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Possible Craft

Posted by: Sev - Sun Oct 10, 2004 4:10 pm
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Possible Craft 
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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 13, 2004 4:23 pm
According to spaceandtech.com, a standard Soyuz costs $35M to launch, and is capable of lifting 7000 kg to LEO, 200 kgs/$M, or about 40% of what SpaceX is offering with it's Falcon V.

That's quite a undercut SpaceX has their, I imagine that once they get a reliability record sorted out that they will be fairly successful, especially when you consider the fact that Soyuz is the budget space launcher currently.

Some interesting stats for Falcon V size vehicles:
Code:
Launcher      Payload  Cost($US) kg/$M  Margin
----------------------------------------------
Falcon V      6,200     13       476     1.00
Soyuz         7,000     35       200     2.38
Ariane 44L    4,900    100        49     9.77
Atlas V 521   6,000     95        63     7.55
Delva IVM+    6,120    100        61     7.80


Coupled with the fact that they are already Bigelow's chosen launcher for his Nautilus vehicles, I think they definitely could get some business out of this.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:00 pm
Sev wrote:
Coupled with the fact that they are already Bigelow's chosen launcher for his Nautilus vehicles, I think they definitely could get some business out of this.


SpaceX has been tagged to launch Bigelow's sub-scale habitat, the Genesis, not the Nautilus. The Nautilus is expected to tip the scales between 20,000 to 23,000 kilograms. It's too large for the Falcon V -- even the new & improved version.

After the 'Genesis' module (33% scale) -- the 'Guardian' module (45% scale) has been tagged to launch on a Dnepr. I don't think the launch vehicle for the Nautilus has been announced, but it has been said to require a Proton-class booster.

However -- with the upgraded stats on the V -- it looks like it could be used to launch the Guardian in lieu of the Dnepr. DneprM LEO Payload (87.1°, 200 km): 5,510 kg.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:59 am
The Falcon V will be able to reach the orbit. What's left then is to able to reach the Nautilus later and to carry people there.

Until Nautilus is in orbit and is working it will take more than one year. Perhaps it takes so much time that there will be a Falcon that can carry much more than the current informations say.

What if SpaceX itself decides not to carry people to Nautilus but another team builds a passenger "module", orders SpaceX to carry it manned to the orbit of Nautilus, fires engines there and docks successfully to Nautilus?

Who will have won the prize in that case? SpaceX, the team that built the passenger module, both SpaceX and the team or none of them?

Regardless of the answer - this might happen perhaps. It's an option in principle for everyone who wants to carry people to the orbit.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:45 am
Simple, the team that concieved the plan. SpaceX provides the launcher and the engineering services needed to integrate the passenger vehicle to the launcher. I don't see how SpaceX could claim the prize if it had been paid for its services. The overall project and integrator is still the team.

Funtech provided WhiteKnight/SS1's avionics and another company provided the rocket. Do they claim they won the X Prize? No, they only claim association which is fair.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:30 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The Falcon V will be able to reach the orbit. What's left then is to able to reach the Nautilus later and to carry people there.

Until Nautilus is in orbit and is working it will take more than one year. Perhaps it takes so much time that there will be a Falcon that can carry much more than the current informations say.


I don't know if you're replying to my post or not -- or if so, whether you're misunderstanding what I indicated there about the inflatable capsules and boosters used.

The Falcon V -- especially with the boosted payload numbers -- should be sufficient to get a manned 5-man capsule similar to the ones designed in the Gemini program up to a space-station compatible orbit (200-400 km).

The Falcon V -- even with the boosted payload numbers -- is *not* sufficient to put the Nautilus space station module itself into orbit. Since the Falcon V payload would have to be more than tripled beyond current numbers to have this capability -- I doubt that it will happen -- even if they added strap-on boosters. It's certainly conceivable that SpaceX might design a larger booster (the Falcon X?) with a seriously upsized capability, but this is pure speculation, and fairly unlikely to happen by 2010.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:39 pm
Hello, mrmorris,

it wasn' t a reply to your post.

But in the theoretical case the market is increasing fast in the future when there isn't a manned vehicle able to reach and to dock to Nautilus yet SpaceX might develop a Falcon VI or VII that can carry Nautilus. I could imagine that Bigelow woldn't launch Nautilus unless a launch by a competitor is to be expected. This will be due to economical reasons - he can do further improvements and developments a slong as he keeps it on earth.



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Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Fri Oct 15, 2004 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:11 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I could imagine that Bigelow woldn't launch Nautilus unless a launch by a competitor is to be expected.


Bigelow has already stated that he's going to launch them. He wants to test the technology. The only way for him to truly test the capability is by launching them into orbit. It's possible the launch may be delayed because of problems with Genesis or Guardian, but I can't see a delay based on the lack of competition. Essentially he has no competitors in this field. He's not going to keep tinkering until one shows up.

Originally, I think the Nautilus launch date was expected around 2015. He's since indicated that they are way ahead of schedule and might be able to lunch Nautilus as early as 2010. He wants to get it done as quickly as possible. Until they're fully tested -- he can't develop a market for people wanting to use them. Until he has a market for people wanting to buy or rent space in his modules -- they're simply a cash drain.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 15, 2004 6:51 am
Agreed - I make a difference between test launches and launches to install the Nautilus permanently.

I know that there is a first test-launch of the third-scale-version scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2005.

