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NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near themoon. Here's why.



 
 
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  #11  
Old October 1st 17, 03:07 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
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Posts: 1,398
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

In article ,
says...
There is as much "realism" to it as there was to Falcon 9 launching
manned Dragons to ISS 5 to 10 years ago. Today, that looks imminent.

There is a lot of risk here, but the "holy grail" of cheap access to
space has always been a fully reusable launch vehicle. BFR, even if
unmanned, would be hugely useful.


It's almost too big. Replacing Falcon 9 with BFR (which Musk says is
the plan) is an insane increase in capability and the cost to launch
BFR can't be more than Falcon 9 per launch (around $63 million
expendable or something like $40 million with booster recovery).


This is where it gets tricky (since economics isn't my strong suit).
Note that just this year SpaceX has launched a former Falcon 1 payload
on Falcon 9, possibly at a loss. But, in the big scheme of things, that
was surely cheaper than keeping the Falcon 1 production lines open,
which would have delayed development of Falcon 9 possibly resulting in
the death of the company.

But I agree, you likely would not want to launch a single Falcon 9 class
payload on BFR since it seems like a real waste of capability. But, if
you really can fly a BFR 100 or more times without refurbishment, it
might just make sense. This would be the sort of "airline like
operations" that cheap access to space supporters have been dreaming
half a century.

More realistically, with BFR, you'd surely want to launch more than one
Falcon 9 class payload at a time. Assuming the existence of an in space
refuelable "tug", BFR would only have to deliver the payloads to LEO and
refuel the tug(s) which would then deliver the payloads to their final
orbits (e.g. geostationary transfer orbit or similar).

The "tug" might just end up being an ACES upper stage powered by a
LOX/methane variant of the RL-10. That way you could refill it from
leftover BFR propellants. If ULA didn't produce such a thing, then
SpaceX no doubt could. It would just be a "micro" BFR upper stage
powered by a single Raptor engine that never leaves orbit.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
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  #12  
Old October 1st 17, 05:12 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Posts: 9,354
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

Jeff Findley wrote:

In article ,
says...
More like they're trying to find a use for SLS/Orion that doesn't
require them to go back to Congress and ask for tens of billions more in
funding for each year. Since Asteroid Retrieval Mission was shot down
(because it was stupid to bring the asteroid to high earth orbit where
Orion could reach it), NASA has been looking for something, anything, to
replace it with.

In my opinion, the Deep Space Gateway, as currently envisioned (likely a
high lunar orbit or something similar), is "weak sauce" without a lunar
lander.


Not only that, but if Musk actually gets BFR flying in the next five
years it's rather pointless. With an orbital refueling, BFR could land
dozens of people on the Moon and bring them all home. For $128
million BFR would put more people on the Moon in one shot than the
entire Apollo program (and by a lot). Bring home a ton of samples
(literally).


Agreed. This could be the vehicle that finally gets NASA manned
spaceflight beyond LEO in a truly meaningful way. With its crazy
capacity and delta-V capability, it could land all the science
experiments on the moon that NASA could dream up (at least in the next
5-10 years). The BFR upper stage is very close to the hypothetical in
orbit refuelable SSTO discussed in the sci.space about three decades
ago.


The BFR spaceship can pretty much replace everything that NASA has
ever pictured doing with manned space. I need to go back and look at
the various Mars Reference Missions and see just how it compares to
the boosters called out in those. Interestingly, BFR is intended to
fly fast to Mars, making a 3 month trip of it. NASA with a thermal
nuclear rocket wasn't going that fast and were talking 6 months or so
in transit.

Note that Musk figures that in the next few years SpaceX will capture
half of the entire satellite launch business. In the face of that and
BFR, NASA's 'lunar orbiting space station' makes even less sense (and
it made very little in the first place - what's it for, exactly?).


Possibly. But Blue Origin isn't sitting still either, so SpaceX could
have some competition. Real competition is a good thing.


True, but New Glenn appears to me to be on a slower track than Falcon
Heavy, which is its direct competition. I don't think Blue Origin has
anything like BFR in their pipeline.


