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ESA needs to save NASA’s Moon plans.


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 The SLS was planned to have a large upper stage called the Exploration Upper Stage(EUS). This would take the SLS Block 1 to the SLS Block 2, needed for a single flight lunar architecture. However, the multi-billion dollar cost for development of a large upper stage from scratch means it’s unlikely to be funded.

 NASA is proposing a solution using the Starship making separate flights. But this plan takes 6 flights total or likely more of the Superheavy/Starship for the Starship to fly to the Moon to act as a lander. One look at this plan makes it apparent it’s unworkable:

1024px-Artemis_III_CONOPS.svg.png

 Actually, it’s likely to be more complex than portrayed in the figure, needing 8 to 16 refueling flights. This is what SpaceX submitted to NASA in proposing the plan, requiring 6 months to complete the Starship refueling:

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk details orbital refueling plans for Starship Moon lander. By Eric Ralph Posted on August 12, 2021
First, SpaceX will launch a custom variant of Starship that was redacted in the GAO decision document but confirmed by NASA to be a propellant storage (or depot) ship last year. Second, after the depot Starship is in a stable orbit, SpaceX’s NASA HLS proposal reportedly states that the company would begin a series of 14 tanker launches spread over almost six months – each of which would dock with the depot and gradually fill its tanks.

In response to GAO revealing that SpaceX proposed as many as 16 launches – including 14 refuelings – spaced ~12 days apart for every Starship Moon lander mission, Musk says that a need for “16 flights is extremely unlikely.” Instead, assuming each Starship tanker is able to deliver a full 150 tons of payload (propellant) into orbit after a few years of design maturation, Musk believes that it’s unlikely to take more than eight tanker launches to refuel the depot ship – or a total of ten launches including the depot and lander.

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-elon-musk-starship-orbital-refueling-details/

 

Everyone, remember the Apollo missions where we could get to the Moon in a single flight? In fact, this would be doable with the SLS given a large upper stage. Then the suggestion is for the ESA to provide a Ariane 5 or 6 as the upper stage for the SLS. It would save on costs to NASA by ESA paying for the modifications needed for the Ariane core.  

 As it is now ESA is involved in a small role in the Artemis lunar program by providing the service module to the Orion capsule. But it would now be playing a major  role by providing the key upper stage for the SLS.  

 The argument might be made that the height of the Ariane 5/6 is beyond the limitations set forth by NASA for the EUS. However, if you look at the ca. 30 m height of Ariane 5 core compared to the 14 m height of the interim cryogenic upper stage now on the SLS, this would put the total vehicle height only a couple of meters beyond the height that had already been planned for the SLS Block 2 anyway:

 

Super_heavy-lift_launch_vehicles.png

 

 See discussion here:  

Budget Moon Flights: Ariane 5 as SLS upper stage, page 2.   

https://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2013/09/budget-moon-flights-ariane-5-as-sls.html

 Coming up: ESA also could provide a low cost lander for the Artemis program.

   Robert Clark

Edited by Exoscientist
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3 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

This would take the SLS Block 1 to the SLS Block 2

That's wrong: the EUS makes SLS go from block 1 to block 1b, not block 2. That part is for the advanced SRB.

3 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

requiring 6 months to complete the Starship refueling:

Which the very phrase quoted calls unlikely, and even if it were to happen, what's the issue? SLS ain't going to fly more than once a year, ever

3 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

Then the suggestion is for the ESA to provide a Ariane 5 or 6 as the upper stage for the SLS. It would save on costs to NASA by ESA paying for the modifications needed for the Ariane core.  

"Hey ESA, do you have some free time? I need someone to build me an upper stage, all you need to do is to make an entirely new engine, reinforce the structure to make it suitable for the flight, slap on it an adapter and invent a way to send it to Cape Canaveral. You already have the tanks for Ariane 5, so it should be pretty easy. Love, NASA.

P.S. You need to pay for it too, and preferibly assemble it before 2026 so that I can maintain my schedule. Thanks!"

3 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

Everyone, remember the Apollo missions where we could get to the Moon in a single flight?

