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Deep Space Hardware (MARS)

Posted by: rpspeck - Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:57 am
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Deep Space Hardware (MARS) 
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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:20 pm
I know this is a delayed reply, but I also read this forum. It really covers a lot of ground, including some areas of space infrastructure that no one else is working on or even talking about yet.
And I'm right down the road - in Colorado Springs - from Micro-Space, so it makes it even more interesting, knowing these efforts are going on nearby.

wow, i now have more than one post!


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:04 am
Changes: moving, consolidating and proposals.

Things are more settled at the moment.

It is interesting to note that one of the more interesting income opportunities the X PRIZE Foundation identified in their Google Lunar X Prize “Market Study” was linked to “Sample Return”. Our current technology work seems clustered around the navigation and maneuvering necessary to capture a minimum mass ascent vehicle, and get its surface sample on the way back to Earth.

Since “Conventional Wisdom” is that there is nothing easy about this, it is very, very important for us to demonstrate our technologies in orbit (CubeSat style). The fact that we have accomplished many “Not Easy” things over the years cuts no ice with the “Space Pros”. “Space is Different!” And actually, it is different! Experimental work there has been so outrageously expensive that “RISK” was intolerable. The next decade will see that change.

On another front, people like Newt Gingrich are openly talking about a privately funded Lunar Base. As I have pointed out before, Mars is easier to reach than the Moon, and the logistics are similar. But if human minds aren't yet ready to believe in an affordable Mars Mission, they may be ready to believe that “Going Back to the Moon” can be done at less than NASA's price.

Can man survive on the Moon protected by only a spacesuit! The only six votes that count are all YES! (Been there, done that.) How lightweight and low cost can a human Lunar Landing be? I am going to talk about that. How long can a tiny crew live in an inflated habitat without resupply? At least 1000 days. I have been discussing that (and its easier on the Moon than in space). Yes, if things don't work out as planned, you CAN get home in five days. Five liters of LOX and five of water will keep you alive to get home.

I believe Newt Gingrich still has influence and connections, but I don't know what it is going to take to convince him that a Lunar Expedition can look more like a K2 Climb and less like “Building the Panama Canal” (a massive industrial effort). If anyone out there can find me a communications channel to him, that might help.

More soon.


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:01 pm
Good News

Good News flows from several quarters relative to “Affordable Spaceflight”. The latest success of a SpaceX launch (the second Falcon-1 success to orbit) is at the top of the list. Many of us are counting on SpaceX to offer “rational” costs to orbit. All my estimates for Lunar and Mars expeditions are based on SpaceX pricing. Substituting the $137 Million cost for a “Space Launch Alliance” flight for a comparable $37 Million Falcon-9 would be very painful.

News from “UP Aerospace” is mixed. The best news is that they are active and in business! See
<http://www.upaerospace.us.com/home.html> Curiously, this Active web site is not found by a Google search, but only the dead link (without the .us. section of the URL) <http://www.upaerospace.com/>.

Their May 2, 2009 SpaceLoft® XL flight was a “partial success”. After a perfect motor run (for 10 to 12 seconds), a “backup” ejection controller triggered premature payload separation. This occurred at 3614 mph vertical velocity (Radar Tracking Data = 5300 fps > Mach 5) and an estimated 30,000 feet altitude. The released payload normally will tumble, and may have deployed (and shredded) parachutes so it will not coast much higher.

The intact airframe and excellent motor run (with higher velocity than the 2007 successful spaceflight), argues for future success. Bugs take longer to “wring out” with a very low launch rate.

Jerry Larson Heading UP Aerospace) reported in December 2008 that he could launch a SpaceLoft® XL rocket for $200,000. He is getting traction with potential customers. An additional SpaceLoft® XL flight is planned for later this year, and lower altitude test flights for Lockheed Martin continue.

New Mexico once again has a unique “Spaceflight” program, offered nowhere else in the country. The New Mexico Spaceflight Consortium is not only offering funding for student projects, it is flying them into space on the SpaceLoft® XL. The recent flight – now described as an annual event – carried a number of student projects. This batch did not make it into space, but were well tested with 16 to 20 g launch acceleration and even higher deceleration. These projects were recovered after parachuting to the ground. I am astonished, both by how well New Mexico works to get K-12 through Graduate School students personally involved with real spaceflight work (including at the X PRIZE Cup events), and the fact that no other state provides comparable opportunities!