There will no doubt be a portion of launches by governments that will
choose to use their own vehicles, at least for some time. It would be a
bit embarrassing, for example, for Ariane 6 to only fly a few times due
to high costs and complete lack of customers.


Europe will probably, as usual, favor their own launchers regardless
of competition.


I loved the illustration Musk showed of a BFR spaceship docked to ISS.
Given that the BFR spacecraft can carry 100 people in cabins with
supplies for 3-6 months, what the hell would you need ISS for once
it's flying?


Routine, inexpensive, access to LEO via BFR might turn out to be a
viable replacement for much of the activities done on ISS today. Why
rotate a crew on ISS every six months when you can just launch another
BFR with crew and experiments?

But, IMHO, you still need long term (years rather than months) in space
laboratories, habitats, power generation, and etc. to perform longer
term experiments. So ISS may still have a purpose for some time to
come. But, time will tell.


Yeah, but you could still do that with the ship off BFR. It has a
standard docking port. You could always resupply the one on orbit
rather than rotate the vehicles. Put 25 people on it and you could
resupply it once a year and keep it up there indefinitely.


Truly cheap access to space (CATS) is something the sci.space newsgroup
has been discussing since I started reading it back in 1988 or so. It's
taken decades to get where we are now (proving once and for all that the
all expendable old space "emperor has no clothes"). It may take another
10 or more years for the vision of a truly inexpensive BFR to become
reality. But I truly hope that SpaceX's time-line for BFR is fairly
realistic and that it is as successful as they hope.


I'm sure Musk would like it to be flying to Mars in five years. He'd
no doubt like to achieve that dream while he's still young enough to
enjoy it.


Worst case, we've still got Blue Origin slowly plodding along. Bezos
seems quite content to keep funding it at its current pace. That's the
advantage of being a multi-billionaire. You don't have to rely
completely on outside funding for truly long term investments in new
tech.


Bezos has essentially said he can and will put a billion dollars a
year of his own money into New Glenn until it's done.


It's kind of sad really. US corporations are sitting on so much cash
these days that could be funding truly long term tech development.
Apple, for example, has an obscene amount of cash, but all they seem to
be producing is incremental updates to the iPhone that truly don't
impress me. I'll be sticking with my 64GB iPhone 6 hand-me-down (was my
oldest daughter's) until it dies completely.


I'm still using a Samsung Note 3. Most companies are looking at 90
days as 'long term'. You've got to have a CEO with money AND the
dream before things start becoming realities. Hell, I still remember
when Boeing fired most of their development engineers because they had
tens of billions of dollars in orders for airplanes they already knew
how to build (that's the way it was phrased). That's why ULA will
become increasingly irrelevant. It's run by accountants.


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #13  
Old October 1st 17, 10:44 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,398
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

In article ,
says...
Note that Musk figures that in the next few years SpaceX will capture
half of the entire satellite launch business. In the face of that and
BFR, NASA's 'lunar orbiting space station' makes even less sense (and
it made very little in the first place - what's it for, exactly?).


Possibly. But Blue Origin isn't sitting still either, so SpaceX could
have some competition. Real competition is a good thing.


True, but New Glenn appears to me to be on a slower track than Falcon
Heavy, which is its direct competition. I don't think Blue Origin has
anything like BFR in their pipeline.


The follow-on to New Glenn is envisioned to be New Armstrong. I doubt
it's "in the pipeline" since they've yet to actually launch anything to
orbit (one step at a time). Here is a cite:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017...es-details-of-
its-monster-orbital-rocket/

From above:

Moreover, New Glenn is also, as Bezos repeated Tuesday, "the
smallest orbital rocket Blue Origin will ever build." In the
future, even larger boosters are coming, such as the previously
teased New Armstrong rocket. The tech mogul has recently said
that lunar exploration is the next logical step for human
activity in space.

Bezos has grand visions for his launch vehicles as well. Since Bezos
does steadily fund Blue Origin and since SpaceX has been known to be a
bit overoptimistic with schedules, we may eventually see some actual
commercial competition in US between launch vehicles in the SLS class
and larger. This encourages me more than anything else.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #14  
Old October 2nd 17, 03:18 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,354
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

Jeff Findley wrote:

In article ,
says...
Note that Musk figures that in the next few years SpaceX will capture
half of the entire satellite launch business. In the face of that and
BFR, NASA's 'lunar orbiting space station' makes even less sense (and
it made very little in the first place - what's it for, exactly?).

