dollars shouldn't be competitively bid and no reason why the contractor overcharging the government should be permitted to dictate operations to potential competitors for certification to bid on contracts.

Like GW said, the giant bureaucracy that NASA has become is simply taking longer to become irrelevant than most of us would like.  You can't throw money at the problems that NASA has and expect a result.  It's cultural.

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#36 2015-03-09 19:05:13

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

I am wondering if congress should feed funds towards the commercial market of Space x ect.. in terms of what they want and just leave NASA out of the steady state applications and bring it back to cutting edge designing that can be propagated down into the commercial market.
Nah, thats crazy talk; as meantioned we can not trust them to be the stewarts that we would want.

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#37 2015-03-09 20:27:03

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

NASA Urged To Devise Post-International Space Station Strategy

NASA is under pressure to devise a strategy for what comes after the International Space Station, an approach that may rely heavily on commercial facilities. NASA officials say they hope the private sector will provide a follow-on to the International Space Station.

One possibility is Bigelow Aerospace, whose BEAM module (above) will fly to ISS later this year. Even though the International Space Station appears likely to remain in use well into the next decade, some in the space industry are pressing NASA to start developing a strategy for what comes after the ISS, an approach that may rely heavily on commercial facilities.

Even if the other partners agree to continue ISS operations to 2024 or later, some say now is the time to develop a strategy for transitioning from the ISS to another facility to avoid any gaps in low Earth orbit operations. NASA officials acknowledge that now is the time to think about its post-ISS strategy, but say a successor to the ISS is unlikely to be a station built and operated by the space agency.

We, the government, want another viable space station before this one ends,”

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#38 2015-03-09 20:39:21

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,135

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

SpaceNut wrote:

I am wondering if congress should feed funds towards the commercial market of Space x ect.. in terms of what they want and just leave NASA out of the steady state applications and bring it back to cutting edge designing that can be propagated down into the commercial market.
Nah, thats crazy talk; as meantioned we can not trust them to be the stewarts that we would want.

I agree.  NASA should only concern itself advancing the state of the art and pursuit of science objectives that further human knowledge.

NASA's contractors should continue to provide know-how and services, but NASA needs to issue requirements, solicit bids, and select from amongst the proposals that meet the requirements and are within budgetary limitations.  NASA needs administrators who understand rocket and spacecraft tech, but the agency shouldn't actually employ anyone for the purpose of designing or building rockets so long as there are three or more companies capable of providing solutions.

Our aerospace and defense contractors have the know-how and service provisioning aspects of the business covered, but there needs to be an incentive to deliver on-time and within budget.

SpaceX isn't infallible, but there seems to be more independent development going on there than at more established contractors like Boeing and Lockheed-Martin.

I've seen more than a few presentations from NASA that indicate that the agency is attempting to develop a portfolio of technologies for space exploration, but I don't see them actually doing that.

Examples:

Rover/NERVA - high specific impulse and high thrust propulsion
Saturn V - heavy lift launch system
Skylab - space station
STS - sensitive cargo lift/retrieval and partial reusability
X-33 and Venture Star - completely reusable single stage to orbit for sensitive cargo lift/retrieval

There are only a handful of technologies required for sustainable space exploration and precious little funding devoted to them.

Here's what we need:

- dramatically lowered launch costs
- high reliability closed loop life support
- active radiation shielding
- high energy density power generation systems
- high specific impulse and high thrust propulsion systems
- in-situ resource utilization

We live in an age where there are companies and even private individuals who would fund space exploration if the basic technologies required were available for purchase, but the enabling technologies don't exist because we've squandered so many billions of dollars on projects that haven't contributed to the goal of making space flight affordable and attainable.

The greatest barrier to space exploration is and always has been the insane cost of getting to LEO.  NASA has been in operation for more than five decades and in that time no completely reusable launch system has been developed.  That was step one for sustainable space exploration and we're still not there.

By all means, let's repurpose NASA for tasks they're actually good at.

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#39 2015-03-09 22:35:48

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 4,993
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Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Some historical stuff. Reasons why we got what we got.

Skylab: developed and launched quickly in response to the Russian Salyut 1 space station. Skylab was called a "space habitat" because supplies were not refillable. Pressurized oxygen tanks for life support could not be refilled, once the oxygen was gone the habitat would have to be abandoned. Skylab was a converted Saturn IVB stage, originally designed to be the upper stage of a Saturn 1B, but after Apollo was cancelled it was launched on the Saturn V intended for Apollo 18. The workshop itself was converted from the third stage intended to launch Apollo 20. The stages for Apollo 18 & 19 were complete, but the one for 20 was not. It was cheaper than tearing apart a finished one.

