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The Integrated Program Plan | A reconstruction of NASA's follow up to the Apollo program from 1969


Beccab
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1 hour ago, Beccab said:

(The CSM+LM is just there for size comparison btw, I won't actually send them to mars unfortunately)

Well i would've guessed the LM is for Phobos amd Deimos, i'm sure it would've done both just fine

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Just now, Maria Sirona said:

Well i would've guessed the LM is for Phobos amd Deimos, i'm sure it would've done both just fine

You could do that, but using the normal LM is a waste: both moons have a nearly nonexistent gravity, which means both the descent and ascent stage are basically useless. One of those LEO LM proposals, removing both engines and moving only through the RCS, would work perfectly here

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Just now, Beccab said:

removing both engines and moving only through the RCS, would work perfectly here

That meams the fuel tanks, and with them a huge chunk of the spacecraft, would be useless so you might as well create an entire new spaceship.

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57 minutes ago, Maria Sirona said:

That meams the fuel tanks, and with them a huge chunk of the spacecraft, would be useless so you might as well create an entire new spaceship.

The fuel tanks could theoretically just be replaced with extra RCS fuel.

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1977: The TOPS Space Rescue
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(Original IPP poster below)

Spoiler

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Let's start right where the previous post ended: an anomaly in the second stage of the TOPS launch towards Jupiter caused an explosion in the engine compartment, leaving the probe stranded in a highly eccentric earth orbit, unable both to reach its destination and to return to LEO. Normally this would be the end of the mission for the satellite, which would reenter some time later while the people on the ground tried to find what went wrong. But the Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft isn't your average probe: as the name suggests, it houses four RTGs on board to power it all the way to the limits of the solar system. That's a problem: as evidenced in the numbers provided here (for Galileo though, not this), a reenter from not just orbital velocity but a highly elliptical orbit at that would melt the RTG casings and release the graphite modules inside of them. The uncertainities in the impact site are large enough (read: all of the world that is at the TOPS' inclination) to make the risk of waiting for the inevitable way too high; a rescue mission is necessary in order to bring the spacecraft back to Earth in one piece.
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In the next few days following the anomaly, an architecture is created to make the TOPS rescue feasible: a mayor problem is the dependancy of NASA's space operations on space tug's common design, which is now too risky to fly for any payload, let alone a crew. Because of this, the crewed tug will instead fly under remote control towards the haywire spacecraft, grab it and return to Skylab where it will be returned to Earth on the next crew rotation in a few months

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Remote controlled tug undocking and departing
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Commencing final approach
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Extracting the surviving TOPS from the semidestroyed tug
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With the RTGs safely stored at the space station, it's time to turn to the other problems NASA is facing because of the failure. The Space Tug isn't only the basis of the planetary probes program: it's an essential piece of the whole space program, whether that is in LEO, GEO or cislunar space. An early retirement at this point would be basically as catastrophic as cancelling the development of the CSM after Apollo 1, which thankfully makes it quite unlikely; however, an investigation of the cause of the anomaly is mandatory before it can fly again, and concerns about its reliability will be hard to counter. But what about the other probe?

The second TOPS '77 should have already launched by this point, but with the space tug grounded and the near certainity it will still be so by the time the launch window closes means that for now it can't launch; NASA itself is split between keeping it in storage for a 1979 Grand Tour or sending it now with the flawed space tugs and hoping for the best like with the TOPS rescue. With neither options being particular exciting, the solution comes from the outside: in particular, the USAF.

Let's look at where the Air Force was before: in the last two years a handful of Shuttle launches have been used to launch DoD payloads from the Cape as well as a polar launch from Vandenberg, resulting in a complete success. And now, in 1977, the USAF was getting ready for the deployment of their most powerful rocket: the Shuttle/Agena Stage with strap-on tanks

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Powerful enough to send the TOPS to its destination, the stage was designed in the early shuttle program (mid 70s) to take full advantage of the orbiter's capabilities; and now, it's going to make exactly that. With NASA  having "borrowed" the stage for the TOPS and having mated it to the Orbiter cargo bay Enterprise can lift off from LC-39A in Cape Canaveral, destination low earth orbit
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It's been almost a month since the TOPS anomaly and the time until the window closes is running out. On the second day in orbit, the TOPS is separated from the Orbiter together with the Agena stage, keeping the whole KSC with fingers crossed.

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The stage burns for almost five minutes; at the end of the trans-jovian injection the TOPS separates from the Agena stage, beginning a long journey that will one day take it out of the solar system. All we can do now is wait: we'll get back to the probe in two years, at the time of its closest approach to Jupiter and its moons

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The second TOPS has been a resounding success for now; but the problems with the Space Tug remain. While NASA is planning for her return to flight once the investigation comes to a close, concerns about its safety remain. A tug nearly identical to the one that blew up should be the one that brings people up and down from the lunar surface in a few years; what if the accident had happened there? How could you rescue the crew if not with another, potentially exploding space tug? A new test mission has been announced by NASA in late 1977 exactly to answer those questions: 

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See you next post with the Lunar Shuttle Test!