Possibly. But Blue Origin isn't sitting still either, so SpaceX could
have some competition. Real competition is a good thing.


True, but New Glenn appears to me to be on a slower track than Falcon
Heavy, which is its direct competition. I don't think Blue Origin has
anything like BFR in their pipeline.


The follow-on to New Glenn is envisioned to be New Armstrong. I doubt
it's "in the pipeline" since they've yet to actually launch anything to
orbit (one step at a time). Here is a cite:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017...es-details-of-
its-monster-orbital-rocket/

From above:

Moreover, New Glenn is also, as Bezos repeated Tuesday, "the
smallest orbital rocket Blue Origin will ever build." In the
future, even larger boosters are coming, such as the previously
teased New Armstrong rocket. The tech mogul has recently said
that lunar exploration is the next logical step for human
activity in space.

Bezos has grand visions for his launch vehicles as well. Since Bezos
does steadily fund Blue Origin and since SpaceX has been known to be a
bit overoptimistic with schedules, we may eventually see some actual
commercial competition in US between launch vehicles in the SLS class
and larger. This encourages me more than anything else.


The real problem here is that all we have about New Armstrong is the
name. BFR (which doesn't have a 'real' name) seems much, much further
along. New Glenn seems to sort of be pacing Falcon Heavy, but I think
it's a couple years behind. New Armstrong isn't pacing anything
because so far as we know it doesn't even exist as napkin drawings
while BFR has engines and is close to bending metal with a (very
aggressive) schedule. The one place Blue Origin seems to have it
better than SpaceX is that Bezos can sell a billion dollars worth of
stock every year (which is what he's been doing) to fund things while
Musk is financing out of operations.


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #15  
Old October 2nd 17, 04:39 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,354
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

JF Mezei wrote:

On 2017-10-01 17:44, Jeff Findley wrote:

Moreover, New Glenn is also, as Bezos repeated Tuesday, "the
smallest orbital rocket Blue Origin will ever build."


Considering the current state of rocket science, once you have the
engines, does designing a rocket to have 3, 5 , 9 or 27 engines make
such a huge difference in terms of how much experience you need?


Certainly to some extent, yes.


Once BlueOrigin has its first rocket tested, and re-uses same engines,
couldn't it aim for a bigger rocket as the next installment?


It certainly could and presumably will but first it needs to get that
'first rocket' (New Glenn) done and flying. Once there, the BE-4
engine is roughly equivalent to SpaceX Raptor; BE-4 has around 25%
more thrust but Raptor runs at higher pressures so has better power to
weight. Blue Origin also has a lot of structure and weight reduction
work to do. Right now the Blue Origin 'next rocket' isn't even at the
paper napkin stage. All we have is the name (New Armstrong).


Musk explained that they had expected Fancon9 Heavy to use existing
Falcon9 for core and the 2 boosters. Turns out they have to redesign
structures because of different loads (higher payload, + lateral loads
where boosters attach). (This was to explain the delay).

But had they decided at the onset on the need to design the structures
for the Falcon 9 Heavy Loads, wouldn't that design been straightforwards
without needing to push the enelope?


You can't 'decide that' until you're far enough in to know what the
loads are. Without knowing that you don't know what you're designing
to.


I can understand building the cryo tanks from carbon fibre for BFR means
developing new techniques and going beyond current state of the art. But
does Falcon 9 Heavy push any such limits or just scale existing tech
within what that tech is capable of?


How long has Falcon Heavy (there is no '9' in the name) taken? First
concept was in 2005. Real work couldn't start on it until Falcon 9
was done, since it was based on Falcon 9 cores. That actually wasn't
done until around 2011 (2 years late). First flight for Falcon Heavy
will probably be 2018, so it took 7 years. That's the sort of
timeline Blue Origin is looking at (if they hurry) to get from New
Glenn to New Armstrong once New Glenn is done (probably in 2020 or a
bit later). That says New Armstrong is ready for first test flight in
2028 or so, which is probably a more reasonable date for BFR than the
one Musk gave.


