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Letting the ISS burn up......Why?


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26 minutes ago, RainDreamer said:

I wonder if there will be any pieces of ISS survive re entry( this being not totally vaporized or turned to dust). I bet there would be people collecting the charred remains from the bottom of the ocean to put it in a museum or something.

There probably will- but I don't expect anyone to be collecting pieces from the bottom of the ocean, that costs a lot of money.

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2 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

Not Zvezda, that's the oldest part of the station. The Russians had plans to reuse the Nauka, which is scheduled to launch to the ISS in 2017, but who knows if they'll have enough cash to start a new station.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_Piloted_Assembly_and_Experiment_Complex

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/opsek.html

 

Quote

The initial architecture of the OPSEK complex would be built out of modules originally planned for the Russian segment of the ISS. The exact scenario of the OPSEK assembly would depend on the end of the ISS and the readiness of the latest Russian modules. According to a 2008 scenario, the MLM multipurpose module, the node module and a pair of NEM power platforms would be first launched to the ISS in 2011, 2013 and 2014-2015, respectively. With the deorbiting of the ISS looming around 2020, these modules would separate from the old outpost to form the core of the new Russian station.

Another, more controversial scenario considered the separation of the practically entire Russian segment, including the MIM-2 docking compartment and the Zvezda service module, prior to the ISS deorbiting. In this case, the 20-year-old service module would temporarily take the responsibility for the flight control of the OPSEK, until its replacement with a 40-ton versatile core module, UMB, launched by a next-generation rocket from a yet-to-be built launch site in Vostochny during the 2020s.

The separation of the Russian segment from the ISS would leave the rest of the outpost without effective orbital maneuvering capabilities, leaving the European ATV spacecraft as a likely candidate to perform the tasks of attitude control and deorbiting. To achieve this the ATV would have to be modified to enable its docking with the US segment of the ISS.

Depending on the operational orbit selected for the OPSEK, it might be necessary to change the orbital inclination of the modules departing the ISS and forming the new station. The lowest inclination accessible from Vostochny is 51.7 degrees, while the ISS is orbiting the Earth with an inclination of 51.6 degrees toward the Equator. It is estimated that one or two Progress cargo ships would be necessary to push the modules from one inclination to the other.

From official statements during 2008 and 2009, it is clear that one of the chief objectives of the OPSEK complex would be support for expeditions to Mars. All major elements of the Martian expeditionary complex, such as the main habitation module, Mars lander and nuclear-powered space tug would dock to the station before their departure from low-Earth orbit toward Mars. The Martian expedition would return to the OPSEK as well.

Well, they did consider it.

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23 minutes ago, hendrack said:

Well, Mars isn't getting launched from OPSEX, that's for sure. Neither is their going to be a 40T to LEO Russian Launcher anytime soon, so that's also out the window...

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1 minute ago, Bill Phil said:

The ISS isn't really a megastructure. Skyscrapers and office buildings can easily be more massive and much larger.

Is a football field a megastructure? 

Who said anything about megastructures?

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Packing that thing full of cameras would be a great idea. Each one going to a black box with a shield and an inflatable float. Heck, set it up with a few of Jeb's explosive decouplers set to go off right before the station crosses the Karman line, and then let the two space station pieces film each other on the way down. 

Or here's another idea. This might be crazy, but...that's 400 tonnes of potential reaction mass, already sitting there in orbit. I wonder how hard it would be to build a space tug with a thruster that can use space junk as reaction mass....

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1 hour ago, sevenperforce said:

Or here's another idea. This might be crazy, but...that's 400 tonnes of potential reaction mass, already sitting there in orbit. I wonder how hard it would be to build a space tug with a thruster that can use space junk as reaction mass....

Well, we can always use laser ablation to vaporize pieces of the station for that purpose, although that might not be very efficient. A mass driver could throw pieces at much faster speed, but you would leave behind a field of trash, which is a bad idea in LEO.

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Boost it up a ways and then use it as a testbed for robotic recycling techniques.

42 minutes ago, RainDreamer said:

Well, we can always use laser ablation to vaporize pieces of the station for that purpose, although that might not be very efficient. A mass driver could throw pieces at much faster speed, but you would leave behind a field of trash, which is a bad idea in LEO.

Well, if the mass driver is being used to raise orbit, then the trash being flung out the back should hopefully be slowed down enough to re-.enter

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33 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Boost it up a ways and then use it as a testbed for robotic recycling techniques.

Well, if the mass driver is being used to raise orbit, then the trash being flung out the back should hopefully be slowed down enough to re-.enter

That's not necessarily the case...it can happen, but often it would end up in a non-atmosphere-crossing orbit. 

Unless the mass driver can eject pieces at greater than Earth escape velocity...or break it up into small enough pieces to not cause damage. 

But even laser ablation should be enough to use that 400 tonnes for quite a while. 

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7 hours ago, Emperor of the Titan Squid said:

I say that we take it apart, land some parts on earth, use others to make a space station in lunar orbit. Once the lunar station is obsolete, we bring it home.


