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Warren Platts
2008-Aug-15, 10:05 PM
How many launches (with proper farings) do you think it would take with the Ares V to recreate a space station with the same volume as the present ISS? We spent $100,000,000,000 USD for our share of the ISS. But I bet we could build a new one as good or better for a fraction of that cost once the Ares V is a going concern. Any thoughts?

Larry Jacks
2008-Aug-15, 10:22 PM
It depends on a lot of factors. For example, an inflatable module (e.g. Bigelow's approach) has potentially a lot more volume for the launch mass compared to the rigid modules used on the ISS. On the other hand, almost all of the ISS modules were launched on the Shuttle. That means they didn't need their own propulsion, attitude control, and docking systems (as on Mir). If you launch the modules on an unmanned vehicle, you'll need the ability to put them together. Could you do that with a space tug, would you use a human crew to link them together, or would each module need the necessary systems to perform the dockings under remote control?

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-15, 11:53 PM
Well, I was thinking along the lines of Skylab writ large. The original Skylab was much bigger than any single ISS module, and it could have been even larger if they didn't go ahead and use the faring designed for the 3rd stage required for going to the Moon.

So how about the first module, (which with the proper faring would be larger than Skylab, and would be designed to be more or less self-sufficient in itself for providing life support services to a three-person crew of humans. In addition, it would have built-in one or two of those wonderful Canadian robot arms, as well as rudimentary attitude control and all that. Then subsequent modules could be added with the assistance of a human crew without too much trouble. 3 or 4 such modules would result in a sweet station, or so I would think.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-16, 03:50 AM
It depends on a lot of factors. For example, an inflatable module (e.g. Bigelow's approach) has potentially a lot more volume for the launch mass compared to the rigid modules used on the ISS.
As Buckminster Fuller would have pointed out, the surface area of a single module is proportional to the payload mass of a single launch, but the useful volume per module would be proportional to the mass raised to the 3/2 power. So there's an economy of scale that could be achieved with heavy launches that could be made possible by the Ares V that couldn't be matched by the Space Shuttle.

In other words, if one Ares V can lift 3 times the payload of a Space Shuttle into LEO, the single Ares module would have a volume bonus of the square root of three (1.732) times the total volume of the three shuttle modules combined. :)

That tells me a new space station equivalent to the ISS could be built for much less $$$ than the ISS, if they ever get the Ares V into production.

So if one could fit a one hundred ton rigid module on top of an Ares V, it would still have roughly the same volume as a one hundred ton inflatable module, without the hassle of having to inflate the thing.


On the other hand, almost all of the ISS modules were launched on the Shuttle. That means they didn't need their own propulsion, attitude control, and docking systems (as on Mir). If you launch the modules on an unmanned vehicle, you'll need the ability to put them together. Could you do that with a space tug, would you use a human crew to link them together, or would each module need the necessary systems to perform the dockings under remote control?Hmm. So you're saying that the attitude control made possible by the shuttle was a unique capability that will be lost when the shuttle is discontinued?? :think:

So maybe the thing to do would be to make the shuttles into space tugs. After all, why does their last mission have to end on Earth? Launch them into space for their last mission, and then leave them there for space tug duty to help build the new space station! :whistle:

djellison
2008-Aug-16, 08:10 AM
But we already have the ISS

Why do you want to build another one?

One day we'll have space elevators and SSTO reuseable LV's for $20 a flight and we could build a 100,000 ton cruise ship size space station for 20 cents..... what's your point?

stutefish
2008-Aug-16, 05:14 PM
We spent $100,000,000,000 USD for our share of the ISS. But I bet we could build a new one as good or better for a fraction of that cost once the Ares V is a going concern. Any thoughts?
I have two thoughts:

First, is that one hundred billion dollars?

Second, do you have a source for that price tag?

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-16, 10:44 PM
But we already have the ISS

Why do you want to build another one?

One day we'll have space elevators and SSTO reuseable LV's for $20 a flight and we could build a 100,000 ton cruise ship size space station for 20 cents..... what's your point?
Three reasons off the top of my head:
The ISS is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2017 IRRC;
There are the political issues with Russia, as discussed in the Universe Today weblog (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/08/14/could-conflict-in-georgia-block-us-access-to-the-space-station/) recently;
It's orbital inclination is impractical for most purposes, and it would be cheaper to build a new one than to move the ISS.

My point is that since it takes NASA at least ten years to do anything, and since we will need a new station by 2017, if not sooner, now is the time to start the discussion about what the new station will be like.

I have two thoughts:

First, is that one hundred billion dollars?

Second, do you have a source for that price tag?
Yes, that's $100 billion USD. Source: see above link.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-17, 04:09 AM
The ISS is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2017 IRRCOK, I should rephrase: the ISS is apparently scheduled to be defunded by NASA in 2016, according to the Wikipedia article. So if the US wants space station capability in 2017, it will either have to build a new space station, or come up with more cash to keep using the ISS.

So my point is, if we're going to spend $2+ billion USD per year on space station capability, let's spend it on a practical station that would be of use for the lunar project.

On the other hand, the ISS's high inclination makes it ideal as a space tourist hotel. Perhaps the thing to do would be to hold a government auction of the US facilities in 2016 to the highest privately financed bidder.

Or just give the US facilities as a sort of X-prize to the first private company that can come up with a manned craft that can actually reach LEO.

djellison
2008-Aug-17, 11:24 AM
we will need a new station by 2017.

Why?

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-17, 02:41 PM
Why?Since I wrote the following in the immediately preceding post:


the ISS is apparently scheduled to be defunded by NASA in 2016, . . . So if the US wants space station capability in 2017, it will either have to build a new space station, or come up with more cash to keep using the ISS.

I would ordinarily take your question as meaning "Why have a space station at all?"--i.e., as sort of a subquestion of the larger question "Why have manned spaceflight at all?

Yet you implied in a earlier post that space stations are good, because you said that the ISS was good enough.

So your question boils down to "Why isn't the ISS good enough?" or "Why not just keep on funding the ISS after 2016?"

So, like I said before, there is the political uncertainty of our relationship to Russia that Ian O'Neil discussed at Universe Today. Just two days ago a Russian Colonel-General threatened Poland, a NATO ally with nuclear war. And I guess it's lucky for us that the NATO membership for Georgia that was proposed by President Bush was rejected by many of the European members of NATO, because otherwise the US would be obligated to militarily defend Georgia. In other words, it is not entirely inconceivable that the US and Russia could get involved in a hot war against each other some time in the future. If that were to happen, you tell me how the ISS will be managed at that point.

In addition, there is the old problem with the orbital inclination of the ISS. Certainly, the ISS was not developed with a "life-boat" function in mind. Yet, after Columbia, that function has become paramount. Every mission since Columbia has been launched to be within reach of the ISS, and cameras on the ISS have been used to inspect the heat shield of the shuttles. Moreover, every mission proposed in the future will be to the ISS, with the notable exception of the proposed mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. This mission was tabled at first after the Columbia tragedy, and it was only rescheduled with some trepidation and acknowledgment that this mission will be comparatively risky.

The future missions to the Moon will require two launches per mission, and assembly in space. The potential for unforeseen bad things happening is there. Yet it's just plain crazy to launch missions to the Moon from an orbital inclination of 54o. Yeah, yeah, I know it can be done, but the cost in terms of useable payload is measured in tons. At $25,000 per pound of useable payload at the lunar surface, the cost of launching from a high orbital inclination is unacceptable.

Any more questions? :)

joema
2008-Aug-17, 03:21 PM
How many launches (with proper farings) do you think it would take with the Ares V to recreate a space station with the same volume as the present ISS? We spent $100,000,000,000 USD for our share of the ISS...
That's a great question.

As you implied, ISS actually costs more than $100 billion -- that's only the U.S. portion. Total costs across all contributing nations are hard to come by, but $120 billion might be possible.

ISS mass is about 278,000 kg (613,000 lbs), and living volume is 424 cubic meters (15,000 cubic feet).

By comparison Skylab was 77,000 kg (170,000 lbs), and living volume was 283 cubic meters (10,000 cubic feet). It cost about $11 billion in 2003 dollars. I assume that includes the 2nd flight-rated Skylab (now in the Smithsonian) which was built but never launched.

So one Skylab had 66% the living volume at 28% of the mass of ISS. It costs 9% of ISS, but that cost likely includes TWO Skylab vehicles. And it required one launch.

Very simple upgrades to the Saturn V using already-developed F-1A engines could have enabled the same vehicle to lift about 137,000 kg (302,000 lbs) to LEO. See Saturn Saturn MLV-V-1: http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/saturnv.htm

The upcoming Ares V may have an LEO payload of 145,000 kg (320,000 lbs), roughly in the same class as a mildly uprated Saturn V.

If we derate that somewhat to reach the ISS orbital altitude and inclination, we find:

Only TWO launches would be required to orbit a space station having more living volume than the current ISS. Assembly would be trivial: essentially just docking the two halves, which wouldn't require spacewalking humans.

In addition there would be surplus payload capacity which could be used several ways:

(a) Lift the station modules to a higher altitude than ISS to improve orbital lifetime
(b) Carry extensive supplies and materials to reduce need for subsequent resupply missions
(c) A combination of the two

It appears the current ISS architecture is vastly more expensive and less cost-and time-efficient than launching two Skylab-size modules on a big booster.

What about the argument that we didn't have a big booster, so that wasn't an option? For a fraction of the $120 billion ISS cost, a booster could have been developed (or Saturn resurrected). You could charge the entire cost to the space station, and still come out ahead of what ISS cost.

However that vehicle would be useful for other initiatives, so amortizing the cost over several programs would be more fair, which would further decrease the "two big modules" station cost.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-17, 05:33 PM
joema,

Excellent post! But the thing is, even the Skylab was a result of a design compromise--it had to fit inside a hollowed out Saturn V third stage with a diameter of roughly 20 feet, whereas the diameter of the first two stages of the Saturn V were about 33 feet. Thus, if the diameter of Skylab could have been increased by 50%, the usable volume of Skylab would have more than doubled.

Therefore, with a proper lead time for design, it's quite likely that a 20,000 cubic foot space station (larger than the ISS) could be launched with a single Ares V rocket!

joema
2008-Aug-17, 06:29 PM
joema...Skylab was a result of a design compromise--it had to fit inside a hollowed out Saturn V third stage with a diameter of roughly 20 feet...if the diameter of Skylab could have been increased by 50%, the usable volume of Skylab would have more than doubled...with a proper lead time for design, it's quite likely that a 20,000 cubic foot space station (larger than the ISS) could be launched with a single Ares V rocket!
Correct: the current Ares V design uses a 10 meter x 22 meter (33 x 72 feet) diameter payload fairing, projected LEO payload is 145,000 kg (320,000 lbs): http://www.geocities.com/launchreport/ares5.html

The fairing itself would enclose a volume of 1728 cubic meters (61,000 cubic feet).

