Community > Forum > National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) > Closing the gap in US independant manned space access

Closing the gap in US independant manned space access

Posted by: Andy Hill - Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:22 pm
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 13 posts ] 
Closing the gap in US independant manned space access 
Author Message
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post Closing the gap in US independant manned space access   Posted on: Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:22 pm
I was thinking about what would be the quickest/most certain way of closing the current estimate of a 4-5 year gap in US independant manned space access.

a. Giving NASA a stack more cash.

I'm pretty sure that the best that this would do is probably reduce the gap to maybe 3 years. NASA's original estimates were talking about 4 years with full funding so I cant see much improvement over that given there has already been delays.

b. Paying more money into the COTS program to create more partners and accellerate existing contracts.

I think that this will have a limited effect, the front runner SpaceX could not work much faster than they are currently doing and any of the other possible partners will take time to get up to speed. This would give NASA more possible options in the long run.

c. Fund a separate contract with Boeing/Lockheed to produce a craft without the usual endless NASA interference at every level.
I think that this could produce something quicker but I also think that NASA is incapable of running such a contract.

d. Jointly develop a craft with another country.
You've only got to look at the ISS to see that this approach would not be very quick.

e. Resurrect an older existing design/program.
Not sure if anything exists that is suitable, possibly HL-20, that could be done quickly with current launch vehicles (Atlas,Delta, Quickreach or Falcon).

Thoughts anyone? :)

_________________
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post    Posted on: Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:19 pm
The quickest would be the continuation of the Space Shuttel program.

Every other method that involves NASA will lead to at least a 5 year gap, probably even more as history showed.

Choosing the COTS variant is as well unsure as they still have to prove that they are capable of launching rockets and developing crewed spacecraft.

A separate contract with Boeing/Lockheed has to come then from the DoD/Air Force I guess but why should they do this. For civilian purposes NASA is the only agency that is allowed to do spaceflight.

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:59 am
[quote="Klaus Schmidt"]The quickest would be the continuation of the Space Shuttel program.[/quote]

True but while I think that there is a fair chance that the shuttle will continue a little longer than expected if the ISS has not been finished by 2010, it will not fly again once it is finished. NASA has I think made certain of this by ordering enough shuttle components to fullfill this commitment, placing additional orders would be tricky once the manufacturing base starts to dissappear when the shuttle contracts ramp down.

I think the best option would be to let someone get on with building something and reduce the amount of oversight NASA insists on for their contracts.

If Lockheed do manage to man-rate Atlas they will have a ready built launcher that they can use. If they get Lockheed to design a "simple" capsule for it for use only in LEO/ISS I think there is a good chance of putting up something quicker than Orion.

The ISS has been designated as having National Laboratory status by the US so there could be an argument to provide specific transport to it so that it can be exploited. I think a relatively cheap crew carrier operated by NASA or some other US government agency to utilise ISS facilities could work along side NASA's grander Constellation exploration program.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Member
Space Station Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 7:09 pm
Posts: 485
Location: Maastricht, The Netherlands
Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:00 am
The best way would be to buy the Soyuz designs or licenses and build those in mass production. Should be cheap.

Giving NASA more money is just silly. You can't fix everything with just more money. They do tons of things which NASA wasn't made for. More money to COTS programm the same, it's not like you'll get more companies like SpaceX.

C. What's the point? No difference with the current situation. They don't want to make something quick that works withouth extensive maintenance. That will loose them money.

D. ISS is a bad example. You know that the US is probably responsible for the most delays? The problem is that ISS is complex as hell.

E. Soyuz, or any other relatively simple designs. Look at the Russians, they don't have the money to waste like NASA so they don't.

The biggest problem is indeed money. Not a lack of money but of what money has done to the system.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:07 pm
Well, if one stays just with realistic options:

There is no way to continue the Shuttle as most production lines for the whole bunch of replacement parts are now closed. Even an extension over 2010 is nearly impossible as some parts (like the solid rocket boosters) must be used before a deadline date.

