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BetaDust
2007-Dec-29, 02:13 PM
Hi All,

This is my first post,

I'm Dutch so English is not my first language.
and i want to apologize for my bad spelling.

I would like to ask a some questions,

What is the weight of a small nuclear submarine?
Couldt it be "adapted" to be launched into space?
Would any goverment actualy launch a craft with a nuclear reactor into space?

Thanks

schlaugh
2007-Dec-29, 02:31 PM
First, welcome to BAUT. And some of us native English speakers still have trouble with the language. :)

As for launching a nuclear sub into space, why would you want to?

You might try looking in Wikipedia for the average weight of a nuclear sub (try looking for Los Angeles class submarines as an example). Also look for the payload maximums for the Space Shuttle and also the Saturn V. Once you have those details you can see the challenges.

Swift
2007-Dec-29, 04:08 PM
Hi BetaDust, welcome to BAUT. Your English is fine.

As schlaugh said, why would you want to? A sub has a lot of extra weight, in the thickness of its walls, to handle the pressure underwater. The pressure differential across a spacecraft's walls is much less, and so it can be made thinner and lighter. And weight is probably the biggest consideration when launching something into space.

Nuclear materials are often launched into space, in the form of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator)). People have proposed sending nuclear reactors, but it has not been done and there are greater safety concerns.

antoniseb
2007-Dec-29, 04:47 PM
People have proposed sending nuclear reactors, but it has not been done and there are greater safety concerns.
I think we can more safely say that the US has probably not sent reactors into space, but there were some Soviet reactors in space ("our source (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE4DB133BF931A15752C0A96F9482 60) was the New York Times").

Romanus
2007-Dec-29, 07:56 PM
The surface displacement of a Los Angeles-class submarine is about 6,000 tons. That works out to 250 Shuttle payloads, or about 51 Saturn V launches.

If you want to go retro, the surface displacement of a WW II Type VIIC U-boat is about 770 tons, which works out to about 33 Shuttle launches, or only 7 Saturn V launches. One of our venerable Gato-class subs would have twice the mass.

Courtesy of Wikipedia and the good folks at uboat.net...

http://uboat.net/types/viic.htm

Larry Jacks
2007-Dec-29, 08:02 PM
The smallest and probably lightest nuclear submarine that I know of is the US Navy's NR-1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NR-1_(Submarine)). It has a displacement of 400 tons. I don't know what the dry mass is but it's certainly too big and heavy to launch with any existing or likely to be built booster.

Like others have stated, why would anyone want to launch a submarine into space? The NR-1 is designed to dive to a depth of 725 meters so the hull has to withstand a pressure (from the outside squeezing in) of roughly 70 atmospheres. By contrast, a spacecraft only has to withstand a pressure differential of one atmosphere from the inside outwards. Most metals are stronger in tension than in compression so the required thickness to withstand that pressure is quite small. Once you're in space, what could you do with a submarine? The propulsion system could generate electricity but the propellors wouldn't work, nor would any of the attitude controls. Submarines can generate oxygen by electrolysis of water but there is no water in space. In short, it just wouldn't be practical. It's best to design a vehicle for the purpose of spaceflight than to try and adapt an aircraft or submarine for the purpose.

joema
2007-Dec-30, 12:31 AM
Hi All,...Would any goverment actualy launch a craft with a nuclear reactor into space?...
Yes, this has already happened many times.

Russia launched over 30 spacecraft with fission reactors, the U.S. only one (SNAP-10A).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNAP-10A
http://www.uic.com.au/nip82.htm

NASA planned on using a nuclear reactor on the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, part of Project Prometheus. It has since lost funding:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_Icy_Moons_Orbiter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Prometheus

vk3ukf
2007-Dec-30, 04:17 AM
Hi antoniseb,

that was interesting, I thought it sort of stopped a while ago. I guess not.
Is my age showing on this. I actually remember when a Soviet Nuclear powered satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and scattered hot debri across Canada. Maybe the late 70's.

