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JoshuaDavid
2016-Apr-11, 03:55 AM
Hi everyone, I was thinking about ways other companies could compete with spacex's MCT down the road and I had the idea that maybe there could be a shuttle that has engines, solar, life support, a robotic arm, and multiple docking ports for inflatable habitats and capsules.

It would need to be fast enough to make the mars trip in a reasonable time frame. It could have somewhere around 2 inflatable habitats and 3 capsules. 1 capsule for people and 2 for supplies if it is a longer journey. or it could be unmanned and carry 5 satellites. It could be designed to go back and forth between the earth and any destination in the solar system, for example, mars. It would orbit the earth for refueling while capsules separate and return, maintenance operations happen, and new capsules arrive. Then, in martian orbit capsules could visit the moons (potentially), satellites could be deployed, and science missions could be conducted. If there were established bases of operation on mars they could descend to the surface from orbit and in the more distant future return to orbit (very far off).

The idea is similar to Deep Space Industries' mother ship but instead of nanosats it could carry much larger payloads. If there are 5 ports for docking then 5 satellites could be deployed at once on an unmanned deep space mission. This means government agencies could be serious customers. The goal for unmanned missions would be for it to be cheap enough for private companies like planetary resources who might want to deploy multiple satellites at once in orbit of mar or in the asteroid belt.

In terms of manned missions it would be impossible to retrieve landers from the surface of mars, however, it would be useful in missions to the moons of mars as well as to the gas giants and their moons (assuming the life support systems are long term enough and the boosters strong enough) until we had the ability to launch from the surface of mars. It would also be useful if humans were required for the deployment of complex satellite systems or maybe even mining, processing, or manufacturing equipment on a moon or large asteroid that could potentially operate autonomously.

I think that if a company could develop this technology on their own and offer rides to customers who launched with spacex competitors it could be good for the whole process of developing space infrastructure and economy. It not just that competition is good its that multiple technologies serving multiple purposes will accelerate our rate of growth moving forward.

John Mendenhall
2016-Apr-11, 05:24 AM
A (big) disposable fuel tank(s) might help, also.

JoshuaDavid
2016-Apr-11, 06:03 AM
A (big) disposable fuel tank(s) might help, also.

well the idea is to keep it as lightweight as possible by keeping it very small. It can adapt for any mission because it is designed to be a ferry for capsules. Inflatable habitats can be used to make manned missions doable depending on the size and cost. When new capsules dock with it they would bring fuel as well so when it first sent into orbit it wont carry all the fuel it uses to go past the moon.

An attempt at a cheaper, lower tech alternative to MCT-like concepts, that never lands on any planetary bodies but can go long distances.

Manned missions all depend on the development of new life support tech and of course the complete success of BEAM

Noclevername
2016-Apr-11, 07:01 AM
Welcome, JD!

I think such a modular vehicle is a good idea, but the differences between a Moon trip and a Mars journey are probably sufficient to warrant separate types of spacecraft. It's like the difference between a boat for crossing a river, and a cruise ship for a trans-Atlantic voyage.

JoshuaDavid
2016-Apr-11, 04:19 PM
Maybe they could be designed so that 2 or more of them could be put together for longer trips. This would allow for them to scale the scope of each mission up as they get more contracts(30-50 years?) and they get more than one in orbit. That way the theoretical company could build one at first, using it locally, and then eventually sending more.

Also, perhaps there would be a different one for dropping off satellite arrays in other planets orbit or any other unmanned mission. It would be lighter, use different engines, and would be designed specifically to deploy multiple satellites in deep space at one time.

JoshuaDavid
2016-Apr-11, 07:23 PM
Welcome, JD!

I think such a modular vehicle is a good idea, but the differences between a Moon trip and a Mars journey are probably sufficient to warrant separate types of spacecraft. It's like the difference between a boat for crossing a river, and a cruise ship for a trans-Atlantic voyage.

Thanks for the welcome.

What if they were designed so that they could be docked with 2 or more versions of itself.

Modular spacecraft that can be added to one another for more thrust and larger cargo capacity.

Noclevername
2016-Apr-11, 08:32 PM
Adding together that many variant sections and getting them to function together (especially inhabited sections for longterm use, like a Mars mission) will greatly increase the complexity, and multiply the things that can go wrong exponentially. At that point it's just simpler, easier and cheaper to design separate ships for widely separate tasks. A modular LEO to LLO ferry is a good idea. A dedicated LEO to GEO satellite lifter is a good idea. But a do-anything go-anywhere all orbits passenger/cargo omnishuttle is overkill, just trying to do too much at once. It's a "solution in search of a problem".