"It's how Apollo did it so it's right" isn't a great argument, considering you're talking about a program that could only do the definition itself of a flags & footprints series of mission before being cancelled for its unsustainable costs. Add to that the fact that the only way Lunar Orbit Rendezvous was considered better than EOR (i.e. multiple launches) was in that it was more likely to fulfill the lunar landing goal in this decade despite costing quite a bit more, and it's a pretty meaningless phrase

3 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

 The argument might be made that the height of the Ariane 5/6 is beyond the limitations set forth by NASA for the EUS. However, if you look at the ca. 30 m height of Ariane 5 core compared to the 14 m height of the interim cryogenic upper stage now on the SLS, this would put the total vehicle height only a couple of meters beyond the height that had already been planned for the SLS Block 2 anyway:

That's not how it works, at all. This is the least thought out part of the article (which isn't thought out a lot by itself), so I will focus on this in part specifically.

Given that you haven't, let's start by putting some math here:

- ICPS is 13 meters high, and the ariane 5 core is 31m; replacing one with the other will bring the full stack up of, at the very least, 18 meters

- the full SLS is now 116 meters high, or five more than Block II Cargo. This means a higher launch tower, which means a higher cost both to develop and per launch, but the article makes no mention of how this would reduce expenses so let's just ignore money, as there's more absurd parts here.

You have now obtained an almost a hundred and twenty meters high monstruosity (probably by 2030 or so, very optimistically) that has the capability to launch Orion by itself in a TLI, enter NRHO and then... do nothing. That's because in the whole article you forgot to adress the premise itself: where's the lander? In those 116 meters there's no free space whatsoever for nothing but some cubesats, surely not for a lander that can go NRHO -> lunar surface -> NRHO. You need to make some space for it by making the rocket higher and adding a long interstage to comanifest the lander.

However, you run into a second issue of this nonsensical architecture: the Ariane 5's radius is much smaller than the one of SLS, so small that it's only 15 mere centimeters more than Orion. With EUS you'd have a 9 meter fairing in which to fit your comanifested lander, but now, you have to make it fit into 5 meters instead.
The LEM had almost 7 meters to fit in thanks to the fantastic S-IVB, and it had to only go to LLO; this one needs to go all the way to NRHO thanks to Orion's absimal service module. Let's say that this adds only 15 more meters; this is more or less the height of the National Team lander, which couldn't fit at all into this fairing diameter, but let's keep it because I'm an optimistic person - maybe ESA can help NASA by finding two more meters inside a 5 meters fairing.

Your monstruosity is now 131 meters tall; thankfully the VAB doors are 138 meters high, so that's not a problem, right? But unfortunately, this rocket doesn't have wheels, and can only move above one of those NASA crawlers that carried shuttles, saturns and now SLS. That's an issue, because the 6-8 meters of the crawler make your rocket go above the top of the door; add to that the fact that you *also* need the Mobile Tower specifically built for this rocket, and you're probably a full 10 meters above the limit.




Now you have a 145ish meters rocket on the pad, a semi destroyed VAB door and a few thousand tons of LH2 and LOX waiting to send four brave people to the moon. What's still missing, however, is the lander: cause again, you started with the premise that you need to do this to solve the lander problem, but there's no lander that could work with this architecture. I don't mean one that is being built, mind you: there are zero lunar lander designs with enough fuel to go from NRHO to the moon and back that fit into a 5 x 14 fairing. There's exactly 0 chances that someone could design, build and test a crewed lander by 2025 starting from scratch - hell, I doubt someone could do that by 2028 by the time EUS will probably launch. 

I'm sorry but, this post really wasn't thought out much

Edited by Beccab
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2 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

 The SLS was planned to have a large upper stage called the Exploration Upper Stage(EUS). This would take the SLS Block 1 to the SLS Block 2, needed for a single flight lunar architecture. However, the multi-billion dollar cost for development of a large upper stage from scratch means it’s unlikely to be funded.

EUS takes SLS from Block 1 to Block 1B. Block 2 may come later, it includes changes such as composite boosters and upgraded RS-25 engines.

Regardless, EUS is already funded and the first articles are under construction. It's currently planned to fly first on Artemis IV. 

https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/fs/sls.html

2 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

 NASA is proposing a solution using the Starship making separate flights.

This has nothing to do with SLS block upgrades. NASA contracted SpaceX to develop a variant of Starship to land humans on the Moon as part of the Human Landing System (HLS) program. Artemis was never intended to land humans on the moon in a single launch; it's planned to be somewhat sustainable with landers eventually being reused.

2 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

One look at this plan makes it apparent it’s unworkable:

Why? The whole point of Starship is being cheap and rapidly reusable. If that is achieved, many launches is no problem.