I am fairly sure sure it had onboard a reactor and not an RTG, and I seem to remember a photo of some extemely hot debri sitting in the snow of a pole with some knobs down the side like a contorted Drag race start light pole.

There was an international court case and Canada sued the Soviet Union for clean up costs and won.

Excellent and valid reference sources joema, thanking you.
I do remember SNAP10A,

From Wiki,
"An onboard voltage regulator within the spacecraft -- unrelated to the SNAP reactor itself -- failed, causing the reactor core to be ejected into high earth orbit."

The obvious question, what happened to the core?




K.

danscope
2007-Dec-30, 04:29 AM
Hi All,

This is my first post,

I'm Dutch so English is not my first language.
and i want to apologize for my bad spelling.

I would like to ask a some questions,

What is the weight of a small nuclear submarine?
Couldt it be "adapted" to be launched into space?
Would any goverment actualy launch a craft with a nuclear reactor into space?

Thanks

***********************
Hi, Please understand that a nuclear power plant depends on quite a lot of cooling water...of which a nuclear submarine has unliimited supplies when in the ocean. In space, within our orbit there is solar energy which we utilize for electricity. The best heavy duty steel vessel we would utilize would perhaps be a main engine tank from a shuttle launch. This would make more sense than a nuclear pressure hull.
Best regards, Dan

mugaliens
2007-Dec-30, 07:49 AM
[B]What is the weight of a small nuclear submarine?

About 100 times more than a vehicle designed to house the same number of people in space rather than at 30 atmospheres (around 900 ft deep).


Couldt it be "adapted" to be launched into space?

Sure. Remove the hull and all structural elements specifically associated with it being a submarine (such as very heavy bulkheads). Remove engines. Retrofit reactor with massive radiation panel.

It'll still be 50 times heavier than a space station.


Would any goverment actualy launch a craft with a nuclear reactor into space?

Governments have already launched spacecraft powered by small nuclear reactors.

Many times.

What's the big deal?

No government has, or ever will, spend the ridiculous sums it would cost to convert a submarine into a spacecraft when far cheaper solutions are readily available.

BetaDust
2007-Dec-30, 01:39 PM
Hi All,

Thanks for all your answers.

I dident mean to accually send up a submarine ofcoure,
Was just thinking of somekind of existing mass produced Hull,
Could better have said Airplane sry.
but could a small lightweight pressure hull (Like the Destiny lab, but without any systems) be mass produced like Airplane pressure hulls?
Or is this happening allready?
Are the ATV's going to be mass produced?

Thanks Again

neilzero
2007-Dec-30, 03:49 PM
Mass produced is difficult as there is still a wide variety of opinions on the optimum design that could be easily adapted to a variety of missions. I agree large cost reduction might result from mass production. Neil

joema
2007-Dec-30, 06:09 PM
...but could a small lightweight pressure hull (Like the Destiny lab, but without any systems) be mass produced like Airplane pressure hulls?...Or is this happening allready?..
It has already happened to a degree. The Russian Soyuz/Progress vehicles are somewhat "mass produced" on an assembly line. See below image.

Jetlack
2007-Dec-31, 11:10 AM
Yes i can it now. Das Boot in space. Great soundtrack.

Periscope up mon capitan!

JohnD
2007-Dec-31, 12:05 PM
BetaDust,

Nuclear power in space has a long experimental history since the Orion Project ( launch from Earth and travel thereafter using nuclear explosions - What tablets were they taking?) Lots more inspired lunacy at the Nuclear Space website: http://www.nuclearspace.com/

But NASA are still thinking on propulsion lines - see the Prometheus Project @ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2684329.stm -
and using nuclear power for missions beyond where the Sun provides convenient energy. The New Horizons probe to Pluto, launched nearly two years ago, includes a plutonium (sic!) power source, that the NASA webpage conveniently doesn't mention: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

John

joema
2007-Dec-31, 02:02 PM
...The New Horizons probe to Pluto, launched nearly two years ago, includes a plutonium (sic!) power source, that the NASA webpage conveniently doesn't mention: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

The NASA public press information discusses the plutonium RTG on New Horizons (1.29MB pdf) http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/139889main_PressKit12_05.pdf

Most probes to outer planets use similar power sources, as sunlight is so weak at that distance. At Pluto, sunlight is only about 1/1600th as bright as at earth's distance.