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1977: The Lunar Shuttle mission
RuElpQX.png

It's a busy day of November at Skylab B: today marks the beginning of the operations for the decommissing of its nuclear reactor in preparations for the abandonment of the station for a controlled deorbit over Point Nemo. Orion, outfitted for the transportation of the reactor back to Cape Canaveral, will be the last vehicle to visit the station before its final retirement; the final Skylab crew will have to say goodbye to the station in little more than a week, leaving a hole that may only be filled with the launch of a new space station in a few months. In the almost four years since its launch, Nuclear Skylab has hosted over a dozen different crews and countless experiments have been performed on it; without it, it's safe to say the space program wouldn't look anything like it does now. But where a program is ending, another one is just beginning: the Space Shuttle Enterprise is fueled on its pad at Cape Canaveral, ready to take a crew of seven in the first crewed lunar mission since 1973!

co9M6fQ.png

The concept for this mission is described here: the authors of this very interesting NTRS report were tasked with finding the limits of the rescue capabilities of the EOS and its associated systems in case a crew was stranded in a distant orbit, with a focus on LLO.
unknown.png
No EOS concept was chosen yet; this means that the study had to consider all the most important Shuttle general proposals, including the one depicted in this mission report. The conclusion of the report is that refueling the Orbiter in orbit (in this case having a large integrated hydrolox tank), especially if it had an additional tank inside the cargo bay, was fully capable of making a round lunar trip to rescue a stranded crew provided that the return was accomplished making multiple aerobraking passes before reaching LEO. What follows is a recreation of the full mission, here applied to verify the praticability of the concept and made in response of the shortcomings that affected the Space Tug development program; I hope you like it!

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unknown.png
As mentioned previously, the payload of the EOS is a cargo bay tank connected to the orbiter's integrated tanks; few details were available in the report and elsewhere, so I went a bit wild with the design itself; additionally, it sports a full suit of telescopes and experiments with the main objective of analyzing the possible landing sites for future lunar missions, making full use of the scientific potential that a Shuttle Orbiter in cislunar space brings.UBD6Fgw.png
bD8BbVE.pngV3thHYZ.pngq1MQPft.png

Various propellant donors were considered by the report depending on theur availability; in this case, the OPD itself (refueled over the previous months by various tanker EOS missions) will transfer the necessary fuels to the Enterprise. The operation lasts a few hours; once it ends, the second phase of the mission can begin.
unknown.png
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After undocking and entering the transfer window, the Orbiter will ignite its SSME to make a Trans-Lunar Injection; this will bring it in a few days to cislunar space, where the engines will be started again to enter lunar orbit and complete this second phase of the lunar Shuttle mission.
NTaI4Y6.pngyANphSK.pngS9bEWCg.pngM2cJpIy.png
WZTqBxD.pngn0OdZs7.png
amr8vbI.png

Once a stable lunar orbit has been reached, an impressive array of scanners and instruments is deployed from the cargo bay: from SAR to infrared radiometers, this Enterprise flight will be able to gather all the data you may want before selecting a landing site and more in a single mission. And finally, after almost two weeks spent making research in LLO, the orbiter is ready to return home

uiCCmpj.pngmQ3gOyn.pngTtxPRY8.pngjdWxS1y.png
unknown.png
Enterprise at this point will make multiple passes skimming over earth's atmosphere; after repeating this process about half a dozen times, it will finally make a complete reentry towards Cape Canaveral to land in the Shuttle Landing Facility near the pad. No EOS, both in the past and in the future, will ever have to sustain conditions as harsh as the ones Enterprise was subject to; this was truly a one-of-a-kind mission, testing many of the technologies that will soon be applied in the lunar and martian programs.

Side note: given that I'll go on holiday pretty soon this is likely to be the last post until the second half of August, after which I'll start 1978 with a few posts centered on the moon and on space stations. As such, I chose this mission to make a break because it can be considered as a sort of bridge been the earlier, EOS-focused part of this mission report and the lunar-focused one that is about of begin, much larger in scope and size than now. See ya in a few weeks!

