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I am currently writing a timeline for my alternate history where the COVID-19 pandemic never happened, and although the main point is the lead up to a major conflict in 2027 (which I am portraying in another video game, which is the point of this alternate history), I am including space achievements as well.

How does this look for Artemis?

November 2021- Artemis 1

August 2023- Artemis 2

October 2025- Artemis 3

March 2027- Artemis 4 (with SLS Blk 1B)

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So, without COVID they were going to develop everything in a year or two? And they were not developing for two years? NASA doors were closed?

Just don't tell that every engineer in space industry was on duty in hospital or was sitting for two years and doing nothing.

Were these plans ever taken seriously when no LOP-G or lunar module is in any degree of readiness for visiting?

This just looks ensuring for me that actually nobody never took seriously any lunar plans till 2030s. And probably won't.

***

Say, the purpose of the Moon exploitation is to mine the hypothetical platinoids/lantanoids from the impact sites, if the further studies confirm their actual existence
(still staying just hype-othetical).

The only way to do it in industrial scale is the usage of cheap and available fusion power.
Solar panels and mirrors are enough good for a pilot refinery plant, but not in planetary scale.

The obvious fuel choice is D (from lunar ice) + 3He(from lunar ground).
This mix is absolutely useless on the Earth (D+D is much better) and in board fusion reactors (too undense cryogenic components, B+H or so are much better).
But it's perfect on the Moon. Aneutronic fusion + a lot of room around to place cryotanks.

So, the obvious way to mine on the Moon (if the faery tale about the lunar treasuries appears to be a truth) is to
mine the ice for water, hydrolox, HPO, methane (contained in the ice), deuterium and the ground for 3He, platinoids/lantanoids, construction metals for rough structures (hulls, bars, trusses, etc).
burn the deuterium + helium-3 to melt the ground and extract everything other.

In any case the necessary, unavoidable condition for the lunar industry is a D+3He fusion reactor.

***

The very first fusion reactor is being awaited for by ~2050.

When it appears, the next step will be the D+D and D+3He fusion, and everything looks being bet on that date.

Cars.
The  developed countries and car manufacturers are basically planning to stop selling combustion cars by 2030 and prohibit their usage by 2040.
The less developed have no choice but follow.

The hydrogen energetics and other decarbonization hysteria. The "green" (i.e. electrolytic) hydrogen. And so on.
Obviously, nobody could seriously bet his money on that solar panels and windmills could produce as much electrolytic hydrogen as it needs.
This can mean only that the bet is made on the coming fusion epoch, when indeed the cheap and available oceanic deuterium will electrolyze the oceanic water and give a lot of "green" hydrogen rather than hydrocarbons.

And the current noise about "carbon footprints" and so is just a temporary half-century long campaign to prepare the power infrastructure (telling that it's for windmills) for pure electrics; make the customers to buy new (more greener cars) instead of their still normally working ones (which are just draconically clean by 1980s standards, and the human average lifespan still hasn't raised to 90); and buy/sell/utilize as much hydrocarbons as possible before the fusion makes them useless as fuel.
So, don't take it close to your heart. Thirty years later they will say:
"Ok with carbon, you saved the world, good boys! Btw this "Green Boy" T-shirt is available with 25% discount this month, order two by price of one right now !"

So, in any case, the aim is fusion by 2050.

***

Once in ~2050 the D+T fusion starts fusing, it will take, say, a decade to develop D+D and a decade more for D+3He.
Just because D+T is useless. Not so much wild tritium in wild nature.

So, we can estimate the possible beginning of lunar fusion and industrial plants somewhat by 2050 + (15..20) = 2065..2070.

This means that a pilot helium and plantanoid lunar refinery plant should prove all required tech but fusion by that date.

***

Once the fusion comes, the pilot plant will get useless, so there will be no need to keep it.

As the ISS/Mir modules look having normal lifespan ~15..20 years, this means that the solar-powered pilot refinery should be build somewhat by (2065..2070) - (15..20) = ~2050.
I.e. simultaneously with the first fusion plant.

On another hand, if the fusion project fails, and the fusion gets postponed, there will be no need in the pilot refinery until the fusion anyway.

So, we can say, that the pilot refinery plant building should start immediately on the first successful fusion ignition, whenever it happens.
As it's going to happen by ~2050, so we can take the pilot refinery building by ~2050, too. (And because of then-now fusion, and because of then-future aneutronic fusion),

***

The start building the pilot refinery they should first have totally studied the lunar mineral resource deposits.

For that they need temporary local camps (like the LEK/Dynetics/USI/WBI/etc) at the points of interest. With drills, etc. So, with humans getting to there in shifts.

