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[New] Space Launch System / Orion Discussion Thread


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4 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Somehow I missed this-

But Dragon 2 doesn't have the radiation shielding to make the trip, doesn't have the ECLSS to (7 undocked days, just barely enough to make it to the moon at all), SM is insufficient to do any lunar operations, spacecraft frame isn't built for lunar re-entry, it's too tiny (I couldn't imagine living in what's the size of a SUV for 3 days with a crew of 3-4 others). Same applies to Starliner. By the time you modify those vehicles, they would exceed their launch vehicles abilities & necessitate a larger vehicle.

Orion, is the only one that passes all of those requirements.

Um. Dragon 2 and CST-100 are both quite a bit bigger than the Apollo Command Module that already successfully (well, mostly) took crews to the moon.

Granted, Apollo was designed for that and neither Dragon nor Starliner are, but your ideas about them being too small and tiny for a trip to the moon seem misplaced.

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29 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Except it can't send it to the moon, which is NASA's destination.

I know you have a fascination for LEO- but NASA's been there for 30 years- they're kind of bored of it!

I have no fascination with LEO at all, we wasted 30 years of the Shuttle program in LEO, so seeing Shuttle contractors/parts turned into a lousy BLEO thing is not my fave.

How was Orion to get to the Moon as part of Constellation?

Orion goes on Ares I. Altair goes on Ares V. Orion docks to Altair—still attached to the Ares V upper stage—and the whole thing goes to TLI.

NG need not send Orion to TLI—though 2 NGs, could, actually (1 launches it, the second is "naked" and Orion docks to it and gets TLI)

17 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Somehow I missed this-

But Dragon 2 doesn't have the radiation shielding to make the trip, doesn't have the ECLSS to (7 undocked days, just barely enough to make it to the moon at all), SM is insufficient to do any lunar operations, spacecraft frame isn't built for lunar re-entry, it's too tiny (I couldn't imagine living in what's the size of a SUV for 3 days with a crew of 3-4 others). Same applies to Starliner. By the time you modify those vehicles, they would exceed their launch vehicles abilities & necessitate a larger vehicle.

Um, Orion has no radiation shielding, either. They have vests for the crew to wear.

Adding life support would be part of exactly what I said, trading the empty trunk for a real SM.

Your arguments here are nuts—too small? It's much larger than (~50% more volume) the Apollo CM. How did the Apollo astronauts manage? Starliner is larger still, nearly 2X the volume of Apollo.

Starliner could also go on... NG.

Same rules apply, all they need are tugs. ACES would do nicely. ACES can take a B330 hab to LLO (including LOI), it could easily take Starliner or Dragon, AND a small hab extender.

PS—the internal volume of Crew Dragon is actually larger than Orion, so...

 

Quote

Orion, is the only one that passes all of those requirements.

Like having the smallest volume of all 3 current crew vehicles? And like all of them not having radiation shielding, because that isn't a thing? (where do you get some of this, for a fan, what do you read?)

9 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Um. Dragon 2 and CST-100 are both quite a bit bigger than the Apollo Command Module that already successfully (well, mostly) took crews to the moon.

Granted, Apollo was designed for that and neither Dragon nor Starliner are, but your ideas about them being too small and tiny for a trip to the moon seem misplaced.

Worst, both are bigger volumes than Orion (Dragon just a little, and Starliner substantially (9m3 for Orion, 9.3m3 for Dragon, and 11m3 for Starliner)

Edited by tater
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8 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Um. Dragon 2 and CST-100 are both quite a bit bigger than the Apollo Command Module that already successfully (well, mostly) took crews to the moon.

Granted, Apollo was designed for that and neither Dragon nor Starliner are, but your ideas about them being too small and tiny for a trip to the moon seem misplaced.

Bear in mind it would hold more crew as well, if it couldn’t, then it’s just as limited as Orion in any respects. Orion can at least carry 4-6 astronauts. Dragon 2/Starliner is only rated to for a few hours to reach the ISS- not days or the week needed.

3 minutes ago, tater said:

I have no fascination with LEO at all, we wasted 30 years of the Shuttle program in LEO, so seeing Shuttle contractors/parts turned into a lousy BLEO thing is not my fave.

How was Orion to get to the Moon as part of Constellation?

Orion goes on Ares I. Altair goes on Ares V. Orion docks to Altair—still attached to the Ares V upper stage—and the whole thing goes to TLI.

NG need not send Orion to TLI—though 2 NGs, could, actually (1 launches it, the second is "naked" and Orion docks to it and gets TLI)

Um, Orion has no radiation shielding, either. They have vests for the crew to wear.

Adding life support would be part of exactly what I said, trading the empty trunk for a real SM.