In theory a single launch could orbit a space station with (conservatively) double the habitable volume of ISS, say around 900 cubic meters (31,000 cubic feet).

Larry Jacks
2008-Aug-17, 09:13 PM
Hmm. So you're saying that the attitude control made possible by the shuttle was a unique capability that will be lost when the shuttle is discontinued??

No, it isn't a unique capability. What I'm saying is that if you intend to launch multiple modules, then you basically have a few choices. For the Russians (Salyut 7 and Mir), each module was launched independently so each one had to have its own set of systems (propulsion, attitude control, etc) necessary to rendezvous and dock with the station. This is an expensive approach. For the ISS (after the first launch), the Shuttle provided the needed maneuvering capability. If you don't have the ISS and don't want to equip each module with all of that equipment, then probably the best alternative is some form of space tug.

If your goal is to use a single Ares V (or VI) class vehicle to launch everything in a sngle launch, then I believe you could put up a really large inflatable module with excellent internal volume. The base of the module could contain the necessary systems and storage.

The real question is the intended use of the new station. For example, if you're going for scientific studies of the Earth, then a high orbital inclination is desirable so you can cover most of the Earth's surface. If you're talking about a place to perform orbital assembly and maintenance of crewed vehicles going to the moon or elsewhere, then a lower inclination would likely be a better bet. A big percentage of the station's price tag would be the types of equipment needed to perform the intended mission(s). Orbital assembly and maintenance could well need much less elaborate and expensive equipment than one intended for scientific studies.

djellison
2008-Aug-17, 10:33 PM
Any more questions? :)

Yes - you've still not given a reason why a space station is necessary. We certainly don't need one for flights to the moon or Mars - indeed it would be an un-necessary addition to a flight profile for such missions.

So - I ask again - what justification do you have for a US space station post-ISS.

Doug

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-17, 10:58 PM
Yes - you've still not given a reason why a space station is necessary. We certainly don't need one for flights to the moon or Mars - indeed it would be an un-necessary addition to a flight profile for such missions.

So - I ask again - what justification do you have for a US space station post-ISS.

Doug
You yourself said:

"But we already have the ISS

Why do you want to build another one?"
So I'm confused: if there's a justification for the ISS, then there's justification for space stations in general. Tell me why you think the ISS is a good thing.

I never said that a space station should be part of the profile for specific mission to the Moon. I said a space station is a useful backup when BAD THINGS happen, such that immediate return to Earth or rescue from Earth is impractical. In this NASA, through it's actions, obviously agrees with me. That in itself justifies a new station--but not at $100,000,000,000 USD; hence my question how much would it realistically cost to replace the ISS. And the answer seems to be the cost of one or two Ares V launches, plus whatever scientific instrumentation one wants to add.

That said,

The real question is the intended use of the new station. For example, if you're going for scientific studies of the Earth, then a high orbital inclination is desirable so you can cover most of the Earth's surface. If you're talking about a place to perform orbital assembly and maintenance of crewed vehicles going to the moon or elsewhere, then a lower inclination would likely be a better bet. A big percentage of the station's price tag would be the types of equipment needed to perform the intended mission(s). Orbital assembly and maintenance could well need much less elaborate and expensive equipment than one intended for scientific studies.
Scientific studies of Earth would be seem better suited for unmanned satellites; on the other hand, space tourism would favor a high inclination--it gets boring looking at the equator all the time! Yeah right! :D

Biomedical work can be done at any inclination, however, and the life-boat function I alluded to should be in the most fuel efficient inclination. Orbital assembly might also be a useful function. The Moon missions simply require a rendezvous, but building a Mars cycler, for example, might be much more complicated, such that an orbital "man-camp" might be desirable.

danscope
2008-Aug-18, 02:46 AM
Oh.......by the way,.......there just might be a few little problems with
russian co-operation just a little ways down the road. Unfortunately,....
that crystal ball costs $100,000,000,000. So far.
Just a thought. :)

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-18, 03:03 AM
Don't tell me--tell Doug! :razz:

djellison
2008-Aug-18, 07:11 AM
You yourself said:
[indent] Tell me why you think the ISS is a good thing..

I don't.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-18, 03:07 PM
Correct: the current Ares V design uses a 10 meter x 22 meter (33 x 72 feet) diameter payload fairing, projected LEO payload is 145,000 kg (320,000 lbs): http://www.geocities.com/launchreport/ares5.html

The fairing itself would enclose a volume of 1728 cubic meters (61,000 cubic feet).

In theory a single launch could orbit a space station with (conservatively) double the habitable volume of ISS, say around 900 cubic meters (31,000 cubic feet).This is interesting, because it raises the question--Why have a fairing at all? Shouldn't it be possible to design a smooth sided space station whose sides form the very side of the rocket? Then you could have a single launch station with a useable volume of 4 times the ISS volume. This would be the volume of about four, American-style, cookie-cutter, 3-bedroom houses all hooked together.

And that's just assuming that the overall length is the same as the standard fairing length--Why not lengthen the upper stage to make it even bigger! :D


I don't [think the ISS is a good thing].
Well, that at least explains why we've been talking past each other! :)

joema
2008-Aug-18, 03:30 PM
...Shouldn't it be possible to design a smooth sided space station whose sides form the very side of the rocket? Then you could have a single launch station with a useable volume of 4 times the ISS volume...
That's theoretically possible, but in general the structural and aerodynamic requirements for launch conflict with those for orbit.

E.g, for launch you want a smooth surface for low drag, the structure must must support the max possible aerodynamic pressure, handle bird strikes, etc.

However in orbit the station exterior might be wrapped in delicate golden foil for thermal control, contain all kinds of crenellations and corrugations -- radiators, instrument access, docking ports, solar panel mechanisms, etc.

Even with a fairing a single Ares V could launch a station with double -- and maybe more -- the volume of ISS. That is already so much volume the specialized cost and design issues for an integrated station/fairing approach likely isn't worth it.

stutefish
2008-Aug-18, 05:35 PM
Yes, that's $100 billion USD. Source: see above link.
The only source given in the above link (and in any of its sources) is a single, unsupported quote by Senator Bill Nelson, "an outspoken critic of the government's funding of the US space program". I'm suspicious of career politicians spewing really big numbers when discussing the costs of programs they oppose.

joema
2008-Aug-18, 08:20 PM
The only source given in the above link (and in any of its sources) is a single, unsupported quote by Senator Bill Nelson, "an outspoken critic of the government's funding of the US space program". I'm suspicious of career politicians spewing really big numbers when discussing the costs of programs they oppose.
In 1998, the GAO estimated the total U.S. portion of ISS cost as about $100 billion (53 kb .pdf): http://www.gao.gov/archive/1998/ns98212t.pdf

It likely hasn't gotten any cheaper since then. Inflation alone from 1998 to 2008 would increase the number.

Also that doesn't include foreign contributions, which are significant. It appears the grand total cost across all nations is well over $100 billion in current dollars.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-18, 09:16 PM
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESAQHA0VMOC_iss_0.html

This says 100 billion euros total; of which the US portion is ~ 80%.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2008-Aug-18, 11:38 PM
I never said that a space station should be part of the profile for specific mission to the Moon. I said a space station is a useful backup when BAD THINGS happen, such that immediate return to Earth or rescue from Earth is impractical.

Even with a cheaper space station design, rescue from Earth is far more practical than launching space stations "just in case" and limiting future flights to the orbital plane of those stations (otherwise, rendezvous with a station would be impossible). It would be much less expensive to keep an Aries I and Orion in reserve for rescue missions than to develop a new station design and launch it on an Aries V.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-19, 03:46 AM
Even with a cheaper space station design, rescue from Earth is far more practical than launching space stations "just in case" and limiting future flights to the orbital plane of those stations (otherwise, rendezvous with a station would be impossible). It would be much less expensive to keep an Aries I and Orion in reserve for rescue missions than to develop a new station design and launch it on an Aries V.

Yah, sort of like how they had three spare space shuttles in case the Columbia ran into trouble! :cry:

JustAFriend
2008-Aug-19, 02:49 PM
First: You have to define what you want to do in orbit.

Building another ISS or larger may not be the best advice.

Smaller, and more importantly MULTIPLE, MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory) or Skylab stations may be a better choice than one single large (target) station.

Six or ten Skylabs launched with a same number of AriesV launches would be a lot cheaper and (IMHO) give the US a much more impressive fleet of space stations. You could also use isolated stations for safer, isolated medical experiments.

......but first you have to figure out what you want to do in 'em. Just repeating the same experiments we've done since the 1960s won't cut it.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-19, 03:42 PM
First: You have to define what you want to do in orbit.

Building another ISS or larger may not be the best advice.

Smaller, and more importantly MULTIPLE, MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory) or Skylab stations may be a better choice than one single large (target) station.

Six or ten Skylabs launched with a same number of AriesV launches would be a lot cheaper and (IMHO) give the US a much more impressive fleet of space stations. You could also use isolated stations for safer, isolated medical experiments.

......but first you have to figure out what you want to do in 'em. Just repeating the same experiments we've done since the 1960s won't cut it.
Well, the lifeboat function has come to be recognized as important; thus at least one station should stationed in whatever orbit they decide to use for the lunar injection burn to the Moon. Simply maintaining an extra launcher in order to provide a rescue capability is not as easy as Mr. Tirebiter suggests. For example, is the launcher going to be on its own pad? Will the liquid fuel tanks be filled up with expensive crygenic rocket fuel? What happens if a hurricane happens to hit south Florida at the same time. What if an intrinsic design flaw is detected such that it is reckoned that the rescue flight would also be unsafe without some major reworking. If the CEV holds four people, would the rescue craft have to be unmanned?

Also a station offers an opportunity to fully inspect the outside of a lunarbound spacecraft before going to the Moon. Nowadays, every square inch of the shuttle is carefully photographed before reentry.

These functions could be accomplished with a single "Skylab on steroids" station; it could easily have twice the usable volume of the ISS, with a single launch, as joema pointed out. Thus, there would be plenty of room to carry out biomedical research, or whatever else zero-g research was deemed important. It's beyond my paygrade, to say exactly what such research should consist of, however.

Nevertheless, a permanent human presence in LEO is important for its own sake, and for the sake of national prestige.

djellison
2008-Aug-19, 04:02 PM
Well, the lifeboat function has come to be recognized as important...

... for the Space Shuttle because of fundamental flaws in it's design. Orion will not have that problem, nor will Dragon, nor does Soyuz.

