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Launcher looking for a spacecraft

Posted by: Andy Hill - Mon May 29, 2006 11:52 am
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Launcher looking for a spacecraft 
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Post Launcher looking for a spacecraft   Posted on: Mon May 29, 2006 11:52 am
After another successful launch of the Arianne 5 with a record payload (8.3 tonnes to GEO) it seems that ESA has got all or at least most of the bugs out of the system.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/content/?id=4520

I know its been mentioned before but it seems a shame not to use this launcher for a manned vehicle, 20+ tonnes to LEO could give you something pretty decent. There are a lot of agencies working on or considering such a spacecraft. surely someone would be willing to partner with ESA to use Arianne?

From memory I think that Arianne 5 was originally man-rated to carry Hermes (not sure whether this is still the case for the latest vaiants) so ESA has a ready made launch vehicle for a manned craft.

I did think that the Russians missed a trick by not wanting to use it for Kliper, they will have to spend a lot more money to develop their own (which they could have done at a later date anyway after Kliper was flying). This would not have affected their independant access to space as they would still have had Soyuz.

I'm not surprised the US decided to produce its own craft for CEV but thought they might make it possible to launch on Arianne as well but given the current chaos going on over the ever changing design I guess that could still be an option.

JAXA could possibly partner with ESA to build a craft since they want to compete with the Chinese. I'm not quite sure what the state of play is with regard to them producing something, the last I heard was they might be interested in Kliper but that seems to have gone a bit quite recently (possibly just Russian spin anyway). Using Arianne would free the Japanese of the need to produce a much bigger vehicle.

ESA could always build something themselves, possibly modifying their ATV, but I see this as being a bit unlikely given their past attempts with Hermes. I think they would much rather be part of an international colaboration but with the US and Russia appearing to do their own things it might be a good time to set up a project with a group of countries such as Japan, India and possibly Canada.

What do people think, could this be a possible future international project?

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Post Re: Launcher looking for a spacecraft   Posted on: Mon May 29, 2006 9:25 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
After another successful launch of the Arianne 5 with a record payload (8.3 tonnes to GEO) it seems that ESA has got all or at least most of the bugs out of the system.

I know its been mentioned before but it seems a shame not to use this launcher for a manned vehicle, 20+ tonnes to LEO could give you something pretty decent. There are a lot of agencies working on or considering such a spacecraft. surely someone would be willing to partner with ESA to use Arianne?

[snip]

ESA could always build something themselves, possibly modifying their ATV, but I see this as being a bit unlikely given their past attempts with Hermes. I think they would much rather be part of an international colaboration but with the US and Russia appearing to do their own things it might be a good time to set up a project with a group of countries such as Japan, India and possibly Canada.

What do people think, could this be a possible future international project?


There are actually two topics here. The first is whether Ariane could be man-rated, and the second whether ESA (or more likely, EADS for ESA) could produce such a man-rated vehicle. The answer to both is a typical Radio Erivan one: In principle, yes, but...!

Ariane: For starters, Ariane 5 originally was to be man-rated but the 10-ton ESC-A was never plannedto be, AFAIK. Today, it would probably be necessary to completely change the production processes of the launcher to make it man-rated - not to talk of the necessary design changes. And where the kinks are concerned, I tend to agree, but you'd need a requalification to higher standards anyway, so it might turn out that a new vehicle would be easier to design and qualify from the ground up.

ATV: That one is a little different. It is supposed to be entered by astronauts, so it's man-rated, so might be modified to carry astronauts up to the station - on a man-rated launcher, and that's the snag. It has also been proposed to qualify ATV as a station lifeboat, and this might be realised one day. Getting it back to Earth with astronauts inside is another matter - technically it's known what kind of heat shield etc. would be needed, and I've seen a nice powerpoint presentation once with an ATV fitted with an inflatable heat shield and some other fancy stuff that looked eminently doable. But it's not your grandfather's ATV anymore, and it's a long way from powerpoint to hardware.

At the end of the day, the Russians are more likely to rely on an upgraded Soyuz (possibly launched from Kourou) than to invest in upgrading Ariane, and all of the others (USA, India, China) don't seem to be interested.

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Post Re: Launcher looking for a spacecraft   Posted on: Tue May 30, 2006 6:58 am
Max Lange wrote:
ATV: That one is a little different. It is supposed to be entered by astronauts, so it's man-rated, so might be modified to carry astronauts up to the station - on a man-rated launcher, and that's the snag. It has also been proposed to qualify ATV as a station lifeboat, and this might be realised one day. Getting it back to Earth with astronauts inside is another matter - technically it's known what kind of heat shield etc. would be needed, and I've seen a nice powerpoint presentation once with an ATV fitted with an inflatable heat shield and some other fancy stuff that looked eminently doable. But it's not your grandfather's ATV anymore, and it's a long way from powerpoint to hardware.


IMO I think it unlikely that the ATV would be modified, if ESA were to build their own craft my guess would be that they would design something nearly new using some of the systems from it such as the automated docking system.

Max Lange wrote:
At the end of the day, the Russians are more likely to rely on an upgraded Soyuz (possibly launched from Kourou) than to invest in upgrading Ariane, and all of the others (USA, India, China) don't seem to be interested.


Yes I agree that the Russians will want to use Soyuz and will not finance Arianne in any way but they might be willing to make kliper compatible with it in exchange for money/services. This might take some of the pressure off of getting their own booster developed in the same time frame and allow them to concentrate on Kliper itelf. China has a successful program that is achieving its goals (whatever they are), I cant see them complicating things by getting involved in a joint spacecraft project. Not sure what India wants to do with regard to manned flight, I dont think they know themselves. The US would rather use an EELV than Arianne.

ESA will need to sort something out in the next few years if it wants to follow through on some of its Aurora program goals so they might be forced to go it alone. I guess it all depends on how serious they are about it.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 31, 2006 4:20 pm
ATV would make a nice service module for Kliper. Add an earth departure stage..


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