STS: originally intended to be a fully reusable two-stage-to-orbit. Lifting body orbiter. 50 launches per year. Able to lift 7 astronauts plus 11 metric tonnes of supplies to an international space station in the same orbit the station is now. Saturn 1B would be used for construction. Changed to the Shuttle we had after Nixon slashed NASA's budget, and said NASA & military had to share a launch vehicle.

VentureStar: originally designed to be fully reusable single-stage-to-orbit. Lifting body orbiter. Dramatically reduced cost per launch. All technologies were state-of-the-art, up-to-the-minute, but every component tested in something else before X-33. The contract for X-33 and VentureStar included a clause that the contractor had the share the cost of any cost overrun. Then Lockheed-Martin made a last minute change from solid wall composite tank to hollow wall honeycomb structure; the only untested technology. When the first tank for X-33 was fabricated and tested at the factory, it failed. Lockheed-Martin asked for more money, NASA activated the clause that said they had to share the cost. They said no. Lawyers argued for years. Meanwhile, no work. Then a new president was elected, George W. Bush, who considered it a project of the previous administration, so he cut through the legal argument by cancelling the whole thing.

Before you gush about how great and wonderful contractors are, remember corporate executives for Old Space companies have been manipulating work to increase their corporate profits. Every engineer I spoke with reported they all found ways to reduce the cost of Shuttle or other systems, but corporate executives overruled them. During the VentureStar project, NASA did try to find a way to reduce cost, but corporate executives fought to keep costs at least as high as Shuttle. That fight is what killed VentureStar. Are these the guys you hope to save the space industry?

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#40 2015-03-09 23:42:19

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,135

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Rob,

No, I want NASA and Congress to incentivize good behavior on the part of the contractors and de-incentivize bad behavior.

If you deliver on-time and within budget, you receive a bonus.

If you overrun your budget more than two times, your contract is automatically cancelled.  Call it the three strikes rule.

If you fail to demonstrate progress towards contract goals/objectives for more than a pre-determined period of time, your project is cancelled.

These kinds of things encourage the contractors to provide solutions that have a reasonable chance of working rather than something which might work if enough time and money were thrown at the problem.

Basically, no more cost plus contracts.  If Boeing and Lockheed-Martin don't want to play ball, we'll go to SpaceX and they'll get nothing.  Trust me, every contractor wants the business.

At some level, you also need executives who are actually interested in the business and making progress in advancing the state of the art.  Obviously companies have to turn a profit, but that can't be their only motivation for working with NASA.

If I were NASA, I would have compromised with Lockheed-Martin to permit resumption of work, under the notion that it's better to get something rather than nothing for the taxpayers' money.  The entire X-33 concept wasn't flawed, but the material selection for the tanks wasn't workable at the time.

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#41 2015-03-10 06:51:20

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 4,993
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Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Actually, the liquid hydrogen for DC-XA was a solid wall composite tank. It flew, and it worked. But for the last flight of DC-XA, an employee of Lockheed-Martin "forgot" to remove the safety pin from one of the 4 landing legs. It flew, it worked, it retracted its landing gear, when it approached the landing pad it extend landing gear. But since the safety pin was in place, the gear could retract but not extend. So DC-XA landed on 3 legs. It landed, but tipped over and fell on the side with the retracted leg. Fuel tank split open as soon as its side hit the pavement of the landing pad, liquid hydrogen spilled across the ground while rocket engines were still firing. Rocket exhaust ignited the liquid hydrogen. It burned, completely destroyed. But many people I told this to pointed out the important thing was NASA didn't rebuild it. DC-X was a project of a Congressman who had it built by the US Air Force to demonstrate how a reusable rocket can be built. Constructed quickly, inexpensively, effectively. After a few successful test flights, it was handed over to NASA as a demonstration of what they were supposed to do. NASA continued test flights, flying higher and farther with each flight. But from NASA's perspective, the important thing is they used it as a test bed to demonstrate new tanks. They called the modified version DC-X Advanced (DC-XA). The liquid hydrogen tank was a solid wall composite tank. Liquid oxygen tank was lithium-aluminum alloy like the external tank of Shuttle, but fabricated by a different supplier. It worked. Until the contractor "forgot" to remove the safety pin.

Corporate executives from Boeing and Lockheed-Martin have many times shown they don't want to "play ball". They want to manipulate contracts to maximize profit. In the 1960s, NASA had dozens of contractors. By the 21st century they have gone through corporate mergers so only a handful remain. Now we have "New Space" companies starting up. That means NASA can have these companies compete like they did in the 1960s. Theoretically NASA could do what you're proposing, but realize lobbyists from Old Space companies will work hard to convince Congress to stick with them. So you'll fight against lobbyists.