Doug

Grashtel
2008-Aug-19, 06:06 PM
Yah, sort of like how they had three spare space shuttles in case the Columbia ran into trouble! :cry:
You are confusing didn't with couldn't, if NASA had wanted to they could have had a second shuttle ready to rescue the Columbia's crew (in fact Atlantis was in the process of being prepped for launch at the time so if things had been done differently (including realizing how much trouble they were in prior to reentry) Columbia's crew might have been saved), they just didn't realize that it was going to be needed. IIRC for the proposed Hubble maintainence mission they do plan to have a second Shuttle close to launch readiness to allow a rescue mission if the first one gets into trouble.

Also Orion is designed to be a much smaller, simpler, and cheaper vehicle than the shuttle making it easier to keep a spare close to launch readiness in case of accidents. In addition to that the Orion's design makes it highly unlikely that it will end up damaged in such a way as to be able to maneuver enough to make it to a station but not able to safely reenter, the way heat shield is samwedged between the service module and the command module means that anything damaging it will have had to punch through other vital systems first.

Saluki
2008-Aug-19, 08:59 PM
I am with djellison. I see the ISS (and the STS for that matter) as a big waste of dollars, and it would be a crying shame to see that mistake repeated. The space exploration budget is sparse enough as it is. We don't need another resource hog.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-19, 09:40 PM
... for the Space Shuttle because of fundamental flaws in it's design. Orion will not have that problem, nor will Dragon, nor does Soyuz.

Doug
Yeah, Soyuz. . . . It has never landed hundreds of miles off course because the reentry protocol got fouled up; nor has a cosmonaut been hospitalized as a result. :boohoo:


IIRC for the proposed Hubble maintainence mission they do plan to have a second Shuttle close to launch readiness to allow a rescue mission if the first one gets into trouble.Let's all pray that there are no hurricanes at the time! :)


I am with djellison. I see the ISS (and the STS for that matter) as a big waste of dollars, and it would be a crying shame to see that mistake repeated. The space exploration budget is sparse enough as it is. We don't need another resource hog.:hand:Please reread the first few posts on this thread. Just because it cost $100.000.000.000 USD for the ISS, it does not follow that a new Skylab that could be lofted with a single launch would also cost $100.000.000.000 USD.

djellison
2008-Aug-19, 10:08 PM
Yeah, Soyuz. . . . It has never landed hundreds of miles off course because the reentry protocol got fouled up; nor has a cosmonaut been hospitalized as a result. :boohoo:

Or - to put it another way - a complete computer failure, failed pyrotechnics or other problems and the vehicle returns all three crew members to Earth alive.

STS gets dinged by a chunk of foam - and they all died.

aquitaine
2008-Aug-20, 09:35 AM
How many launches (with proper farings) do you think it would take with the Ares V to recreate a space station with the same volume as the present ISS? We spent $100,000,000,000 USD for our share of the ISS. But I bet we could build a new one as good or better for a fraction of that cost once the Ares V is a going concern. Any thoughts?


Even if we did, what would it do?

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-21, 03:23 PM
Or - to put it another way - a complete computer failure, failed pyrotechnics or other problems and the vehicle returns all three crew members to Earth alive.
Lucky for them! :)


Even if we did, what would it do?
The main job of a manned space station crew is to just be there. A new article in the Space Review, "Skin in the game (http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1190/1)" makes the case that if the US government wants to assert some control over the space environment in the future, then it must commit itself to a manned presence in space. Otherwise, other control will be ceded to other nations and to private corporations, the UN Outer Space Treaty notwithstanding.

As John McCain (http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/7366faf9-d504-4abc-a889-9c08d601d8ee.htm) himself has put it:


Although the general view in the research community is that human exploration is not an efficient way to increase scientific discoveries given the expense and logistical limitations, the role of manned space flight goes well beyond the issue of scientific discovery and is reflection of national power and pride.

clint_dreamer
2008-Aug-21, 05:39 PM
I'm afraid I don't understand the need for the United States to assert control over Outer Space. They don't have the technology to do so right now, won't for 6 years, so it would really be pointless to try and maintain their image as a leader in manned space exploration. NASA is untouchable when it comes to unmanned exploration of the Solar System, and perhaps that should be the focus during the 5 years between the Shuttle retirement and Orion's first real flights. Instead hundreds of millions of dollars are going to be given to the Russians just so the United States can have a small presence in Space. I feel that manned space exploration should be left to those with the abilities to do so, and those without the ability should be working hard to bridge that gap. The United States government feels the need to police the entire planet, for better or worse. They don't need to do the same with Outer Space.

danscope
2008-Aug-21, 06:07 PM
" As John McCain himself has put it:

Quote:
Although the general view in the research community is that human exploration is not an efficient way to increase scientific discoveries given the expense and logistical limitations, the role of manned space flight goes well beyond the issue of scientific discovery and is reflection of national power and pride."

BALDERDASH. He is out of touch with the ridiculous spending he has
presided over for a great many years, and shows no sign of reality recognition.
And this is obvious to the most casual observer.
A further observation is in the certain fact that no one can stick a flag into a vaccuum.
If and when we build our own space station, it will be in a better, and more servicable orbit, and it will be for genuine scientific reasons, and not for some esoteric political carnival with nothing more to show for our "borrowed money"
than a new postage stamp and a picture for mc cain's birthday cake.
Let's get real. It takes real and courageous men and women along with
trainloads of borrowed money to do manned space missions. They will be done for a good reason, or they will be done roboticaly, but not to soothe and boost the ego of anyone like mc cain.
__________________

stutefish
2008-Aug-21, 11:04 PM
A new article in the Space Review, "Skin in the game (http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1190/1)" makes the case that if the US government wants to assert some control over the space environment in the future, then it must commit itself to a manned presence in space.
It makes the case pretty weakly, in my opinion.

I'm pretty sure that control over the space environment is best exerted by exerting control over the space environment.

Having a bunch of scientists in orbit at huge cost, simply to be there, doesn't really exert as much control as launching an SM-3 to destroy a spy satellite (or putting that spy satellite up there in the first place.

A sniper controls a wheatfield from inside a farmhouse half a mile a way, much more than an inspector-general strolling across it. And a gunnery sergeant commanding a heavy mortar exerts even more control than the sniper, from even further away.

joema
2008-Aug-22, 12:58 PM
...I'm pretty sure that control over the space environment is best exerted by exerting control over the space environment...
Exactly right. Initially the U.S. planned on a manned spy satellite -- the MOL:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manned_Orbital_Laboratory
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/astrospies/about.html

Today all spy satellites are unmanned, which are much cheaper and more capable. Not having humans in orbit gives greater control -- not less -- over the space environment.

Similarly the Soviet Union tested an expensive manned orbital spy station, Almaz. It was armed with a cannon so the cosmonauts could shoot threatening satellites: http://www.astronautix.com/articles/almpart1.htm

It's now widely understood manned platforms are not the best way to exert control over the space environment in a military or strategic sense.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-22, 02:42 PM
It takes trainloads of borrowed money to do manned space missions. They will be done for a good reason, or they will be done roboticaly, but not to soothe and boost the ego of anyone like McCain.NASA uses up less than one percent of federal budget; NASA is not going to cause the bankruptcy of the USA. And politics is an even better reason for going into space than is science!


A sniper controls a wheatfield from inside a farmhouse half a mile a way, much more than an inspector-general strolling across it. And a gunnery sergeant commanding a heavy mortar exerts even more control than the sniper, from even further away.You know what the logical conclusion to this line of reasoning is: She who controls Outer Space controls the Earth!


It's now widely understood manned platforms are not the best way to exert control over the space environment in a military or strategic sense.Perhaps not in a military strategic sense, but it might in a political strategic sense. The McCain site goes on to quote Caspar Weinberger in this regard:

History provides some guide to this. In 1971, when the Nixon Administration was looking at canceling the Apollo program and not approving the development of the Space Shuttle - then Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Casper Weinberger stated that such a policy: "would be confirming in some respects a belief that I fear is gaining credence at home and abroad: That our best years are behind us, that we are turning inward, reducing our defense commitments, and voluntarily starting to give up our super-power status and our desire to maintain world superiority." Three and a half decades later this seems equally valid, if not more so given the increased number of countries that are making significant investments in space.

Bottom line: if we snooze we will lose.

And anyway, here's another argument for a new space station that I just thought of:

Proposals to go to Mars generally propose fairly spacious quarters for the long transit to Mars and back--five months cooped up in a CEV won't cut it. So a new space station should actually be designed as a prototype of an Earth/Mars ship, or perhaps even of the type of "Cycler" that Buzz Aldrin proposes. Better to work out the design kinks in LEO than in the middle of interplanetary space!

stutefish
2008-Aug-22, 04:34 PM
You know what the logical conclusion to this line of reasoning is: She who controls Outer Space controls the Earth!
Actually, the logical conclusion is that a human presence on-site (or on-orbit) isn't always necessary (or even optimal) for exerting control.

At least, that was the point I was trying to make, with that analogy.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-26, 12:30 PM
So how about it? A new space station that will essentially be a mockup (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mock-up) of the type of craft to be used for missions to Mars and NEO asteroids. With a single launch of an Ares V a new space station with twice the volume of the ISS at a fraction of the ISS's cost could be lofted into a useful orbital inclination. It would serve three primary functions:

to provide a backup lifeboat in space for manned missions to the Moon;
to continue to generate experience on how to live and work in the space environment;
to simulate manned missions to Mars.
In this way, a new station wouldn't be seen as diverting resources away from a mission to Mars, but would in fact be useful in that it would keep the design work for such a mission moving forward.

And best of all, the new station wouldn't be subject to the whim of international political storms.

djellison
2008-Aug-26, 03:19 PM
to provide a backup lifeboat in space for manned missions to the Moon;


Earth is a much better lifeboat.


to continue to generate experience on how to live and work in the space environment;

But not the space environment we need to learn about. LEO we can do. Interplanetary we don't know how to, yet.


to simulate manned missions to Mars.[/list]

Very very badly.

I'm still not sold- I still don't see the point.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-26, 05:15 PM
[A new space station would simulate manned missions to Mars] Very very badly.

I'm still not sold- I still don't see the point.
Assuming you think a manned mission to Mars would be a cool undertaking, then if it's to be done at all, the spacecraft required to get there will probably have to be some sort of space station on wheels. Therefore, don't you think it would be a good idea to test out the design for such a craft in LEO first?

I'm saying let's think about what the crew quarters for a Mars transfer should be like on the inside, and then build a space station with that in mind. Then put however many astronauts that would be required for a Mars mission into the new space station, and leave them alone for 5 solid months, with no resupply; communications to Earth could even be artificially delayed to simulate the time delays that an eventual mission shall have to deal with. I'm sure that something would be learned that would prove useful for the actual mission.