JohnD
2007-Dec-31, 11:06 PM
Most probes to outer planets use similar power sources, as sunlight is so weak at that distance. At Pluto, sunlight is only about 1/1600th as bright as at earth's distance.

Indeed, and that document deals fully and fairly with the risks. I just noted that the 'public' pages ignored it. Radioactives in space are still a sensitive issue: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-19724429.html . But that is an older page, so maybe they got away with it!

How any prolonged human landing on planets or satellites could succeed without nuclear power, beats me. I'm all for it!
John

publiusr
2008-Jan-28, 11:07 PM
Sea Dragon could be built in a shipyard like a sub--is simpler--and could launch a decent sized cryobot to Europa.

Maybe even Alvin sized.

Nowhere Man
2008-Jan-28, 11:24 PM
The thread title made me think of this:

Oh, the Dean Machine, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_drive) the Dean Machine,
You put it right in a submarine,
And it flies so high that it can’t be seen—
The wonderful, wonderful Dean Machine!

Fred

mantiss
2008-Jan-29, 05:20 AM
I actually remember when a Soviet Nuclear powered satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and scattered hot debri across Canada. Maybe the late 70's.

That was a juicy event, I remember all the brouhaha
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos_954)

toycoma
2008-Nov-27, 07:29 PM
ok this is my first post and my spelling sux as well. i registerd just for this. i woke up this morning and realized that this is an excellent idea and then found this forum. the new ares v rocket can easily take a los angeles class sub into space. no the prop on the sub wouldn't work in space.....at least till it got to its destination. And if you were headed to Europa then this wouldn't be a bad idea at all. just so happens, nasa is planning to head there. the hull of the sub is perfect for protecting you or equipment from space debris as well as the temperature of space, and europa's crust. no you dont need all that extra weight in space. but i sure would like to have it if i were making a trip to europa, that and a nice diamond sprinkeled drill bit outfitted on the front. The reactor could be used for the drill and propultion inside of europa. and we all know that if a sub's reactor stays cool in our oceans it'll stay cool in europa. if not then i'm sure with a cutting torch one could retro fit the inside with a huge *** radiator to keep it cool...i know i'm not the only one thinking this. why build new when you can recycle a huge *** paper weight? and sinice europa's gravitational pull is far less than earth's, a slow decent head first into the moon would be no problem with retro boosters thus allowing the drill to carve right in. theres my two cents. oh and for what ever its worth, there is a los angeles class sub to be decomissioned next year.

JustAFriend
2008-Nov-27, 07:41 PM
the new ares v rocket can easily take a los angeles class sub into space

No, it would sit there on the pad and make a lot of smoke and noise.

Wouldn't fly, though.

Flying subs and battleships work in Japanese anime, but not in real life....

Manchurian Taikonaut
2008-Nov-27, 08:09 PM
Why the military angle? and thoughts of the biggest battleship in space? Could you not have a submarine sized vessel in space without military influence? Once the military gets involved in stuff it can often become a money drain and if I'm not mistaken there's a certain treaty which does not agree with the militarization of space and it also helped the nations of Earth get along a little better. There are plenty applications of nuclear energy in the commercial sector without the military stamp on it and there are also plenty of tiny sized submarine vessels which explore the depths of the oceans. Skylab weighed 100-ton so I imagine its not impossible to launch a small sub sized inter planetary vessel. As much as I dislike the concept of military in space I still would consider US Navy Submarine, or Russian, Chinese, British submarine crew to be better suited to the profile for the first manned mission to Mars, Airforce pilots might have got the astronauts from USA and Russian into LEO but they need to start looking at submarine philosophy for long distance colonization of the planets

Nicolas
2008-Nov-27, 08:56 PM
Where do you see the military angle in this thread? I must have missed it. The fact that military nuclear subs are mentioned can be explained by the fact that all existing nuclear subs are military...