And probably a major base with a flagstick and a biolab (to study, how long could the lunar labourers can be exploitated before being utilized  as soylent green).
Also, some orbital base, like LOP-G, ROSS, etc.

As the modules lifespan is ~15..20 years, and local bases unlikely will be in use longer than several years each,
this means that the temporary lunar camp building should start somewhere by ~2050-15 = ~2035.

***

In turn, this means that the orbital stations should be ready by 2035, but still intact by ~2050.

This means, that the orbital stations should be being assembled since ~2030.

***

By that time the lunar spaceships will be actually required, but not earlier.
Earlier they have no aim to reach,

So, the real test flights of the lunar spaceships should be coming close to 2030.

***

SLS/Orion will be probably ready and tested by that date.
I don't see, why not.

***

PTKNP faced known problem with the composite hull due to sanctions and countersanctions, so they (temporarily?) equipped it with aluminium hull, and it appeared to be overweighted for lunar flight and excessively heavy for LEO.
That can be not a problem, because in first flights it wil anyway get only to ROSS in LEO, and they have ten years to re-equip it with a lighter composite hull, using the tested systems.

Angara universal block has been tested for 6 times. 4 successful, 2 failed due to 3rd party reasons.

***

So, we can expect that by 2030 both SLS/Orion and Angara/PTKNP will be able to start performing the lunar flights, using the coming LOP-G and ROSS respectively.

***

But no need in these ships before 2030.

There is Falcon/Dragon, (whatever)/Starliner, and Soyuz/Soyuz for current needs, until ISS gets down somewhere by the same 2030+/-5.

***

LOP-G needs Orion, no options.

ROSS will be first supplied by Soyuz/Progress, so PTKNP has a decade to become a cutie.

***

And the current decade is when all hail Probe. The preliminary phase.

We can see this massively. Everyone either sends a lunar bot, or is going to send them all the decade.

***

So, unlikely until ~2030 any interesting lunacy will actualy happen.

All of them will be trading, suing, trying to get a VIP seat on the ~2030 show.

***

P.S.
Now ask yourself, is there any chance for a Martian expedition before 2070?

And after 2070 the Martian ship will be fusion-powered, so no current Martian plan is viable.

Edited by kerbiloid
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Within the story, the Artemis missions aren't building lunar infrastructure or any thing. They just go there, "do science", and go back- the true purpose of the program is mainly propaganda. Boca Chica is destroyed in the war so no Mars cities, but Russia and Europe emerge as the sole developed areas of the world so it will be interesting to see where ESA and Roscosmos go.

23 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

So, without COVID they were going to develop everything in a year or two? And they were not developing for two years? NASA doors were closed?

R-7 development began in 1953 as the R-6 and it took four years to get to the first launch, but afterwards launches occurred at a decent pace (multiple per year, although granted that was uncrewed so the development was impeded by a high need to "make it work"). I am assuming once they get to the first launch, it won't be *too* hard to launch again. SLS Blk 1B might be a different case though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just seen this video

 

I know SLS and basically most of hardware being prepared for Artemis program might be considered to be already outdated, but I really hope Artemis 1 will be a success and that we'll get few more missions out of this program. It is actually exciting for me to see all those different super powerful rockets being designed and built and hopefully flying soon.

 

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The video says it will test every system, but that is not in fact true, the Orion CSM is incomplete. The first test of the CSM life support systems in space will literally be with people on it. Which is bizarre to me. All they had to do was use a crew flight article CSM on this test instead of boilerplating the ECLSS.

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1 hour ago, Beccab said:

Are lockmart and Northrop in with blue origin as National Team or did they split?

Yeah, otherwise it should be ~95 million, ~40 million, and ~10 million. Kinda absurd unless they're not the same team.

Is this separate from HLS, or a derivative?

Edited by Spaceception
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31 minutes ago, Spaceception said:

Is this separate from HLS, or a derivative?

Follow on landers.

It's pretty comical since the baseline should be something as good as the first lander.

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21 minutes ago, Lewie said:

What’s this? Some explaining had got to be done.....

Follow on lander proposals for after the initial few rounds of landing, the landers will be disposed for the early missions. 
 

These will be reused. (I think)

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38 minutes ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

Follow on lander proposals for after the initial few rounds of landing, the landers will be disposed for the early missions. 
 

These will be reused. (I think)

Except the lander that actually won, which is reusable from the start.

The NT lander was bare bones to meet the minimum Artemis III requirements (2 crew, shorter duration, no reuse), and they explicitly stated for follow on landers, they'd have to build a new/different one.

Dynetics didn't close, period, even for min use.

SpaceX LSS grossly exceeded all requirements, including later sustainability.