2 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

 Actually, it’s likely to be more complex than portrayed in the figure, needing 8 to 16 refueling flights. This is what SpaceX submitted to NASA in proposing the plan, requiring 6 months to complete the Starship refueling:

Again, not a problem. Artemis mission cadence is bottlenecked by SLS launches - currently it can only fly as much as once per year. At some point, they might be able to increase that to two, and even in the worse-case scenario where Starship still takes 6 months to complete refuelling at that time, it won't be causing a bottleneck.

2 hours ago, Exoscientist said:

Everyone, remember the Apollo missions where we could get to the Moon in a single flight? In fact, this would be doable with the SLS given a large upper stage.

This is not the point of Artemis. It's not meant to be Apollo 2.0, because while SLS is still a hugely expensive expendable rocket, serious development is being put into landers that can make many trips between lunar orbit and the surface, as well as a lunar space station (admittedly, in a not-too-useful orbit).

Even if that was the plan, I highly doubt that Orion's underpowered service module would have the available delta-V to brake a lander into lunar orbit and still return to Earth.

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1. What makes them hope that cryogenic methalox  can wait for six months in orbit awaiting the finish of fuelling?

2. Have they made a sacrifice to please Her Divinity Artemis before using Her name?

3. Can they summon von Braun to bless this?

4. Is NERVA still standing in the desert, so they could just use it instead of all this shame, and build a proper lunar base Alpha? 

4.5. No, seriously. What if it's a time to use NERVA?

5. Seems, Angara may not hurry.

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7 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

What makes them hope that cryogenic methalox  can wait for six months in orbit awaiting the finish of fuelling?

Oh damn, I can't believe NASA forgot about boiloff

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On 6/10/2022 at 9:16 AM, kerbiloid said:

1. What makes them hope that cryogenic methalox  can wait for six months in orbit awaiting the finish of fuelling?

Not entirely related, but NASA faced a similar problem with the Reusable Nuclear Shuttle they were planning for in the immediate post-Apollo era.

The RNS would refuel at a propellant depot that would hold some 1,200 tons of LH2 in at least eight modules. These would be brought in by a Space Shuttle 25 tons at a time.

To prevent boiloff, the propellant depot would have two nuclear reactors for active cooling, and be covered in “super-insulation”.

As for Artemis, what propellant depot? I swear I thought Starship HLS was refueled directly by the tankers.

Also should this discussion should be merged with the Artemis thread @Vanamonde?

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1 minute ago, SunlitZelkova said:

As for Artemis, what propellant depot? I swear I thought Starship HLS was refueled directly by the tankers.

The more sensible method is to have a purpose-built, heavily insulated depot. Once that is full, HLS can be launched and refuelled in one go, minimizing loiter time and associated risks (I’m thinking MMOD, but there are probably others)

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57 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Not entirely related, but NASA faced a similar problem with the Reusable Nuclear Shuttle they were planning for in the immediate post-Apollo era.

The RNS would refuel at a propellant depot that would hold some 1,200 tons of LH2 in at least eight modules. These would be brought in by a Space Shuttle 25 tons at a time.

To prevent boiloff, the propellant depot would have two nuclear reactors for active cooling, and be covered in “super-insulation”.

Not always, see this RNS orbital propellant depot for example:
unknown.png

Quoting directly from the Rockwell NTRS report this is from:

"Propellant losses due to boiloff are minimized by the use of high performance insulation (HPI) and low thermal conductivity structural materials at discrete locations. The LH2 module has high-performance insulation external to the cylindrical portion of the module and at the tank ends. Heat conduction through the structure to the tank walls is controlled by the use of titanium for the skirt and docking section structures. The L02 tank is suspended within the module shell by low thermal conductivity struts or spokes and is surrounded by HPI"

Three other depot designs in the report also make use only of insulation to prevent boiloff (the last one doesn't have the schematic, presumably the NAR intern that scanned these forgot that page)
unknown.pngunknown.pngunknown.png

Edited by Beccab
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On 6/10/2022 at 11:49 AM, Beccab said:

Which the very phrase quoted calls unlikely, and even if it were to happen, what's the issue? SLS ain't going to fly more than once a year, ever

"Hey ESA, do you have some free time? I need someone to build me an upper stage, all you need to do is to make an entirely new engine, reinforce the structure to make it suitable for the flight, slap on it an adapter and invent a way to send it to Cape Canaveral. You already have the tanks for Ariane 5, so it should be pretty easy. Love, NASA.

