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 Message Boards » » The Future of Manned Space Flight Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 ... 28, Prev Next  
Mr. Joshua
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I thought the Russians were taking some big pieces from the ISS for their own station when we're done with it.

8/9/2011 7:45:10 AM

Smath74
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I heard that too... i guess it just depends on what the situation is in ~2018-2019 as to what exactly will happen... Ditch the whole thing (seems like a waste), Harvest parts of it (a little better), or keep it flying for longer (and maybe add a few bigelow modules!)

8/9/2011 8:16:00 AM

Wraith
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Well the Russians can do pretty much whatever they want with it. Who's gonna stop them? The only other people that will be up in space at that point will be the Chinese and they wouldn't care.

8/9/2011 9:33:12 AM

Smath74
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yeah, china will have (or be well on their way to having) their own space station by then.

8/9/2011 11:00:10 AM

Mr. Joshua
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I think we should keep it there as a tourist attraction like Salem Village.

8/9/2011 11:01:03 AM

jcdomini
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Dunno if anyone has seen this, but I thought it looked pretty interesting:

http://www.ocregister.com/news/space-312152-capsule-station.html

Quote :
"SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for 12 missions"


vs.

Quote :
"Q. How much does the Space Shuttle cost?
A. The Space Shuttle Endeavour, the orbiter built to replace the Space Shuttle Challenger, cost approximately $1.7 billion.

The cost to replace the Space Shuttles would have cost us $8.5 Billion based on the cost of the Endeavor. *The Endeavor was built with spare parts.

Q. How much does it cost to launch a Space Shuttle?
A. The average cost to launch a Space Shuttle is about $450 million per mission.
"

8/16/2011 11:20:44 AM

Prospero
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One's a capsule, the other a shuttle. I highly doubt the capsule is capable of carrying the same payloads or doing the same kind of building/maintenance on the ISS as the shuttle did.

But still. That's a huge cost savings. 70-89% if everything was equal.

8/16/2011 12:03:39 PM

Wraith
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^What he said. The Dragon capsule is designed to take people and a small amount of cargo. Orbiters were capable of taking people and a shit load of cargo. The cargo bay of an orbiter can hold three semi trucks worth of cargo. The Dragon is a lot smaller/cheaper because it has an entirely different mission. Comparing the two is like comparing a Honda Civic to a Ford F-350.

[Edited on August 16, 2011 at 12:23 PM. Reason : .]

8/16/2011 12:20:42 PM

Smath74
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Boeing selects Atlas V launcher for their CST-100 capsule:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/08/atlas-v-wins-boeing-selects-launcher-cst-100-capsule/



8/16/2011 2:57:20 PM

Mr. Joshua
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That it is one phallic rocketship.

8/16/2011 3:03:09 PM

Smath74
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i mean aren't they all? I for one have an orbiter and solid rocket boosters attached to mine.

8/16/2011 3:04:38 PM

Mr. Joshua
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Don't let the O-rings get too cold before you use it.

8/16/2011 3:10:09 PM

Smath74
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8/16/2011 3:22:05 PM

jcdomini
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You guys brought up very relevant points in terms of gross payload capacity between the shuttle and the Dragon capsule, so I thought I'd crunch some numbers (I like numbers) to see how they compare on the same level.

The shuttle was estimated at $1.7 billion for a new one (from parts), plus $450 million for a launch, and (according to Wikipedia) can haul 53,600lbs to orbit, which works out to approximately:

$40,111/lb of payload to LEO


The Dragon Capsule, on the other hand, approximating based on the listed contract value, would be $1.6 billion divided by 12 flights to give a cost for what I assume is both the vehicle and launch. Wikipedia lists the limit of this craft to be 13,228lbs of payload to orbit, which works out to approximately:

$10,079/lb of payload to LEO

Granted, the Dragon capsule can't do the same sort of repairs (Canadarm anyone?) or large volume hauling (the Hubble telescope), among other things, that the shuttle could, but I certainly think this is a step in the right direction. When it comes to just hauling sheer quantities of resources up to orbit, this already demonstrates a reduction of nearly 75% in terms of $/lb for cargo hauling.

**Wikipedia is my source, so don't hold me to anything posted here

8/16/2011 10:46:58 PM

Wraith
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^You are forgetting one of the most important things about the shuttle program... orbiters and solid rocket boosters are reusable. The $1.7 billion is just a one time thing to create a new shuttle. After that it is $450 million to prepare/launch it each time.

