Return to Apollo?

David Schultz wrote:

Perhaps my views on this are colored by my having recently re-read "Halfway to Anywhere" by G. Harry Stine, but returning to Apollo seems like a giant step backwards. <<<<
Oh, I'd say it would be two giant steps backwards
Not Apollo.
*GEMINI*
Apollo was built for a grand purpose, to go to the moon and back.
Gemini was built to just go into low Earth Orbit, Rendezvous, and Dock. That is more what OSP will be like. No significant cargo capacity, no assembly capacity, not even any spacewalking capacity (hell even Gemini had that....the only U.S. spacecraft lacking spacewalk capacity was Mercury).
That’s it. Even when Apollo did LEO missions, it had the flexibility to do a lot of things (and lots of Delta-Vee capacity in the SM). Such as the “flyaround” with one astronaut standing out of the side hatch to get close up video of the damage to Skylab (Not sure, also took a shot at trying to pry the solar wing open?). And carrying up and docking with the ASTP docking module for the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975.
So, no, an Orbital “Space Plane” that is a capsule won’t be Apollo-like. It will be Gemini-like in capabilities.
A one trick pony that is very limited.
Want to take 250 pounds of supplies to ISS usding the OSP? OK... one of the astronauts has to stay on the ground since it can’t take 4 people plus any supplies. Hey, want to send 1000 pounds to ISS? Great, send it up UNMANNED, to automatically dock with ISS. Hello....this is supposed to be built for the whole purpose of sending humans into space? I still don’t get the logic behind that one.
Sure, the Russians do something like that with their “Progress” resupply ships. But then those are stripped down to maximize the payload ability and are not built to come back so they are much lighter still, maximizing cargo even more. And they launch them using a booster that *still* fails every once in awhile (One crashed and killed a Russian soldier last month, but it wasn’t anyone from the U.S. so nobody is up in arms about it), but it has been in production so long that it is relatively cheap to launch them.
If the current Space Shuttle is an 18 wheeler “truck”, then the OSP is a VW Bug. Whether a capsule or winged, it’s going to be like a VW Bug.
If NASA makes the mistake of “bait-and-switching” the OSP as a de-facto shuttle replacement, then U.S. manned space flight will be crippled and ultimately doomed. I say that since when ISS is finally too old to be useful then what the hell do you do with a VW Bug Space Taxi that has no place to “taxi” to? There won’t be anything built to replace ISS, that’s for sure.
So what NASA really needs is more like an SUV or pickup truck. Something that can do more than just be a cramped taxi.
Because frankly I do not think there will be a “shuttle replacement”. No more than we’re going to see a manned mission to Mars in our lifetimes, or a U.S. return to the moon. So, I’m pretty sick of reading about OSP being created as an interim vehicle to use until some future “replacement shuttle” is developed. It’s bait-and-switch. If OSP goes ahead, it *is* going to be the shuttle replacement. And the more limited it is (more like a VW Bug than an SUV or pickup), then the more crippled the manned space program is going to be in the long run. Especially when ISS is over.
I’m also pretty sick of the assumptions that something new is going to be a hell of a lot more reliable. There’s no launch vehicle that has had even 100 straight successful launches than I can think of. For that matter, look at how many failures any orbital launch vehicle has had for its first 100 launches, starting with flight #1.
The worst problems that hit the shuttle were complacency. Not being as careful on “routine” flights at they were with the earlier ones. And also frankly too many “new” engineers and controllers who didn’t think like the old guys did that they replaced. Assume the best, not the worst, use flawed computer simulations with very limited data rather than actually looking for what the real damage might be. And don’t even bother trying to look since if the damage was serious, “nothing can be done anyway” (which must have made Gene Kranz and a lot of the Apollo-era controllers LIVID when they heard that kind of attitude was involved in the decision making process).
Anyway, treat an OSP or (miraculously) even a real (not bait-and-switch but actual) Shuttle replacement with that same kind of thinking then it’s going to have accidents too.
Now, if I start hearing that the OSCTBBASAASR* will have a “Lunar plane” built to go along with it, then I might buy a little bit into the Apollo comparison. Till then, the so-called OSP still seems more like a 4-seat Gemini....
- George Gassaway
* - “Orbital Space Capsule That’s Being Bait-And-Switched As A Shuttle Replacement”
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George, good points here.
GCGassaway wrote: ...

