Thursday, October 22, 2009

Human Space Flight "Augustine Comission" Final Report

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf

Here it is. If you care about the future of not just space, but our nation, this matters! I will read it and give my thoughts later.

4 comments:

Marcel F. Williams said...

Well my first criticism is that the commission distorted the Sidemount and DIRECT lunar capabilities. To quote the report:

"For example, in a year of planned Constellation lunar operations in the mid-2020s, there would be three Shuttle-derived vehicle launches for
each mission to the Moon, which would deliver a mass comparable to that of two Ares V-class launchers."

The Sidemount requires only only two launches per mission: one launch of the Orion to lunar orbit and another launch of an Altair vehicle to lunar orbit weighing up to nearly 48 tonnes. Even the Altair vehicle designed for the Ares V is designed to weigh only 45 tonnes. The committee must have read Shannon's first report on the Sidemount where only 39 tonnes of net payload could be transported into low lunar orbit but did not read the subsequent reports that showed that an EDS stage could transport up to 47 tonnes into low lunar orbit.

So you only need two launches-- per mission-- not three! A huge and critical misrepresentation, IMO.

But to quote again from the Augustine report:

"With two crew and two cargo missions per year, this would require eight to ten launches of the Shuttle-derived launcher, each with three or four SSMEs or derivatives, for a total of 24 to 40 of the Shuttle engines being used, with a resulting high recurring cost."

Two SD-HLV crew launches (Orion plus Altair) plus two cargo missions would require only 6 launches per year. And so what if a lot of SSME are thrown away. Mass production of the SSME should gradually bring down the cost of the SSMEs over the years which should gradually reduce the cost of the SD-HLV launches. Its called economies of mass production.

Douglas Mallette said...

And things like this are why we need to rely less on the government and more on ourselves. :)

Marcel F. Williams said...

IMO, the easiest way for private industry to develop a government man rated and approved launch vehicle is for NASA to provide them with one.

NASA could actually do this rather quickly if they decided to endorse a DIRECT concept that also included– a Jupiter launch vehicle without the solid rocket booster– simply designed to launch a 25 tonne Orion vehicle into orbit. Such a vehicle was proposed at the AIAA 1st Exploration Conference in Orlando, FL back in 2005:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=325.0;all

So with SRBs, the DIRECT concept could give us a vehicle capable of transporting the Orion or the Altair to lunar orbit and without SRBs it could be used by NASA, the military, or a private launch company to launch the Orion to LEO.

Norman Copeland said...

This could be an interesting thesis for the consideration of new yorks financial men.

Selecting Immutable Measurement Standards: Gravitational Clocks as an Object Lesson- Ronald Newburgh