But it's a moot point anyway, as you can't launch a nuclear sub into space:


the new ares v rocket can easily take a los angeles class sub into space
The Ares V will be able to launch about 188 tons into a low earth orbit. A LA class submarine weighs about 7000 tons. So you'd need a rocket 40 times more powerful than an Ares V even just to launch the thing into low earth orbit. It belongs in the sea, not in space.

Ara Pacis
2008-Nov-28, 05:02 AM
Assuming we aren't going to be using a Project Orion Launcher anytime soon, the question is moot. Besides, if we send a probe to europa, it will be smaller than a Los Angeles class sub because it doesn't need to be that big to fulfil it's mission. If we ever get around to finding oceans on europa and wanting to colonize the planet's ocean under the icy surface, then we could build a submarine on the Moon out of aluminum and titanium and launch from there.

Jens
2008-Nov-28, 05:45 AM
ok this is my first post and my spelling sux as well. i registerd just for this. i woke up this morning and realized that this is an excellent idea and then found this forum. the new ares v rocket can easily take a los angeles class sub into space.

This has already been discussed some, but why would you even want to do it? It's like asking, "could a personal computer be used as a microwave oven"? Well I suppose it could, if you "modified" it enough, but why not just make a microwave oven. We already have spaceships that work very well, so why even think about whether it might be a good idea to send a submarine or high-speed train or golf cart into space?

danscope
2008-Nov-28, 06:21 AM
Hi,
I served in submarines. Space craft share many of the same functions and technology as submarines. But spacecraft lack the advantage and blessing of
seawater....in vast quantities. A submarine must needs be as heavy as the amount of water it displaces so as to allow it to submerge in that medium.
And yes, a submarines feels the difference between salt water and the plume of fresh water which extends quite far out to sea from the mouth of that river, be it large enough. Sea water is heavier.
Seawater also is a good shield against high speed neutrons and radiation.
A spacecraft could use this advantage to shield it's occupants if it could.
But weight is the great challenge of space exploration. Weight is the great engineering problem and the primary cause of compromise in any design for aerospace. Also, both craft must deal with pressure, one from without, and one from within. Trying to contain 14 pounds per square inch is more of a task for an engineer than you would imagine. Ask anyone who remembers the Dehavilland Comet. Strong, light weight and capable of withstanding vibration
and pressure in a dynamic atmosphere is what aeroplanes need to do.
Spacecraft must survive the boost to altitude and all that entails, and then
hold in that atmosphere against a vaccuum. No easy feat.
Submarines must withstand severe sea pressure and a corrosive habitat
with many different metals in the pressence of seawater, and use that seawater to cool it's reactor day after day after day. It is in the true understanding of these roles and forces that their purpose and design
paramaters depart. Different animals each.
A time and season and design to every purpose.

Best regards, Dan

BetaDust
2008-Nov-28, 02:34 PM
O Great,

My thread about me wanting to send Submarine's into space is back. :o

Nowhere Man
2008-Nov-29, 10:17 PM
Why bother sending a sub into space? They've got the environment there already. (http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/space/11/29/space.shuttle.ap/index.html)

Perhaps the most interesting observation about the space station came from Stephen Bowen, a former Navy submarine officer making his first shuttle flight.

"As soon as I got on the space station, I noticed the distinct pseudo-submarine odor, not quite as intense," Bowen said with a chuckle. "But it was very familiar, and those that know it will remember it well."

Fred

sts60
2008-Dec-01, 09:49 PM
A few random notes:

- Space reactors are much less powerful, but also much smaller and lighter, than terrestrial powerplants. They typically use liquid-metal coolants, like sodium/potassium; the heat is rejected by (thermal) radiation, not by exchange to an external cooling water supply as is typical with terrestrial plants.