I have caused a misunderstanding - sorry for that. To say it more exactly - I could imagine that Bigelow wouldn't launch to install permanently for use by tourists etc. unless a launch by a participant of the competition for the America's Space Prize is to be expected. So by "competitor" I didn't mean another space hotel firm - sorry.

As long as no vehicles exist which can carry a person to Nautilus no repairs, improvements etc. to be done by men in space are possbile. Robots would have been developed for this purpose until there is a winner of the prize.

2015 or 2010 may be years when there is a winner or when one is to be expected. So Bigelow might have synchronized the announcement of his prize to the timetable of his development activities - and to the XPRIZE competition.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2004 8:50 am
I wonder if anyone still remembers, Scaled Composites built 4 full scaled X-38 atmospheric test vehicles under contract from NASA.

The specs of the vehicle was to carry 7 people from the ISS and with the possibility of doubling up as a Crew Transfer Vehicle on a Ariane 5 or Titan with a total mass of around 7 tons. Anyone, especially Scaled if they are interested in the prize, would likely to use the same type of design.

Granted, there is still a one ton difference between the Falcon V launcher and the X-38, but the overall design and concept could still be used by Scaled if they choose and I believe they could achieve the weight savings required.

Sometimes, I think we are always making a big detour in space technology. If only NASA had continue with the BigG or even the HL-20 program in the late 80s...


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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:47 pm
koxinga wrote:
I wonder if anyone still remembers, Scaled Composites built 4 full scaled X-38 atmospheric test vehicles under contract from NASA.
...
Granted, there is still a one ton difference between the Falcon V launcher and the X-38, but the overall design and concept could still be used by Scaled if they choose and I believe they could achieve the weight savings required.


You're wrong on several points. The NASA x-38 link: http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Newsroom/FactSheets/FS-038-DFRC.html

Scaled built only three atmospheric test models before the program was cancelled. A fourth was being built at the Johnson space center.
They were 80% scale models.
Their weights ranged from ~6,803 to 11,340 kg. The new Falcon V rating is for 6020 kg to a 200 km orbit. Since the lightest subscale model was presumbly mostly a shell -- the 11,340 kg is almost assuredly closer to the end weight. Of course -- it then must be scaled up to 100% -- or around 14,000 kg.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 21, 2004 1:51 am
That is heavy, thanks for pointing out the error.

Are the mass/weight specs common to a seven seater lifting body design? If that is the case, then any vehicle launched on the a Falcon V has to be a capsule type design with ballastic re-entry and anyone building something similar will have to content with those mass.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:49 am
you guys are talking about someone building a manned module to be fitted to the falcon V to win the bigelow prize, but the vehicle that does that has to have 80% reusability, which would mean the falcon has to be largely reusable, which i'm under the impression that it's not, though i might be mistaken on that one. sure, it's a viable option if no one has a fully reusable design, but basically what you've done then is made a less expensive and probably slightly safer soyuz, which isn't the point of the prize.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:15 am
TerraMrs wrote:
...but the vehicle that does that has to have 80% reusability, which would mean the falcon has to be largely reusable, which i'm under the impression that it's not, though i might be mistaken on that one.


Do you have a link to the specific rules stating the 80% reusability? I've been under the impression that the specs haven't truly been set down in black and white yet.

As far as reusability goes -- about 80% of the actual *spacecraft* I can see as a Gemini derivative would actually be re-usable. The second-stage of the V is not of course. Overall -- including the booster, the system I can see being possible with a modern craft built around a Gemini-like capsule would be probably 60% reusable by mass. Most of the loss would be the second stage. I don't know the mass of that, so I'm really making a WAG.

I've gone much more into detail on possibilities for this concept craft on the SPACE.com forum:

http://uplink.space.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=businesstech&Number=68932&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=0

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...basically what you've done then is made a less expensive and probably slightly safer soyuz, which isn't the point of the prize.


Basically what this would be is a 5-6 person (very possibly 7-8 ) craft that would launch probably for under $20 million if the V comes in at the projected $12 million. This is compared to $35 million to launch three people on a Soyuz. Such a craft could serve as the CEV for the ISS *and* Bigelow's space station. As a privately-developed craft, it could also be sold or leased to the ESA -- giving them their own manned space capability.

What exactly do you feel the point of the prize is?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:18 am
koxinga wrote:
Are the mass/weight specs common to a seven seater lifting body design?


Lifting bodies are always heavier. Wings, control surfaces, controls for the control surfaces (i.e. flap controls), etc. all have to be added into the mix. It's also much more aerodynamically challenging to design. You *know* how a teardrop shape will move through the atmosphere.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:21 am
If the perhaps not reusable upper stage of the Falcon V is used to carry a reusable vehicle inside to orbit and release it there then the percentage of this upper stage of the whole system is reduced.

So the answer to the question wether 80% reusability is fulfilled is depending on the percentage of the reusable first stage of the Falcon V and the percentage of the reusable vehicle released in orbit.

I suppose the percentage of the vehicle released will be greater than that of the upper stage because the stage is its container only including an engine und propellant.

Might it be possible that the vehicle could rescue the upper stage or its engine some way?

And who ever succeeds in constructing a reusable manned vehicle has constructed a reusable upper stage in principle. Once Falcon I successfully has reached the orbit SpaceX is ahead because they only need to make the upper stage of Falcon V reusable


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