P.S. You need to pay for it too, and preferibly assemble it before 2026 so that I can maintain my schedule. Thanks!"

"It's how Apollo did it so it's right" isn't a great argument, considering you're talking about a program that could only do the definition itself of a flags & footprints series of mission before being cancelled for its unsustainable costs. Add to that the fact that the only way Lunar Orbit Rendezvous was considered better than EOR (i.e. multiple launches) was in that it was more likely to fulfill the lunar landing goal in this decade despite costing quite a bit more, and it's a pretty meaningless phrase

The Grand  old Elephant in the room is one Senator Shelby retiring in 2024.  He is the driving force for funneling billions into the SLS program, and without him Artemis's future is up for grabs.  The whole point of Artemis was to give SLS something to do, and presumably also give the Senate a reason to fund SLS after Shelby's departure.

"It's how Apollo did it so its right".  At least Saturn was designed to go to the Moon.  SLS is a kerbal design made of already unlocked and personal (political) favorite parts, all connected into one spaceship.  Although if you wanted a stronger Apollo mission, I'd have recommended sending a much larger LEM on an uncrewed Apollo 12 (no command module or return fuel, so you can use all that mass in your LEM), to dock in Lunar orbit with Apollo 13 and be landed by those astronauts for an extended mission.  In retrospect, this would have been a disaster (of course, they *might* have brought an LEM along...) as we know how that turned out.  But with a Saturn V you could design a better mission for going to the Moon with multiple rockets.  I can't believe I have to point this out on a KSP website.

Note that the astronauts did do optical navigation and course correction during the trip to the Moon.  I'm not sure if an unmanned Apollo could hit the right attitude for a lunar orbit.  Targeting unmanned targets was proven in Gemini, so wouldn't be a problem once they confirmed it was in the right orbit.

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1 minute ago, wumpus said:

I'm not sure if an unmanned Apollo could hit the right attitude for a lunar orbit.

Surveyor, Ranger, Lunar Orbiter, etc all successfully reached lunar orbit, and the last ones in particular did it 100% of the times

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Just now, Beccab said:

Surveyor, Ranger, Lunar Orbiter, etc all successfully reached lunar orbit, and the last ones in particular did it 100% of the times

I know that had *an* orbit, but did they specifically fly over a place that NASA had specified as a possible landing site?  Even on the Moon, inclination changes require a ton of delta-v.  Mariners 4,6, and 7 did reasonably close flybys of Mars in 1964, 1969, and 1969, so maybe they were sufficiently accurate.  While I might play KSP with an "any orbit will do, just kill your orbit and find someplace to land", NASA has far more exacting requirements.  Also a reason I prefer Minmus: randomly landing on random patches of Mun (and presumably the Moon) is dangerous.

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2 hours ago, Beccab said:

Not always, see this RNS orbital propellant depot for example:
unknown.png

Quoting directly from the Rockwell NTRS report this is from:

"Propellant losses due to boiloff are minimized by the use of high performance insulation (HPI) and low thermal conductivity structural materials at discrete locations. The LH2 module has high-performance insulation external to the cylindrical portion of the module and at the tank ends. Heat conduction through the structure to the tank walls is controlled by the use of titanium for the skirt and docking section structures. The L02 tank is suspended within the module shell by low thermal conductivity struts or spokes and is surrounded by HPI"

Three other depot designs in the report also make use only of insulation to prevent boiloff (the last one doesn't have the schematic, presumably the NAR intern that scanned these forgot that page)
unknown.pngunknown.pngunknown.png

These are cool schematics! I am actually working on a story about the IPP and didn’t realize there were concrete OPD designs, thanks!

I don’t understand the “not always” though. When I said NASA had that problem then, I meant they then solved it.

1 hour ago, wumpus said:

The Grand  old Elephant in the room is one Senator Shelby retiring in 2024.  He is the driving force for funneling billions into the SLS program, and without him Artemis's future is up for grabs.  The whole point of Artemis was to give SLS something to do, and presumably also give the Senate a reason to fund SLS after Shelby's departure.

"It's how Apollo did it so its right".  At least Saturn was designed to go to the Moon.  SLS is a kerbal design made of already unlocked and personal (political) favorite parts, all connected into one spaceship.  Although if you wanted a stronger Apollo mission, I'd have recommended sending a much larger LEM on an uncrewed Apollo 12 (no command module or return fuel, so you can use all that mass in your LEM), to dock in Lunar orbit with Apollo 13 and be landed by those astronauts for an extended mission.  In retrospect, this would have been a disaster (of course, they *might* have brought an LEM along...) as we know how that turned out.  But with a Saturn V you could design a better mission for going to the Moon with multiple rockets.  I can't believe I have to point this out on a KSP website.