Your arguments hear are nuts, BTW, too small? It's much larger than (~50% more volume) the Apollo CM. How did the Apollo astronauts manage? Starliner is larger still, nearly 2X the volume of Apollo.

Starliner could also go on... NG.

Same rules apply, all they need are tugs. ACES would do nicely. ACES can take a B330 hab to LLO (including LOI), it could easily take Starliner or Dragon, AND a small hab extender.

PS—the internal volume of Crew Dragon is actually larger than Orion, so...

 

Like having the smallest volume of all 3 current crew vehicles? And like all of them not having radiation shielding, because that isn't a thing? (where do you get some of this, for a fan, what do you read?)

I’ve read nothing that says they’d only wear vests. There will be dummies on A1 that will have vests- but that’s to collect data- not protect the crew.

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Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

Bear in mind it would hold more crew as well, if it couldn’t, then it’s just as limited as Orion in any respects. Orion can at least carry 4-6 astronauts. Dragon 2/Starliner is only rated to for a few hours to reach the ISS- not days or the week needed.

Orion can hold up to 4 crew. In a smaller volume than both Crew Dragon, and Starliner.

Duration for those vehicles is related to expendables in the SM. Tiny SM for Starliner, virtually no SM for Dragon.  Both could be easily increased in size, it's mostly more tanks.

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Just now, tater said:

Orion can hold up to 4 crew. In a smaller volume than both Crew Dragon, and Starliner.

Duration for those vehicles is related to expendables in the SM. Tiny SM for Starliner, virtually no SM for Dragon.  Both could be easily increased in size, it's mostly more tanks.

Well while you work on that, Artemis 1 Orion is fully built & waiting at the ksc while it’s sisters, Artemis 2 & 3 Orion’s finish production. Those 2, actually supporting lunar missions from the outset- rather than retrofitting.

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Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

Also NASA saw that Ares 1 would be an expensive LEO vehicle (not to mention dangerous)- where a single vehicle would be cheaper to design than 2, 3 or however many you’d need to support LEO missions.

Ares 1 was awful, that's not the point.

The point is that Orion was designed to be on Ares 1. It was never to be on the big cargo rocket. SLS is a working version of that big cargo rocket, but saddled with lofting the crew vehicle it was never supposed to lift.

Cheaper. LOL.

Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

Well while you work on that, Artemis 1 Orion is fully built & waiting at the ksc while it’s sisters, Artemis 2 & 3 Orion’s finish production. Those 2, actually supporting lunar missions from the outset- rather than retrofitting.

Artemis 1 is a boilerplate, no full life support.

Artemis 2 will be the first real SLS/Orion launch, and it will have people on it. They will park in Earth orbit because they need to test the life support close to home before committing to a few days away. The "lunar mission" is a distant flyby. A mission to nowhere.

Artemis 3... it's either delayed several years, or it's doing some other "not landing on the Moon" mission in all likelihood, since 2024 just is not happening (and I'd like to see it happen, actually).

PS—tell us how the smaller volume of Orion is somehow required because it's bigger than Apollo, but smaller than... I'm confused.

PPS—tell us about the radiation shielding.

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In one video clip the radiation shield on Orion is an underfloor bunker down by the heat shield. In a different article it suggests building a fort out of supplies.

In either event though it mostly amounts to putting mass between the astronauts and the storm which is mostly acheived by turning the spacecraft for position of the heat shield and service module.

It's not a showstopper to not have a bunker in the capsule and it's not serious to suggest that if it really came down to it such a feature couldn't be added to a spacecraft other than Orion given a few years' lead time, time we do still have.

 

Similarly, it's not a serious defence of SLS to claim LOP-G (the only possible destination for SLS/Orion) hasn't been awarded to Falcon Heavy yet. True, the ground integrated PPE/HALO hasn't yet been confirmed and awarded to FH, but whatever happens it isn't going up on SLS. If not integrated on Falcon Heavy, then separately on Falcon Heavy, New Glenn and Vulcan. Gateway itself will be resupplied by Dragon XL on Falcon Heavy - and that contact has been awarded.

 

SLS simply doesn't have the flight rate to support the lunar gateway and lander necessary for its own missions, even if doing so was economical which it isn't. The boosters can't be spared for anything that isn't Orion.

 

 

Whereas without SLS EOR is perfectly viable. Orion can probably go to orbit on Falcon Heavy, even if the crew goes up in Falcon 9. And it *definitely* can go up on New Glenn. From LEO a simple rendezvous gets it on an upper stage that can do TLI. No big deal, no SLS required.

I don't think Orion is required either. None of the issues for BLEO are more than a few modifications to existing designs away.

 

Falcon Heavy is already flying. The only restriction is availability of payloads. If it had to fly nine times (and one F9 crew) in a year to conduct a lunar sortie, it could.