For those who thought events 40 years ago (Apollo 11 Moon Landing) would make it possible for you to personally fly into space – Rest Assured: Celestis will get part of you there! Some of your ashes can follow Star Treck's “Scotty”into space on a future SpaceLoft® XL flight.


A step higher, in orbit, the news is also mixed. The success of CubeSats in demonstrating that very small satellites (and commercial grade electronics) can do good work in space has pushed many “Heavyweights” into related work. NanoSat work is planned or underway with NSF, DARPA, Army and Air Force Funding, as well as other national groups. Dr. Robert Twiggs (Stanford University) reports that competition from these “deep pocket” organizations has roughly doubled the launch cost for CubeSats. Cost is probably $80,000 instead of $40,000 for the 10 cm cube. But a side effect is that the added revenue from adding a handful of well proven “P-POD” units to a launch vehicle is now $1 Million. Several times that amount could be captured by a company flying to LEO with 100 kg of extra payload capability – a nice bonus with very little effort.

“Bob” Twiggs is fighting back like a true “Technocrat”: he is prototyping the “PocketQub”. This is literally 1/8 of the original 10 cm CubeSat! Roughly 2 inches on a side, and < 120 grams. Given electronic progress in the ten years since CubeSat efforts began, this is not an unreasonable step (keep my ½ gram HDTV Camera in mind). The PocketQub has more volume and mass than modern cell phones, and even standard surface mount technology will pack a lot of hardware into its frame. Even the reduced power is not a problem with today's extremely low power electronics.

It is unlikely that the cost to launch an experimental satellite will drop to $10,000, but $20,000 should be practical.


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:20 pm
More Good News 7/24/2009

Dr. Twiggs (Stanford University) also mentioned in his recent letter that “There is talk of subsidizing the university launch costs (for CubeSats), but then the subsidizers will get involved in who they subsidize.” It is certainly true that the paperwork – and uncertainties - could be more trouble than they are worth -- a typical “Government Assistance” phenomenon. However, even a poorly designed subsidy program is worth something. It will get more small satellites into space, and it will show both the launch providers and satellite developers that there is real interest in this market. It will “Prove in Space” innovative technical approaches and economical hardware. It will qualify more engineers and scientists as having personally succeeded with the design, construction and flight of a space system. (At some point Personal involvement over the systems spectrum will win greater respect than Team participation, focused on a small part of one subsystem. The “Teamwork” pendulum has swung too far, since a great team actually needs a great leader.) Small businesses can make do selling subsystems to university teams while they perfect the capabilities needed for serious entrepreneurial space efforts.

It would be nice if the US Government were doing something to “preserve” the “unique technological superiority” so aggressively guarded by ITAR regulations. At present these laws complicate a team's efforts to get an experimental satellite launched in India, even if all its components were produced in Pacific Rim countries! Meanwhile, the excellent universities in India have a “fast track” to a cooperative launch center. Another decade of neglect could permanently relegate Space Technology to the long list of technologies the US now imports. (Currently including, of course, Atlas motors, Zenit launch vehicles, Progress orbital cargo and Soyuz astronaut transportation services, as well as VCRs, DVD systems, HDTV and LCDs, TVs, Cell Phones, Cameras, Camcorders and Computers.)


While I dream of finding the money to showcase “Ultralight Spaceflight” in reality, I have arranged to share my thoughts about what it should look and feel like in a series of short fiction pieces. See: http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/549387/richard_speck.html (RPS AC Content).
Very soon, my “Back to the Moon” story (with its twists) will be added to the list.

My nonfiction efforts will continue next week with preliminary concepts for “Moon Base One” and how it will begin with $100 Million funding. That will of course build only “Base Camp”, although it will be dug in with the Lunar equivalent of “Snow Caves” and could be continually occupied for more than two years. The transition to a Lunar colony will happen much sooner than expected, and occur with remarkably little fanfare!


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:16 pm
Moon Base One – Base Camp

Note that my short story “Lasso the Moon” is now accessible online, also at:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/5 ... speck.html

My plan for a real Moon Base, affordable very soon, focuses on the Falcon V launch vehicle. With 10,000 kg to LEO, this vehicle will be able to orbit a system capable of soft landing 1000 kg on the Moon. I will detail in steps how this is adequate to establish a lightweight “Camp”, for initial residence on the Moon. One $ 37 Million launch vehicle to establish a long term camp with two inhabitants.