Thus, if you think that artificial gravity is necessary for a Mars trip, as some boosters seem to think, then let's build a space station with artificial gravity, and any other special requirements that a Mars transfer ship would need.

samkent
2008-Aug-26, 06:40 PM
to provide a backup lifeboat in space for manned missions to the Moon;

It would only help just after liftoff. On the way back they won’t have the propellant to brake into Earth orbit and make use of it.


to continue to generate experience on how to live and work in the space environment;

We know how to do that.


to simulate manned missions to Mars.

What’s the point in doing that?


, then let's build a space station with artificial gravity, and any other special requirements that a Mars transfer ship would need.


Why not warp drive while you are dreaming?

Look the uses and excuses for having a space station are dubious at best. Two stations in orbit is just twice the waste. We dont live in the "Star Trek" era. We don't have a substantial need to put boots in orbit and even less on Mars.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-26, 07:53 PM
It would only help just after liftoff. On the way back they won’t have the propellant to brake into Earth orbit and make use of it. Quite true, so maybe we need two new space stations, one in LEO, and one in lunar orbit! :razz:


We know how to do that [operate in space]!Yes, but knowledge and experience of working in space is something, like the ability to play the violin, that can be lost without constant practice. E.g., look at the struggles that NASA's going through trying to recreate a lunar exploration infrastructure from scratch.


What’s the point in doing that [going to Mars]?"
To learn interesting new facts in planetary science, of course! :)

Why not warp drive while you are dreaming?Who said anything about warp drive!?! The only reason I mentioned artificial gravity is because the Mars Society is interested in it enough to sponsor a space probe to test out the idea (http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1194/1). Frankly, I think it's unnecessary, and half the fun of space is weightlessness besides! So why do away with that?


Look the uses and excuses for having a space station are dubious at best. Two stations in orbit is just twice the waste. We dont live in the "Star Trek" era. We don't have a substantial need to put boots in orbit and even less on Mars.The whole point of this thread is that a new, bigger space station could be built for a fraction of the cost of the ISS. So even if you think that the ISS is a waste, you still must admit that two stations would only be 1.1 times the waste! :D

djellison
2008-Aug-26, 10:20 PM
Assuming you think a manned mission to Mars would be a cool undertaking, then if it's to be done at all, the spacecraft required to get there will probably have to be some sort of space station on wheels. .

Not really. Something the size of the Destiny lab would be all you would need. It wouldn't be ideal, it wouldn't be a cake-walk - but it would be sufficient.

Now all you're really asking for is on-orbit testing of the cruise-stage of a manned Mars spacecraft. That I agree with - it's what Apollo 9 was all about in some respects - trying your stuff out on orbit.

But that's not building an ISS replacement. It's testing a spacecraft.

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-27, 12:21 PM
Yes, but knowledge and experience of working in space is something, like the ability to play the violin, that can be lost without constant practice. E.g., look at the struggles that NASA's going through trying to recreate a lunar exploration infrastructure from scratch.
What does the current infrastructure issues have to do with working in space? The struggles are all Earth to orbit issues that have nothing to do with working in space.


The whole point of this thread is that a new, bigger space station could be built for a fraction of the cost of the ISS. So even if you think that the ISS is a waste, you still must admit that two stations would only be 1.1 times the waste! :D
But; we've already spent that money. If you are looking at cost, then you need to compare the cost of a new station compared to the remaining cost of ISS.


Assuming you think a manned mission to Mars would be a cool undertaking, then if it's to be done at all, the spacecraft required to get there will probably have to be some sort of space station on wheels. Therefore, don't you think it would be a good idea to test out the design for such a craft in LEO first?
But; with the knowledge they have, the design should be sufficient the first time around.
So; if you shoot something into orbit to test the design and it passes, then why not just use it to do the job anyway.


Then put however many astronauts that would be required for a Mars mission into the new space station, and leave them alone for 5 solid months, with no resupply; communications to Earth could even be artificially delayed to simulate the time delays that an eventual mission shall have to deal with. I'm sure that something would be learned that would prove useful for the actual mission
All that has been done in various experiments throughout the decades. Maybe not all at once, but enough has been learned to be relatively close to understanding the issues involved. A full blown simulation might iron out some kinks, but I feel that is not worth an entire station.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-27, 05:04 PM
Not really. Something the size of the Destiny lab would be all you would need. It wouldn't be ideal, it wouldn't be a cake-walk - but it would be sufficient.

Now all you're really asking for is on-orbit testing of the cruise-stage of a manned Mars spacecraft. That I agree with - it's what Apollo 9 was all about in some respects - trying your stuff out on orbit.

But that's not building an ISS replacement. It's testing a spacecraft. I grant you point that a Destiny sized craft might work, but I doubt that's the shape the transfer vehicle will eventually take--it's way too small.

What I propose is a platform for safely and comfortably keeping several people alive for several months at time without the necessity of resupply. Put a big rocket on the end, and it's a spacecraft. Don't put a big engine on it, and it's a space station. What I propose is a family of craft that can be "mass produced", sort of like Skylab or Salyut. That is, unlike the ISS, which is a hodge-podge of one-off modules that will never be recreated, as copies of the new platform were built, each one would be cheaper than the one that came before.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-27, 05:32 PM
What does the current infrastructure issues have to do with working in space? The struggles are all Earth to orbit issues that have nothing to do with working in space.It was just an example of an ability that was lost, and then proved hard to relearn. We know how to work in space because we are working in space. If we stopped working in space, the people who used to work in space would eventually retire or get layed off, equipment would be destroyed, and then when it was desired to work in space again, new people would have to be trained, and new equipment would have to be invented from scratch or reverse engineered from old equipment.

But; we've already spent that money. If you are looking at cost, then you need to compare the cost of a new station compared to the remaining cost of ISS.
Well, what is that? $2-4 billion USD per year from now until 2016?

But; with the knowledge they have, the design should be sufficient the first time around.
So; if you shoot something into orbit to test the design and it passes, then why not just use it to do the job anyway.Going to Mars without a properly working toilet wouldn't be any fun. Best to work out the kinks in LEO where spare parts are available.

All that has been done in various experiments throughout the decades. Maybe not all at once, but enough has been learned to be relatively close to understanding the issues involved. A full blown simulation might iron out some kinks, but I feel that is not worth an entire station.
You continue to ignore the motivations that prompted my original question:
Congress may not extend the waiver that it gave NASA regarding technology transfers to Russia after the US got mad at Russia for not towing the line on Iran;
this is even more likely now with the troubles in Georgia;
the orbital inclination of the ISS is wildly impractical;
The ISS is scheduled to be defunded--if not deorbited in 2016!
This last item is the most important, or so I would think.

What do you suggest we do after 2016? I see three basic options:

we could just keep using an old, and increasingly costly, increasingly unsafe ISS, I suppose, (for 10 more years? 20 years? 30 years? 40 years? 50 years?) but then you still run into the problem of having to do business with Putin's Russia, and then there's the impractical orbital inclination to deal with;
we could stop space station activity, and reconcile ourselves to being a third-rate space power;
we build a new space station.

So if you think building a new space station for use after 2016 is a good idea, then now is the time to start writing your congressperson while the current events in Georgia are still fresh in everyone's mind. Then there's, the fact that it takes NASA at least 10 years to do anything; therefore, we're already behind the curve if we want a new station by 2016.

Even if we choose to keep using the ISS for a while, there's still a limit to its useful life, isn't there? At some point, a decision will have to be made to deorbit the ISS for safety's sake if for no other reason. What then?

stutefish
2008-Aug-27, 07:19 PM
we could stop space station activity, and reconcile ourselves to being a third-rate space power;
I think this is a non-sequitur. There are other ways to rank high in "space power" besides maintaining a manned space station: Useful or profitable satellite networks, for example. An impressive catalog of automated orbital labs and telescopes. An ongoing series of successful extraterrestrial probes (whether landers, orbiters, or otherwise). Design and operation of manned spacecraft for short- and long-term missions (including, incidentally, long-term manned LEO missions). Successful militarization of space, including practical surface-launched and orbital anti-satellite systems. Etc.

A space station simply for the sake of having a space station is not the only measure of space power. It might not even be a very good measure.

stutefish
2008-Aug-27, 07:22 PM
It's also, I think, begging the question that "being a... space power" is really all that desireable.

You've presented some arguments about it, but I remain unconvinced.

What does "space power" even mean?

Why bother with it? If we can control orbital space when we want to, and if we find all our other needs and wants being met without being a "space power", why bother with a space station?

ravens_cry
2008-Aug-27, 07:56 PM
Don't forget what Space stations were designed for, stopovers to the stars. Well, other planets anyway. Imagine this. A mile wide shiny parabolic reflector actings as the mirror for a solar thermal plant, powering slow accelerating non-liniar acclerator, After you gain enough speed, your shot off in the right direction, needing only the fuel to slow down to enter orbit.

djellison
2008-Aug-27, 09:49 PM
What I propose is a family of craft that can be "mass produced", sort of like Skylab or Salyut..

Again - I'm left wondering why you want this.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2008-Aug-27, 10:19 PM
Don't forget what Space stations were designed for, stopovers to the stars. Well, other planets anyway. Imagine this. A mile wide shiny parabolic reflector actings as the mirror for a solar thermal plant, powering slow accelerating non-liniar acclerator, After you gain enough speed, your shot off in the right direction, needing only the fuel to slow down to enter orbit.

Sure, that would be nice, but why would the thermal plant need to be manned? What's the point of a manned stopover station?

The concept of the space station predates the automation that made useful satellites and space probes possible. Back then, Von Braun et. al. thought that if you wanted, say, weather observation from space, the only way to do it would be to send someone up there to look out a window and radio back to Earth what he sees. But automation and computer technology advanced faster than launch vehicle technology, making it possible to just lob a satellite with a camera to GEO to accomplish the same mission at a fraction of the cost. Similarly, the other proposed space station missions (orbiting telescopes, Earth observation/mapping, military reconnaissance, etc.) are now successfully accomplished by unmanned satellites.

They also didn't expect that automated spacecraft assembly in LEO would be possible. If a Moon or Mars mission required multiple launches, a space station would be needed as a sort of orbital shipyard. As the Soviets/Russians have shown with Mir and the ISS, this concept was also overtaken by technology. LEO assembly at a space station would add unnecessary cost to any future Moon or Mars missions.

stutefish
2008-Aug-27, 10:57 PM
Don't forget what Space stations were designed for, stopovers to the stars. Well, other planets anyway. Imagine this. A mile wide shiny parabolic reflector actings as the mirror for a solar thermal plant, powering slow accelerating non-liniar acclerator, After you gain enough speed, your shot off in the right direction, needing only the fuel to slow down to enter orbit.
I'm sorry, but which space station was designed as "stopovers"? Skylab? Mir? ISS?

