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Bigelow technology

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Sun Jan 23, 2005 7:34 pm
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Bigelow technology 
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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:35 pm
Might the possibility to use a kick stage allow for a lift of a Genesis Pathfinder of increased weight?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:02 pm
There was some talk of the Falcon V using an RL10 engine in it's upper stage, which would give it a greater payload capacity than the Dnepr. Of course, I don't know how much work SpaceX has done towards this, and it hasn't been mentioned since they announced they would use a Merlin engine for their upper stage instead of two Kestrel engines.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:08 pm
I think that SpaceX will want to get Falcon V flying before they start changing engines as that will lead to an even longer delay. Plus buying RL-10 engines will increase the cost of launching and erode their commercial edge.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:00 am
I remeber having read an article quoting Elon Musk. The quote says that Musk believes that the Falcon V will be ready very quickly because no new engines are developed for it - they simply will use five Merlins instead of one.

This may be the concept behind the first Flacon V launch scheduled so short after the first scheduled Falcon I launches.

The tests and so on required for the Falcon V will be due to the unpreventable shift in numbers of thrust and forces etc.

Musk will have included more time in his schedule for Falcon V than required if no new problems occur compared to Falcon I. What's required too is the time to produce five Merlins altogetehr within a short period of time.

So if no major problems occur than there may be sufficient time to get a kick-engine.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:53 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I remeber having read an article quoting Elon Musk. The quote says that Musk believes that the Falcon V will be ready very quickly because no new engines are developed for it - they simply will use five Merlins instead of one.


Nothing is that simple Ekkehard and Falcon V may be delayed as Falcon I has been. It will not be a simple task to integrate a kick stage with a different engine so that will be a year or two in the future if SpaceX decides to do it.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 17, 2005 9:25 am
I wonder if Bigelow or NASA has any plans to use his inflatable stations as a possible moonbase and whether they would be suitable given that they're designed to be used in a gravity free environment. Perhaps a support of some sort would have to be added for use on the lunar surface to allow them to keep their shape.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:26 pm
However, to keep to the topic that was originally posted, it's still very reasonable to asume that SpaceX will have the Falcon V working well before 2009. If it isn't working by then, it never will.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:38 pm
Sev wrote:
However, to keep to the topic that was originally posted, it's still very reasonable to asume that SpaceX will have the Falcon V working well before 2009. If it isn't working by then, it never will.


The first post in this thread was speaking about Bigelow inflatables and their possible use as a lunar habitat, nothing to do with SpaceX.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:22 am
I still can imagine a Bigelow inflatable to be used as lunar habitat under several alternative circumstances or conditions - in acave that has certain properties, installed at the surface, docked to a lunar space elevator..

But the discussions and informations about the inflatables and Nautilus seem to mean that they are hybrid - they can be a station in orbit as well as a habitat at a planet as well as a vehicle (if engines are installed.

All this reminds me to another kind of habitat such an inflatable of Bigelow could be perhaps: Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and an author of a NIAC study have proposed hotels for astronauts circling between Earth and Mars. They propose thes hotels to provide living room for up to 50 astronauts.Bigelow's technology may be the right one to establish such circling hotels - and it would be a very good prototyping of it to let a Nautilus do such circling between Earth and moon.

If this would be done successfully... - no CEV to the monn required and no interplanetary vehicle else too. And then it could be apllied to Mars too. A circling hotel for 50 astronauts - these could be NASA astronauts as well as tourists together.

Vehicle docked to these hotels would undock at or near destination then and could dock to other Bigelow inflatabel orbiting the other planet or being at the surface - docking at the surface will require that the landed vehicle has to move to the habitat rolling itself or a part of itself to the habitat I suppose...



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 22, 2005 10:19 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

you wrote
Quote:
It seems like SpaceX has lost Bigelow as a customer for their Falcon V rocket next year, he will launch Genesis on a Dnepr booster instead. I guess the delays in the Falcon program are starting to hurt SpaceX and some of their customers are going to desert. Bigelow seems to be keeping to his schedule for his inflatable stations though.

http://space.com/missionlaunches/050308 ... pdate.html

Andy


The failure of the rocket to install Cosmos 1 in an orbit of 800 to 900 km altitude may cause fears at Bigelow Aerospace that the Dnepr booster may have a failure too. And the ressources invested into Genesis Pathfinder are much higher than those invested into Cosmos 1,

What about the chances that Bigelow Aerospace moves back to SpaceX now and accepts the delay(s)?