I guess what I am asking is whehther "baby steps" is still needed for
outfits like Blue Origin, or whether state of science allowed bigger
leaps once you have your engines?


No magic has been discovered. It still takes the better part of a
decade to get a new rocket.


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #16  
Old October 2nd 17, 10:58 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,398
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

In article . com,
says...

On 2017-10-01 17:44, Jeff Findley wrote:

Moreover, New Glenn is also, as Bezos repeated Tuesday, "the
smallest orbital rocket Blue Origin will ever build."


Considering the current state of rocket science, once you have the
engines, does designing a rocket to have 3, 5 , 9 or 27 engines make
such a huge difference in terms of how much experience you need?


Once Blue Origin actually flies an orbital launch vehicle then yes it's
possible to reuse the same engines on larger vehicles.

Once BlueOrigin has its first rocket tested, and re-uses same engines,
couldn't it aim for a bigger rocket as the next installment?


But, it is still a lot of work since a larger vehicle is still a new
design even if engines are reused. And beyond the design it often
requires new tooling, new fixtures, new launch facilities, and etc.

Musk explained that they had expected Fancon9 Heavy to use existing
Falcon9 for core and the 2 boosters. Turns out they have to redesign
structures because of different loads (higher payload, + lateral loads
where boosters attach). (This was to explain the delay).


Only for the center lower stage. It has to be different than the
boosters, which are essentially Falcon 9 first stages with nose cones
instead of their own upper stage.

But had they decided at the onset on the need to design the structures
for the Falcon 9 Heavy Loads, wouldn't that design been straightforwards
without needing to push the enelope?


I would, but they'd be carrying around a lot of extra mass which was
completely unnecessary for both Falcon 9 first stages and Falcon Heavy
side boosters.

I can understand building the cryo tanks from carbon fibre for BFR means
developing new techniques and going beyond current state of the art. But
does Falcon 9 Heavy push any such limits or just scale existing tech
within what that tech is capable of?


Carbon fiber tanks will be something new for SpaceX, so it's a risk.
The question is, how big of a risk?

I guess what I am asking is whehther "baby steps" is still needed for
outfits like Blue Origin, or whether state of science allowed bigger
leaps once you have your engines?


Look at history. You can build stages out of existing engines and
tooling. The first stage of Saturn I certainly highlights this. Look a
the engines and the tanks. The downside was that it was quite a bit
heavier and inefficient due to this approach (especially the tanks). A
more efficient design would have used a single F-1 engine and completely
new tanks. But the F-1 wasn't ready and neither was the tooling for
larger tanks. The Saturn I design was done for expediency, not
efficiency. The engineers leading Saturn development were ex-military
missile designers, so "performance uber alles" was kind of the mantra.
This continued, even when it should not have, because Saturn enjoyed
"blank check" style funding due to the Space Race with the U.S.S.R.

But today, "efficiency" isn't the design metric, it's the eventual cost
per pound to orbit that's the design metric. So, if it's cheaper to use
more existing engines on the next design than to have to design and
build new engines, then both Musk and Bezos will do so, even if it
complicates the plumbing, structure, control systems, and etc.

Building new engines has never been especially cheap or quick. What's
more, existing designs don't tend to scale up terribly well, as prior
engine programs have proven. SpaceX is still working on Raptor,
although they've shown videos of it firing on the test stand. Blue
Origin is still working on BE-4, which went "boom" on the test stand, as
these things sometimes do.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #17  
Old October 2nd 17, 11:04 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,398
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

In article ,
says...

Jeff Findley wrote:

In article ,
says...
Note that Musk figures that in the next few years SpaceX will capture
half of the entire satellite launch business. In the face of that and
BFR, NASA's 'lunar orbiting space station' makes even less sense (and
it made very little in the first place - what's it for, exactly?).

Possibly. But Blue Origin isn't sitting still either, so SpaceX could
have some competition. Real competition is a good thing.


True, but New Glenn appears to me to be on a slower track than Falcon
Heavy, which is its direct competition. I don't think Blue Origin has
anything like BFR in their pipeline.