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On 7/31/2022 at 1:05 PM, Beccab said:

1977: The Lunar Shuttle mission
RuElpQX.png

It's a busy day of November at Skylab B: today marks the beginning of the operations for the decommissing of its nuclear reactor in preparations for the abandonment of the station for a controlled deorbit over Point Nemo. Orion, outfitted for the transportation of the reactor back to Cape Canaveral, will be the last vehicle to visit the station before its final retirement; the final Skylab crew will have to say goodbye to the station in little more than a week, leaving a hole that may only be filled with the launch of a new space station in a few months. In the almost four years since its launch, Nuclear Skylab has hosted over a dozen different crews and countless experiments have been performed on it; without it, it's safe to say the space program wouldn't look anything like it does now. But where a program is ending, another one is just beginning: the Space Shuttle Enterprise is fueled on its pad at Cape Canaveral, ready to take a crew of seven in the first crewed lunar mission since 1973!

co9M6fQ.png

The concept for this mission is described here: the authors of this very interesting NTRS report were tasked with finding the limits of the rescue capabilities of the EOS and its associated systems in case a crew was stranded in a distant orbit, with a focus on LLO.
unknown.png
No EOS concept was chosen yet; this means that the study had to consider all the most important Shuttle general proposals, including the one depicted in this mission report. The conclusion of the report is that refueling the Orbiter in orbit (in this case having a large integrated hydrolox tank), especially if it had an additional tank inside the cargo bay, was fully capable of making a round lunar trip to rescue a stranded crew provided that the return was accomplished making multiple aerobraking passes before reaching LEO. What follows is a recreation of the full mission, here applied to verify the praticability of the concept and made in response of the shortcomings that affected the Space Tug development program; I hope you like it!

Noh363a.pngA463cVT.png
gol9TEv.pngwtIyr8c.png
unknown.png
As mentioned previously, the payload of the EOS is a cargo bay tank connected to the orbiter's integrated tanks; few details were available in the report and elsewhere, so I went a bit wild with the design itself; additionally, it sports a full suit of telescopes and experiments with the main objective of analyzing the possible landing sites for future lunar missions, making full use of the scientific potential that a Shuttle Orbiter in cislunar space brings.UBD6Fgw.png
bD8BbVE.pngV3thHYZ.pngq1MQPft.png

Various propellant donors were considered by the report depending on theur availability; in this case, the OPD itself (refueled over the previous months by various tanker EOS missions) will transfer the necessary fuels to the Enterprise. The operation lasts a few hours; once it ends, the second phase of the mission can begin.
unknown.png
2bI8GxA.png
After undocking and entering the transfer window, the Orbiter will ignite its SSME to make a Trans-Lunar Injection; this will bring it in a few days to cislunar space, where the engines will be started again to enter lunar orbit and complete this second phase of the lunar Shuttle mission.
NTaI4Y6.pngyANphSK.pngS9bEWCg.pngM2cJpIy.png
WZTqBxD.pngn0OdZs7.png
amr8vbI.png

Once a stable lunar orbit has been reached, an impressive array of scanners and instruments is deployed from the cargo bay: from SAR to infrared radiometers, this Enterprise flight will be able to gather all the data you may want before selecting a landing site and more in a single mission. And finally, after almost two weeks spent making research in LLO, the orbiter is ready to return home

uiCCmpj.pngmQ3gOyn.pngTtxPRY8.pngjdWxS1y.png
unknown.png
Enterprise at this point will make multiple passes skimming over earth's atmosphere; after repeating this process about half a dozen times, it will finally make a complete reentry towards Cape Canaveral to land in the Shuttle Landing Facility near the pad. No EOS, both in the past and in the future, will ever have to sustain conditions as harsh as the ones Enterprise was subject to; this was truly a one-of-a-kind mission, testing many of the technologies that will soon be applied in the lunar and martian programs.

Side note: given that I'll go on holiday pretty soon this is likely to be the last post until the second half of August, after which I'll start 1978 with a few posts centered on the moon and on space stations. As such, I chose this mission to make a break because it can be considered as a sort of bridge been the earlier, EOS-focused part of this mission report and the lunar-focused one that is about of begin, much larger in scope and size than now. See ya in a few weeks!

my guy really pulled an FAM S2

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, rockettime03 said:

my guy really pulled an FAM S2

The funniest part is that almost everything in FAMK could definitely work, they just used the wrong design for it. Shuttles near the moon? Keep the ET attached or change the Orbiter. LSAM? It's pretty fantastic, but it needs to be bigger. Pathfinder? Maybe it can work, but you need an external tank ala Sortie Shuttle or at the very least to accelerate to hypersonic speeds before starting the nuclear engine. Even Sojurner works pretty great conceptually (it's extremely similar to a STCAEM mars lander proposal), it just needs to refuel in L2 and remove the very unnecessary mars orbit insertion burn

Edited by Beccab
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8 minutes ago, MATVEICH_YT said:

What mods do you use for this thing?

Screenshot_20220813_010959.jpg

It's a mix of a few parts - the most important ones are from the mod below, refreshed a bit with a semitransparent, white flag all over it from conformaldecals. Then there's BDB RL10 engines, Habtech2 docking ports (tweakscaled to 0.975 size as I did everywhere in this thread), arms made of Habtech2 and planetside robotics, "hands" made of Restock and scansat parts and finally a BDB thrust puck put above the four engines

 

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