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Quoting for the source selection statement:

"SpaceX’s initially funded task order work includes risk-reduction activities related to landing site analysis for its sustainable HLS architecture."

 

If I'm interpreting this correctly spacex was only awarded a study for their landing sites, possibly for the previously discussed possibility of landing with the main Starship engines. Unlike the other proposals the rest would be already covered by HLS

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Why is BO getting the most cash? They haven’t done crap, and Spacex is making strides with Starship....yet they get the table scraps.

Ummm....

I don’t get this. Not one bit.

Edited by Lewie
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17 minutes ago, Lewie said:

Why is BO getting the most cash? They haven’t done crap, and Spacex is making strides with Starship....yet they get the table scraps.

Ummm....

I don’t get this. Not one bit.

Probably because SpaceX is already the contractor for HLS, and once they get Lunar Starship up and running there really isn't much else to do in terms of making it 'sustainable' for further landings.

A single stage lander with enormous payload capability wasn't the sort of proposal NASA was expecting to get for an initial lunar landing, so I guess they assumed that the contractor would have had to do a lot more work to make their lander suitable for repeated surface sorties. Aside from SpaceX, every proposal they got was pretty conventional by the contract's standards, and those do need further development for a sustained lunar presence.

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29 minutes ago, Lewie said:

Why is BO getting the most cash? They haven’t done crap, and Spacex is making strides with Starship....yet they get the table scraps.

Ummm....

I don’t get this. Not one bit.

This is to fund development of alternatives as much as anything else.

The reality is that assuming LSS is made to work, making alternate landers that are not sort of a joke by comparison will be tricky. I'd think at least one would want to come up with a very low cost alternative, maybe that fits into the SpaceX ecosystem. Ie: refilled using SS or something. Dynetics seems like the obvious choice for this to me, as their lander has unique capabilities the others actually lack—like the ability to be used as a sort of skycrane for rovers.

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5 hours ago, tater said:

This is to fund development of alternatives as much as anything else.

The reality is that assuming LSS is made to work, making alternate landers that are not sort of a joke by comparison will be tricky. I'd think at least one would want to come up with a very low cost alternative, maybe that fits into the SpaceX ecosystem. Ie: refilled using SS or something. Dynetics seems like the obvious choice for this to me, as their lander has unique capabilities the others actually lack—like the ability to be used as a sort of skycrane for rovers.

Agree, they will be looking for a low cost lander.  LSS will likely be expensive, and not always fit for purpose.

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15 minutes ago, jinnantonix said:

Agree, they will be looking for a low cost lander.  LSS will likely be expensive, and not always fit for purpose.

Except none of the other 2 was low cost. Indeed, substantially higher cost than LSS. At the vehicle scale, I would say NT and Dynetics need to be able to ferry astronauts to the lunar surface for... 10X less than LSS? 20X cheaper?

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2 hours ago, tater said:

Except none of the other 2 was low cost. Indeed, substantially higher cost than LSS. At the vehicle scale, I would say NT and Dynetics need to be able to ferry astronauts to the lunar surface for... 10X less than LSS? 20X cheaper?

I am not convinced of this.  Yet.  My guess (only a guess) is that Dynetics could do the job for cheaper than LSS, and it only needs to be cheaper, not 10x cheaper, so that it provides a lowest cost capability for a mission that does not require LSS bulk freight capability.  

 

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20 minutes ago, jinnantonix said:

I am not convinced of this.  Yet.  My guess (only a guess) is that Dynetics could do the job for cheaper than LSS, and it only needs to be cheaper, not 10x cheaper, so that it provides a lowest cost capability for a mission that does not require LSS bulk freight capability.  

How? Their bid was 3X more than the SpaceX bid. The SpaceX vehicle will literally be ready for another trip, in space.

The Dynetics lander can't actually make a round trip with just 2 crew, and no cargo. For this it needs 4 crew.

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44 minutes ago, tater said:

How? Their bid was 3X more than the SpaceX bid. The SpaceX vehicle will literally be ready for another trip, in space.

The Dynetics lander can't actually make a round trip with just 2 crew, and no cargo. For this it needs 4 crew.

If it doesn't fit a specific need, then NASA won't select it.  But I suspect NASA is seeking a lower cost lander for crew transfer to/from Gateway only.  I see LSS as a direct freight system, and SpaceX has costed it as such.

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8 minutes ago, jinnantonix said:

If it doesn't fit a specific need, then NASA won't select it.  But I suspect NASA is seeking a lower cost lander for crew transfer to/from Gateway only.  I see LSS as a direct freight system, and SpaceX has costed it as such.

If lower cost and just a taxi is not part of the requirements, it's the same requirements, except for the "sustainable" part.

Meaning sustainable and 4 crew being mandatory.

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