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Fraser
2006-Aug-23, 03:16 PM
NASA officially announced today that the crew exploration vehicle will be named Orion. This is the new capsule that will first take astronauts to the International Space Station by 2014, and fly to the Moon by 2020. The agency also recently renamed the crew launch rocket Ares, and the larger cargo rocket Ares V. Orion will be capable of carrying 6 astronauts to the space station, or 4 astronauts to the Moon.

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/08/23/new-crew-exploration-vehicle-named-orion/)

Grand_Lunar
2006-Aug-24, 02:09 PM
Exciting times lay ahead.
I wonder how far they are in the construction of the craft.

Leafguy
2006-Aug-25, 07:46 AM
Lets get to the moon before we speculate about going to Mars

DroneFour
2006-Aug-25, 11:42 AM
Okay, you've picked a cool name, now let's start building stuff.

Three Of Five
2006-Nov-16, 04:11 PM
We're getting back in time, after 30 years of space shuttle, we're back to 50 years technology, no new concept, no new power source, nothing new, just of the shelf technology.

During more than 30 years we heard about well succeeded tests of new techologies such as new thermal protection, new radiation shields, new high resistance/low weight materials, aerospike rocket engines, rotary rocket engines, and after all this, we end up with an old capsule style spacecraft, launched with conventional rockets!! Where's the science here ? Where's the X-38, a lifting body in a final test phase - canceled! The chinese have gone to space with a spacecraft similar to the future orion, and Americans will build a new capsule in 2010....what a waste.

Access to space must be a test field for new technologies, if money will be spent, at least it should be spent on something new! But it seems that there aren't new ideas, the last guys having new great ideas no longer exist. They were the ones that created the Apollo program. Now, 40 years later, we are only capable of badly repeat it, nothing else.

antoniseb
2006-Nov-16, 04:19 PM
Hi Three Of Five, welcome to the BAUT forum.

I'm guessing that you have the budget for the new ideas, and the willingness to risk the lives of the astronauts with untried technology.

Most innovation is driven by economic pressure, which we are not seeing in this venue.

Three Of Five
2006-Nov-16, 04:54 PM
That's the big problem with our society, everything must be economically feasable, economists rule the world. Economists are destroying the world, and economists will destroy our civilization as we know it, in an extreme short time, for the first time in human history.
Since the beginning of the space program, astronauts have been exposed to untried technology. The concepts I'm talking about are proven concepts that require some adaptation. What we are doing is building a horse carriage in a steam age. The cancelation of X-38 was a waste of money. For that there was budget! And there are more examples.

What's the purpose of having a program that it's not economically reliable, neither will bring new propulsion concepts or anything else new? Just to say : "We have one" ?

Delvo
2006-Nov-16, 08:20 PM
You underestimate how much new stuff is actually being put to use here. Having a similar exterior look doesn't mean being made of the same materials or working the same way on the inside. They went to the capsule form because it just plain does the job better, but the most advanced technology in the world can still be installed in a vehicle of that shape just as easily as a vehicle of any other shape.

Cars are still pretty much the same format they've always been, too, with four wheels on the ground, primarily meant to go one direction and not the other, with the front ones pivoting to steer. But a modern car packs a bunch of advances into that same "unoriginal" basic layout that weren't imagined when cars were first invented (or even for decades to come afterward).

Three Of Five
2006-Nov-17, 11:02 AM
I think that you didn't understand my point. It's true that cars for example are much more advanced today, but they still use four wheels and a internal combustion engine. The fundamental concept was not changed, just improved. The same is happening with spacecraft, we still have the same fundamental concept in propulsion, launch and reentry, And the external format defines that. If capsule format is safer, despite the higher G-Forces involved, why so much money was wasted in a inadapted craft format for so many years? This solution was already now by the time space shuttle was conceived. The issue here is that the space shuttle was a new concept, and now no new concept is proposed, just an old safe and tested concept, is spite of the available new concepts.