Start with power – Solar of course. One square meter of solar panel will receive 1360 watts of solar radiation at normal incidence. Solar cell efficiencies – with the best multijunction cells – now run over 40% and the developers expect to achieve >50%. I will assume only the 20% conversion achieved by by good, singe crystal Silicon cells in what follows (272 watts/m^2 output), but better results are already available. Standard Silicon cells are 200 microns thick and weigh about 500 grams per square meter. Silicon thinned to 50 microns can produce equal efficiency cells and it looks and feels like Stainless Steel “shim stock”. It is flexible, tough and hard to break except intentionally. It is strong enough to serve as a “tension web” in a mechanical structure which also includes lightweight ribs and spars. This thickness only weights 125 grams per square meter!

A 20 square meter panel of the thinned Silicon Cells (the size of a “carport” roof) could produce 5400 watts peak electrical power and have a total mass of 3 kilograms! This flimsy structure would be more than adequate in the benign environment of the Moon, and provide desirable shade in addition. This is a far cry from the 100 Watts/kg suggested in textbooks, but this is not for a “mechanism”. It must be hand assembled by astronauts standing on the Moon, although this needn't take over an hour.

The reality of >40% solar cell conversion efficiency (and > 1 kW/kg mass performance) completely rules out machinery to apply concentrated sunlight for heating! The mass and losses associated with tracking the sun, collecting the sunlight and feeding materials to be heated into the focus, greatly exceed the roughly 50% loss from conversion to electricity. Double the size of the solar panels – with modest added weight – and use precisely controlled electrical heating wherever you need it!

This is an encouraging data point (5400 Watts peak power from a 3 kg solar system), but is far from the complete story. Even averaging the power for the day / night cycle (1600 Watts average) still leaves a big problem. Storing power for the 14 period of darkness is a Very Big Problem! (Roughly 28 times the storage requirement of Solar Power on the Earth.) More soon.


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:15 pm
don't forget to reply to my email, if only to say you're not interested :)

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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:42 pm
Moon Base One: Overview (1)

Let me back up and provide an overview of our Moon Base plan. We will organize the material in a more coherent manner for the book. Now the technology is coming in rather “stream of conscious” bits and pieces. The pieces are related and interconnected, but don't come in a logical order.

One Falcon-9, with 10,000 kg payload to LEO, could include systems to land 1000 kg on the Moon. The 1000 kg (2200 pound) load landed on the Moon would be 6 of the Micro-Space HTS (Human Transport System) units. At least one would carry an astronaut, and for each astronaut there would be a second carrying ascent fuel for return to lunar orbit. With about 36 pound structural mass, 330 pounds (150 kg) of each would be payload. All residual fuel would be stored as it is quite valuable. Full weight astronauts (170 pounds + light spacesuit) would each carry over 100 pounds of supplies and life support equipment. (Lightweights -midgets and petite women - could each add over 70 days of food supply.) The additional HTS units could carry a years food supply for each astronaut, or a good quantity of “Camp” supplies.

I expect that two of the Falcon-9 systems will be flown in the first year, costing $37 Million each, plus the payload systems, including lunar landers, LTO (escape) fuel and Earth return systems. This should cost $100 Million (75% of which is the Falcon -9 launch vehicles).

Dropping to ½ that scope, with a single Falcon-9 carrying a single astronaut to the Moon is a viable option. If he/she can get the recycling systems working properly, he/she can then live on the Moon for over three years without resupply. I won't focus on that option unless it becomes necessary. That would be the case if $50 Million looked like a ceiling for funding, but that sum was virtually guaranteed.

I am ambivalent about sending two astronauts on the first trip, or only one. Constructing the camp (primarily by lining dug trenches) will be more difficult for one individual, but the quantity of supplies sent with two individuals would be quite limited. Much of the work – and long term supplies – would in that case have to wait for the next shipment. That shipment could actually include a third astronaut and well as supplies. Historically, human explorers have survived in unexpected conditions that never could have been handled by robots (including Apollo 13). The reverse logic – letting billion dollar robotic missions fail rather than risk the life of a willing human explorer – will not be a component of my discussions. No human “Soul” is ever lost in risky exploration – such a loss involves choices in another arena altogether. The finite number of days any of us have in this World may of course be reduced. An adequate number of qualified individuals are more than willing to face the risks of serious exploration and will welcome the opportunity to “Go where no one has gone before”!