8/17/2011 9:25:03 AM

DoubleDown
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I too thought it was strange he forgot to account for the most important aspect of the shuttle

8/17/2011 9:46:52 AM

Mr. Joshua
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Russia: Cargo rocket crashes in Siberia
http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/08/24/russia.rocket/index.html

Glad to see this is working out.

8/24/2011 3:09:46 PM

bbehe
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The Progress capsule has been extremely reliable, I believe this is the first failure of the vessel. Regardless, I believe the US is moving to use the Dragon pretty soon anyways

8/24/2011 3:13:48 PM

Wraith
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It will still be years before the Dragon is fully man rated. They haven't even developed a launch abort system for it yet.

8/24/2011 3:25:59 PM

bbehe
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I realize that, but I was thinking just in terms of a replacement for the Progress supply missions

[Edited on August 24, 2011 at 3:27 PM. Reason : l]

8/24/2011 3:26:55 PM

smc
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^^Don't hate. They'll be man-ready before you guys can even get a design out of committee.

8/24/2011 4:07:05 PM

Wraith
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Not hating, just being realistic. There is a lot of design, analysis, and testing that must be done before a human can safely ride in a capsule.

And believe me, I know, I hate bureaucracy more than anyone. It takes a ton of paperwork just to be allowed to have a space heater at your desk here. But then again, I enjoy not working 70 hours a week like the dudes at SpaceX.

8/24/2011 5:24:50 PM

Sayer
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for serious tho, how far are we from a space elevator? this would save so much money in the long run (read: very long).

8/24/2011 5:59:26 PM

Wraith
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As far as I know there are a few concept designs that never made it past theory. We simply lack the technology to make any type of fiber that is strong enough to support a payload without being heavy as fuck.

8/24/2011 9:55:32 PM

Mr. Joshua
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They're supposed to be making big steps in carbon nanotubes which is the technology there. As I understand it the big problem is mass producing the amounts needed to make enough.

I'm also curious as to how we'd get a super heavy counterweight into orbit on the other end of it.

8/24/2011 10:19:40 PM

mrfrog

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Quote :
"for serious tho, how far are we from a space elevator? this would save so much money in the long run (read: very long)."


If we had the materials and technology to build a space elevator, then those exact same resources would be better used making a structure that reached upper atmosphere to provide partial assist to orbit.

A space elevator can make sense for the moon. It can never make sense for the Earth.

8/24/2011 11:46:17 PM

Sayer
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Quote :
"It can never make sense for the Earth."


Never? Ever? That's a pretty bold statement there Mr. Certified Space Elevator Designer.

8/25/2011 7:26:28 AM

bbehe
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There is no sense for an Earth space elevator to exist while there is a threat of terrorism. Seriously, a trillion dollar target?

8/25/2011 8:28:56 AM

skokiaan
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It's pretty unusual for proven rockets to fail as the Russian one just did. Most rocket failures come from the first 10 launches of the system. Once the kinds are worked out, they should be pretty reliable. I wonder what the cause was of the latest mishap.

8/25/2011 8:54:01 AM

DoubleDown
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One hijacked plane into that space elevator and it'll cause them to reconsider where they want to build it

8/25/2011 9:07:59 AM

Wraith
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I agree with mrfrog. I'm fairly certain that by the time we have the technology (and lack of terrorism) necessary to construct a practical space elevator, space travel will be as common as air travel is now. On the moon or any celestial body that has a very thin atmosphere and low gravity it would definitely be feasible.

8/25/2011 9:30:03 AM

tl
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On the moon, escape velocity is so damn easy to reach that a space elevator would just be a waste of time.
Would be great on Mars, though.

8/25/2011 9:28:16 PM

occamsrezr
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Quote :
"You are forgetting one of the most important things about the shuttle program... orbiters and solid rocket boosters are reusable. The $1.7 billion is just a one time thing to create a new shuttle. After that it is $450 million to prepare/launch it each time."


Oh right. Totally reusable when you consider for a launch it was ~$1 billion EACH TIME. Reusable? I guess so. Fiscally sustainable? Absolutely not.

8/26/2011 6:18:46 AM

smc
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^Troll!

8/26/2011 8:06:37 AM

puck_it
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Regarding mr joshua wondering how we would get a super heavy counterweight into orbit for the space elevator...

You don't. You could terminate it with a tennis ball if you'd like... you'd have to hit geosynchronous orbit with the terminal end, though.