Three Of Five
2006-Nov-17, 11:04 AM
I think that you didn't understand my point. It's true that cars for example are much more advanced today, but they still use four wheels and a internal combustion engine. The fundamental concept was not changed, just improved. The same is happening with spacecraft, we still have the same fundamental concept in propulsion, launch and reentry, And the external format defines that. If capsule format is safer, despite the higher G-Forces involved, why so much money was wasted in a inadapted craft format for so many years? This solution was already now by the time space shuttle was conceived. The issue here is that the space shuttle was a new concept, and now no new concept is proposed, just an old safe and tested concept, in spite of the available new concepts.

I think that the option here was : We need something that works, instead of the shuttle fleet that can blow up every time it is launched. This is only my opinion.

ASEI
2006-Nov-17, 11:48 AM
Where's the X-38, a lifting body in a final test phase - canceled! I'm surprised it got that far, really. We know lifting bodies work. We know that rockets work. It's not so clear that lifting bodies would help a rocket vehicle. They are oblong and difficult to construct compared to a simple cylinder. A rocket has to accelerate up to 8000m/sec tangent to the Earth's surface. It has to do most of this above the atmosphere to avoid drag.

Same thing with the SSTO concept. We simply can't do it. The exhaust velocity of our engines, and the limitations of our structural mass fraction pretty much say we can't. They were testing a lightweight composite fuel tank on the X-33 that would, just barely, make it possible. But the fuel tank couldn't take the cryogenic temperatures, and sprang leaks due to it's porousity. When they reverted to a titanium fuel tank, the vehicle never became light enough to make orbit SSTO. Two stage to orbit vehicles can outperform SSTO vehicles easily in terms of payload/vehicle mass, so, now that I know how the rocket equation works, I wonder why we spent so much money and PR effort hyping this SSTO spaceplane?


The same is happening with spacecraft, we still have the same fundamental concept in propulsion, launch and reentry, And the external format defines that.

The external format doesn't really define that. The external form is a symptom of the internal function. We didn't pick that shape, so much as our technology picked it for us. The nature of chemical rockets are such that you have to carry 10kg of propellant for every kg of structure or payload. (slight variations for deltav/stage, ect) This means that, no matter what shape you make your rockets, they will end up being giant whopping fuel tanks with as lightweight as possible a structure, powerful engines, and a payload attached somewhere.

Furthermore, the hydrogen/oxygen reaction is the reaction with the highest specific energy that we have available. Flourine/oxygen and others that may provide slightly higher isps are not used because they would produce poisonous gas. Nuclear rockets would easily break the mold, but won't be built because people are afraid of them.

So, when you have to build a stack of flimsy fuel balloons, how does it make sense to do it? Hanging your payload off the side, like the shuttle, is more expensive and complicated than simply bolting it to the top. Having an aerodynamically neutral cross section helps the rocket point where it needs to point without having to worry about lift and pitching moments.

And .... viola. You have a cylindrical capsule above a cylindrical rocket.

ASEI
2006-Nov-17, 12:08 PM
That's the big problem with our society, everything must be economically feasable, economists rule the world. Economists aren't ruling the world or destroying the world. People are ruling the world, and economists are describing how they behave. And behaving contrary to certain stick-in-the-mud concepts that those spoilsport economists promulgate, such as "in the long run, your books must balance, or you'll go broke" or "if you want someone to work for you, paying them is a powerful incentive" really doesn't have much of a successful track record.


The concepts I'm talking about are proven concepts that require some adaptation. What we are doing is building a horse carriage in a steam age. Actually, we're building a horse and cairrage in an age of horse and cairrages. The first "steam engine" (NERVA rockets) were tested, but haven't really caught on yet.

The nature of rockets are heavily determined by the nature of the propulsion system. Lightweight structures can help a bit. New electronic thingies can be mounted on the dashboard of the capsule. But the engine really drives the vehicle (in a literal as well as a design sense). As long as the propulsion system is some sort of chemical reaction, to get into space will require a huge proportion of fuel/payload and vehicle/payload mass respectively.