Considering the “long, cold nights on the Moon”, note than 80 cm below the lunar surface, thermometers showed NO day /night temperature variation. This depth can be reduced when the overlayer is sifted regolith – with lower density and heat conductivity - and total elimination of the temperature cycle is not necessary. Storing energy for the long nights is of course imperative. My proposal involves LNG production and storage plus SOFC fuel cells integrated into the chemical reprocessing of Life Support Oxygen and CO2. I will detail this soon.

Initial operations on the Moon would use supplied food, LOX and CO2 absorbers, with a 5 pound per day requirement. The captured CO2 would be a valuable resource. Water would, of course, be recycled just as it is on planet Earth. The transition to Oxygen reprocessing (and in situ production) would begin in the first few days after landing.

Keep in mind that the equipment involved will be Tiny! Some of the chemistry resembles that used in “Fuel Reforming” for Automotive Fuel Cells. But the underpowered original 985 cc Volkswagen produced less than 20 kilowatts of mechanical power, and was driven “pedal to the metal” on highways. A similar, underpowered electric vehicle will also need 20 kW of electric power production. One Hundredth this capacity (of fuel processing chemical hardware) will handle the reprocessing required by one astronaut! If five hundred pounds of chemical equipment is necessary to feed Hydrogen to the fuel cells in a small car, five pounds of similar machinery will feed Oxygen to an astronaut! More soon.


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:03 pm
Quote:
You certainly won't get many "little people" to volunteer if you call them "midgets" which is considered offensive


Point well taken! Thank you.

I do hope to get across to this group the powerful advantage they have as "compact astronauts".

I strongly believe that the next humans on the moon will be members of some "special identity group". Many such groups could mobilize the funding I am talking about - comparable to an "Americas Cup" sailboat racing team.

Lightweight, low cost Moon landings were of course extensively researched by NASA.

NASA Langley 1961 Solo Lunar Lander http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4205/ch3-5.html

This is among the "Roads Not Taken", but researched by NASA, and validates low cost concepts for those without NASA sized funding.

The 1961 NASA Langley image lists 500 pounds mass empty, plus a 220 pound suited astronaut.

This mass could of course be reduced with modern controls, and lighter structure. This 720 pound empty mass would weigh only 120 pounds on the Moon – far less than the weight carried with a “Jet Pack” system, and supported by the users legs! Landing on the Moon is much easier (effectively in slow motion) compared to landing with a Jet Pack on the Earth. Slashing the “Controls and Structure” group to 30 pounds (with a landing on the astronauts boots), with ½ the engine, tankage and fuel mass, would bring the dry mass to 360 pounds, weighting 60 pounds on the Moon. Splitting the fuel mass ratio (equal Delta V for ascent and descent) gives 401 pounds of ascent fuel remaining after touch down. The 761 pound total (dry mass plus fuel) would weigh just 127 pounds on the Moon: much less than handled by “Jet Pack” users at an air show!

Scale this mass down for a “compact astronaut” and you begin to see why my cost estimates make sense.


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:15 pm
Even More Good News

The Abu Dhabi investment in Virgin Galactic – and promised $100 Million investment in a compatible small satellite orbital launch system - is very good news! It shows that the “Ultralight Satellite Revolution” is on track and accelerating! This phenomena will soon blow away all the old “Space Pro Mantras” about how “Space is Different” and nobody else understands what it takes to do things there. By the second year of the next decade (2012 – decades end with xxx0 years, they start with xxx1) the old thinking will be a joke! Over hype, of course, will create opportunities for the unwise to lose a lot of invested money, but successes will pile up.

Many exciting small satellite opportunities require CUSTOM ORBITS, not Piggyback - ride along on someone else's bird.

Quote from: nacnud on 07/30/2009 05:10 PM
“I have friends that work at Surrey Satellites: 200kg is large for them. Most are below 160kg. I think they would love to have a launcher that is more tuned to their needs than piggybacking on someone else launch.”

Some people have noticed that high performance electronics, including microwave RF systems, are getting smaller and cheaper every year.

