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Possible Craft

Posted by: Sev - Sun Oct 10, 2004 4:10 pm
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Possible Craft 
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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:23 am
This is all very depressing and makes the lack of progress over the last 3 decades in manned spaceflight more understandable (but not excusable).

It seems madness that NASA perpetuates a system that actively promotes higher costs for itself, why not pay a set amount of profit and bonuses for making the overall cost smaller? Starting out at a fixed sum of money (not a percentage of the contract) for profit and then giving increases for lowering the overall contract cost would enevitably drive the cost down.

Because they rely on government contracts they would have very little choice but to accept this, I think NASA needs to get a lot tougher before the big boys kill the golden goose by overcharging. If the current practices continue NASA will get less and less return for its money and eventually loose its technology edge, the crales are starting to appear already.

If ESA develops its own OSP, although the phoenix OSP being developed by the German aerospace industry (EADS I think are the prime) has gone very quite for the last six months, you could end up with NASA going cap in hand to anyone who will give them a seat for one of their astonaults.

NASA's endless feasability studies and cancelled projects will not help it maintain the USA's position as a space faring nation. I hope that soon it actually produces something other than fine words. Sorry for the rant, thats enough NASA bashing, I sometimes forget that NASA is a government agency and not prone to change rather than something wonderfall that accomplished seemingly impossible feats.

I think that the past high costs associated with space hardware has scared many governments away from developing space vehicles. But SpaceShipOne and even the failed Beagle 2 lander (developed for about £5m) has started to show that the technology has come down in price. Even Britain (not known for splashing cash on space) is becoming more involved with ESA.

In ten years time Boeing or Lockheed could find themselves being competed against the rest of the world if they are not careful. The US government bought Harrier aicraft from Britain when it failed to produce its own vertical takeoff plane, it would probably buy a viable spaceplane from Europe if one was available.

On that point does anyone know whats going on with Europe's OSP?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:29 pm
If you understand the politics and the economics involved that has lead to the current state of the US manned space program, then you would also know that the US will never buy any foreign made product as a substitute... Period.

As for the Phoenix (the work is being done by DASA, Germany), I am not putting much hope into it. The concept is sound but to scale it up to a real space craft would require long term capital funding. The Europeans are still very leery about the manned program after the 1980s (they had massive plans then, Hermes, Colombus manned tethered platform etc). As for the Brits, same case, even worse. The Beagle team had problems getting funding for their little probe! Sad considering the work they had done on HOTOL.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:02 pm
koxinga wrote:
If you understand the politics and the economics involved that has lead to the current state of the US manned space program, then you would also know that the US will never buy any foreign made product as a substitute... Period.

Wait, I'm probably missing some sort of context here, but didn't NASA purchase one of two spacelabs (flew on some shuttle missions?) from a consortium of European contractors? Which substituted plans to construct one themselves. Lemme go look for a link ... here we go ...

Nasa document produced in 1983

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:20 pm
Yes, you are right - the Shuttle has flown the Spacelab several times that early years and it was from Europe. But as far as I remember it has been left in european property and only installed in the cargo bay of the Shuttle.

NASA had scientists working onboard the Spacelab.

A question - does it matter wether a foreign product is bought as a substitue or installed only as a substitute? The technical consequences will be the same I suppose.

Is that right or am I wrong?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:16 pm
I think that ESA will develope its own OSP given the problems with getting their astonaults aboard the ISS. Its either that or rely on a shuttle that is at best not going to be flying once the ISS is completed, if the shuttles were grounded again or another one was lost (heaven forbid) the ISS might not get completed until the middle of the next decade. No sign of the CEV on the horizon yet, and if the administration changes after the US election who knows whether one will even be built.

Alternatively ESA could rely on Russian Soyuz craft but that is probably not a good idea, they would have to negotiate seats away from Russians (and Americans at the moment:-what was that about substitutes) and they are always likely to be a junior partner. Also I dont suppose they wish to hand over all their manned spacecraft capability to the Russians anymore than the USA does. Plus Soyuz only carries 3 people at a time, barely enough to keep up the maintenance on the ISS let alone do any meaningful research.