The follow-on to New Glenn is envisioned to be New Armstrong. I doubt
it's "in the pipeline" since they've yet to actually launch anything to
orbit (one step at a time). Here is a cite:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017...es-details-of-
its-monster-orbital-rocket/

From above:

Moreover, New Glenn is also, as Bezos repeated Tuesday, "the
smallest orbital rocket Blue Origin will ever build." In the
future, even larger boosters are coming, such as the previously
teased New Armstrong rocket. The tech mogul has recently said
that lunar exploration is the next logical step for human
activity in space.

Bezos has grand visions for his launch vehicles as well. Since Bezos
does steadily fund Blue Origin and since SpaceX has been known to be a
bit overoptimistic with schedules, we may eventually see some actual
commercial competition in US between launch vehicles in the SLS class
and larger. This encourages me more than anything else.


The real problem here is that all we have about New Armstrong is the
name. BFR (which doesn't have a 'real' name) seems much, much further
along. New Glenn seems to sort of be pacing Falcon Heavy, but I think
it's a couple years behind. New Armstrong isn't pacing anything
because so far as we know it doesn't even exist as napkin drawings
while BFR has engines and is close to bending metal with a (very
aggressive) schedule. The one place Blue Origin seems to have it
better than SpaceX is that Bezos can sell a billion dollars worth of
stock every year (which is what he's been doing) to fund things while


I completely agree. And if you believe the rumors, Blue Origin doesn't
work their engineers "to death" like SpaceX seems to do. But then
again, how many Apollo/Saturn engineers put in their 40 hours a week and
clocked out without another thought to the Space Race? I'm guessing the
people who complain about SpaceX's working conditions have no real clue
what conditions were like in the 1960s.

SpaceX appears poised to change history with BFR. That's got to be
exiting work for the engineers, especially compared to the decades that
ULA did nothing more than fly existing designs and the engineers did a
lot of paper pushing (some of them published). I'm sure ULA engineers
worked a lot less during those years due to lack of motivation since
upper management wasn't funding any new development.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #18  
Old October 2nd 17, 12:26 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,354
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

Jeff Findley wrote:

In article . com,
says...

I can understand building the cryo tanks from carbon fibre for BFR means
developing new techniques and going beyond current state of the art. But
does Falcon 9 Heavy push any such limits or just scale existing tech
within what that tech is capable of?


Carbon fiber tanks will be something new for SpaceX, so it's a risk.
The question is, how big of a risk?


They've built a big tank and measured how much they can overpressure
it before it blows. They need to take another test article and
subject it to several hundred cryo cycles at something like 10%
overpressure and then tear it down to its component atoms and see how
it did.


--
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--George Bernard Shaw
  #20  
Old October 3rd 17, 12:48 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,398
Default NASA is teaming up with Russia to put a new space station near the moon. Here's why.

In article . com,
says...

On 2017-10-02 05:58, Jeff Findley wrote:
Carbon fiber tanks will be something new for SpaceX, so it's a risk.
The question is, how big of a risk?


My concern with the 1 big tank design is that for a long duration
flight, a failure of the one tank is sayonara for everyone.


You can't eliminate every single point of failure. But you add
redundancy where it makes sense.

Howewer, in commercial aviation, the reverse is now true. The 777 has
won over the 747 mainly because owning a plane with 2 engines costs a
lot less than one with 4 (as engines are costly to buy and maintain).


Only because today's turbofans are far more reliable than they used to
be. It wasn't easy to certify the first twin turbojet for ocean
overflights.

I wonder if rockets will also eventually adopt the "fewer but bigger
engines" mentality to cut maintenance costs.


I believe that Raptor is bigger than Merlin in terms of thrust.

more existing engines on the next design than to have to design and
build new engines, then both Musk and Bezos will do so, even if it
complicates the plumbing, structure, control systems, and etc.


But again, once you have more then 3 engines, does using 3 5 or 9 make
things that far more complex? Isn't there a lot of "copy/paste" done on
the engine mount designs once you are beyond 3 engines ?


Depends on the details. But in general more engines means more
plumbing, more valves, and etc.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
 




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