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-28, 01:14 AM
If you all really believe what you say--that space stations are a useless drain on resources--then you all should favor an immediate US withdrawal from the ISS.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-28, 02:05 AM
Link to Senator McCain's letter to President Bush (http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=7e6d7fad-ee55-44a8-be6f-93d2619a8a8b)regarding recent developments in Georgia as they apply to the ISS.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2008-Aug-28, 03:10 AM
If you all really believe what you say--that space stations are a useless drain on resources--then you all should favor an immediate US withdrawal from the ISS.

Nonsense. We've already paid for most of the ISS, so we might as well do something with it (in economic terms, it's "sunk cost"). We also have contractual obligations with ESA and NASDA to deliver the European and Japanese portions of the station. We just shouldn't waste money on new stations, especially for future lunar or Mars missions.


Link to Senator McCain's letter to President Bush regarding recent developments in Georgia as they apply to the ISS.

What does this have to do with the discussion at hand? McCain/Hutchison/Vitter are advocating extending Shuttle operations until Orion enters service, something I think is a good idea provided that Congress gives NASA enough money for both continued Shuttle ops and Aries/Orion development.

This, however, has nothing to do with theoretical post-ISS stations.

djellison
2008-Aug-28, 07:31 AM
-then you all should favor an immediate US withdrawal from the ISS.

I don't see a reason for an ISS replacement.

That doesn't mean the ISS isn't an investment worth using.

And you've still not justified the replacement you keep pitching at us.

slang
2008-Aug-28, 07:33 AM
We just shouldn't waste money on new stations

The Bigelow BA 330 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BA_330) will be about 23,000 kg, says wiki. Ares V payload to LEO according to joema earlier: 145,000 kg (wiki even says 188,000 kg). Several modules and a mountain of consumables. Hmm :)

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-28, 01:14 PM
It was just an example of an ability that was lost, and then proved hard to relearn. We know how to work in space because we are working in space.
Fine, but losing the ability in one arena does not mean it will happen in another. All that indicates to me is a shift in priorities.

If we stopped working in space, the people
That issue exists whether we replace ISS or not, and with any program within NASA.

Well, what is that? $2-4 billion USD per year from now until 2016?
Where did you get that? Doesn't that include operation? What is "construction only" costs during that time? Do you have any references to cite?

Going to Mars without a properly working toilet wouldn't be any fun. Best to work out the kinks in LEO where spare parts are available.
Did you read what I said? Maybe our definitions of "test" is different, but I am using it in a broader sense. Perhaps I should have said test and repair instead of test and ignore.


You continue to ignore the motivations that prompted my original question:
No; I responded to a single statement. Are you expecting me to answer all of your posts at one time?
So; since you point out what I didn't address... heres my responses...
Congress may not extend the waiver that it gave NASA regarding technology transfers to Russia
How is that going to affect the space station? It will definitely affect our transfer ability, but that issue is being addressed with Ares.
this is even more likely now with the troubles in Georgia;
That is not a seperate point, that is only support for likelihood.
the orbital inclination of the ISS is wildly impractical;
Please expand on that... I don't know what is impractical about it, I only know that there's an advantage for servicability from a wide range of launch facilities.
The ISS is scheduled to be defunded--if not deorbited in 2016!
I don't see that as an issue at this point, if by 2016 there is still a need for continued operations, then funding will considered. Defunded only means that we predict that we won't have need. It does not mean we will not have the need.
So if you think building a new space station for use after 2016 is a good idea, then now is the time to start writing your congressperson while the current events in Georgia are still fresh in everyone's mind.
I absolutely think that it's a good idea, but, I value the Ares much more at this point in time.
Then there's, the fact that it takes NASA at least 10 years to do anything; therefore, we're already behind the curve if we want a new station by 2016.
And if we go without the ability for a few years, then what will happen? Will NASA fold?

So; in summary, I agree we need to replace the ISS at some point in time, but I do not agree we need to do it now, nor do I agree with many of the reasons you state, nor do I share your sense of urgency.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-28, 01:19 PM
The Bigelow BA 330 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BA_330) will be about 23,000 kg, says wiki. Ares V payload to LEO according to joema earlier: 145,000 kg (wiki even says 188,000 kg). Several modules and a mountain of consumables. Hmm :)

Thank you slang! That's just what I'm looking for. . . .


Nonsense. We've already paid for most of the ISS, so we might as well do something with it (in economic terms, it's "sunk cost"). We also have contractual obligations with ESA and NASDA to deliver the European and Japanese portions of the station. We just shouldn't waste money on new stations, especially for future lunar or Mars missions.
Now you're not making sense. You're like someone who's been making payments on a 1988 motor home you can't afford to the tune of $100,000--and you still owe $20,000 to $40,000! Meanwhile, the dealer across the street is offering you a brand new Winnebago that's got twice the living space for only $12,000. From an economic standpoint, the question of what to do is a no-brainer: you buy the new Winnebago and scrap the old one.

Or to put it in real estate terms, if the ISS were a house that we owned, then we are now "upside down". That is, we owe more than the place is worth. The thing to do in such a situation is mail the keys to the bank and move out to more affordable digs.

Our credit rating, you ask???

With respect to who? The Russians? I say too bad for them!

From the BA330 figures that slang provided, a BA330 has 330 cubic meters of living space with a mass of 23 metric tons. Well, a "BA1000" could be constructed from the same materials and could fit inside the payload fairing of an Ares V with plenty of room to spare. But according to my formula that says that V ~ m(2/3), the mass of a BA1000 would only be twice that of the BA330, yet it would have three times the volume of the BA330 (the BA1000 would have about 2.4 times the volume of the ISS).

Since the BA1000 only weighs ~46 metric tons, yet the Ares V has a capacity of 144 metric tons, that's nearly an extra 100 tons to play around with for adding attitude control devices, scientific equipment, along with plenty of consumables like food, water, oxygen, and rocket fuel.

Bigelow says he hopes to offer the BA330 for $100,000,000 USD. That's $100 million USD stutefish. So how much would an BA1000 cost, do you think?

Well, let's just call it $12 billion USD--the cost of Skylab in 2007 dollars. After all, we've got to launch the thing using an Ares V--and that's the most expensive part.

So we can have a brand new station with more than twice the volume of the ISS for less than half of what we still plan on paying for the ISS.

Economically, it's a no-brainer.

djellison
2008-Aug-28, 01:47 PM
Economically

There are thousands of decisions that the US government makes that it then asks NASA to action that do not make economic sense. That doesn't mean they're not the right decision, nor, indeed, does it make it the wrong one.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-28, 01:47 PM
Thank you for a detailed reply to my several points, NEOWatcher!


Heres my responses...
Congress may not extend the waiver that it gave NASA regarding technology transfers to Russia
How is that going to affect the space station? It will definitely affect our transfer ability, but that issue is being addressed with Ares.
Because using Russian Soyuz is technically a violation of the Iran, North Korea, Syria Nonproliferation Act.

this is even more likely now with the troubles in Georgia;
That is not a seperate point, that is only support for likelihood.As the McCain et al. letter said, the Georgia problem raises questions about the wisdom of extending the waiver to the INKSNA.

the orbital inclination of the ISS is wildly impractical;
Please expand on that... I don't know what is impractical about it, I only know that there's an advantage for servicability from a wide range of launch facilities.That's right: Russian facilities! It costs a lot of delta-v to get there from Cape Canaveral.

The ISS is scheduled to be defunded--if not deorbited in 2016!
I don't see that as an issue at this point, if by 2016 there is still a need for continued operations, then funding will considered. Defunded only means that we predict that we won't have need. It does not mean we will not have the need.
Exactly my point. I think we need to boycott the ISS right now because of the troubles in Georgia. After all, when are we going to draw the line? After Russia invades Ukraine??? But even if we choose to ignore our moral responsibilities and hold our noses until 2016, we will still face the same choice we are facing now of either funding an aging ISS or buying a brand new, better, cheaper, faster station.

So if you think building a new space station for use after 2016 is a good idea, then now is the time to start writing your congressperson while the current events in Georgia are still fresh in everyone's mind.
I absolutely think that it's a good idea, but, I value the Ares much more at this point in time.Now we're getting somewhere! You like Ares, right? You'd like to see it come on line as soon as possible, right? That's the reason we aren't extending the shuttle--so we can spend the money on developing Ares instead, right? So why don't we bail out of the ISS right now? We take a hiatus from manned spaceflight for a few years, build a space station for say $1 billion USD, and then spend the $20-$40 billion we save on expediting the Ares program? I quoted $12 billion for the new space station, but most of that cost is tied up in the cost of the Ares V, so my idea will actually help out your idea! :)

Then there's, the fact that it takes NASA at least 10 years to do anything; therefore, we're already behind the curve if we want a new station by 2016.
And if we go without the ability for a few years, then what will happen? Will NASA fold? That's exactly what I'm sayin'. let's do without a space station for a few years now, so we will have a better capability in the future, using Ares technology.

slang
2008-Aug-28, 02:12 PM
From the A330 figures that slang provided, an A330 has 330 cubic meters of living space with a mass of 23 metric tons.

(BA 330, not Airbus 330, nor British Airways :) )

To be fair, that's basically an inflatable balloon with a bit of life support. I have no idea how rigorous the design specifications are for the ISS, they may well be orders of magnitude more strict than what is applicable for Bigelows purposes. I'm also unsure how the BA330 deals with power availability, and other design parameters that are of importance to ISS.

The more complicated a design is, and I think it's fair to assume that ISS is by by mission objective necessity more complex than Bigelows craft, the more expensive design, construction, and testing will be. Considering the extreme environment this may well be an almost exponential scale.

I offered the numbers as an interesting comparison, as another way of looking at Ares 5 impressive muscle-power, but certainly not to suggest that a couple of BA 330's would equate to ISS. They may fulfill a useful role, perhaps to NASA as well, but it's a whole different ballgame IMHO.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-28, 02:32 PM
What does this have to do with the discussion at hand?

McCain/Hutchison/Vitter are advocating extending Shuttle operations until Orion enters service, something I think is a good idea provided that Congress gives NASA enough money for both continued Shuttle ops and Aries/Orion development.

This, however, has nothing to do with theoretical post-ISS stations.
Actually, the letter questions the wisdom of continued cooperation with the Russians on the ISS:


The recent incursion by Russia into the sovereign nation of Georgia, and its subsequent behavior, has raised concerns about the reliability of Russia as a partner for the International Space Station (ISS). . . .

The Russian incursion into Georgia has raised new questions about the wisdom of providing that exemption. Any consideration of granting this waiver [of the INKSNA] would relflect concern for the continued viability of ISS, and the need . . . to make full use of this multi-billion dollar facility. . . .

Our concern is that . . . the successful utilization of the ISS may thus be jeopardized.
So, Senators McCain, Hutchison, and Vitter make the points (a) it may not be wise to extend the waiver because of the international political situation; and (b) that access to a space station is necessary.

