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Old 07-19-2019, 09:46 AM
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Apollo 2019: What steps would we change


The Apollo 11 mission had so many complex stages from take off to the moon landing. The one where the craft had to do a 180 degree turn to dock back on the command module, soon after the Saturn V tanks had been ditched, comes to mind.

So with todays technology, how would we simplify the process. Are so many undockings and dockings of various vehicles necessary.

What will change with Apollo 2019 moon mission including man on moon part.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:52 AM
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I'm not an engineer but I'm guessing there are a wide array of procedures that would now be handled by computer that had to be done by humans on the original Apollo missions. And that meant that the Apollos had to be designed so that humans had the layout and the equipment to do all these things.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:01 AM
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Yes, the Saturn V had over 80 thrusters and motors. As well as the multiple stages you mentioned. However, it was pretty much the only feasible way to accomplish the mission. The Lunar Orbit Rendezvous was initially flat out dismissed by NASA but advocacy by various proponents and the realization that landing the command module on the moon would require a ridiculous amount fuel in the CM and launch vehicle.

I think the fundamental difference today is that the vehicle would be assembled in low earth orbit at the ISS. This vehicle doesn't need to be aerodynamic. Perhaps this vehicle parks in Lunar Orbit, with smaller landers doing the lunar exploration. Supply drones would be necessary to supply fuel.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:10 PM
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Complexity, in itself, isn’t really a problem if it’s what’s required. As they said in the wonderful miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon”, astronauts are smart - they’ll figure it out.

That said, sure - simplifying things would be great. But the Apollo program developed the way it did as a product of its very specific time. Get there before the decade is out - that meant do it fast. Had more time been available maybe we wouldn’t have done it with throwaway components that could only be used once.

As already stated, today’s computing power changes everything. So does the desire to maintain a presence on the moon. Apollo wasn’t really set up to do that, despite the hopes of the people involved (including my grandfather, who worked on the lunar module at Grumman).

So I think anything we do today should be considered its own thing, not Apollo 2.0, despite the many lessons to be learned from what we did before.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:23 PM
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Some of the unused lunar modules were sold for scrap. I wonder what they went for.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:38 PM
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There was a SF story (Heinlein IIRC) where the trip was Earth surface => Earth orbit (change ships) => lunar orbit (change ships) => lunar surface. This was used for regular lunar trips but I could see an Earth orbit to lunar surface trip using a space station.
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:33 PM
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I may be wrong about this, but I believe the ISS's orbit has a much-too-high inclination for it to be practical as a way station for lunar missions. In a similar vein, are there any reasons for having any kind of way-station in the first place? When a component is left behind because it isn't needed for the next stage of the mission, what's wrong with just leaving it there in whatever orbit, all by its lonesome or docked with other components needed for other stages?
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:14 PM
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I may be wrong about this, but I believe the ISS's orbit has a much-too-high inclination for it to be practical as a way station for lunar missions. In a similar vein, are there any reasons for having any kind of way-station in the first place? When a component is left behind because it isn't needed for the next stage of the mission, what's wrong with just leaving it there in whatever orbit, all by its lonesome or docked with other components needed for other stages?
You have a life saving station in orbit, a place to make repairs or more likely, keep a lifeboat.

Why did NASA elect to send the command module and the LM on the same rocket? Why not take them to orbit on two smaller, less complicated rockets?
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:07 PM
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You have a life saving station in orbit, a place to make repairs or more likely, keep a lifeboat.

Why did NASA elect to send the command module and the LM on the same rocket? Why not take them to orbit on two smaller, less complicated rockets?
Maybe because with 2 rockets you double the probability of a mission failure? Even if the rockets were smaller than the Saturn V they would still be complex.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:39 PM
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We would do it like SpaceX is doing Starship.

Starship (aka BFR aka "Big Fucking Rocket") is a rather larger rocket than a Saturn V. It has a similar payload, though, due to the cost of reusability.

A single launch of Starship is not enough to get to the Moon and back. However, the craft can refuel in orbit. By doing so, it can achieve a delta V of 6.9 km/s with a payload of 100 t. It would take maybe a half-dozen flights to fully fuel, but that's ok since the craft is fully reusable.

The full lunar landing and return cycle needs more than 6.9 km/s, but since most of the payload will be left on the moon (largely being things like shelters, power systems, rovers, etc.), it should be plenty. And if not, the 100 t can be reduced to 50 t or some intermediate value--still enormous compared to what Apollo landed.