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#42 2015-03-10 07:08:57

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Posts: 4,993
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Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

I also have to point out the contract for X-33 said the contractor would share the cost of the cost overrun. It didn't make the contractor pay the whole thing; it was shared. But corporate executives at Lockheed-Martin said that wasn't good enough. They demanded NASA pay everything. All or nothing. NASA felt this was more of the same manipulation they saw from United Space Alliance, which was the company that had the primary contract to maintain Shuttle. United Space Alliance was a 50:50 joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed-Martin. So NASA did offer a compromise, they did offer to share the cost, but Lockheed-Martin said it wasn't good enough, demanded NASA pay everything. Since this was a small demonstration vehicle, not a full size shuttle, NASA felt this project was appropriate to make the point. The contractor had to control cost. This was the line in the sand. Unfortunately corporate executives Lockheed-Martin were adamant that the project be manipulated to increase costs for VentureStar to equal or exceed Shuttle. That started with X-33. So Lockheed-Martin started by making a point of challenging the clause in the contract that said they had to share cost. For both NASA and Lockheed-Martin it became a point of principle, and both considered the X-33 project expendable. Unfortunately it resulted in completely cancellation.

Of course I'm getting this from announcements made through the media. Although I met a few contractors for Shuttle at Mars Society conventions, I don't have any inside knowledge of X-33.

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#43 2015-03-10 11:15:51

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,135

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Yes, well, we all saw how Venture Star turned out.  Billions spent and nothing to show for it.

Now that we have a company (SpaceX) with leadership that's more interested in whether or not they're actually producing goods and services that have utility for manned space flight and have established a short, albeit highly successful, track record of delivering, I think it's time for NASA to send some of our tax money elsewhere.  I think SpaceX has figured out that if they can make access inexpensive, then demand increases.

In any event, our major defense contractors see cost plus contracts as spending programs that funnel money to them rather than a guaranteed way to maintain a profit margin while producing what the government requires.  If anyone in management there with but a shred of personal integrity was in charge, they'd look at cost control as a civic duty and not something mandated by regulation.

My only hope is that SLS and Orion don't waste billions and then leave NASA with no capability for manned space flight.  However, I also know that SLS and Orion are not the solution for the type of missions that NASA says it wants to perform, so perhaps it's just as well that these two programs die, however painful and wasteful their demise may be.  Let's keep our fingers crossed that NASA is forced to deal with reality and that SpaceX turns their BFR into something much more than a paper rocket.

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#44 2015-03-11 20:16:19

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

It would be nice to see contractors to behave in an appropiate manner when it comes to costs for contracts but I think the way that the commercial contests for whom competes to complete the projects as being the method being used to fix it at this time.

I say that when I look at the space taxi vehicles as well as cargo units that are currently being put into use and in the future for the stations manning and supply system. Had Nasa had to do either of these with there vehicles we would have paid lots more for them to do it versus the current new space champions in Space x and others.

The challenge for the commercial path for certifications seems to be the only trouble area for a new company to come into the game, some make it some do not.

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#45 2015-03-29 20:10:51

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

This funny, AboutFace Bolden acknowledged  Russia, America talking about new space station

Reports were flying Saturday that a new space station may be flying after the current one expires - if Russia and America follow through on talks now under way. If that sounds a little iffy, it was that kind of news day in space world.

Things got rolling after a discussion between NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Igor Komarov, head of the Russian space foundation. The two were talking on the occasion of Friday's launch of a Russian and American on a year-long mission to the current space station.

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#46 2015-03-29 20:44:14

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 1,135

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

If this new space station has, artificial gravity, closed loop ECLSS, active radiation shielding, and a manufacturing facility, then I'm all for it.  However, I see this as yet another potentially expensive distraction that prevents us from developing the technology to go to Mars.

NASA doesn't need any international cooperation to go to Mars, it just has to decide that that's the goal and then develop a coordinated plan to develop the technologies required to take us there.  I would much prefer international cooperation and that all space faring nations coordinate their efforts to achieve the goal of becoming an interplanetary species, but politics always seem to interfere.

The existing budget is more than adequate to achieve the goal, but all the uncoordinated and expensive make-work projects need to end.  SLS and Orion need to be cancelled ASAP.  There's simply too much funding that has been funneled into these projects to justify the relatively meager returns and insane costs.

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#47 2015-03-30 08:31:11

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,692
Website

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

The expensive way to replace ISS is to junk it and build a new one "from scratch" as another giant money-pit project designed as corporate welfare for favored contractors. 

The cheaper way to do it is to just replace modules and components as they wear out,  one at a time.  Bigelow has some designs with its B-330 series that could be adapted to serve as any of the modules we have.  They are already in the business of developing and flying such things,  the ULA guys are not. 

That basic concept would extend to solar wings and other structures,  as well.  All of the closed-cycle life support and radiation-protection issues could be handled this way quite easily with the newer modules. 