- The GPHS-RTG carried by New Horizons, F8, is the same type used by Ulysses (1 RTG), Galileo (2 RTGs), and Cassini (3 RTGs). F8 was originally a spare for Cassini, and was refurbished and refueled.

- The Mars Science Laboratory rover will carry the new MMRTG (Multi-Mission RTG) on its first flight. It will join the solar-powered Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity rovers, each of which have benefited from the use of tiny isotope heaters for thermal management.

- Any structure, and any power system, for space will necessarily be designed for space pretty much from scratch. Everything must be as light and reliable as possible; it's just so expensive to lift stuff into orbit and beyond, and there's hardly ever a chance to make a house call for repairs.

mugaliens
2008-Dec-07, 01:30 AM
I dident mean to accually send up a submarine ofcoure,
Was just thinking of somekind of existing mass produced Hull,

No such thing in submarines. Nearly all are custom-made.


Could better have said Airplane sry.
but could a small lightweight pressure hull (Like the Destiny lab, but without any systems) be mass produced like Airplane pressure hulls?

You don't want a sub's pressure hull in space. Those are designed to keep the pressure out. You want an airplane's pressure hull, which is designed to keep the pressure in. Far, far, far thinner!


Or is this happening allready?

It is for airplanes, although they haven't quite figured out the best approach for the nuclear-powered part of it, yet, at least not without having 20 million people really up in arms about it.

danscope
2008-Dec-07, 06:44 AM
Hi, You don't need nuclear power in space. You have the sun.
Unless you persist in wanting to go to the outer planets. Then, perhaps small RTG's will do the job for robotic purpose.
I sometimes wonder, however, that if a space shuttle main engine tank
were boosted with the addition of several SRB's (solid rock boosters),
then perhaps the main engine tank, normally jettisoned part way to orbit,
could be given additional boost and brought to LEO at a very good economy.
Now this tank is a very good, high quality pressure vessle, strong enough for many tasks, including holding an atmosphere. It is also thick enough to shield to some degree the occupants of such a high pressure air flask from some of the radiation enjoyed in space. Such a large tank in orbit as a byproduct of
launch to LEO could be usefull if you could buld upon and within it once in orbit. If linked together by a suitable cable bridle and accelerated in rotation,
an artificial gravity of some utility could be generated to facilitate the construction of a space station of substantial size and durability. You have to clean it and do some work..... but.....
It is just a thought, perhaps born of science fiction, but an interesting concept. In an age where the costs of every thing has come under a more
focused scrutiny, for many reasons, perhaps such ideas may find merit .....
in a new age.

That's one way to get a pressure hull in LEO. Many things in life and space come down to money.

Best regards,
Dan

Nicolas
2008-Dec-07, 10:29 AM
That's an old idea. Actually, if you want the ET to be in earth orbit, all you have to do is call NASA and ask them to leave the ET in orbit the next launch. They will do so, and it won't cost them nor you anything extra.

The only thing you need to do, is give the ET some kind of docking system that doesn't reduce the STS's launch performance, and have some craft in space that will dock with the ET and make the thing controllable, including an end-of-life disposal plan. And of course, for yourself, next to that dockability/steerability/disposability issue, you also need to have a use for it.

Many have looked into the option, none found a use for it, at least not one fitting into the "no negative effect on STS launch performance" part.

Ara Pacis
2008-Dec-11, 02:46 AM
I would think the ET is heavier than would be required for a station. More importantly, however, is the decreasing likelihood that ETs will continue to be made since the STS is being retired. You might try looking into structural components of the new rockets.

cjameshuff
2008-Dec-11, 05:15 AM
I would think the ET is heavier than would be required for a station. More importantly, however, is the decreasing likelihood that ETs will continue to be made since the STS is being retired. You might try looking into structural components of the new rockets.