Since all the complexity happens in LEO, and doesn't even require humans, failures are much easier to deal with. Once refueled, you have a nice self-contained rocket with a huge amount of capacity. No extra rendezvous or staged vehicles or anything at that point.

And all this for a much lower cost than Apollo, since the vehicles aren't thrown away on each use.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:14 PM
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As already mentioned, a direct return from the Moon means taking a spacecraft that can fly straight from the Lunar surface to the Earth, and landing the whole thing intact on the Moon. That takes a huge amount of fuel.

So it became necessary to split the return spacecraft into two parts: a lander + ascent module that went down to the Moon, and a command module + service module that had the necessary fuel for the return flight and the equipment necessary for reentry and landing on earth.

This alone necessitated the ability for the two parts to rendezvous and dock in space. So the initial separation & docking (where shortly after launch from earth, the command module flips around and docks onto the lunar module) doesn't require any additional hardware. It's just one more thing to do with the same hardware they'd need anyway for other parts of the mission.

I'm not sure how we could make it any simpler today. The Constellation program (started in 2005, canceled in 2009) was similar but with one major difference: The crew capsule was to be launched on a separate, smaller rocket (Ares I), while the heavy lift rocket (Ares V) would launch everything else without crew. The two would rendezvous in earth orbit, much like the two halves of the Apollo did, and continue to the Moon. This way, they would end up with a smaller human-rated rocket that could also be used to ferry astronauts to the ISS, and the Ares-V didn't need to be human-rated.

In 2009, NASA decided to abandon this plan (which was underfunded and delayed anyway). Instead of developing the Ares-I, they invested in several private companies and worked with them to develop crew launch capabilities. They continued with supposedly simpler, cheaper version of the Ares-V, now called the SLS. Except now, I think the SLS is supposed to do an Apollo-like single-launch trip to the Moon.

Last edited by scr4; 07-19-2019 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:29 PM
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And all this for a much lower cost than Apollo, since the vehicles aren't thrown away on each use.
Reusability only save money if you are making multiple flights. When your marching order is to put a man on the Moon by a specific deadline, reusability doesn't necessarily help.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:47 PM
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Reusability only save money if you are making multiple flights. When your marching order is to put a man on the Moon by a specific deadline, reusability doesn't necessarily help.
No doubt. Apollo was done the way it was to get to the Moon as early as possible. Since we are no longer engaged in a space race, there's no need to take that approach. And besides, we aren't going to spend 4% of the Federal budget on the project, the way we did with Apollo. So if it's happening at all, it needs to be relatively cheap, and that means reusability must play a part.

Note that for the Starship approach, reusability is necessary for the refueling trips if nothing else. Otherwise it ends up being even worse than Apollo: building a half-dozen giant rockets for a single trip to the Moon.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:51 PM
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Apollo was done the way it was to get to the Moon as early as possible. Since we are no longer engaged in a space race, there's no need to take that approach.
Did you miss the news that the President ordered NASA to land a man on the Moon by 2024?

Last edited by scr4; 07-19-2019 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:55 PM
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Launches to orbit are easier now. I could envision launching a larger Command Module and Landing Module first and hooking up with a larger Crew Module in orbit. If you wanted to get fancy, the Crew Module could link up with an Earth Decent Module in earth orbit to bring the crew down in a tail-first manner. All in all, I could see a larger payload to the moon allowing for a longer stay and more toys.
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:59 AM
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Did you miss the news that the President ordered NASA to land a man on the Moon by 2024?
I'll believe they're going to accomplish that when I see enough money appropriated by Congress. Trump's not the first president to give NASA orders to land people somewhere (usually Mars). They all want to do another JFK thing, but none followed up with the necessary expansion of NASA's budget. We'll see if Trump is different on that.
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:05 AM
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Oh, to answer the OP, we need to make sure the first person to step onto the Moon doesn't flub their line.
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Old 07-20-2019, 05:51 AM
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A big part of current plans to return are not a great deal different to the original. The really big ticket issues are not a lot different to 50 years ago. The energy requirements and efficiencies in how the mission is staged haven changed.