Only problem is that the ISS parts would be nearing the end of their life expectancy. Plans for ISS-derived lunar stations use well- maintained Shuttle and ISS components already on Earth:

Z3.jpg

 

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10 hours ago, Emperor of the Titan Squid said:

I say that we take it apart, land some parts on earth,

How ? You'd need to develop a new Space Shuttle system (the old one is permanently gone). That would cost tens of billions of dollars. If you have that sort of money, they you might as well spend it on building a new ISS or exploring Mars.

10 hours ago, Emperor of the Titan Squid said:

use others to make a space station in lunar orbit. Once the lunar station is obsolete, we bring it home.

How do you send them into lunar orbit? And by the way, the whole point of retiring the ISS in 2024 is because those parts will be obsolete.

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9 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

How ? You'd need to develop a new Space Shuttle system (the old one is permanently gone). That would cost tens of billions of dollars. If you have that sort of money, they you might as well spend it on building a new ISS or exploring Mars.

How do you send them into lunar orbit? And by the way, the whole point of retiring the ISS in 2024 is because those parts will be obsolete.

Assuming you have the parts in space shuttle sized pieces (an unsolved problem), it would make an ideal subject for an inflatable heat shield test.  No reason to bring up heavy ballast for the test, just grab some dead satellite weight.

In fact, I would recommend finding and bringing home dead satellite (from LEO or otherwise dangerous spots) for smaller tests.  Hopefully the de-orbit system would work with or without the satellite (there would be huge opportunities to fail in such a project), but it would improve the test for lower cost (more mass for "free") and help clean up LEO.

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1 hour ago, wumpus said:

Assuming you have the parts in space shuttle sized pieces (an unsolved problem), it would make an ideal subject for an inflatable heat shield test.  No reason to bring up heavy ballast for the test, just grab some dead satellite weight.

In fact, I would recommend finding and bringing home dead satellite (from LEO or otherwise dangerous spots) for smaller tests.  Hopefully the de-orbit system would work with or without the satellite (there would be huge opportunities to fail in such a project), but it would improve the test for lower cost (more mass for "free") and help clean up LEO.

Only problem is that development costs would still be high for a ballistic capsule, and there is literally no need for it, other than deorbiting ISS modules, and maybe bringing back mined material from asteroids.

Also, it would be the largest capsule yet. The Shuttle SRBs are pretty big, so we have a bit of experience from there, but not building a whole 20T capacity inflatable heat shield.

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1 hour ago, fredinno said:

Only problem is that development costs would still be high for a ballistic capsule, and there is literally no need for it, other than deorbiting ISS modules, and maybe bringing back mined material from asteroids.

Also, it would be the largest capsule yet. The Shuttle SRBs are pretty big, so we have a bit of experience from there, but not building a whole 20T capacity inflatable heat shield.

I was thinking manned Mars landing (assuming you bring down all the fuel needed for power assist on the way down and all the way back up), but I suspect even that won't be that big (although it will be going faster through a lighter atmosphere).  Best guess is for asteroid mining delivery: it would be wildly easier to justify multiple practice runs with ISS parts than any other way.  I just can't see anybody in mining far enough along in planning and funding to foot the bill for these tests.

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6 minutes ago, wumpus said:

I was thinking manned Mars landing (assuming you bring down all the fuel needed for power assist on the way down and all the way back up), but I suspect even that won't be that big (although it will be going faster through a lighter atmosphere).  Best guess is for asteroid mining delivery: it would be wildly easier to justify multiple practice runs with ISS parts than any other way.  I just can't see anybody in mining far enough along in planning and funding to foot the bill for these tests.

The only one that may happen in the near future is Mars, and even then, the systems for ISS module capture will be very different- the ISS modules need a cargo bay and robotic arm- neither of which are needed for Mars.

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1 hour ago, fredinno said:

Deorbit

I see. Dumb question I suppose they need to control where it comes down. I just hope they can film it. Either from a plane/drone or even better yet... From inside. Record the footage to a blackbox or relay it to an above satellite. Part of the last crews mission should be mounting cameras. I think amongst all the ideas in this thread that's the most practical one. Let it burn, but please, please film it.

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5 hours ago, Motokid600 said:

I see. Dumb question I suppose they need to control where it comes down. I just hope they can film it. Either from a plane/drone or even better yet... From inside. Record the footage to a blackbox or relay it to an above satellite. Part of the last crews mission should be mounting cameras. I think amongst all the ideas in this thread that's the most practical one. Let it burn, but please, please film it.

Not sure what good that would do. You'd see plasma out the window, but things would look pretty normal inside until the hull breaches. And once that happens, anything inside (cameras included) will be incinerated instantly.

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23 minutes ago, Mitchz95 said:

Not sure what good that would do. You'd see plasma out the window, but things would look pretty normal inside until the hull breaches. And once that happens, anything inside (cameras included) will be incinerated instantly.

Do we know this for sure?

As far as I know, we have never filmed the reentry of a craft not meant to survive reentry from inside the craft. There is actually quite a bit of good information we could glean. Which modules survive the longest? Do lightweight craft self-stabilize, or do they tumble wildly? How far can the hull breach before it triggers catastrophic unplanned disassembly? Is there just one failure mode, or are there several, possibly complementary ones?

Plus, if several modules were broken off and separated by a mile or twenty for staggered re-entry, we could set them up to film each other. It would be quite a ride....

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