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A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.

Posted by: RGClark - Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:32 am
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A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary. 
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Space Walker
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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:57 am
This article by Amy Shira Teitel about the Chris Kraft piece discusses and links to a NASA report showing propellant depots can allow BEO missions without the SLS, saving billions:

EX-FLIGHT DIRECTOR URGES NASA TO KILL NEXT ROCKET SYSTEM.
Analysis by Amy Shira Teitel
Wed Apr 25, 2012 01:00 PM ET
http://news.discovery.com/space/mercury ... 20425.html

So this is probably the report referred to by Chris Kraft:

"Propellant Depot Requirements Study Status Report"
http://images.spaceref.com/news/2011/21.jul2011.vxs.pdf

The report discusses several scenarios for lunar, asteroidal, or Mars missions without using heavy lift vehicles by using propellant depots. It does discuss use of the Falcon Heavy in some scenarios, but others use the Delta IV Heavy. About this last, it's interesting they give the max payload of the Delta IV Heavy as 28 mT. But the highest I ever read it having was 25 mT. Anyone know what modifications to the Delta IV Heavy would allow it to have this high a payload capability?
A disadvantage of the approaches discussed however is the large number of launches required even for the lunar missions, 6 for the Falcon Heavy and 10 for the Delta IV Heavy. This is because the scenarios use the large, heavy Orion capsule, the service module, and a separate, large lunar lander, likely akin to the Altair lunar lander.
On the other hand if instead the Early Lunar Access (ELA) architecture were used it could be done with a single launch of the Falcon Heavy or two with the Delta IV Heavy:

Encyclopedia Astronautica.
Early Lunar Access.
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/earccess.htm


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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:18 pm
"Golden Spike" revealed their architecture for a commercial return to the Moon this week:

How Golden Spike's Moon Landing Plan Works (Infographic)
Image
http://www.space.com/18805-golden-spike ... aphic.html

They estimated development costs in the $7 to $8 billion dollar range, less than 1/10 the cost of the Apollo or Constellation programs. However, even these numbers may be over inflated. The origin of the presented cost numbers were from NASA guys using NASA costing models. However, SpaceX has shown by following a commercial approach development costs can be cut by 1/5th to 1/10th that of NASA’s.

So what I think Golden Spike should do is bring SpaceX on board. With the development costs reduced to this extent, then we would have the really exciting possibility of the flight costs being brought down perhaps to the $200 million range, especially if using the Falcon Heavy launcher. This clearly would have a major impact on the prospect of profitability.

The only problem might be is that Elon appears to have no interest in the Moon, being focused on Mars as the ultimate goal. However the profitability motive may sway him. There is also the fact that these missions could serve to prove the capabilities of the Dragon even for BEO missions. It could also serve to prove the value of the Falcon Heavy for launching large payload at low cost, something Elon definitely wants for getting Air Force contracts.

As I discussed here the importance of what SpaceX has accomplished is that it will make clear that manned space flight can be accomplished at a fraction of what was thought necessary, thus making manned space flight routine world-wide. Combining this with small, low cost approaches to BEO flight, suggests such missions can also happen on a regular basis.

We are returning to the Moon, this time to stay.

Bob Clark

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Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:47 pm
I think that the moon is important as a base for the following reasons.

1.radiation shielding for building space vehicles in orbit,by burrowing, and mining at the same time,

2.a target for easily landing asteroids etc. to harvest rare elements,

3.a life-raft, like mars for humanity in case of a global scale calamity,


4.as a launchpoint for something like Voyager, but manned, again as an ubber life-raft for humanity,

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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:01 pm
RGClark wrote:

The only problem might be is that Elon appears to have no interest in the Moon, being focused on Mars as the ultimate goal. However the profitability motive may sway him. There is also the fact that these missions could serve to prove the capabilities of the Dragon even for BEO missions. It could also serve to prove the value of the Falcon Heavy for launching large payload at low cost, something Elon definitely wants for getting Air Force contracts.


It could be useful for SpaceX, since they aren't going to Mars in the next half decade, that getting a paying customer for F9 and FH beyond the usual suspects (USG and sat. launchers) will increase the production rate and drop per vehicle/launch costs, something he and everyone needs to make their plans practicable.