Some questions were answered by Apollo, and he answers remain. - Can we manage the various rendezvous operations? The answer is yes. The complexity of swinging the CSM around to pluck out the LM, and in particular the lunar orbit rendezvous are now a trivial question. We rendezvous with the ISM as a matter of course, and managed to rendezvous with orbiting satellites (especially the HST) without effort. If anything rendezvous operations will be much more prevalent.

Building a staging orbiting platform in orbit around the moon is the big change from 50 years ago. But it makes just as much sense now as it did 50 years ago to have a dedicated lander. A direct ascent mission makes as much sense now as it did back then. Not much. You don't win anything, and buy into a whole massive about of technical risk. The energy budget goes out massively, meaning everything costs vastly more for no useful gain.

I like to point to episodes in technical maturity. We have not advanced all that much technically in the last 50 years when it comes to spaceflight. We are still using 50 year old rocket motor designs. The SLS is nothing more than a warmed over STS system that was already being designed when the Apollo missions were being flown. The most recent progress has been in optimisations to the general principles. We have reduce costs with newer production methods, and computer aided design and manufacture help enormously. But the Boeing 747 first flew a few years before the moon landing. 50 years hence and there is a very good chance that if you take an international flight, it will be on a 747. It is a newer model, much developed, but undeniably a 747. A moon landing is not going to be that much different. In that time airfares have dropped in real terms drastically. We hope that a return to the moon will have dropped in cost at least a reasonable fraction. But one would go about it in much the same manner.
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:11 AM
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Great post, and I agree. Nitpick:You exaggerated the 747’s lifespan a bit, at both ends. It first flew right when Apollo 11 was happening (and entered commercial service soon thereafter), not before.

And, it stopped flying commercially last year. So, not quite 50 years, but almost. Since around the turn of the millennium, an international flight has been more likely to be on a 777 (or A330 or A380, later a 787 or an A350...).

But your overall point is spot on.
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:16 AM
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And, it [747] stopped flying commercially last year.
Really?

This link begs to differ:
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To put Lufthansa’s operations into perspective, the airline’s final outstanding B747 order was fulfilled on 30th April 2015. Although aircraft are constantly being built with longer life spans in mind, let’s assume the B747-8 has an expected lifespan of 25 years. This would indicate that the aircraft will be withdrawn from service in 2040.
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:52 AM
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I'll believe they're going to accomplish that when I see enough money appropriated by Congress. Trump's not the first president to give NASA orders to land people somewhere (usually Mars). They all want to do another JFK thing, but none followed up with the necessary expansion of NASA's budget. We'll see if Trump is different on that.
Nevertheless, NASA is part of the executive branch of the United States. Whatever the President says is the official goal of NASA, so that's what they work towards.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:27 AM
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Really?

This link begs to differ:
I’m happy to be corrected! I must have been recalling the series of announcements by individual airlines about their last 747 flights, over the past two years or so. Good to see Lufthansa and British Airways still fly ‘em.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:29 AM
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No rocket has matched the low Earth orbit payload capacity of the Saturn V but there are plans for a Space X rocket to surpass it

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_...launch_vehicle
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:30 AM
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Really?



This link begs to differ:
It was the last 747-100 (original variant) that was retired last year (https://airlinerwatch.com/the-oldesr...the-skies/amp/), from engine testing service with GE. This variant first flew Feb 9, 1969.

Still some -200s and especially -400s still flying: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List..._747_operators

NB
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:36 AM
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In 2009, NASA decided to abandon this plan (which was underfunded and delayed anyway). Instead of developing the Ares-I, they invested in several private companies and worked with them to develop crew launch capabilities. They continued with supposedly simpler, cheaper version of the Ares-V, now called the SLS. Except now, I think the SLS is supposed to do an Apollo-like single-launch trip to the Moon.
As far as I know, none of the NASA concept missions have been single-launch.

You're probably thinking of the Altair concept, which dates back to the Ares V days. Even it was a multi-launch mission: the Altair lander would launch on a Ares V, and the crew would launch on the Ares I and rendezvous in low earth orbit.

The current Artemis program is even more ridiculous: build a "gateway" space station in an eliptical high orbit around the Moon, dock a lander, and fly the crew to it using an SLS-launched Orion. The whole thing is basically designed around the inadequate capabilities of SLS and Orion, which can't otherwise make a trip too and from lunar low orbit by itself. (My one tiny shred of hope around this whole boondogle is that the Lunar Gateway is going to be built from general-purpose modules that might be the basis for something more useful, like a Mars transfer vehicle.)
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:43 AM
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Why did NASA elect to send the command module and the LM on the same rocket? Why not take them to orbit on two smaller, less complicated rockets?
Fully fueled, the LM only weighed 7 tons. The Saturn V had the ability to put 150 tons in LEO - a requirement as the third stage - with fuel, was required for TLI.