Better than too light. Mass isn't a bad thing for a station, assuming it's already in orbit. It means slower loss of altitude due to atmospheric drag. It does also mean that it's harder to boost back into the proper orbit, but it leaves more time to handle a failure while doing so.

But reworking them into something usable on orbit would be quite a challenge. I wish we were able to kick them into some higher orbit, though...we'd find a good use for them someday.

Ara Pacis
2008-Dec-11, 06:46 AM
Better than too light. Mass isn't a bad thing for a station, assuming it's already in orbit. It means slower loss of altitude due to atmospheric drag. It does also mean that it's harder to boost back into the proper orbit, but it leaves more time to handle a failure while doing so.

But reworking them into something usable on orbit would be quite a challenge. I wish we were able to kick them into some higher orbit, though...we'd find a good use for them someday.

I was thinking more along the lines or GCRs and bremsstrahlung.

joema
2008-Dec-11, 03:25 PM
That's an old idea. Actually, if you want the ET to be in earth orbit, all you have to do is call NASA and ask them to leave the ET in orbit the next launch. They will do so, and it won't cost them nor you anything extra...
I'm not sure that's so.

The shuttle has limited OMS propellant -- roughly 500 sec. total burn time, about 1000 ft/sec total delta V.

There's an approx. 100 sec OMS burn during ascent, called "OMS assist".

The OMS-2 circularization burn is about 100 sec burn time.

The deorbit OMS burn is about 180 sec.

So just for a nominal mission with zero additional maneuvering, about 380 sec (of 500 sec) are required.

Carrying the ET to orbit would increase the mass of the orbiter by about 27,000 kg (59,524 pounds), thus requiring proportionately longer OMS-2 burn. That would increase from about 100 sec to about 130 sec, increasing total OMS burn time to 410 sec (out of 500 sec).

These are only approximate figures, and I don't know how much additional OMS consumption (beyond ascent, OMS-2 and deorbit) is typical for an ISS mission.

It appears the shuttle could put the ET into some kind of an orbit. However it might not be able to achieve an ISS orbit and retain the customary propellant safety margins.

danscope
2008-Dec-11, 08:45 PM
Hi,
Can you consider additional SRB's in the question? And is there an optimal orbit from KSC that has nothing to do with the existing iss?
Dan

Nicolas
2008-Dec-13, 10:37 AM
@Joema: I didn't say ISS orbit. They can put it in *an* earth orbit without requiring additional SRB's or anything extra, where the customer can dock to it and do whatever he wants. He just doesn't have to be too demanding on the initial orbit. There is a BUT though, see below.

So Danscope: you don't need extra SRB's if you don't care too much about what the initial orbit of the ET is (ie not circular, not stable). As NASA doesn't want you to add significant mass to it before launching (which also means all interior work should be done in orbit...), that means you'd have to dock a propulsion module after launch to circularise the orbit of the ET. It would be way more practical and safe (more time, and no uncontrolled ET in part of the mission) to attach the propulsion module before launch (which is not allowed, as it costs nominal shuttle performance) or keep the shuttle attached until you dock the propulsion module (which is certainly not allowed, since it significantly changes your shuttle mission).

So the problem is that NASA doesn't want to be bothered by what somebody does with the ET, yet that somebody needs to make sure he can dock and keep the beast under control at all times, which is not the case if you're not allowed to add control systems before launch and NASA still undocks the ET from the shuttle without waiting for you to dock your propulsion module... All in all not practical, not even possible due to conflicting rules and priorities. And apparently nobody is interested in a dedicated "ET in orbit" mission, I mean one that would have the shuttle flight dedicated to just that rather than having the ET mission as a freebee on a normal launch.

danscope
2008-Dec-13, 07:27 PM
Hi, I understand. I was in favor of the attatched shuttle/ orbit adjust
mode. I simply want to know if it's doable. I guess it depends on how bad you want a good sized space station in a useable orbit.
Best regards, Dan