Note that the astronauts did do optical navigation and course correction during the trip to the Moon.  I'm not sure if an unmanned Apollo could hit the right attitude for a lunar orbit.  Targeting unmanned targets was proven in Gemini, so wouldn't be a problem once they confirmed it was in the right orbit.

Apollo is a horrible example. They chose which ever mission mode would get it done before 1970. Sustainability and efficiency in the long term was not a factor at all, nor performance in terms of a lunar base.

Using two Saturn Vs for a lander and then the crew transport wouldn’t really have been a “better” Moon mission per se. What was considered was launching a habitat with a 90 day endurance, and then launching an improved CSM called the XCSM and a three man LM to have all of the crew stay on the surface. A simpler two week mission using an LM based hab was proposed to occur before this.

1 hour ago, wumpus said:

I know that had *an* orbit, but did they specifically fly over a place that NASA had specified as a possible landing site?  Even on the Moon, inclination changes require a ton of delta-v.  Mariners 4,6, and 7 did reasonably close flybys of Mars in 1964, 1969, and 1969, so maybe they were sufficiently accurate.  While I might play KSP with an "any orbit will do, just kill your orbit and find someplace to land", NASA has far more exacting requirements.  Also a reason I prefer Minmus: randomly landing on random patches of Mun (and presumably the Moon) is dangerous.

Surveyor 7 landed with 3 kilometers of its targeted landing site.

The Lunar Orbiters photographed Apollo landing sites in detail. That was the whole point of them.

Mariner 4 flew by Mars at 10,000 some kilometers altitude. For comparison, a GEO satellite flys at 35,000 or so kilometers. This was far better than “reasonably close”.

Direct ascent landers are better because they don’t need a plane change to reach their target. Someone has probably done the math before, but I think Starship HLS or Starship itself could work as one.

Crew ride in Crew Dragon to Starship waiting in LEO, then fly to the Moon, enter polar LLO, and then land. Instead of having to rely on Orion and Gateway in NRHO, which severely restricts abort windows. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but once on the surface, in this mission profile Starship shouldn’t have to wait at all to abort and could return to Earth at any time.

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6 hours ago, wumpus said:

"It's how Apollo did it so its right". 

Spending a 3 000 t rocket per flight instead of 8 .. 16 x 5 000 t?
Yes, it looks right.
Even 2 x 3 000 t.
Even 2 x 5 000 t.
Even via the intermediate orbital station in the nearly-co-planar ("halo") orbit.

Apollo, is it good or bad, has flown more than once.

How many successful SH launch tests?
How many successful SS return tests?
How many successful SS docking tests?
How many successful cryopumping orbital tests?
... after several months in orbit?
... in several attempts, with overcooled liquid blobs of different temperature and varying density floating in tanks in zero-g?
8 times more launches = 7 times more attempts  to go wrong.
How many successful SS low-g landing tests?

Yes, it's much  better to totally rely upon the never-tested controversial design.

7 hours ago, Beccab said:

Not always, see this RNS orbital propellant depot for example:

How many RNS orbital propellant depots have been launched irl?

 

Btw, afaik SS still uses supercooled liquid oxygen, doesn't it?

It significantly changes its density on warming/cooling, that's why they like it.

If the underfueled SS is LEO for monts, so at least half of its time spends at +100°C, while another half - at -100° (still hotter than -180°), so the overcooled LOx will be not just warming, but also expanding (staying liquid).
So, months later the tank will be filled with lesser amount of oxygen than it's designed for.
And the engine will be working on warmer liquids than it's designed for.
Any successful tests with a smaller SS model of this?

7 hours ago, wumpus said:

The whole point of Artemis was to give SLS something to do, and presumably also give the Senate a reason to fund SLS after Shelby's departure.

What do I say about the unsinkable SLS? It will be in priority in any case, because it's keeping warm the large diameter SRB (i.e. ICBM/SLBM) manufacturer.
If a Moon is needed for that, let it be a Moon.

4 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Sustainability and efficiency in the long term was not a factor at all

1 x 3 000 t vs ~10 x 5 000 t, about ten successful flights with only one failed (and not due to the ship/rocket themselves)?