Saving 10-15 tons (LM plus the required third stage fuel, fairing etc.) wouldn't have made the Saturn V much smaller. You would then need an entirely separate rocket to launch the LM, which would then have to dock with the third stage for TLI anyway.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:03 AM
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Outside of the edit window.... My back-of -the-envelope scratchings came up with the Saturn V weighing about 140-150 tons less on lift off, if the LM wasn't part of the payload.

The Saturn V weighed about 3000 tons at launch so a small savings - 5%.

What did NASA have in their arsenal?

The Titan couldn't lift 10 tons into LEO - the Gemini payload was about 4 tons. So they would have had to use a Saturn 1B to launch just the LM - which is completely overkill.

I'm sure all the options were looked at by those guys with slide rules.

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Old 07-20-2019, 10:03 AM
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You need to remember that the Saturn V was being designed and built at the same time as the Lunar mission hardware was. They were both starting with only a rough outline of what the mission parameters were. The S-V was mostly nailed down before lunar orbit rendezvous was selected. The CSM and LM designers were constantly battling moving mass and performance targets as the designs developed, and even then there were revisions that improved performance that were only available in later missions. The Earth orbit rendezvous was going to simply use two S-V launches.

Note, getting the payload onto a lunar trajectory takes a lot more energy that just getting to LEO. The trans-lunar injection burn took about 2/3rds of what the third stage held.
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:19 AM
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As already mentioned, a direct return from the Moon means taking a spacecraft that can fly straight from the Lunar surface to the Earth, and landing the whole thing intact on the Moon. That takes a huge amount of fuel.

So it became necessary to split the return spacecraft into two parts: a lander + ascent module that went down to the Moon, and a command module + service module that had the necessary fuel for the return flight and the equipment necessary for reentry and landing on earth.

This alone necessitated the ability for the two parts to rendezvous and dock in space. So the initial separation & docking (where shortly after launch from earth, the command module flips around and docks onto the lunar module) doesn't require any additional hardware. It's just one more thing to do with the same hardware they'd need anyway for other parts of the mission

In 2009, NASA decided to abandon this plan (which was underfunded and delayed anyway). Instead of developing the Ares-I, they invested in several private companies and worked with them to develop crew launch capabilities. They continued with supposedly simpler, cheaper version of the Ares-V, now called the SLS. Except now, I think the SLS is supposed to do an Apollo-like single-launch trip to the Moon.
So soon after take off one module separated did a 180 degree flip and docked. Very impressive but to my silly mind the question was why did they not take off from earth already flipped and docked?
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:55 PM
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So soon after take off one module separated did a 180 degree flip and docked. Very impressive but to my silly mind the question was why did they not take off from earth already flipped and docked?
I asked Dopers this a few years ago. The best answer, I think, was about the escape rocket — that thingy on top of the Apollo stack that would allow an abort (theoretically) during the first couple minutes of launch. Hard to make that work if the astronauts are upside down and lower in the stack.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:59 PM
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So soon after take off one module separated did a 180 degree flip and docked. Very impressive but to my silly mind the question was why did they not take off from earth already flipped and docked?
The command module has a hatch on one end and the heat shield on the other side. (You don't want an opening in the middle of your heat shield.) It must reenter and land with the heat shield side down, so it makes sense to launch it heat-shield side down as well, otherwise the astronauts will be upside down during launch or landing.

Also, the command module acts as an escape system in case of a catastrophic failure, so it needs to be in a position where it can be ejected cleanly away from the rocket. The logical thing to do is to place it at the very top, so there's nothing above it that gets in the way of ejection.

So now the command module is at the top, with the hatch at the top. So it can't be connected to anything. But no big deal, the command module (+ service module) has the ability to maneuver in space, and the ability to dock with the LEM. So just do one more docking maneuver.