Using Soyuz from the US is also a no-go. First the Russians won't sell licences (they now even reconsider their contract about the RD-180 engines for the Atlas 5). On the other side the US won't be allowed to use such Soyuz crafts. They had to fight a long battle in the Congress before they were allowed to even fly onboard Soyuz.

I don't see a possibility to change something. In case SpaceX succeeds with its Falcon+Dragon it could be possible that this will be used. But that's nothing that can be changed. We just have to wait and see.

From the NASA side there's no future with the current "mode of operation". They are doing studies, studies and studies for years. Make great plans. But nothing more comes out of NASA.

It's always the same there for at least 20 years: They start a new program with great effort and cancel it after 1 or 2 years.

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:33 pm
I agree that it is highly unlikely the shuttle will fly any additional flights but I also think that they will struggle to get in the planned flights before the end of 2010.

Soyuz is a non-starter, why would the US want to buy the rights to build these thmselves? Not only would it be more expensive than buying rides from the Russians it still makes them partially dependant on them. I hadn't heard that the Russians were reconsidering their RD180 exports Klaus.

I think that a possible alternative might be SpaceDev's Dreamchaser which has already had studies showing how it could be used in conjunction with Atlas.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:59 pm
It was a news from Interfax ( http://www.interfax.com/3/305353/news.aspx ), where they wrote that currently no RD-180 engines are allowed to be delivered to the US.

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Member
Space Station Member
User avatar
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:12 am
Posts: 321
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:02 am
Klaus Schmidt wrote:
It was a news from Interfax ( http://www.interfax.com/3/305353/news.aspx ), where they wrote that currently no RD-180 engines are allowed to be delivered to the US.


Sounds like a paperwork problem that will soon be sorted, and who knows how many RD-180's Lockmart already have?

It might even be a good thing if it forced restart of RS-84 development.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Member
Space Station Member
User avatar
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:12 am
Posts: 321
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:17 am
It would be very cool to see a small, lifting body spaceplane, like DeamChaser, on an Atlas V 402 stack.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:08 am
WannabeSpaceCadet wrote:
Sounds like a paperwork problem that will soon be sorted, and who knows how many RD-180's Lockmart already have?


The original contract called for 101 engines to be delivered over a 10 year period starting in 1999. The actual delivery rate although seems to be much lower.

Since August 2002, Energomash has delivered 14 engines to Lockheed Martin.

Up today 6 Atlas 3s and 10 Atlas 5s flew (=16 engines).

If one asumes a delivery rate of 5 engines a year, they would have about 20 engines in stock. Perhaps one problem about the deliveries is the switch from Lockheed Martin to ULA.

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:55 am
[quote="WannabeSpaceCadet"]It would be very cool to see a small, lifting body spaceplane, like DeamChaser, on an Atlas V 402 stack.[/quote]

SpaceDev have a drawing on their website;

http://www.spacedev.com/spacedev_advanced_systems.php

I think the RD-180 problem is just paperwork because the company that the engines are being delivered to is no longer Lockheed Martin but is now the United Space Alliance;- Russian red tape is very wide and multi-layered.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:55 pm
Posts: 507
Location: Germany
Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 04, 2007 2:48 pm
Small correction..It's not the United Space Alliance (USA), it's the United Launch Alliance (ULA). The USA operates the Shuttle.

_________________
"The hardest hurdle to space isn't the technicalities and money. But rather, the courage and the will to do it." - Burt Rutan.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Moon Mission Member
Moon Mission Member
User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 1233
Location: London, England
Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:13 am
This article from nasaspaceflight.com talks about ULA's response to NASA's request for COTS Phase 2 information talks about using using ULA's existing launchers with current or proposed transfer systems to the ISS.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?cid=5230

Looking at ULA's presentation (theres a link in the article) it talks about the ATV, Dragon and Dreamchaser possibly being integrated with an Atlas or Delta. I think that the only likely combination is Dreamchaser as the producers of the other transports are not likely to want to use an Atlas/Delta to launch on.

I will not be surprised if ULA come up with their own ISS transport when COTS phase 2 eventually arrives.

_________________
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Back to top
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


cron
© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use