ESA has already committed to much money to the ISS to walk away from it so they probably haven't got much choice in developing their own OSP, unless of course commercial alternatives appear that they could use but the timescales might be too long to wait.

I have tried to find out the latest news on the Pheonix OSP but have found nothing later than May on the EADS website so maybe there have been technical/financial problems with the Project.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:04 am
I seem to have a crow stuck down my throat :o

I should have been clearer with my reply. I was replying to Andy regarding NASA buying a European OSP. I still do not think NASA will buy a complete launch system, manned or other wise from others simply because domestic politics will prevent it.

Andy,

Look at the XPrize General forum. There is a thread on the Phoenix program. The links are there.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:01 pm
Given what's being tried, I wouldn't be surprised to see some odd, interesting and colorful creations. Remember that White Knight is quite small as far as aircraft go. White Knight scaled up to have a 200 ft wingspan and CF6 engines (like a 747) couldhave interesting air-launch capabilities.

Here's something to think (and comment) on:

Could it be possible to hook together multiple Falcon V first stages, like with the Delta IV heavy? If this were possible and the Falcon V upper stage were stretched, what would the orbital capacity be?

Going by astronautix.com, Delta IV medium can orbit 8500 KG and Delta IV heavy 25800 KG, both to a 185 KM orbit. In their latest update, SpaceX said they're building Falcon V to put 6000 KG in a 200 KM orbit.

Now assuming a fairly large fudge factor it doesn't seem totally impossible for a Falcon V cluster, let's call it Falcon XV, to orbit 12500 KG.

The problem with such a creation is that the first stage has 15 (!) engines. N-1troubles anyone?

Now, assuming it can be done, what to put into orbit with this? A 4-6 man bigger Gemini? A Soyuz? A Kliver? A minibus? :P

Commentary is always welcome.

Cheers,
ErikM :twisted:


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:14 pm
mrmorris wrote:
1. LockMart and Boeing are both getting big bucks from shuttle contracts. Anything which makes the shuttle no longer the sole route to get US astronauts to space is *not* going to make them more money -- especially if the government is not footing the development bill.

2. The big contractors live on big government contracts. Contractors on such projects get a percentage of the total cost as their profit -- generally about 10%. Therefore if a launch costs $100 million, then they make $10 million profit. If the same launch cost $10 million, they'd only make $1 million profit. Cutting costs is like slitting their own throats.
...

But the shuttle is not going to be used for transporting people anymore, it's primary, or actually only goal for the next 6-10 years is to complete the assembly of ISS. So it will be a cargo ship and nothing more..
Can't see how a new passenger carring spaceship would change the longlivity of the shuttle.

But you got a point in that it lookes like LockMart and Boeing will do eveything to cover there own asses. They don't have and interrest in making it cheap to run... And that is a thing that has to change... Right here, right now... :D


Andy Hill wrote:
..Alternatively ESA could rely on Russian Soyuz craft but that is probably not a good idea, they would have to negotiate seats away from Russians (and Americans at the moment:-what was that about substitutes) and they are always likely to be a junior partner. ...

Don't forget that ESA will be able to launch Soyuz rockets in a couple of years from the own spaceport. www.arianespace.com - Soyuz
So there are the chance that they will buy Soyuz spacecrafts from the russians to launch themself.. Or build there own spacecraft to put on top of the man-rated launcher...


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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:31 pm
Image

I thought about that SkyCat 200 og SkyCat 1000 (ATG airships) would make a great first stage in a reuseable spacecraft...

Can see to problems with that tho'.

1. They are only designed to go to 9000 ft ~ 2.5 Km
2. Not sure they would be stable when realeasing the heavy load.

I don't know if 2.5Km would help anything or they would have to go higher to make a difference?
They have planed a "high" alt. version" of the SkyCat 20, this one will be able to go to 18000 ft ~ 5 Km.. Still pretty low.. Buuuut, it would be cool..