They're solution is to extend the shuttle, but if that were to happen, it will cut into Ares and Orion funding, as they seem to recognize.


We continue to believe it is essential to both speed the availability of Ares I rocket and Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, and to help spur the development of a robust commerical US spaceflight industry. The fact is, however, that neither of these efforts offers a clear near-term solution to ensure that U.S. astronauts and scientists are able to make use of the U.S. segment of the ISS. . . .

Given the above considerations, . . . we request that you direct NASA to take no action for at least one year from now that would preclude the extended use of the Space Shuttle beyond 2010. We understand that several such actions are pending in the near future, and believe that allowing them to continue would remove an option for U.S. human spaceflight capability that must not be irretrievably lost at this time. . . .
What the senators don't seem to realize, even if we extend the shuttle, but don't extend the waiver, we still need the Soyuz escape vehicle capability, unless, we are prepared to keep a shuttle attached to the ISS 24-7 (can we even do that???).

What I'm proposing is a third option for the senators: a new station that will be better than the ISS and cheaper than even our remaining ISS obligations.

I say boycott the ISS! That will send a clear message that we are unhappy with the recent direction in Russian foreign policy like no other up to the point of literally firing a shot across their bows.

Once we boycott the ISS--starting now--we can save money in several ways--money that can be used to speed up the Ares/Orion program, and promote private spaceflight:
we won't have to extend the shuttle;
we can cancel all future shuttle flights to the ISS;
we can thus decommission the shuttle after the Hubble spaceflight;
we can contract with Bigelow to build us a BA1000 for less than a billion USD.

Granted, we will lose access to a space station for a few years. The upside, however, is that Ares and Orion can be brought online years before they are now scheduled to be ready.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-28, 02:59 PM
(BA 330, not Airbus 330, nor British Airways :) )Thanks for pointing that out. . . . :o


To be fair, that's basically an inflatable balloon with a bit of life support. I have no idea how rigorous the design specifications are for the ISS, they may well be orders of magnitude more strict than what is applicable for Bigelows purposes. I'm also unsure how the BA330 deals with power availability, and other design parameters that are of importance to ISS.

The more complicated a design is, and I think it's fair to assume that ISS is by by mission objective necessity more complex than Bigelows craft, the more expensive design, construction, and testing will be. Considering the extreme environment this may well be an almost exponential scale.

I offered the numbers as an interesting comparison, as another way of looking at Ares 5 impressive muscle-power, but certainly not to suggest that a couple of BA 330's would equate to ISS. They may fulfill a useful role, perhaps to NASA as well, but it's a whole different ballgame IMHO.
The wiki article you linked to certainly markets the BA330 as being capable to "support zero-gravity research including scientific missions and manufacturing processes." The article also goes on to say

It is incorrect to equate it with an air-filled balloon floating in space. Rather, when expanded the outer shell is as hard to the touch as concrete,[1] the redundancy of the multiple (10+) layers of the bladder tends to rapidly distribute the impact energy of very low-mass high-speed impactors through the layers.
What I don't understand, is how you put all the furnishings inside an unexpanded module.

But none of that matters anyway. According to my calculations, a fully "inflated" BA1000 would easily fit within the payload fairing of an Ares V. A coating of epoxy would turn it into a rigid module. So the whole thing could be put together on Earth without the necessity of having to inflate the thing in space. Moreover, a 9.5m X 14.7m module besides having 1,000 m3 volume would still leave 7.3m (23.7 ft) of extra space in the payload fairing for solar panels and docking ports. (The volume of the payload fairing is 10m X 22m).

Bigelow says he can make a BA330 for $100 million USD, so let's ratchet up the price exponentially and just call it an even $1 billion USD for a fully furnished BA1000 sitting on the ground. I think that definitely a fair order-of-magnitude ballpark estimate for a new station prelaunch.

samkent
2008-Aug-28, 03:04 PM
What I propose is a family of craft that can be "mass produced", sort of like Skylab or Salyut.

Boeing produces 130 airplanes at its Everett Washington plant but that still doesn’t qualify as “mass production”. They have a production line but it is not moving continuously and the employees are not stationary doing one task.

Clearly we do not need anything close to 130 stations in orbit. If you go way out on a limb and say we need 8 or 9, it makes more sense to use a stationary production method. Bring the parts and people to the item being produced.

You still haven’t come up with an Earth shaking reason to keep people in orbit. If there was such a reason, I doubt the US congress would allow a large gap between the shuttle and Ares.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-28, 03:05 PM
There are thousands of decisions that the US government makes that it then asks NASA to action that do not make economic sense. That doesn't mean they're not the right decision, nor, indeed, does it make it the wrong one.Wow! The djellison actually agrees that my proposal to build a new space station makes more economic sense than continued funding of the ISS! :cool:

slang
2008-Aug-28, 03:59 PM
The wiki article you linked to certainly markets the BA330 as being capable to "support zero-gravity research including scientific missions and manufacturing processes."

Welcome to marketing. The Apollo CM was capable to support the above :)


The article also goes on to say

It is incorrect to equate it with an air-filled balloon floating in space.[...]

True enough, and I didn't use the word balloon to be taken as derogatory, just a little hyperbole for arguments sake. It's a completely different kind of spacecraft than ISS, not even close to its complexity. That said, Bigelow is to be commended on his efforts, and successes, and I hope they continue to go as well as they have!


What I don't understand, is how you put all the furnishings inside an unexpanded module.

Right, and that's a seriously limiting factor to what you can do and or lift. Lifting it inflated.. I'd doubt the structural integerity was designed for that but perhaps it could be adjusted for.

I really don't care to go into the money comparing thing. I simply don't see how the comparison makes sense, given the completely different beasts they are. Had the design requirements for ISS been the same as for Bigelows plans, I'm sure the pricetag would have been quite a bit lower.

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-28, 05:32 PM
Because using Russian Soyuz is technically a violation of the Iran, North Korea, Syria Nonproliferation Act.
You didn't answer my question. How does that affect the space station?

I can understand your fears (for lack of a better word) with this political issue, but with so many countries in the boat, I don't think it's necessarily our own issue.

Can we please leave the political environment out of this? I have my own grave concerns with what's going on, but the effect on ISS is very low on the list. If it gets as far as that point on my list then I probably wouldn't even care if NASA exists, let alone do the right thing.


Exactly my point. I think we need to boycott the ISS right now because of the troubles in Georgia.
And then what do we tell JAXA and ESA and the Canadians, and others that have a stake in what's going on with ISS?

So; you want to use ISS as a political pawn?

Even in the Cold war, we cooperated with USSR in space.


Now we're getting somewhere! You like Ares, right? You'd like to see it come on line as soon as possible, right? That's the reason we aren't extending the shuttle--so we can spend the money on developing Ares instead, right? So why don't we bail out of the ISS right now? We take a hiatus from manned spaceflight for a few years, build a space station for say $1 billion USD, and then spend the $20-$40 billion we save on expediting the Ares program?
No matter what we do, we need an Ares.
Freeing up funds will not make Ares development go any faster.
Ares and ISS are from seperate funding initiatives controlled politically and are not capped to any amount other than a share of a 12 figure budget. If our own space station were that important, I'm sure that a case can be made to fund the ISS in the meantime.

I quoted $12 billion for the new space station, but most of that cost is tied up in the cost of the Ares V, so my idea will actually help out your idea! :)
Again, the same people have all the power to increase that to whatever is needed.

That's exactly what I'm sayin'.
What exactly are you saying...NASA Folding? If so why and how and please cite something other than opinion.
We have went without various capabilities in the past, and so far that hasn't folded NASA. (maybe crippled them a bit) but they live on.
Manned spaceflight was stopped for years before.
We also went years without any space station capabilities.

So; my opinion is based on historical activity... what is yours?

Maybe I'm just a more trusting person than you. Obviously, we don't have the answers or all the information that NASA and the politicians do.

But; I start by assuming the people with the knowledge have a better opinion than me. Sure; it's not perfect and not the entire story, but I've experienced that adding that view as a factor works very well.

Now; the Bigelow thing...
This again seems to be an argument based on opinion...
My opinion?
First; give me the following breakdown for equal capabilities between ISS and what we would need with Bigelow (both weight and cost of each.
The module shell.
The life support.
The power systems
The experimental modules.
The consumeables.
The communications.

I've never seen an apples to apples to make an informed decision.

I can only equate it this way... Years ago, I was on a small commitee building a building. The building cost 300K for materials and construction. WOW, everyone said that is easily attainable. They didn't understand that was without mechanics, functional support, safety features, or furnishings, doors, windows, stairway, etc, etc. Basically anything that we need to use the building the way we need it.
The finished product cost 1.6M, without the removable equipment. I see Bigelow as that building with some basic HVAC and some of the plumbing.

djellison
2008-Aug-28, 05:59 PM
Wow! The djellison actually agrees that my proposal to build a new space station makes more economic sense than continued funding of the ISS! :cool:

Not sure how you came to that conclusion. I don't agree with you. Your predictions of a replacement are probably an order of magnitude wrong regarding cost. Also - you totally fail to understand the long term implications of the US pulling out of the ISS. It has contractual obligations with ESA and JAXA that it simply, long term, can not afford to renege on. Want the significant ESA / JWST involvement to remain? The only way we'll have a big flagship mission to Jupiter or Saturn next decade is a NASA / ESA collab. What to utterly shaft the other international partners for an inappropriate and unjustified political ****ing match? Do it somewhere else - Europe has paid for Columbus and I'd quite like to see it get used thanks.

The ISS is built. Some bits are sat on the ground and need to be launched - but it is all built. The majority cost is in maintenance, flight operations, astronaut training, control room, flight controllers - ALL things that would be required by ANY space station.

Your presumptions, justifications and analysis are all wrong.

stutefish
2008-Aug-28, 06:43 PM
If you all really believe what you say--that space stations are a useless drain on resources--then you all should favor an immediate US withdrawal from the ISS.
I think there are plenty of good reasons to have a space station. I just don't think you've given any of those reasons yet.

If we needed an orbital shipyard, that would be a good reason to have a space station.

If we needed to test some components of a specific long-journey manned spacecraft, that would be a good reason to have a space station (or at least a long-journey spacecraft hab module in LEO).

If we had a specific space biology research program, that required long-term study of (some aspects of) the space environment's effect on interstellar travelers, that would be a good reason to have a space station.

If we had a specific space skills competency development program, that required long-term study of space-based operations, that would be a good reason to have a space station.

Being a first rate space power? Not a good reason. Controlling LEO? Not a good reason.