Some people have also noticed that consumer laptop computers, cameras, audio systems, and ham radio gear work quite well in the ISS, with minimal shielding. (Fifteen Inches of Aluminum = the mass/area of 1/10 the atmosphere. A 0.15 inch skin = 1/1000 of atmosphere (equaling about 50 km altitude) and is insignificant shielding for primary cosmic rays including high Z particles.)

Pegasus XL, offering 200 to 400 kg to LEO, has been flying once a year recently (2005, 06, 07, 08). This does not seem an exciting business to compete for, but the $11 to $15 million price is a factor. Maintenance of the L-1011 dedicated launch plane and all other overhead must be carried by that one launch.

It is much easier to price a new technology aggressively while investors are still optimistic. If the time is right, volume builds and makes the low price profitable. After years of infrequent flights and accumulating losses, it is hard to rekindle the optimism to try aggressive pricing again.

Virgin Galactic will be adding the satellite launches to human suborbital flights, and thus has a larger base to cover the costs. Their marginal cost (incremental unit cost) for adding a flight should be below $1 Million. Their hybrid SpaceShipTwo engine is not bad at all as a first stage to orbit. Its rocket motor can of course be shut down if the initial flight performance is flawed. With the air launch advantage, and reasonable composite structures, the 17,000 kg capacity of the WK2 can put 170 to 340 kg into LEO. (More than 100 CubeSats!) A decent upper stage or two is assumed, of course.

The orbital payload, about 375 to 750 pounds, of course covers my “Ultralight Solo” flight system concept with room to spare. Would Burt Rutan or Richard Branson consider flying a solo system into space? Of Course! They already did that three times. Orbital flight is a logical next step.

The rational concept of “Human Supervised” tests to prove experimental systems in space could double Virgin Galactic's business. (The ticket price equals six weeks costs for a small development team. The option of preparation and integration for a sounding rocket test would add many months to the schedule, cost more and be unlikely to return undamaged hardware for further evaluation.) The next step would to fly the successful systems along with NSF, DARPA, Army, Air Force, NASA and University CubeSats, and achieve TRL 9!


The payload capacity to LEO is also more than adequate for a lightweight Google Moon Lander effort! Better yet, to make his “Galactic” title more than hype, Branson might pick up the Lunar Competition when Google ends its funding, and could discount lander flights to LEO to showcase his ambitions!


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:32 pm
Moon Base One – Base Camp – Sundown 8/20/2009

As already noted, storing power for the 14 days of darkness each lunar month is a serious problem. It will NOT be dark, for the initial “nearside” camps, because Earthshine is quite bright! The “half Earth” conditions near sunset and sunrise will be about 10 times as bright as a “Full Moon”, with no clouds to reduce the light. “Full Earth” at the middle of the lunar night will be at least 30 times as bright as a conventional “Full Moon” in Earth's clear sky. You won't need lights outside, but you will certainly need them in the habitat!

Since the brightness mentioned is more than 1000 times dimmer than direct sunlight, solar power production is effectively zero. Power will have to be stored. Since all such processes have inefficiencies, it will be good to double my initial Solar Power plan, using 6 kg of thin cells, rather than only 3kg. More than 10KW peak power will be produced, with an ample 3kw Day/Night average. This also provides insurance against solar cell damage and degradation. Battery power storage of course springs to mind, but it is virtually useless, except for short time emergency use! The sun will be down 336 hours each cycle. Very good Lithium Ion cells can hold about 170 Watt Hours per kg mass. But this barely provides ½ watt average power output, per Kilogram, for the 14 days of darkness. A modest 500 Watt average power would require One Ton of lithium cells, even if the full capacity could be tapped each cycle for one hundred cycles (8 year desired life). A much better power storage system is needed.

An interesting possibility would be to store heat in a buried volume of lunar rock. The lunar “crust” has modest thermal conductivity (as shown by the lack of thermal cycling 80 cm below the surface). Heat transfer is even lower under loose regolith fill. The heat could be recaptured when the sun is down with a variety of heat engines. But that will wait for later.

A good short term solution is to adapt the needed “Life Support” processes for power handling as well.
The “Sabatier Reaction” (so loved by Robert Zubrin) -- CO2 + 4H2 => CH4 + 2H2O -- converts CO2 to Methane by forcing Hydrogen gas to combine with it under high pressure. As usual, this reaction is also promoted by quickly capturing the water (H2O) produced. The water from the listed reaction is electrolytically dissociated to produce more hydrogen, as is water from metabolic food oxidation in the astronauts. This is one of the few reactions that can completely recover the used respiratory Oxygen. When a surplus of Methane has been accumulated, it can be dissociated at high temperature and low pressure to produce useful “Pyrolytic Graphite” and release the Hydrogen for reuse. (Graphite electrodes are usually used for electrolytic production of Aluminum.)