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:09 pm
Ekkehard quoted Andy saying:
Quote:
It seems like SpaceX has lost Bigelow as a customer for their Falcon V rocket next year, he will launch Genesis on a Dnepr booster instead. I guess the delays in the Falcon program are starting to hurt SpaceX and some of their customers are going to desert. Bigelow seems to be keeping to his schedule for his inflatable stations though.

http://space.com/missionlaunches/050308 ... pdate.html

Andy


But from the article:
Quote:
"Over the next few months, and the remainder of this calendar year, Bigelow Aerospace will be laser-focused on the preparation of both our initial and second Genesis Pathfinder spacecrafts for launch in 2006," said Mike Gold, corporate counsel for Bigelow Aerospace in Washington, D.C.

Bigelow Aerospace engineers are meeting their schedule goal in prepping its first Genesis Pathfinder for the launch target originally slated for year’s end.

"We have spoken to our other launch provider, ISC Kosmotras, and they are amenable to moving the launch schedule up. Therefore, we now anticipate that the first Genesis Pathfinder spacecraft will be launched aboard a Dnepr in the 1st quarter of next year," Gold said.


So it seems to me that there are to be 2 genesis pathfinders launched by 2 different providers. One of which is still SpaceX, the only difference being that they will now be launching the second mission, and not the first. I also seem to remember reading about a planned Dnepr launch of a Bigelow inflatable a long time ago, so I don't think that is really a new development. Of course the article really implies things to be otherwise, but that's Space.com for you. It seems to me that Bigelow is just being a good general contractor, by causing competition between the launch firms. I hope he brings this practice to more aspects of the industry.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:26 pm
Marshall wrote:
It seems to me that Bigelow is just being a good general contractor, by causing competition between the launch firms. I hope he brings this practice to more aspects of the industry.
Iridium did that. Their satellites were launched by American, Russian and Chinese rockets. That was partly due to the large number of launches they needed over a short time that no one provider could handle though.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:08 pm
Thinking more about a support structure for a Bigelow inflatable on the lunar surface, it could be possible to cut a semi-circular trough in the moon's surface to place the inflable in. Maybe easier would be pushing the regolith around an inflable which was supported at its ends.

In both cases I would be a little concerned that its shape would become deformed under its own weight on the moon (not sure how they are internally braced).

Regarding Bigelow now launcing on a Dnepr booster:

My understanding was that Bigelow was funding a total of 3 launches, each successively larger. The first would be Genisis a one third version to prove the concept, the unit would be inflated with nitrogen gas for some reason (possibly to reduce fire risk :?: ) and kitted out with a multitude of sensors to enable Bigelow to generate the data he needs. The second inflatable will be two third sized and equiped with life support which will be monitored remotely for correct operation. The third and final unit will be the full size iinflatable (Nautilous :?: ) which astronauts will be able to utilise.

My memory could be playing tricks on me about the sizes a bit but I believe this is what he intends from the articles I have read. Only the smallest inflatable is small enough to launch on a Falcon V the others require larger boosters, so as I see it switching the Genisis launch to a different launch vehicle means that SpaceX has lost a customer, he did not intend to launch 2 vehicles that small.

Of course I could be wrong in my interpretation of what Bigelow's proposed launch strategy is but I dont think so. Repeating the first launch would represent additional cost without a significant gain, Bigelow will want to scale the inflatables up to prove the inflation technology as soon as he can.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:31 pm
Looking at SpaceX's site Bigelow now launches in 2008 on a Falcon IX, the increased rocket size allows SpaceX to launch one of Bigelow's larger inflatables. The earlier Falcon V launch of a Bigelow unit has now disappeared, bearing out what I said in earlier posts.

This launch must be a full or nearly full sized inflatable and will launch from Kwajalein Atoll which is likely to place it in an equatorial orbit.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:08 pm
Good news--for a change.


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