They could do it better, yes.

 

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7 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

I don’t understand the “not always” though. When I said NASA had that problem then, I meant they then solved it.

Oh I meant that they didn't always need nuclear, the designs above are using only insulation like the Starship-derived depot will

7 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

These are cool schematics! I am actually working on a story about the IPP and didn’t realize there were concrete OPD designs, thanks!

The NTRS number is 19720025151 if you want to read it, it has a ton of mini depot designs to refuel the space tug and then the ones above for the CPS and RNS. It took me a loooong time to find, there's like three Apollo era reports on reports with actual designs and then dozens upon dozens of either Apollo era studies on boiloff or Shuttle era ones that have nothing to do with the previous put in the mix.

If you need help with any IPP-related report with schematics feel free to ask, I gathered basically every one I could find for the IPP mission report. I have designs for Saturn tankers, Shuttle tankers, space tug, lunar stations, flybacks...

Another report I have found some designs (this time using nuclear) is in 19700031719, though they aren't nearly as detailed as the previous ones.

unknown.png

unknown.png

If the schematics of these are somewhere on the internet I haven't found them, they probably are gathering dust in an achieve at Marshall or were destroyed at some point in the last 50 years. Or maybe they never existed, dunno

Edited by Beccab
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On 6/10/2022 at 6:59 AM, Exoscientist said:

Everyone, remember the Apollo missions where we could get to the Moon in a single flight? In fact, this would be doable with the SLS given a large upper stage. Then the suggestion is for the ESA to provide a Ariane 5 or 6 as the upper stage for the SLS. It would save on costs to NASA by ESA paying for the modifications needed for the Ariane core.  

Won't work for a few reasons.

1. The delta v of that Ariane core stage, depending on what engines (440 vs 432 Isp) and prop mass is something like 4800 m/s. assuming the payload on top of that is ~65 tonnes (70 would be better, drops dv to 4.5 km/s). The payload needs to be ~65+ tons for a 1 launch lunar mission, because the Orion CSM is awful. You'd also then have everything above SLS core down to 5.4m.

Anyway, this puts the Arianne upper stage, plus lander, plus CSM at ~235t. Since SLS core can't put 235t into LEO, the upper stage would have to do some of that, and it's going to use more dv that it will have.

2. Orion. Any single launch architecture that looks more like Apollo that includes Orion needs a huge lander, since Orion can't function like the Apollo CSM. All it can do is fly home, LOI has to be done by the lander—just like Altair, since Orion is from Constellation. BTW, I agree, SLS should have been designed to accomplish, landing on the Moon is the only interesting human mission to cislunar space.

3. As soon as you add a 23.5m stage, the added ~15m of height means that we need a new MLS. That's apparently a few years, and a billion $ (OIG just ripped Bechtel a new one on MLS-2). So delay, plus all the design, testing, etc required.

4. We still need a lander that masses ~38-43t, can do the needed LOI burn, land, then return to LLO, AND fit in a 5.4m interstage.

Edited by tater
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On 6/10/2022 at 6:59 AM, Exoscientist said:

 Coming up: ESA also could provide a low cost lander for the Artemis program.

Can it do LOI for the lander, plus the ~27t Orion CSM?

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13 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

1 x 3 000 t vs ~10 x 5 000 t, about ten successful flights with only one failed (and not due to the ship/rocket themselves)?

They could do it better, yes.

What I am saying is Apollo was not good, not that Artemis is good.

Edited by SunlitZelkova
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1 hour ago, SunlitZelkova said:

What I am saying is Apollo was not good, not that Artemis is good.

Apollo was great. They had a mission goal, and they achieved it. They absolutely could have moved forward, too.

Had the mission been a base, then maybe they do something else, instead. SLS is bad because it can accomplish no useful mission at all, not as is, not Block 1B, not Block 2, and not with an Ariane as stage 2. It's a hot mess.

Making a LV that is a jack of all trades, master of none is fine, but while it need not be the BEST for any particular trade, it must be able to do that job. If the job is human cislunar missions, SLS needs to be able to at least minimally do all such missions. It can in fact do none.

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10 minutes ago, tater said:

Apollo was great. They had a mission goal, and they achieved it. They absolutely could have moved forward, too.

Had the mission been a base, then maybe they do something else, instead. SLS is bad because it can accomplish no useful mission at all, not as is, not Block 1B, not Block 2, and not with an Ariane as stage 2. It's a hot mess.