The alternative is a far more elaborate escape system that jettisons everything above the command module first, then let the command module eject. And part of that process is disconnecting the LEM from the command module so it can be jettisoned.
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:24 PM
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You have a life saving station in orbit, a place to make repairs or more likely, keep a lifeboat.
I believe that kind of thinking reflects the needs of earthbound travel, not the realities of space travel. If you have a problem with your spacecraft, you need to fix it now, in whatever orbit you're currently in, or go home. There's no point in using the delta-V to stop someplace else unless that was already part of your mission in the first place. Like.. rendezvousing with your re-entry capsule. There's your lifeboat. What needs to be docked with it that wasn't part of the actual mission plan?
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:33 PM
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I believe that kind of thinking reflects the needs of earthbound travel, not the realities of space travel. If you have a problem with your spacecraft, you need to fix it now, in whatever orbit you're currently in, or go home. There's no point in using the delta-V to stop someplace else unless that was already part of your mission in the first place. Like.. rendezvousing with your re-entry capsule. There's your lifeboat. What needs to be docked with it that wasn't part of the actual mission plan?
There was some thought that John Glenn's heat shield was damaged. NASA elected not to tell him. There was a method for shuttle crew members to inspect the tiles before reentry. There are two examples of why you might want to have a spacecraft available that could get astronauts home.
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:39 PM
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I’m happy to be corrected! I must have been recalling the series of announcements by individual airlines about their last 747 flights, over the past two years or so. Good to see Lufthansa and British Airways still fly ‘em.
You may have been reading articles noting that, as of 2017, there are no U.S. airlines still flying the 747.
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Old 07-20-2019, 04:37 PM
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So soon after take off one module separated did a 180 degree flip and docked. Very impressive but to my silly mind the question was why did they not take off from earth already flipped and docked?
It's not like flying airplanes in formation. There isn't any wind or turbulence. When they undocked the command module, the two spacecraft were effectively hanging motionless relative to each other.
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Old 07-20-2019, 05:17 PM
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Nevertheless, NASA is part of the executive branch of the United States. Whatever the President says is the official goal of NASA, so that's what they work towards.
Right. Nevertheless, the aerospace industry is skeptical. As the saying goes: "No bucks, no Buck Rogers".
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:47 PM
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Yes, it'd be nice to have a spare reentry-capable spacecraft for emergency use. But if you didn't launch it with your original vehicle, then how do you get to it? It's not so simple as "space is a place, and so if you're in space, and the lifeboat is in space, then you're close to the lifeboat". Space isn't a place; it's a whole lot of places, and it's in general very hard to get from one of those places to another.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:17 PM
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You may have been reading articles noting that, as of 2017, there are no U.S. airlines still flying the 747.
The article makes a crucial point about the obsolescence of the 747. Both it and the Airbus A380 - which is a much more modern base design - are essentially obsolete for the same reasons. The business has moved on from spoke-hub routes, and passengers now tend to fly much more direct routes. It isn't so much that either plane is technically obsolete, but for the market, things have moved on. The 747 remains a backbone of international flights out of Australia on Qantas - but the new non-stop Perth-London route (as well as the non-stop Melbourne SanFransico, and Brisbane - LA routes ) are all Dreamliners. Airbus bet on spoke-hub but it has not really panned out for their massive investment in the A380.

ESA have a similar problem with the Ariane V. It is too big for most commercial mission payloads. They put a lot of work into being able to loft two satellites at a time, but its successor will be a smaller rocket, designed around the sweet spot in the launch market.

The Ariane V is a very reliable big rocket, and its big ticket task very soon will be to launch the Web Space Telescope. When you have over 10 billion dollars worth of payload you want to get it right.
  #39  
Old 07-20-2019, 10:03 PM
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Right. Nevertheless, the aerospace industry is skeptical. As the saying goes: "No bucks, no Buck Rogers".
Everyone is skeptical. All I'm saying is, NASA has no choice but to make a good-faith effort to meet the 2024 goal, with whatever resources it has available. NASA can't just say "no, 2024 is not realistic, so we're going to ignore that deadline, and work with SpaceX to develop a reusable lunar spaceship instead."