But the Methane can be “burned” with Oxygen in a very practical fuel cell. This of course regenerates the Carbon Dioxide and adds more water for recycling. But 15,470 Wh of energy is released for each kilogram of methane used. This is almost 100 times the energy/mass ratio of Lithium Ion cells and has an essentially unlimited cycle life! The materials listed here are unavoidable in the life support system of a manned outpost and most of the chemical reactions are already necessary in that system. Twenty Kilograms of Methane can produce my target 500 watts of electrical power, at practical efficiency, for each 14 day dark cycle on the Moon!

The best fuel cell for this purpose is the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) running continuously at 600 to 900 degrees C. These cells are in active use at remote industrial and residential sites. Their efficiency converting the chemical energy to electric power is also unusually high, at 60%, and the high temperature waste heat can also be used. They have set records for longevity, with 8 years of continuous operation, and 50,000 hours as a typical expectation. Similar tests on PEM, room temperature fuel cells, averaged 3000 hours. The use of any hydrocarbon is challenging with both Alkaline and PEM fuel cells, as one will not tolerate CO2, and the catalysts of the other are poisoned by CO. The SOFC, on the other hand, has unlimited tolerance for both gases, and will run very well with Methane (not just Hydrogen) as feedstock.

Note that the SOFC process works equally well in reverse, to split water and release Hydrogen and Oxygen. This can be accomplished with simple equipment on the Moon, but the SOFC based electrolysis system is very attractive for Zero G, Mars Expedition use!

The fuel cells and other systems, of course, also add mass. Current materials seem to offer an SOFC stack to produce my 500 Watts sustained power with 1 kg mass. Methane is significantly easier to liquefy than Oxygen, with the 10 kg mass then occupying about 20 liters (less than 1 cubic foot) in an insulated tank. The minimum temperature at the Apollo 15 landing site (92 K) is well below the normal boiling point of Methane, and below the boiling point of Oxygen at 150 kPa = 22 psia. Liquid storage of both gases is feasible and can use similar equipment. Only 7 liters of LOX is needed for breathing by each astronaut over the 14 day period, so that the reserve for a three person crew requires a similar storage tank.

With total system losses, 1000 to 2000 watts of electrical power (up to 1/3 my enhanced 10 KW peak supply) will to drive this process and guarantee 500 average Watts through the dark half cycle. A small group of Lithium ion cells can handle short term peaks. High energy processes – CO2 conversion, water electrolysis, desiccant regeneration, LOX and LNG generation and regolith processing - will occur during the 14 day, sun up half cycle, with many kilowatts of available power.


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:18 pm
0.5 litres of LOX for 14 days doesn't leave much room for exercise though (e.g. digging trenches to live in). I have a V(O2) max of about 4 litres, 0.5 l of LOX expands to 430 l of GOX at 20C, so that I could burn my entire allotment of O2 in 108 minutes. Something like a 25 km run, at my current fitness level and here on Earth. What is the O2 consumption for a resting human?


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:41 pm
One liter of Lox, about 1200 grams, combines with carbohydrates to produce 4000 Calories of metabolic energy. On a 2000 Calorie per day diet, just 0.5 liter of Lox would be used per day with a primarily carbohydrate diet (modestly more with a higher fat percentage). Since it is easy to relax in low gravity, deliberate exercise will often be required to get UP to the 2000 Calorie Earth average.

You could be burning 4000 Calories per day, but that is rare. Unsupported teams skiing across Antarctica have averaged 6000 Calories per day of food intake with an even higher metabolic level (producing weight loss). Use a whole liter of Lox per day if you need it: Oxygen is fairly easy to recycle and that metabolic level only needs about 200 watts of effective, average Solar Power to regenerate the Oxygen.


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:44 pm
I have been busy with SBIR proposals, but will soon get back to the Moon Base One plan and other topics.