ULA are as reliable as clockwork. I have zero doubt Vulcan will fly before SLS and be a success. Vulcan is absolutely capable of sending a 3-stage lander to TLI in bits.

I'm also confident Blue Origin will deliver New Glenn within about the same timeframe. They may not stick the landing first time out, but that's not critical to mission success. They play their cards very close to their chest, but if Jeff Bezos says something will happen chances are it will.

 

SLS/Orion was the only game in town back in 2011, and however limited it was you just had to stick with it. It's taken over a decade to even begin to approach a moon landing, and at Boeing's pace it would probably take a decade longer. What's made program acceleration possible isn't progress on SLS though. It's the new generation of capable boosters that can take the only thing SLS can actually do and make it work. And we really wouldn't miss SLS that much if it were gone.

 

(Seriously NASA, your boosters and programs need better names. STS, SLS, LOP-G, HLS, GLS, poetry in motion they ain't.)

Edited by RCgothic
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(Came back from school and found I have 4 and half pages to read)

I am just a teenager who don't like disagreeing with other because usually my opinion got ignored because it is too "special", so all those criticisms has been a little hard on me. (No need to say sorry to me)

But anyway, you guys can debate about the usefulness of SLS, but I just want to see a cool big rocket fly, a cool lunar station been built, and humans return to the moon with different kinds of cool rockets. (Big expansive rocket and reusable big commercial rockets has different kinds of coolness.)

A station in high lunar orbit is interesting to me, and I think we can practice to deal radiation for a mars mission there. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I think SLS will only be used for the Artemis program to pave way for more permanent lunar presence of humans, which will be done with cheaper commercial rockets, and SLS is good enough for me, just like the space shuttle, which is one of my favorite rockets.

Edited by Space Nerd
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10 minutes ago, Space Nerd said:

SLS is good enough for me, just like the space shuttle, which is one of my favorite rockets.

It is a pretty cool rocket, all things considered. The problem is just that it's become rather expensive for what it does. 

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9 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

(2/3 landers I am aware of, are reusable in some form or another)

All the landers are reusable in some form or another.

8 hours ago, tater said:

If they dumped Boeing, and used ULA, then they could have an ACES EUS, and then they could possibly fill the tank, and have EUS do LOI. Comanifested cargo mass would suffer.

EUS being made by Boeing does not exclude IVF or refuelling. NASA is developing them itself, and it can be applied to Boeing's EUS.

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3 hours ago, Space Nerd said:

A station in high lunar orbit is interesting to me, and I think we can practice to deal radiation for a mars mission there. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

While a useful thing to work out, neither Orion, nor Gateway has radiation shielding, so it's not something they are testing..

3 hours ago, Space Nerd said:

and SLS is good enough for me, just like the space shuttle, which is one of my favorite rockets.

I used to draw Space Shuttles on everything back in the day. We had a white board in the lobby of my college dorm, and I'd doodle a Shuttle, with 'SHUTTLE!" written under it often. I get it.

9 minutes ago, Barzon said:

EUS being made by Boeing does not exclude IVF or refuelling. NASA is developing them itself, and it can be applied to Boeing's EUS.

True enough, but ULA should have been given the US from the start, as Centaur is pretty much the gold standard for upper stages.

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25 minutes ago, tater said:

I used to draw Space Shuttles on everything back in the day. We had a white board in the lobby of my college dorm, and I'd doodle a Shuttle, with 'SHUTTLE!" written under it often. I get it.

 

Shuttles (and Buran) are cool. Much more so than boring space capsules. So sad that their era seems to have ended. 

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13 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Only difference is, NASA isn't backing out at the last minute on man rating their rocket. NASA is going forward with it 100%. Especially not with the intention to turn around an make their own rocket obsolete within 5 years according to Musk with Starship.

SpaceX chose not to man-rate Falcon Heavy for the same reason SLS should never have been man-rated: it turned out to be too powerful for any crewed LEO application and not powerful enough to send anything useful BLEO.

13 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Cool, meanwhile SLS actually has a crew capsule. I'd like to see 1 photo of the starship cockpit. Much less the picture of the vehicle that'll send man to the moon (a feat I can do with SLS!)

If SpaceX took the Dragon 2 intended for the ISS mission next week and slapped it on top of the FH intended fr the USSF-44 mission, it could send humans to the moon in exactly the same way that Artemis 1 could. Dragon 2 has enough excess dV to do a powered lunar flyby and enter a lunar-phased earth orbit with much more lunar observation potential than Artemis 2. Your point?

Saying SLS "will send man to the moon" is like saying that my SUV can take me to Europe because it can take me to an airport where I can board a plane to Europe. Technically true, but I can also get to the airport on my bicycle.

13 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Metholox is a cyrogenic fuel which boils off over time. No system has been made to keep fuel like that from boiling off- none. Much less the ability to rendezvous with it in time before it does boil off. Current launch rates would have Starship arrive to a methane oxygen gas filled starship- but no fuel to be found.