John Mendenhall
2016-Apr-12, 12:10 AM
Thanks for the welcome.

What if they were designed so that they could be docked with 2 or more versions of itself.

Modular spacecraft that can be added to one another for more thrust and larger cargo capacity.

Yes! Fraser and Dr. Pamela discuss modular spacecraft at the end of today's podcast.

JoshuaDavid
2016-Apr-12, 02:14 AM
haha oops i posted twice, i thought the first didnt go through.

I think the key is that the core module is as lightweight as possible.

I had an idea for an inflatable farm. Maybe something Bigelow could look into. When the module expands inside parts of the frame can easily be assembled by crew or potentially autonomously assembled. The system should be designed like autonomous hydroponic grow boxes here on earth but modified for zero-g. Potential additions that could allow for autonomous harvesting, recycling of old plant matter, and germination of new seeds. Basically, find a way to take what we have on earth now and make it work with as little human input as possible.

Now I know we're only just new at experimenting with growing in space, however, we have high tech grow boxes now. That tech could be adapted and utilized in a modular add on for spacecraft.

JoshuaDavid
2016-May-23, 02:58 PM
https://www.yahoo.com/news/lockheed-martin-joins-space-race-183600842.html


Lockheed martian is developing my idea except without b330s...

P.S. (to the guy who dismissed my ideas in a blatant lack of wit (yes you no name)) this is just like what i had envisioned just without b330 modules or the ability to dock with an identical ship to form larger ships. This is the logical way to compete with spacex.

Jim
2016-May-23, 04:39 PM
JoshuaDavid, please do not attack/insult other Members. That is a violation of our Rules. You have been given a Friendly Reminder.

Noclevername
2016-May-26, 03:31 PM
I think such a modular vehicle is a good idea,


A modular LEO to LLO ferry is a good idea. A dedicated LEO to GEO satellite lifter is a good idea.

So yeah, they're following my suggestions as well.

publiusr
2016-May-28, 08:07 PM
I remember some OTVs and some lunar craft that had aerobrakes. I think Russia looks to be making a BEO Progress for us. Shades of Scanners big baddie: Ryvok
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40378.0

“It would be three times cheaper to send the reusable Ryvok to the Moon than the piloted transport ship “Federatsiya”, Makushenko stressed. According to his presentation Ryvok will be based at the International Space Station and will fly to an international lunar orbiting platform, carrying cargo and cosmonauts earlier delivered to the ISS by Soyuz vehicles. Ryvok will be boosted from first to second cosmic velocity by a modified Blok-DM upper stage to be launched by a heavy Angara rocket and will dock with the vehicle in Earth orbit. How Ryvok itself will be delivered to orbit was not mentioned in the presentation."

Examples of OTVs
http://www.astronautix.com/graphics/z/zotv84.jpg
http://www.geir.org/projects/uxp/ITVM.jpg
https://mix.msfc.nasa.gov/IMAGES/HIGH/8667000.jpg
http://www.wired.com/2012/06/shuttle-era-manned-mars-flyby-1985/
https://lurj.org/issues/volume-1-number-2/chariots

Now, this is why I wanted an Americanized Energiya Buran concept for a shuttle replacement concept--before settling for SLS: http://www.americaspace.com/?p=93593

With side-mount payload options, you can fly something very broad--very wide.
Pitch loads and bending moments are lessoned. It was shuttle-C that was going to launch the OTV (like OMVs) aerobrake disks--and they were to be solid--not like today's inflates being looked at.

Something more. With a very wide aerobrake disk--you could probably pack very large parachutes very simply. That's also going to be an issue for Mars.


This gets back to HLLV design. Large plug nozzle designs like Big Onion give you wide payloads.

But nothing beats this highly notional Roost concept: http://www.astronautix.com/craft/bonaucer.htm

Bonos craft was to be an HLLV that was an "108-m diameter saucer would have delivered a million pounds of payload to low earth orbit."

That could be heavy internal loads packed tightly--or perhaps huge dish shaped payloads to be form fitting.

Imagine what you could do with dishes of 100 meters wide. Not even Sea Dragon can best that.