Last edited by scr4; 07-20-2019 at 10:05 PM.
  #40  
Old 07-21-2019, 08:55 AM
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Yes, it'd be nice to have a spare reentry-capable spacecraft for emergency use. But if you didn't launch it with your original vehicle, then how do you get to it? It's not so simple as "space is a place, and so if you're in space, and the lifeboat is in space, then you're close to the lifeboat". Space isn't a place; it's a whole lot of places, and it's in general very hard to get from one of those places to another.
I thought Buzz Aldrin had that figured out.
  #41  
Old 07-21-2019, 09:01 AM
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No High Oxygen atmosphere in the command module.
{REMEMBERING THE FIRE}
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"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."
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  #42  
Old 07-21-2019, 11:36 AM
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No High Oxygen atmosphere in the command module.
{REMEMBERING THE FIRE}
I know this is a digression — and I apologize — but this post brought this editorial cartoon to mind. It brought tears to my eyes in 1969; oddly enough, it still does.
  #43  
Old 07-21-2019, 11:41 AM
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Apollo never stopped using pure oxygen though. Even the Apollo capsule for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project used a pure oxygen atmosphere, and they had to connect to the Soyuz (which uses nitrogen/oxygen) through an airlock. The lessons learned from Apollo-1 was mainly about materials that are flammable in pure oxygen atmosphere.

Last edited by scr4; 07-21-2019 at 11:43 AM.
  #44  
Old 07-21-2019, 12:53 PM
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I know this is a digression — and I apologize — but this post brought this editorial cartoon to mind. It brought tears to my eyes in 1969; oddly enough, it still does.
Ed White walked in space during a Gemini flight. I thought that he was, like Neil Armstrong, an X-15 pilot, but it seems that I was mistaken.
  #45  
Old 07-21-2019, 11:01 PM
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Did you miss the news that the President ordered NASA to land a man on the Moon by 2024?
I didn't miss it--I ignored it. To start, $1.6B is chump change. It's barely enough to get a study going in today's NASA.

I put the odds at 0% of a manned landing on the Moon by 2024 if SLS is involved, no matter what happens with the funding. There is a tiny outside chance of happening if the plan is just to throw a bunch of money SpaceX's way, but the odds of that happening are also zero given the way NASA works politically.

SpaceX may just barely have enough internal funding to launch an unmanned mission to the Moon by 2024 via Starship. I think the odds are low, but not quite impossible. And maybe if that happens, NASA will have no choice but to dump SLS and go that route. But still--super long odds. SpaceX will have an easier time if and when Starlink comes together and starts making a lot of money, but that will take several years.

NASA may just barely be able to put someone around the moon via SLS+Orion by 2024. But that's easy mode.
  #46  
Old 07-21-2019, 11:46 PM
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NASA may just barely be able to put someone around the moon via SLS+Orion by 2024. But that's easy mode.
And return him safely to earth?
We are A LOT out of practice.

At least 2024 is Solar Max, so few cosmic ray problems, just solar flares.
  #47  
Old 07-22-2019, 02:26 AM
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And return him safely to earth?
We are A LOT out of practice.
Not saying it's easy, just easier--by a lot. Capsule expertise hasn't decayed, nor has basic life support. And a free return trajectory isn't the hardest thing in the world.

Artemis 2 is supposed to launch in 2023. Given how many delays SLS experienced, it doesn't seem likely that it'll be right on schedule. But they could conceivably make 2024 if the funding is there.

But Artemis 3 in 2024? No way. They need a completely new landing vehicle and as best I can tell they haven't even sketched out a design yet, let alone started bending metal.
  #48  
Old 07-22-2019, 03:53 AM
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SpaceX may just barely have enough internal funding to launch an unmanned mission to the Moon by 2024 via Starship.
SpaceX has already launched an unmanned moon mission earlier this year, the Israeli Beresheet lunar probe. It achieved lunar orbit but crashed on the moon due to failure of the gyroscope. If someone has a moon probe ready to go, they could easily do it again.
  #49  
Old 07-22-2019, 04:49 AM
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SpaceX has already launched an unmanned moon mission earlier this year, the Israeli Beresheet lunar probe.
True. I should have said "unmanned, but with a vehicle that could conceivably be manned." Namely, Starship. A Crew Dragon atop a Falcon Heavy could have done a flyby as well, but they gave up on that effort in favor of Starship. Dragon didn't have much future there since it never would have been able to land.
  #50  
Old 07-22-2019, 08:12 AM
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After watching First Man I learned Armstrong nearly died in Gemini 8 , they went into a spin they almost could not get out of. The mission was supposed to be 3 days but it was cut to 10 hours. They were testing docking with the Agena module.
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