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Moon race - Armadillo vs NASA

Posted by: JamesHughes - Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:01 am
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Moon race - Armadillo vs NASA 
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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:39 pm
But in no_way's post there was no mention of ISRU, and all Earth launched vehicles is implicit in the one-way lunar mission concept.

To forestall another monumental debate, I'm willing to concede that LEO is at least halfway to anywhere in terms of difficulty and technical challenge. :D


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 07, 2007 4:42 pm
I didn't mention ISRU as well - the point is that simply one vehicle could be kept in space once it is there while another vehicle could be used as taxi between surface and LEO.

In that case the weight of the vehicle kept in space and reused a lot of times wouldn't have to be launched from the surface each time again when it should go to anywhere.

This tends to save the propellant required to launch the weight of the vehicle destined to anywhere for the majority of all trips to anywhere.

In the case of the Apollo program this weight would have been a portion of the Saturn IV B which weighed between 11,000 kg and 12,000 kg without the J-2 engine + the J-2 engine weighing between 1,400 kg and 1,500 kg, the Apollo SM weighing between 6,000 kg and 7,000 kg, the Apollo CM weighing 5,806 kg and the Apollo LM weighing between 4,000 kg and 4,500 kg - all numbers without propellant. This in total is an empty weight of at least 28,206 kg - a remarkable weight worth to be saved.

Oh - and like I already said in a few other posts I am not out on debating but on constructive discussions like they were the standard here during 2004.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:59 am
'One way' means you don't get the vehicle back to re-use!

Debating is constructive discussion. It can also be an intellectual sport, but that's not how I'm using the term.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:18 pm
my point about halfway to anywhere was more about getting there business and organization wise.
If a group like Armadillo would demonstrate reasonably cheap capability to send stuff to orbit, believe me, they would have no shortage of investors and customers.
A whole horde of people would come banging down their doors to get their stuff launched, including people who would want stuff to be sent to lunar surface.
So, demonstrate cheap earth to LEO capability using a VTOL vehicle and the whole cislunar space , plus mars , is basically yours to take.
I hope that all of the current startups, Armadillo, Masten and BO make it there. From the scant details released, TGV Rockets pursues the same aprpoach, but they remain awfully quiet.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:41 pm
Hello, WannabeSpaceCadet,

the Apollo CSM allways returned to Earth - in so far it was never one-way in the sense you are applying that term in your answer.

Because of the return the SM part at least could have been kept in orbit. This simply would have meant to make it a bit larger and heavier - resulting in larger costs and expenses of the initial launch.

This could have been done regarding the Saturn IV B also.

And I don't understand no-way's post as if he was speaking about one-way vehicles. This merely seems to be your personal interpretation...



Hello, no_way,

what you are clarifying is a very positive view. You are correct. And you are underlining the essential point very well.

Very delighting post.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:15 pm
It seems that as long as they reach a break even point financially with sub orbital John fully intends to go to orbit. I couldn't find it but I'm sure he once mentioned going to the moon someday as well. Regarding a one-way trip to the moon, what would the smallest package that Armadillo could send to the moon that would give them something in return? I would imagine the cheapest/smallest/lightest would be a mirror assembly that could be folded up and set to unfold when it lands. Lasers could theoretically be bounced off of it if they could locate it. I guess a step up would be a simple solar powered transmitter that would eliminate the need for it to be located. Add a camera and some bandwidth capability and they've got their own lunar probe. With a one way shot I imagine it would be possible to use a lot less fuel to get to the moon. This kind of stuff doesn't just apply to Armadillo, anyone getting something verifiably to the moons surface stands to gain a lot of prestige at the very least and quite possibly potential customers.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:35 am
Hi all, I should hang out here more often. I had the Heinlein quote as my sig line for a year or so at space.com and it caused me to think about it a bit. I paraphrased it (to get under the character limit, lol) and was glad I did in retrospect. Upon reflection, I meant it it exactly the way no_way describes, from a strategic perspective. There is a connection between the quote and the idea of a true spaceship - one that doesn't deal with atmospheres.

"Once you get to LEO . . . " was how I had it IIRC.

Anyway.

I remember John saying _something_ about the moon back in the very early days but nothing since AFAIK. But I haven't followed as close as I'd liked to have.

The smallest useful payload to the surface? Fun question. I have one cooked up, but you guys are gonna laugh. It's all part of a master plan, lol.

I would love to see a miniature solar furnace and glass making machine. Prove that glass can be made on that scale, get valuable data to scale it up. No useful products at first, just glass ingots of whatever shape.

I know it sounds goofy, but to me, glass is going to be a very strategic commodity. Other commodities are more obvious, adding to the strategy behind leveraging glass in a "newspace" approach.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:28 pm
Ekkehard,

no_way wrote:
LEO is halfway to anywhere. If you can get there cheaply, you are already king of the world.
Pulling a
one-way lunar landing mission from cheap LEO access becomes a relative piece of cake, because you can try and fail LOTS until you get things right with basically no consequences.
Scary thought for established aerospace industry, aint it ?


But that's beside the point, since I've already conceded that the LEO first step is more than half the difficulty.

I totally agree with no_way that cheap access to LEO by Armadillo et al, will enable lots of cheap lunar, asteroid & Mars missions.


PS: An Apollo Service Module could NOT have been reused, because they never returned to LEO. The Apollo Command and Service Modules both re-entered at near escape velocity on a direct return from the Moon. The Service Module just burned up. They had no fuel left for an orbital insertion burn, which would have been about the same Delta V as the TLI burn by the Saturn V third stage. And the SM had no shielding for aerobraking, let alone fuel left for stabilizing an orbit afterwards.