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:05 am
Voyager4D wrote:
But the shuttle is not going to be used for transporting people anymore, it's primary, or actually only goal for the next 6-10 years is to complete the assembly of ISS. So it will be a cargo ship and nothing more..
Can't see how a new passenger carring spaceship would change the longlivity of the shuttle.


I'm having a little trouble wrapping my mind around that logic.

There are essentially two reasons for *not* retiring the shuttle immediately and developing a new system.

1. Most of the remaining ISS payloads are configured specifically for the shuttle, and reconfiguring them for an EELV would cost more time and trouble than it is worth. This then is the 'cargo' aspect of your statement. However -- along with these 'cargo runs' -- there will still be astronauts on-board and crew rotations will no longer be done only through Soyuz.

2. The shuttle is the only manned space vehicle the US has.

The first point will disappear once the remaining ISS components have been lifted. The second will only go away when a new system is designed and built. NASA hasn't had any luck getting any closer to that in about ten (fifteen?) years of trying.

If a private US firm were to develop a manned spacecraft capable of servicing the ISS -- NASA would pressured to either get their thumb out and build one as good or better -- or hire out the private craft. Either way -- it will speed the retirement of the shuttle.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 04, 2004 7:28 am
mrmorris wrote:
1. Most of the remaining ISS payloads are configured specifically for the shuttle, and reconfiguring them for an EELV would cost more time and trouble than it is worth. This then is the 'cargo' aspect of your statement. However -- along with these 'cargo runs' -- there will still be astronauts on-board and crew rotations will no longer be done only through Soyuz.

2. The shuttle is the only manned space vehicle the US has.


Yes, the cargo I was talking about is the remaning parts of the ISS....

And all the flights that are planned for the next 5-10 years will be flown even tho' there would be an other people only spaceship. And as i remember it, the planes are to shut down the shuttle after the assemply of the station has finished in 2010-2011..


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:33 am
Hello, Voyager4D,

concerning your post from Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:31 pm - did you have a look at JP Aerospace's website or did you read posts regarding them (not mine)?

What about their concept? To me it looks like it could be what you might have had in mind writing that post. Is that really so?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:59 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Hello, Voyager4D,

concerning your post from Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:31 pm - did you have a look at JP Aerospace's website or did you read posts regarding them (not mine)?

What about their concept? To me it looks like it could be what you might have had in mind writing that post. Is that really so?

I have been on there webpage, and read what they had to say.. I'm still not sure how there concept will work. So i'm not sure if that will be the way to go...

I was thinking more in the line of White Knight/SpaceShipOne where SkyCat would replace White Knight..


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:24 pm
Allright - but assumed that JP Aerospace's final version of the Ascender will be working then this 175 feet sized vehicle is intented to carry cargo. Could this cargo be SS1? I suppose a little bit.

I suppose another circumstance being an obstacle - the explanations and photos at Scaled's website seem to mean that SS1 requires to be at high speed allready when it is released. I may be quite wrong but it looks like SS1 has to have the speed of Wight Knight initially to be able to glide - the Ascender wouldn't give SS1 that speed.

Would SkyCat200 or SkyCat1000 do that? If yes that would be very good and interesting.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:03 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
...I suppose another circumstance being an obstacle - the explanations and photos at Scaled's website seem to mean that SS1 requires to be at high speed allready when it is released. I may be quite wrong but it looks like SS1 has to have the speed of Wight Knight initially to be able to glide - the Ascender wouldn't give SS1 that speed.

Would SkyCat200 or SkyCat1000 do that? If yes that would be very good and interesting.


I have never said that the second stage in my thought should be just like SS1, it properly would have to be design in an other way..
SkyCat would properly not be able to fly fast enough for SS1..
It is designed for speeds between:
80-110 KTAS ~ 150-200km/h ~ 90-125miles/h.

So maby we would need a extream high altitude version of SkyCat with Turbo-Jet motors enstead.. :D
Or maby it would just be easy'er just to use a big plane.... :?


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