The "do-or-fade-into-obscurity" will be in securing enough capital for long enough a time period, either from a pool of investors or from a nation-state that wants in on the space game. That is going to be pretty tough to do these days.


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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:15 pm
Yeah, But I think that something drastic needs to change in propulsion, Dropping the cost of space travel significantly, We need to build something workable on a small scale, and push access to space to everyone as a next step in humanities technological and biological evolution,

Crossing the sea to the new world isolated a new pocket of genes, eradicated a lot more, through competition some lost, some won, some mixed, now we are where we are, the same goes for tech

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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:01 pm
True. All of these people, NASA, Planetary Resources, Golden Spike, even SpaceX are working "within the box" of established technology. It's kind of a requirement.


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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:32 pm
you don't get a jet engine from re-building a mouse-trap,

If we don't look far enough ahead, we keep re-inventing the wheel,
I have a new idea,

Large pipe shaped craft, VERY tough Refractor, at the top of the pipe facing down,Next there are Several ground based lasers initially not absorbed by atmosphere that all converge on the Refractor, after the first bounce some how the laser needs to shift into a spectrum absorbed by air, and be spread out in a disk, this forms plasma,

another set of lasers focuses on a target, absorbing energy to power a pulsed plasma engine, that uses the air as a reaction mass, with no power supply on board,

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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:53 am
You also don't get people to lend you very large sums of money on hypothetical, unproven technologies and plans.

Basic research and science is one thing. But when you want to build the practical application of it as a business, you have to show that it works, preferably with a track record of it having worked for someone else.

It's just the nature of the game.


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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:29 am
Image

There are ideas that are tested, in other fields, and shelved everyday,
we need to be more optimistic, as well as not spend lots of money, "AT THE SMALL SCALE", then see if the ideas scale, Pixels don't cost much, then after that there are people who work 12 hr days trying to do what we talk about....
I am just not a skeptic because to be creative, you have to have an idea, pursue, re-evaluate, and then either invest yourself or move on,



I was thinking this system could do what I was just talking about, with a much larger power supply and multiple beams converging, so no laser bloom, or multiple solar targets, If I don't have energy/fuel onboard, or any reaction mass, how light could I be?

http://dvice.com/archives/2012/03/230-efficient-l.php add in this little bit, and get some of that lost energy back in the laser,

add in some of the recent advances in lasers...

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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:56 pm
It doesn't matter how we get there if it's just another publicity stunt. Make that an incredibly expensive publicity stunt. Our economy would have to get a lot better to even attempt it. it's not like we've got cold-war competition to drive it this time. "Because we can" isn't a good enough excuse when we're trying to keep our economy from collapsing under us. We need to go there, and set up a profitable venture. With the investment we're talking about here (hundreds of $trillians) it would have to be very profitable. Oh yeah, and it will be pretty tough depending on Russia for all the heavy lifting because we don't have the shuttle fleet any more.

SpaceX is great, they're working on a medium lifter that's capable of carrying a crew to orbit. We're going to need an order of magnitude (tens of times) more than that to return to the moon, even without a significant mass of equipment.

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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:10 am
Well Falcon Heavy does 50mT to LEO, half of a Saturn V. We now have a lot of experience with Earth orbit rendezvous, so it should be possible to launch a lunar mission in two pieces, using two Falcon Heavy's. SLS is still bigger, but also much more expensive. And then there's Falcon X Heavy and Falcon XX, although they're currently just dreams, not funded projects.

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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:55 am
Except that it would cost a whole lot more, you do it with a bunch of Falcon-1, or OS Minotaur launches.



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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:55 am
I wasn't asking if we could do it, but if we should at a loss.

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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:41 am
Every space entrepreneur's wet dream is to find a billionaire who wants to go to space.


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Post Re: A Return to the Moon by the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.   Posted on: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:46 pm
Reading the "Golden Spike" paper now:

http://goldenspikecompany.com/wp-conten ... ockets.pdf

It gives several different architectures and types of missions. But on page 8 it gives the payload capability of the Falcon 9, presumably the new version, as 16,700 kg. However, on the SpaceX site it's given as 13,100 kg:

http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php#launch_and_placement

Interestingly at the 16 mT number you can do a manned circumlunar mission on a single Falcon 9 + Dragon, even including a LAS, by using a half-size Centaur as the in-space stage. But at the 13 mt number it becomes much more iffy.


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Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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