Getting from LEO to the moon and back to LEO would be almost as hard as getting to LEO in the first place. ( For manned, chemical rockets at least. )


Last edited by WannabeSpaceCadet on Thu May 17, 2007 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 09, 2007 3:14 pm
Hello, WannabeSpaceCadet,

you are right regarding the actual Apollo SM not returning to LEO - but I said that it could have been kept in space if it would have been made a bit larger and heavier. In that case the tank would have been larger and propellant could have been carried for inserting it into LEO.

In so far I was NOT speaking about the actual Apollo SM but a possible alternative Apollo SM - this and nothing else I had in mind.

Please don't take it personally or as evil meant - this is one concrete example where you are interpreting something into my words that I didn't write or where your reading of my post is too imprecise:

I did NOT say
Quote:
Because of the return the SM part at least could have been kept in orbit.
but I said
Quote:
Because of the return the SM part at least could have been kept in orbit. This simply would have meant to make it a bit larger and heavier - resulting in larger costs and expenses of the initial launch.
these two records have to be taken as one whole issue saying "An Apollo SM a bit larger and heavier could have been kept in orbit." To this core of the meaning I added the hint that the Apollo SM nonetheless returned to Earth.

The term "one-way" in no_way's post I understand to be related to the term landing. And I didn't refer to it. Besides that he also in the same record mentions "try and fail LOTS" which I understand as mentioning tests and experiments like Armadillo Aerospace usually are doing. In so far the "one-way lunar landing mission" is not yet going the half way to anywhere but the preparation to do that - the R&D-step.

May be that I am understanding no_way wrong - but this understanding is possible. ...

WannabeSpaceCadet, I accept that you refuse to talk to me but you should read the PM I sent to you since this here is another example that you didn't ask why I understand no_way this way and not your one. This is a problem of communications but not of me doing wrong science etc.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 09, 2007 3:29 pm
spacester wrote:
The smallest useful payload to the surface? Fun question. I have one cooked up, but you guys are gonna laugh. It's all part of a master plan, lol.

I would love to see a miniature solar furnace and glass making machine. Prove that glass can be made on that scale, get valuable data to scale it up. No useful products at first, just glass ingots of whatever shape.

I know it sounds goofy, but to me, glass is going to be a very strategic commodity. Other commodities are more obvious, adding to the strategy behind leveraging glass in a "newspace" approach.


I wouldn't say goofy at all. I would think something similar that produced aluminum ingots would be higer on the list. Design the two ingots to be able to fit one another and the third launch send a simple robotic assembler that fits glass ingots into aluminum ingots. Designed properly and it sounds like a good step towards building something useful. That would basically satisfy Nemitz's third step for property rights I believe.


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Post Going to the moon   Posted on: Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:15 am
I don't talk about it often because grand plans usually undermine your credibility, but I certainly do think the moon is the most exciting destination in the reasonably forseeable future. I much prefer working towards a solid infrastructure in LEO and then the moon over a hail-Mary shot at Mars.

John Carmack


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Post Re: Going to the moon   Posted on: Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:38 pm
John Carmack wrote:
I much prefer working towards a solid infrastructure in LEO and then the moon over a hail-Mary shot at Mars.
Right on! :D


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Post    Posted on: Mon May 14, 2007 7:07 pm
WannabeSpaceCadet wrote:
no_way wrote:
LEO is halfway to anywhere...


Not really true, that's known as Heinlein's error. LEO if half the Delta V you need to get to anywhere. But mass ratio scales exponentially with Delta V. So even with LOX/LH2, LEO is only 20% of the way to anywhere in terms of launch mass.

But yes, cheap access to LEO is a great advantage. Once you're there, simple low thrust, low pressure engines, can get you anywhere.


The obvious answer is to build some sort of refueling station there.

I have seen a good proposal or two to build an energy/mass collection facility there. Use solar power running 24/7 to process asteroid or near earth object material into fuel.

A good bootstrap operation that scaled up over time would do the trick, and substantially lower the costs of getting anywhere.

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Post    Posted on: Mon May 14, 2007 7:12 pm
TJ wrote:
spacester wrote:
The smallest useful payload to the surface? Fun question. I have one cooked up, but you guys are gonna laugh. It's all part of a master plan, lol.

I would love to see a miniature solar furnace and glass making machine. Prove that glass can be made on that scale, get valuable data to scale it up. No useful products at first, just glass ingots of whatever shape.

I know it sounds goofy, but to me, glass is going to be a very strategic commodity. Other commodities are more obvious, adding to the strategy behind leveraging glass in a "newspace" approach.


I wouldn't say goofy at all. I would think something similar that produced aluminum ingots would be higer on the list. Design the two ingots to be able to fit one another and the third launch send a simple robotic assembler that fits glass ingots into aluminum ingots. Designed properly and it sounds like a good step towards building something useful. That would basically satisfy Nemitz's third step for property rights I believe.


"Nemitz's third step???

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Post Re: Going to the moon   Posted on: Mon May 14, 2007 7:16 pm
John Carmack wrote:
I don't talk about it often because grand plans usually undermine your credibility, but I certainly do think the moon is the most exciting destination in the reasonably forseeable future. I much prefer working towards a solid infrastructure in LEO and then the moon over a hail-Mary shot at Mars.

John Carmack


Hallelujah.

Building this infrastructure will be much like building out the railroads were for the US and Europe at the beginning of the last century. Once you get the basic infrastructure in place, you get all sorts of economic synergies that work for you.

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