8/26/2011 2:24:07 PM

Sayer
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I have a hard time believing that any nation or group of nations that invested in the building of a space elevator would ever let a plane come near it. I'm not just referring to a no-fly zone, but a kill-area where anything that entered the airspace would be shot down.

You don't build something like a space elevator and then let planes fly near it. That's retarded.

[Edited on August 26, 2011 at 3:01 PM. Reason : n]

8/26/2011 2:56:29 PM

Smath74
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^yep. another layer of security would be to build the space elevator at sea.

8/26/2011 4:00:50 PM

Sayer
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I would think in our hemisphere either the Galapagos or someplace west of there in the Pacific would be ideal.

8/26/2011 4:18:29 PM

Smath74
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well it would have to be on the equator (at least it SHOULD be)

8/26/2011 4:19:25 PM

Sayer
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It's been a while since I took geography but i'm pretty sure the Galapagos are on the equator.

8/26/2011 4:23:18 PM

Smath74
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i wasn't contradicting you if that's what it seemed by that post.

8/26/2011 4:35:48 PM

mrfrog

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Quote :
"On the moon, escape velocity is so damn easy to reach that a space elevator would just be a waste of time.
Would be great on Mars, though."


This could be meaningful insight. I'm just focused on the moon part though.

It won't be long after humans colonize the moon (if it ever does happen) that we start to build novel launch and catchment systems. There are a lot more possibilities when we're talking about the moon since it has gravity that hold systems in place as well as the atmosphere to do new stuff.

A railgun could be used at least initially, but there is obviously some amount of ballistic threat if the accelerated object does not have escape velocity. Any orbit you launch something in from the surface of a planet will find its way back to the surface, or, the structure you launched it from. An underground rail gun with enough impulse to throw it close to a high Earth orbit would be very attractive.

Putting something from space back down onto the ground would be a different and still very challenging problem, which the space elevator is capable of. Either way, the sustainability and the volume that a surface-to-orbit system can handle will be deciding criteria. There are all kinds of crazy things we'll think of to do with the moon someday. (if we don't kill ourselves first)

8/26/2011 5:42:35 PM

Mr. Joshua
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Astronomers Discover Planet Made of Diamond
http://www.cnbc.com/id/44283181/

If something like this existed in our solar system I imagine that NASA would have all of the funding that they wanted.

8/26/2011 7:35:07 PM

bbehe
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Why, diamonds are in no way, shape or form rare. It's one of the greatest fucking schemes in the world.

8/26/2011 7:38:36 PM

tl
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And considering the rotation speed of the moon (just once every 29 days), geosynchronous orbit works a little differently. An elevator on the moon wouldn't have the same dynamics as an elevator on earth.

Still possible, just have to use different math.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_space_elevator
all hail wikipedia.

8/26/2011 11:53:51 PM

mrfrog

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^ so i guess you have to use 2 tethers since L1 is not a stable point?

8/27/2011 8:54:53 AM

Wraith
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Quote :
"Oh right. Totally reusable when you consider for a launch it was ~$1 billion EACH TIME. Reusable? I guess so. Fiscally sustainable? Absolutely not."


Not sure where you are getting your numbers from dude. $450 million each time. Unless you are a troll.

8/28/2011 2:45:18 AM

mrfrog

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I actually found it rather incredible how much propellant the space shuttle uses when I was looking on Wikipedia.

It really was a beast among the large rockets in history. But so much of what is lifted into space is flown right back down at the end of the mission. So obviously it's metrics for propellant and lift have to be high compared to a non-reusable lift vehicle.

More and more I just think that we don't have this stuff figured out. We don't understand what we should be optimizing in the first place when we go about optimizing rocket designs. If I'm not mistaken, the external tank alone is almost the same weight as the space shuttle payload. Now, if I'm trying to build a space station, does it make sense to jettison the external tank near orbital speed when the entire darned thing I'm trying to do is to deliver payload to orbital speed?

I'm not saying we should use those hair-brained schemes to just keep the external tank in LEO and use it as-is. But if you could go back to the drawing board and actually design a vehicle that would be used to build stuff in space, you could do a heck of a better job than what this did. Ultimately I hope that would be the objective. But that was never NASA's objective.

8/28/2011 7:46:55 PM

tl
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The rocket equation is a real bitch. Takes fuel to transport fuel.

8/28/2011 11:48:16 PM

moron
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sounds like it would just be a run of the mill diff eq.

8/29/2011 12:53:29 AM

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