No single module is going to be large enough to contain the centrifuge we really need to experiment with artificial gravity.  That's why I suggested (somewhere above) adding a free-flyer addition to the ISS.  Could be a spinning baton,  could be a spinning cable-connected thing.  My guess is the ingress/egress would be easier from the spinning baton,  so I'd suggest that approach.  Transfers between the free-flyer and the main ISS are a good opportunity to evaluate and improve spacesuits,  too. 

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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#48 2016-02-03 19:15:56

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

The partners have decided to keep the station going past 2024 and that's with the Russians staying in rather than pulling out.

We have been talking about the commercial industry adding an docking port for use to node 3 and bigelows beam but until we treat space as just an extension of jobs that can be done by all walks of life other than the rich or elite we will be only making slow progress towards being a space faring world.

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#49 2016-03-27 20:12:05

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,527

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

Spaniard wrote:

Do you forget chinese?

You are so right on as the China's ambition after space station

china-space-station-300-lg.jpg

"The future of China's manned space program, is not a moon landing, which is quite simple, or even the manned Mars program which remains difficult, but continual exploration the earth-moon space with ever developing technology."

A series of space missions is planned to verify key technology for the space station. Around 2020, a medium-sized space station with three modules and weighing 60 tonnes will be put into orbit.

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#50 2016-03-28 08:38:22

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: 202*? and then there might be 2 stations in LEO

GW Johnson wrote:

The expensive way to replace ISS is to junk it and build a new one "from scratch" as another giant money-pit project designed as corporate welfare for favored contractors. 

The cheaper way to do it is to just replace modules and components as they wear out,  one at a time.  Bigelow has some designs with its B-330 series that could be adapted to serve as any of the modules we have.  They are already in the business of developing and flying such things,  the ULA guys are not. 

That basic concept would extend to solar wings and other structures,  as well.  All of the closed-cycle life support and radiation-protection issues could be handled this way quite easily with the newer modules. 

No single module is going to be large enough to contain the centrifuge we really need to experiment with artificial gravity.  That's why I suggested (somewhere above) adding a free-flyer addition to the ISS.  Could be a spinning baton,  could be a spinning cable-connected thing.  My guess is the ingress/egress would be easier from the spinning baton,  so I'd suggest that approach.  Transfers between the free-flyer and the main ISS are a good opportunity to evaluate and improve spacesuits,  too. 

GW

What about replacing it with a space station in orbit around the Sun, rather than Earth?

A Mars cycler (or Earth-Mars cycler) is a special kind of spacecraft trajectory that encounters Earth and Mars on a regular basis. The term Mars cycler may also refer to a spacecraft on a Mars cycler trajectory. The Aldrin cycler is an example of a Mars cycler.

A cycler trajectory encounters two or more bodies on a regular basis. Cyclers are potentially useful for transporting people or materials between those bodies using minimal propellant (relying on gravity-assist flybys for most trajectory changes), and can carry heavy radiation shielding to protect people in transit from cosmic rays and solar storms.

Earth-Mars cyclers[edit]

Cycler trajectories between Earth and Mars occur in whole-number multiples of the synodic period between the two planets, which is about 2.135 Earth years. Among the first Earth-Mars cycler trajectories calculated were VISIT 1 and VISIT 2, with cycles repeating every 7 synodic periods or about 15 Earth years.[citation needed]

In 1985, Buzz Aldrin theorized a so-called Aldrin Cycler corresponding to a single synodic period. The existence of such trajectories was calculated and confirmed later that year: a single eccentric loop around the sun from Earth to the Martian orbit in 146 days, spending the next 16 months beyond the orbit of Mars, and another 146 days from the Martian orbit back to Earth.[citation needed]

For each Earth-Mars cycler that isn't a multiple of 7 synodic periods, an outbound cycler intersects Mars on the way out from Earth while an inbound cycler intersects Mars on the way in to Earth. The only difference in these trajectories is the date in the synodic period in which the vehicle is launched from Earth. Earth-Mars cyclers with a multiple of 7 synodic periods return to Earth at nearly the same point in its orbit and may encounter Earth and/or Mars multiple times during each cycle. VISIT 1 encounters Earth 3 times and Mars 4 times in 15 years. VISIT 2 encounters Earth 5 times and Mars 2 times in 15 years.[1]

some_possible_earth_mars_cyclers_by_tomkalbfus-d9wx78b.png

The most comprehensive[citation needed] survey of Earth-Mars cycler trajectories (to date) was conducted by Russell and Ocampo.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_cycler
At least a Mars Cycler is going somewhere.

A space station that just orbits Earth? what good is that. We already have a space station that orbits the Earth and given how expensive it is, why not have to do something useful such a provide living quarters for astronauts traveling to Mars?

Last edited by Tom Kalbfus (2016-03-28 08:44:58)

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