Making a LV that is a jack of all trades, master of none is fine, but while it need not be the BEST for any particular trade, it must be able to do that job. If the job is human cislunar missions, SLS needs to be able to at least minimally do all such missions. It can in fact do none.

I meant in terms of sustainability.

It was technically sound and had great performance but was not made to be palatable to the Congress of the 1960s. That’s on Congress too though, not just Apollo.

Ideally NASA would have gotten their way with starting with advanced LEO flights, then a space station, then using the LEO vehicle for circumlunar flights, then a landing. Perhaps we might have landed humans on Mars in 2021 if that had been the case. This would require people to care about spaceflight as much as they do any other government-funded research program though. ITER comes to mind as an equivalent example.

Parts of it could have been good (in terms of sustainability). Using Saturn IBs and CSMs for a space station program akin to how Salyut went was a possibility. Based on an estimate from 1967, a Saturn IB would cost 700 million some dollars in 2011, but I wonder if that could have been reduced.

Why was Proton so cheap? At least in 2010, it was 110 million or so.

I wonder whether funding Skylab B and launching one of the remaining Saturn Vs would have been cheaper than developing the Shuttle.

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4 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

I meant in terms of sustainability.

It was technically sound and had great performance but was not made to be palatable to the Congress of the 1960s. That’s on Congress too though, not just Apollo.

Ideally NASA would have gotten their way with starting with advanced LEO flights, then a space station, then using the LEO vehicle for circumlunar flights, then a landing. Perhaps we might have landed humans on Mars in 2021 if that had been the case. This would require people to care about spaceflight as much as they do any other government-funded research program though. ITER comes to mind as an equivalent example.

Parts of it could have been good (in terms of sustainability). Using Saturn IBs and CSMs for a space station program akin to how Salyut went was a possibility. Based on an estimate from 1967, a Saturn IB would cost 700 million some dollars in 2011, but I wonder if that could have been reduced.

Why was Proton so cheap? At least in 2010, it was 110 million or so.

I wonder whether funding Skylab B and launching one of the remaining Saturn Vs would have been cheaper than developing the Shuttle.

All this is semi-off topic for this thread—though the current Artemis plan with Starship as the lander is a "sustainable" (ish, lol) plan that no improved SLS fixes. If Starship manages to do HLS, SLS is entirely obviated.

I get the point about choosing a more sustainable initial lunar architecture during the Apollo era, but as a counterfactual, I don;t think it holds water. Apollo was precisely what could be done give the political situation in the US. Minus the time limit ("before the decade is out"), Apollo never happens, nor anything more interesting.

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21 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Using two Saturn Vs for a lander and then the crew transport wouldn’t really have been a “better” Moon mission per se. What was considered was launching a habitat with a 90 day endurance, and then launching an improved CSM called the XCSM and a three man LM to have all of the crew stay on the surface. A simpler two week mission using an LM based hab was proposed to occur before this.

The "extended stay missons" (with LM hab) lasted 3 days maximum ("J missions, Apollo 14 & Apollo 15).  I suspect that docking in Earth orbit and flying the entire contraption to the Moon would make more sense.  The real issue is exactly when they could pull resources off Apollo 11 (just getting the boots and flag to the Moon before the USSR) and start building a new hab.  No way they will complete the hab and integration before Apollo gets canceled (regardless of how they plan to deliver the new hab to the Moon.

22 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Apollo is a horrible example. They chose which ever mission mode would get it done before 1970. Sustainability and efficiency in the long term was not a factor at all, nor performance in terms of a lunar base.

As far as I know, Saturn 1B was a cheaper and more efficient means to orbit than the Space Shuttle (and Saturn V would have been far superior in assisting the building of ISS, although if it wasn't launched from 1975 to 1985 it would have been effectively impossible to launch at all, thanks to some of those sustainability issues.  No idea how long you could go between launches but it was far less than 10 years).  The sins of sustainability and efficiency were largely political (being easier to cancel than the sunk costs of the Shuttle).  Rushing the job meant that they didn't have the time  to add the bloat in costs and inefficiency of the SLS.  Old space (and the rest of the US military industrial complex) has very weak links between performance and funding.  Expecting rational project goals from them doesn't make sense, and the rush to build turns out to be a strength of Apollo and not a weakness (NASA had no reason to listen to every senator's pet requirement).

 

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