Just revisiting this to point out that it takes 346 days for half a methalox tank to boil off. Almost 700 days in LEO.

13 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Much less a system that can pump it without freezing from the subzero temperatures.

Wow, it's such a shame that no one has ever invented a metal tube that can transfer cryogenic liquid. Just think of all the high-performance rocket engines that would be built if you could surmount this insurmountable problem.

10 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Block 1 is a technology demonstrator largely. To prove the vehicle works. It's Artemis' version of Saturn 1. It puts the technology of the new program into practice, rather than theory. SLS 1B is more akin to Saturn V in functionality- being the full vehicle.

Imagine how much people would have scoffed at Von Braun if he had claimed the Saturn program was the only way to get to the moon when only the Saturn 1 had ever been fabricated (and not even put together) while the N1 had already launched payloads BLEO.

 

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5 minutes ago, tater said:

Not actually a docking.

Well the first docking has always been slated for A3. I had been hearing that in light of Starliner’s issues that a similar docking test would be done on A2, however I hadn’t heard where in the mission it would be done.

I find this ironic since Starliner did test the docking system, just didn’t attempt to rendezvous & dock but whatever. Good to test beforehand anyway.

Edited by ZooNamedGames
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9 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

It can still take multiple days, maybe even weeks to get a launch underway, so those loses are considerable.

Don't just make random claims; show your work.

SpaceX can turn around a Falcon 9 booster -- a vehicle NOT designed from the ground up for reuse -- in well under three months. If it can merely match this with SS/SH, vehicles which ARE designed for rapid reuse, then at most the boiloff will be 7-8%. With at least three operational vehicles, it's 2.4%.

9 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

LOR was only selected 5 years before Saturn V first flew. Prior to that- the entire structure of Apollo was also- in limbo. Which is why the CSM's engine is so powerful- it was initially designed to land on the moon from the EOR era.

"Oops, this service module is too powerful because we changed to a more efficient mission configuration, oh well" is very different from "Oops, this service module is not powerful enough because we changed to a less efficient mission configuration, oops." The former gives you excess performance; the latter doesn't give you enough.

9 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Even if it could send to LEO- great. Now there's no tug to send it anywhere. So that's more time and more tax dollars to build a new vehicle when SLS would be ready & waiting.

Ready and waiting? If Orion was ready today, you could put it into EEO on DIVH, throw up a stripped-down Crew Dragon on a FHe, and send it on a lunar flyby with ease. Artemis 1, no SLS required.

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It's also important to remember that Apollo had a mission. What the initial architecture was doesn't matter if the vehicle was capable of that mission. The Apollo CSM had excess capacity, but that is extremely useful. Apollo's CSM was capable of rescuing the LM in a low orbit if required. For other missions the SM was actually not filled with propellant, reducing vehicle mass.

Orion has some margin in this regard as LOI at Gateway is half that for LLO (450 m/s vs 900m/s). But given the total of ~1800 m/s, not a lot of margin. RT requires half the props (LOI/TEI = ~0.9km/s), but the remaining props are not enough to go anywhere given the orbit. It could help with some phasing, maybe, if a lander had problems? No real rescue ops possible.

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/20191030-nac-heoc-smith-v3_tagged.pdf

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23 minutes ago, tater said:

What the initial architecture was doesn't matter if the vehicle was capable of that mission. The Apollo CSM had excess capacity, but that is extremely useful. Apollo's CSM was capable of rescuing the LM in a low orbit if required.

If you do the math, using the CM for lunar orbit insertion is absolutely the most dV-efficient, if both vehicles use the same type of props. The only reason Constellation would have used the lander for LOI was that Altair was hydrolox, which made it more mass-efficient (also because Ares I).

Continuing to use a legacy component from a cancelled architecture is a great idea if it gives you excess capacity. Continuing to use an underpowered legacy component is stupid. It would be like paying triple to refurbish reusable SSTO engines only to be expended. Oh, wait.

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11 hours ago, tater said:

Duration for those vehicles is related to expendables in the SM. Tiny SM for Starliner, virtually no SM for Dragon.  Both could be easily increased in size, it's mostly more tanks.

There are a few other issues. Like, for instance, limited or no toilet facilities. (Of course, Apollo didn't have any either, just a supply of plastic bags.)

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26 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

There are a few other issues. Like, for instance, limited or no toilet facilities. (Of course, Apollo didn't have any either, just a supply of plastic bags.)

The Orion toilet is a portable unit, and a curtain, as I understand it. Since Dragon has similar volume to Orion, not a problem, and Starliner has 2 cubic meters more volume, so even less of an issue.

 

 

Looks like the unit fits in that space, the curtain comes up into the cabin?

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