And you know what? I think that when NASA--or any other agency (public or private)--sees a good reason to build a space station, they'll go ahead and do it. Not to replace the ISS. Not because "space stations are cool!", but because having a long-term manned presence on orbit will meet some specific, well-defined, eminently practical aerospace R&D goal.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2008-Aug-28, 09:56 PM
Now you're not making sense. You're like someone who's been making payments on a 1988 motor home you can't afford to the tune of $100,000--and you still owe $20,000 to $40,000! Meanwhile, the dealer across the street is offering you a brand new Winnebago that's got twice the living space for only $12,000. From an economic standpoint, the question of what to do is a no-brainer: you buy the new Winnebago and scrap the old one.

Do you understand how government programs are funded?

NASA didn't take out a bank loan or mortgage KSC to pay for the ISS. The development and construction costs came out of NASA's budget, and that phase is complete. That money has already been spent, and as a result we have a mostly-complete station, and a few modules in warehouses awaiting their shuttle flights. NASA doesn't owe money to anyone for the ISS (but they do owe Japan one more shuttle flight to complete assembly of the JEM).

As djellison pointed out, any future costs of the ISS are operational costs. Not only would a new station also incur these costs, but a US-only station would likely have higher operational costs than the ISS because we wouldn't be sharing operations with Russia. We'd have to hire more ground controllers to replace TsUP, we'd have to pay for a replacement for all those Progress supply flights - all of the things that currently come out of RSA's budget would now have to be paid for by NASA.

You're proposing that we spend billions on future station development rather than spending nothing on future ISS development. Either option requires paying for operations.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-29, 07:46 AM
I think there are plenty of good reasons to have a space station. I just don't think you've given any of those reasons yet.
OK then help me out a little here. You list a number of possible reasons, but because of their if 'p then q' format, I can't tell which ones you think actually are good reasons!

And you know what? I think that when NASA--or any other agency (public or private)--sees a good reason to build a space station, they'll go ahead and do it. Not to replace the ISS. Not because "space stations are cool!", but because having a long-term manned presence on orbit will meet some specific, well-defined, eminently practical aerospace R&D goal.
Well, NASA has already built two space stations (3 if you count the Skylab that's now a museum piece); I'm guessing they had a specific, well-defined, eminently practical aerospace R&D goal in mind when they did. Presumably that goal still exists. My point is that, unfortunately, the ISS has become an international political football. There may come a point when Congress or the President says that high-tech, government-employed American citizens and Russians cannot work together. Actually, Congress has already passed a law to that effect, but has granted NASA a temporary waiver scheduled to run out in 2011. In which case what's the solution?

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-29, 08:30 AM
Not sure how you came to that conclusion. I don't agree with you. Your predictions of a replacement are probably an order of magnitude wrong regarding cost. Also - you totally fail to understand the long term implications of the US pulling out of the ISS. It has contractual obligations with ESA and JAXA that it simply, long term, can not afford to renege on. Want the significant ESA / JWST involvement to remain? The only way we'll have a big flagship mission to Jupiter or Saturn next decade is a NASA / ESA collab. What to utterly shaft the other international partners for an inappropriate and unjustified political ****ing match? Do it somewhere else - Europe has paid for Columbus and I'd quite like to see it get used thanks.

The ISS is built. Some bits are sat on the ground and need to be launched - but it is all built. The majority cost is in maintenance, flight operations, astronaut training, control room, flight controllers - ALL things that would be required by ANY space station.

Your presumptions, justifications and analysis are all wrong.
Thanks for the substantive reply, Doug. :)

First, let's consider the cost of a replacement. You say I'm an order of magnitude off. I'm mainly basing my admittedly WAGs on the cost of Skylab ($12 billion USD in 2007 dollars that included the cost of two stations, one Saturn V launch, and however many months of operation, I guess), as well as Bigelow's estimate for the proposed BA330 ministation ($100 million USD).

OK, so I figure a station with twice the mass of a BA330 might cost an order of magnitude more than a BA330 (prelaunch, $1 billion USD). Surely, you're not suggesting that a BA1000 should cost $10 billion before it's even launched! And so with the cost of one Ares V (not chump change I'm sure), and a few years of operation, I'm guessing the cost of a new station would be around $10-12 billion USD--very roughly the cost of Skylab. So, if I'm an order of magnitude off, then you must be suggesting that my proposal would cost as much as the ISS itself, which is $100-120 billion USD. Frankly, I can't see that.

Yes, there are the operational costs. But they would not be the same for a BA1000 versus the ISS. Ground control would be the same, presumably, but resupply absolutely would not, for at least the following reasons:
the initial launch would have enough excess payload capacity to include many tons of consumables;
the new station would be in the most efficient orbital inclination for resupply from Cape Canaveral;
it would not depend on expensive shuttle flights;
the overall mass would be less than half of the ISS, despite having more than twice the volume, so that the amount of rocket fuel required for orbital boosts would be much less.

Then there's the problem with the nonRussian partners with the ISS. Well, the political problems with Russia apply to them as well as they do to the US. The Europeans, at least, seemed as dismayed as the Americans by the recent incursion into Georgia. What's next on the agenda? Moldovia? Poland was just threatened with nuclear war, and then there's the continued Russian intransigence when it comes to the Iranian nuclear program.

But yeah, let's go ahead and launch the Japanese module--but let's get it over with quick!

In any case, I doubt there would be a problem if America's NATO and SEATO allies wanted to be partners somehow on a new space station. Heck, they can even send up their own modules if they want--the BA class of stations are designed to be combined. I'm not sure what you mean by "flagship" missions to Jupiter and Saturn (weren't Cassini and Galileo flagship missions). But constructing a new station shouldn't jeopardize new unmanned missions (aside from the traditional tension between manned versus unmanned missions in general).

Then there's the money that we've already spent--$100 billion. Well I've got news for ya: we bought a pig in poke. It's like if you bought a hot internet stock for $200 and now it's worth $20. Should you keep holding onto the stock. Well why not? You paid $200 for it. But it's not worth $200. The $180 you lost is just gone--evaporated. The smart thing to do in such a situation is to not continue to hold onto a loser, but admit your mistake, move on, and take the $20 you have left, and invest it in a new stock.

That's the way it is with the ISS. We've made a huge engineering mistake. Let's admit it, and let's move on to the next one.

slang
2008-Aug-29, 08:30 AM
Actually, Congress has already passed a law to that effect, but has granted NASA a temporary waiver scheduled to run out in 2011. In which case what's the solution?

Make it not run out. :D

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-29, 09:10 AM
You didn't answer my question. How does that affect the space station?See my post #67.


I can understand your fears (for lack of a better word) with this political issue, but with so many countries in the boat, I don't think it's necessarily our own issue.

Can we please leave the political environment out of this? I have my own grave concerns with what's going on, but the effect on ISS is very low on the list. If it gets as far as that point on my list then I probably wouldn't even care if NASA exists, let alone do the right thing.I wish we could leave the political element out of this. Well, McCain wrote the letter. Do what you will with that little fact.



And then what do we tell JAXA and ESA and the Canadians, and others that have a stake in what's going on with ISS?

So; you want to use ISS as a political pawn?

Even in the Cold war, we cooperated with USSR in space.I would tell our allies to please form a united front with us.

Or we could just quietly tell them: "Hey guys, our shuttle's not working too well, so we're going to consolidate our resources for a while until we develop a new launch system. If you would like access to our old modules, they're for sale--we'll give you a great deal!"

As for cooperation in space during the cold war, there was one mission: Apollo-Soyuz. After which, the US boycotted the 1980 Olympics. Recall that the first launch for the ISS wasn't until 1998.



No matter what we do, we need an Ares.
Freeing up funds will not make Ares development go any faster.
Ares and ISS are from seperate funding initiatives controlled politically and are not capped to any amount other than a share of a 12 figure budget. If our own space station were that important, I'm sure that a case can be made to fund the ISS in the meantime.I fully agree with regard to the Ares. But freeing up extra money would most definitely speed up the Ares program. In fact, I've never ever heard that the speed of R&D is not proportional to the money burn rate. The reason we're decommissioning the shuttle is to free up funds for Ares R&D. If we free up even more money by defunding the ISS, then that should speed up the Ares program somewhat.


What exactly are you saying...NASA Folding? If so why and how and please cite something other than opinion.
We have went without various capabilities in the past, and so far that hasn't folded NASA. (maybe crippled them a bit) but they live on.
Manned spaceflight was stopped for years before.
We also went years without any space station capabilities.Right. I'm saying let's do that again for just a few more years.


So; my opinion is based on historical activity... what is yours?My butt? :confused:


Now; the Bigelow thing...
This again seems to be an argument based on opinion...
My opinion?
First; give me the following breakdown for equal capabilities between ISS and what we would need with Bigelow (both weight and cost of each.
The module shell.
The life support.
The power systems
The experimental modules.
The consumeables.
The communications.

I've never seen an apples to apples to make an informed decision.

I can only equate it this way... Years ago, I was on a small commitee building a building. The building cost 300K for materials and construction. WOW, everyone said that is easily attainable. They didn't understand that was without mechanics, functional support, safety features, or furnishings, doors, windows, stairway, etc, etc. Basically anything that we need to use the building the way we need it.
The finished product cost 1.6M, without the removable equipment. I see Bigelow as that building with some basic HVAC and some of the plumbing.
I've helped build houses too; I know full well that the doors and windows are the most expensive addons. In your example, the shell was $300K, and wound up costing $1.6 million--about a 5-fold increase. I agree that's to be expected.

So that's why I went with a 10-fold increase over the $100 million price tag of the BA330. I doubled the mass of the shell--so that would double the shell cost, and then I added a factor of 5 for the windows, doors, and fancy toilets to come up with a $1 billion prelaunch cost. Maybe I wasn't conservative enough, maybe a prelaunch module might cost $2 billion--but I highly doubt a serviceable, fully accessorized BA1000 would cost $10 billion or $20 billion.

djellison
2008-Aug-29, 09:45 AM
We've made a huge engineering mistake. Let's admit it, and let's move on to the next one.

I think you've said everything right there. Your idea is simply another mistake.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-29, 12:18 PM
We've made a huge engineering mistake. Let's admit it, and let's move on to the next one.The way I phrased that seems like a bit of a Freudian slip, I must admit. . . . :o

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-29, 02:35 PM
See my post #67.
That doesn't answer it completely.
Yes; that will affect crew transfer, but that is all. Ares solves that problem. What else does it affect?

Or we could just quietly tell them: "Hey guys, our shuttle's not working too well, so we're going to consolidate our resources for a while until we develop a new launch system.
I think we already crossed that bridge. So how does building an ISS replacement solve the shuttle problem?


As for cooperation in space during the cold war, there was one mission: Apollo-Soyuz. After which, the US boycotted the 1980 Olympics. Recall that the first launch for the ISS wasn't until 1998.
Since when was the Olympics space related?


The reason we're decommissioning the shuttle is to free up funds for Ares R&D.
Nope; The reason we are decommisioning the shuttle has a lot to do with infrastructure.