One note: for near term history, the next human who achieves an altitude significantly above the 559 km of the Hubble Space Telescope (well above the 350 km altitude of the ISS) will earn bragging rights in this century. An altitude of 1000 km will certainly qualify as “Above LEO”. For example “The First Woman to fly Above LEO”. That appears to require less than 300 meters per second as one burn from LEO. This could be accomplished with a 10% fuel mass burn – using storable fuels – and accomplished as part of the first human test of a lightweight reentry system. That burn could either lower the subsequent perigee altitude (producing reentry ½ orbit after apogee), or could produce a sustained elliptical orbit with several high altitude passes before a reentry burn.

The Van Allen radiation during these short transits would be in the modest dose range seen by Apollo Astronauts – about equal to a chest x-ray. (Note that OSHA/NASA standards don't allow that kind of occupational exposure very often. Radiation for Cancer treatment exceeds even the radiation exposure for a slow Mars trip!)

Only 200 kg for the basic reentry system, with 20 to 30 kg added to become the first human this century to fly above LEO – or the first woman ever to do so!


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:28 pm
FaithWalk_1109AH

In 2008 I earned the title of “Jesus Freak” of the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition. Not without cause, since I “Squandered” much of my two-minute allocation for a team introduction by crediting the Lord Jesus Christ with having made possible progress with spaceflight technologies which exceeded my early expectations!

There are drawbacks to being a Jesus Freak, particularly with being a Jesus Freak in Science and Technology. I won’t say much about the obvious ones – related to credibility with potential investors or customers – since everyone in “New Space” has a major credibility problem anyway! But, anyone who receives a God Given Dream, and has the courage to act on it, has an additional problem.

It is said that a God Given Dream will seem “Too Good to be True and Too Big to be You!”, and I agree with this statement! A God Given Dream is certain to fail without His active participation. He is less concerned about the result (while that may bring great blessings to many) then He is about the process and the appearances. He doesn’t want to make you look good! He chose you for your weaknesses as well as your strengths, and will make sure that You and Everyone Else is reminded of Your Weaknesses!

God’s Big Plans are not really about revealing a hidden champion to the world, or showing you that you possess greater abilities than you thought you had, although those revelations may play a role. He really wants to reveal Himself! This is not the “I think I can. … I think I can. … I knew I could!” story at all! Therefore you can look forward to the “Yo-yo Component”.

For a while, God will open doors, multiply the effectiveness of your efforts and accelerate progress. But when that becomes comfortable, and something you expect, He will actually close doors and block progress. The Yo-yo Component! If you have the Faith to stick with Him, other cycles lie in the future, moving up to higher levels, but often taking unexpected twists as well. Progress is made toward the Dream, but the picture becomes much more complex than you initially imagined and you are continually aware that You, Your Abilities and Your Resources don’t have much to do with that progress!

At present I, and my phantom company Micro-Space, are definitely not on an accelerated portion of a cycle. The Lord continues to give me understanding of innovative space technologies which will play a role in “entrepreneurial” space activities – by my company or others – and confidence in the “Entrepreneurial Space Age” which is now beginning. I will continue to blog about the technologies I am led to understand.


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:49 pm
Micro-Space SBIR proposal, “Automatic Solar and Celestial Navigation on the Moon and Mars”, has been selected by NASA for Phase I funding. This proposal taps Micro-Space's long history of high resolution image processing and capture, used for example in our DOD automated inspection systems for aircraft HUD and HMD displays and in machine vision systems. The very low mass system proposed can also be adapted for use as a “Star Camera” in CubeSats and NanoSpacecraft including to guide planetary approach for aerobraking and atmospheric entry.

This is of course a very important part of the manned and unmanned Mars Missions I have proposed. Lunar missions have a similar need for Lunar Orbit Insertion if orbit is desired to setup for landing, or to retain hardware in orbit to sustain communication with a rover. Thus it is relevant for both GLXP and manned lunar missions. Our GLXP prototypes use similar technology for initial altitude determination (before our LIDAR system locks onto the optical surface return) and verification of zero lateral velocity as touchdown approaches. The reduction of mass and cost of critical systems continues.

An STTR proposal, teaming with Bob Twiggs – of CubeSat fame – and his university is still pending. This proposal uses Micro-Space, electromagnetic 6DOF position sensing and force generation systems to assemble and stabilize untethered small satellite formations. Professor Twiggs has previously led teams which successfully flew tethered PicoSats in orbit. The proposed orbital demonstration would clear the way for much more complex formations to be flown, with no necessary maneuvering fuel.


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