If we free up even more money by defunding the ISS, then that should speed up the Ares program somewhat.
Irrelevant. It would free up money, and would help, but your proposal is to replace it now. That would take the money away again.


My butt? :confused:
Let me go on record saying that Warren said that of his own free will? :lol:


So that's why I went with a 10-fold increase
Thanks for the breakdown of thought. I still need to chew on that thought a bit, but my gut says when we add in operational costs and consumables, that those numbers don't help.

Warren Platts
2008-Aug-31, 06:38 PM
Bigelow plans on being ready to launch a space station (http://www.livescience.com/space/080825-busmon-bigelow-genesis.html)some time after 2012. It will consist of 2 Sundancer modules (175 m3 each) and 1 BA330, for a total of 680 m3 compared to the ISS's 424 m3.

And he will do this with a budget of $500 million USD.

Drawing on the cash generated by other companies in his large suite of enterprises — such as his hotel and real estate businesses — Bigelow said he had put $150 million into Bigelow Aerospace as of April. In 1999, the entrepreneurial Bigelow said he was prepared to spend $500 million by 2015. That remains a valid number, he said July 30.

That includes launch costs using 6 rockets.

Bigelow must be pulling his ideas out his butt as well. . . . :lol:

Drbuzz0
2008-Sep-07, 10:05 PM
How many launches (with proper farings) do you think it would take with the Ares V to recreate a space station with the same volume as the present ISS? We spent $100,000,000,000 USD for our share of the ISS. But I bet we could build a new one as good or better for a fraction of that cost once the Ares V is a going concern. Any thoughts?

With the Ares-V you could launch a pretty decent space station in one shot. Skylab, for example, was 77,088 Kg, and although not as large as the ISS it had a nice big work area where you could really stretch out. Plenty of room for flying and stuff and still had enough space for all the necessities like the wardroom and restroom, shower etc. Skylab was also heavier than it really needed to be because it was not purpose built from the ground up as a space station but was converted from an SIVB stage and only actually used what would have been the H2 tank as the habitation. The O2 tank was used as a "waste tank" but really was dead space.

Total for skylab was 10,000 cubic feet

Of course, you could likely cut the mass down considerably for a skylab equivalent space station today if you built it from the ground up and used things like carbon fiber and composites and replaced things like the lead acid batteries with lithium ion. So lets say you could maybe do it in 60,000 kg by using modern methods and systems.

The areas-V is supposed to be able to lift 188,000 Kg to LEO. So you could do three of these theoretical skylab-equivelent modules. (about 30,000 cubic feet). Or you could do one single module of three times the mass and get even more volume.

The ISS on the other hand has only 15,000 cubic feet of work space. This is partially because it is a modular space station. While this design is more flexible and can be broken into more launches, it also means there is less effecient use of volume, since it's more smaller modules. It also means more structure like trusses and connectors are needed.

On the other hand, the ISS does have a lot more area for solar cells and thus more power than the old monolithic space stations like skylab and the pre-mir Soviet stations.

Still, you could likely launch a space station with equal or greater working space, solar generating capabilities and most of the other capabilities of the ISS.

OR, you could launch three or four Ares-V rockets and build a really super-awesome crazy big and ultra capable space station. If you added some inflatable module space like Bigelo Areospace has been persuing then you could built a super-mega-way-cool-almost-like-in-2001-a-space-oddysey kind of space station.

Tuckerfan
2008-Sep-07, 10:57 PM
Well, NASA has already built two space stations (3 if you count the Skylab that's now a museum piece); I'm guessing they had a specific, well-defined, eminently practical aerospace R&D goal in mind when they did.

Yes, it was called, "Using up all this hardware that we paid for, but can't do anything with since Nixon won't let us keep going back to the Moon." NASA had plans to keep going back to the Moon (with astronauts staying on the surface for up to a month at a time) and had purchased much of the hardware for this. Nixon got into office, canceled the Apollo program, and told NASA to build the shuttle. The guys at NASA figured that since they had all that hardware, they could turn it all into museum pieces, and leave manned space exploration to the Soviets for a decade, or they could turn some of them into museum pieces, and launch the rest.

clint_dreamer
2008-Sep-11, 09:42 PM
It's always that damn Nixon!

zerocold
2008-Sep-13, 12:25 AM
Space stations are the platforms for different missions , like transit to the moon, mars and asteroids or interstellar...whatever, space stations are the first step for all these missions at large scale, either to ensamble large ships, or to recover returning missions with great loads (like samples, or any kind of manned/unmanned cargo) and make these missions practical and safe.

I see a far more practical use for the ISS than any mission to the moon (or even mars), how much weight could be saved for a moon/mars mission, without the recovery capsule?, space stations can do maintenace operations over sattelites, telescopes, etc, just increasing or decreasing it orbit with boosters, there is stil a lot of potential that have not been exploited, things that can be profitable, and not only for "research", "crossing the men limits", or any kind of romantic/nationalist crap.

The problem is that, sometimes the space agencies are filled by romantic/nationalist dumba$$es, that just don't or just can't understand the meaning of profit or potential industries.

Killing the space station program only to go to the moon is a nosense, is like building a house starting from the roof.

I can number, platform for other missions, comercial communication platform with constant maintenance, cosmic telescope with engineers in-situ, astronaut training for interplanetary missions, 0-g materials industry....what can you number for a base on the moon?....Bush administration crap, if was Nixon who killed the Apollo, he was damn right then.

The next step should be a high orbit space station ,and a very movable station, maybe with ion engines and a nuclear reactor, since chemical-prop is heavy,in the future we should dream about 2-3 high orbit space stations with huge arrays of satelites, telescopes, and many other sensors, all them using astronauts of the space station for maintenace but then , the romantic ppl strike again...and most likely will kill -or slow- the space station project before it reach even a maturity level

Missions with out any practical use, just delay and increase the cost of the space exploration, so ppl go to the moon, find no important reason to stay, then return, cancel the project, 30-40 years later an idiot to become popular say "hey let's return to the moon!", then all over again, incluing re-learn technology that is obsolete... sad :(

I think russians are doing better, their mini-shuttle (that i hope will be the lifting body design, instead the winged one), they have a direction, and not a cycling that just slow the technology progres, the NASA should do that, a mini-shuttle, but well, they want to go to the moon...so the apollo design is better, a step back.

clint_dreamer
2008-Sep-13, 07:29 PM
Missions with out any practical use, just delay and increase the cost of the space exploration, so ppl go to the moon, find no important reason to stay, then return, cancel the project, 30-40 years later an idiot to become popular say "hey let's return to the moon!", then all over again, incluing re-learn technology that is obsolete... sad :(

And you think that having not 1 but 2 space stations is pratical? Why? So two Astronaut's can circle the Earth over and over watching ant farms, having great conversations with each other, and doing experiments?

I guarantee they would much rather be suiting up to be the next person to walk on the Moon, or the first to walk on Mars.

zerocold
2008-Sep-14, 03:47 PM
And you think that having not 1 but 2 space stations is pratical? Why? So two Astronaut's can circle the Earth over and over watching ant farms, having great conversations with each other, and doing experiments?

I guarantee they would much rather be suiting up to be the next person to walk on the Moon, or the first to walk on Mars.

Space stations have not been developed further, there is a lot of potential , many of that potential i have posted above, which practical aplication can you find for a mission to mars?

The space station project is the only one that have been evolving in one direction and have not been or stucked (Soyuz), or paused (Apollo), or taking steps back (Shuttle), from the Salyut/Skylab, to the modular Mir, then the bigger and more structural ISS, is even possible to mount a space station for 5 years and then mounting boosters for a interplanetary mission, and using that space station as reusable vehicle, million of possibilities, very few for moon/mars missions as are projected now....

And yes a taboo topic, space stations can be very good weapon platforms, specially as ABM systems, maybe a joint U.N. ABM to intercept any "accidental" ICBM launch, yes seems politically cynical....but at least is a practical aplication , and not only romantic ** as the moon/mars missions

Drunk Vegan
2008-Sep-15, 04:27 PM
Personally I think that when we retire the Shuttle fleet we should simply launch them into orbit - and leave them there.

What better orbital destinations than the space shuttles that used to take us into space?

They * already * have functional life support, avionics for maintaining orbit, recycling facilities, toilets, etc.

The shuttles are basically premade space stations. All we need to do is send them up with minimal crew and have the astronauts return on ESA or Russian craft. Or, let them stay and man the shuttles.

slang
2008-Sep-15, 05:30 PM
Personally I think that when we retire the Shuttle fleet we should simply launch them into orbit - and leave them there.

Emphasis mine. That is not so simple. Nor cheap. It would be wasting money to send hardware up to die. Aside from that, how would altitude be maintained? Even at very high altitudes orbits decay.


What better orbital destinations than the space shuttles that used to take us into space?

Zero feet seems a better orbital height for them. In space: useless. On the ground: fantastic museumpieces. I'd come visit. :)

edit: oops, I misread than as for. Yeah, they'd make great tourist attractions.


They * already * have functional life support, avionics for maintaining orbit, recycling facilities, toilets, etc.

Designed to be functional for one shuttle mission, and a bit spare. Maybe someone can come up with a reference for how long the shuttles would remain functional after the fuel cells stop working, but it won't be long.


The shuttles are basically premade space stations. All we need to do is send them up with minimal crew and have the astronauts return on ESA or Russian craft. Or, let them stay and man the shuttles.

I certainly like the idea, it does seem to be a shame to keep them down. But I think your solution is unworkable for several reasons: it won't work, it will be expensive, it requires unnecessary risks, and most importantly: I wouldn't be able to see one.

Drunk Vegan
2008-Sep-15, 07:05 PM
LOL at the last.

You don't want the shuttles in orbit because you want them at a museum near you :)

I just think it's monumentally easier and cheaper to use technology that you've got pre-built and you'll otherwise just leave to rust. Why waste them when instead they can be many cubic feet of habitable, usable space in LEO?

The cost of a shuttle launch for cubic habitable space in LEO is far, far cheaper than that of designing, building, and launching a space station from scratch. Or even improving the one we've got.

publiusr
2009-Jan-13, 12:46 AM
Ares V launched modules allows stations to grow larger, faster than tedious old ISS.

djellison
2009-Jan-19, 07:21 PM
Ares V launched modules allows stations to grow larger, faster than tedious old ISS.

So would any HLLV.

mugaliens
2009-Jan-25, 01:52 PM
So would any HLLV.

It appears there's a need after all...

mahesh
2009-Jan-25, 02:33 PM
what, pray, is an HLLV?

no wait, i'll go to F A Q!

edit:

ok i found it....Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle!

another thing...thanks a bunch, a big bunch Gillianren...
for putting together all the fine detail at FAQ # 6...
and the further reference links...i found my answer at NASA link. thanks a lot.
i am refiling a copy for me and make it more easily accessible.