I think Soyuz had a string of near 100 successful launches. but that was the mature vehicle after 30 years of practice and many many failures. definitely not going to get that reliability right out of the box.
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If the knowledge base was in anyuseful form at all current designers could factor in working corrections into new vehicles.
As it is, there is a patchwork of vendors, agencies, customers and governments, ALL with incentive to keep secret, hide, misinform and generally prevent any success by anyone.
Jerry
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Yes and here's why.
There were no bureaucracies formed. It was an ad hoc group in every way and as such was nearly perfectly efficient. Now post Apollo and post Shuttle, 90% of what we have IS bureaucracy and very few indians and they are not allowed to form ad hoc networks. It is against policy.
Gee I wonder why every post accident report points out that the culture at NASA is broken?
The government itself is no better.
Jerry

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You have an engineering manager. He yells accross the room (no email, no pbx, no technology at all), and says "George who do we have to make a turbopump", George puts down his PENCIL and replies, "the guys at Rocketdyne can probaly do it. I'll put together a list of basic requirements. Goes over to TYPEWRITER and MAILS it to Rocketdyne.
Despite the glacially slow communications network, EVERYTHING happened faster. because there was no "procedure" for needs definition", no "procedure for RFQ", no "Procedure for purchasing".
Just make a sample, send it over, test it and if it generally works, order the 12 we need for actual flight to flight weight and specs and sizes.
It may not always be quite that easy, but the point is, it is by comparison to the way things are done now.
Jerry
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Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
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This is extremely well put.
I have read most of the CAIB report, and it says after the foam strike was discovered, some engineers put together an ad hoc team to work on the problem. The report concluded the engineers worked the way engineers work. But since they were not working through the rigid CHAIN OF COMMAND of the bureaucracy, much of their work never reached the MANAGERS.
In one case, an engineer with security clearance called someone he knew at the DoD and requested high resolutin imagery. But the request was later cancelled by the MANAGERS because it did not go through the PROPER CHANNELS.
One of the criticisms of management in the report is that managers did not defer to technical expertise as they had the Apollo program.
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Jerry Irvine wrote:
> > >>Jerry Irvine wrote: >>
>>> >>> >>> >>>>was it really any better in the Apollo era? >>> >>> >>>Yes and here's why. >>> >>>There were no bureaucracies formed. It was an ad hoc group in every way >>>and as such was nearly perfectly efficient. >> >>I am having difficulty imagining an ad-hoc group running a highly >>technical high quality assembly line. 1-offs, sure, but on a production >>basis ... > > > You have an engineering manager.
ah! that's the thing. not engineering - production.
I don't disagree with anything you or Ed say about NASA culture etc. ad-hoc engineer-directed organizations are the right way to do prototypes and small quantities of development level production. but absolutely the wrong way to do mass-production quantities. for that you need a similar culture - trust and empower your assembly workers - but it can not be ad-hoc. this is right out of modern business mgmt 102.
so, how do we achieve high volume production for orbital access?
the SIAC report says the shuttle is a development-level system and we should build a production-level system.
definitely, start with a small team. keep it small. and keep the aerospace industry out of it.
> He yells accross the room (no email, no > pbx, no technology at all), and says "George who do we have to make a > turbopump", George puts down his PENCIL and replies, "the guys at > Rocketdyne can probaly do it. I'll put together a list of basic > requirements. Goes over to TYPEWRITER and MAILS it to Rocketdyne.
equally hard to imagine a world where the cost of the phone call was higher than the cost of the engineer's time.
but that's the way it was! I still have great hesitation, my mother's voice, before I dial any area code or extra-LATA prefix - any time of day. do you know how much that is going to cost!! gee mom, a couple pennies?
if the US keeps exporting engineering jobs, we might get back to that point!!
howsthat for offtopic!
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5 spacecraft, each slightly different and mission tailored, does not mass production make.

Rephrase the bogus question?

But the report is actually wrong on that point. Unless you are goind to mass-produce expendables and by mass product I mean hundreds, then your theory is bogus.

Now the cost of the bureaucracy greatly exceeds the cost of physically making the product.
Ever hear the saying that for every pound of vehicle there is a pound of documentation? It is not an exaggeration.

I have had unlimited access for about 6 years now so I forgot that feeling. But I regularly find I have rockets to fly (a very hard thing to accomplish) and either no where to fly them or the place I arrange in advance "changes their mind" after a chat with a Tripoli offcial.
So there are plenty of failure modes besides cost descrepencies and tech access.

We have automated the process, given it large tax incentives and very strong state department support. Expect it to accelerate.
Jerry

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Jerry Irvine wrote:

definitely thinking in terms of hundreds ... is there a market for that? for human cargo, right now, no. will there be some time soon? depends ... probably not ... why bother ...

it's pandemic. that's the thing that keeps me away from true high-power stuff. I don't feel like driving for 10 hours, twice.

"the human element" - again
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Jerry Irvine wrote:

Sounds like lots of software projects in the open source world. The people who know the tech (these also frequently end users) making the decisions.
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Check out Homer Hickam's article "Not a Culture but Perhaps a Cult" at:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id …5
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Andy Eng wrote: > On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 00:38:05 GMT, David Schultz
> > >>Disadvantages of using Apollo: >> >>1) You throw it away after using it once. > > > The more you build, the more competent you can become which leads to > lower cost and incremental innovations. > > The shuttle and other highly reuseable system, IMO, results in a > plateau from which aerospace excellence is more vulnerable to atropy. > > Vicious cycle... > > Andy > > Andy,     Think about how much an airline ticket would cost if you applied that philosophy to aircraft.
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David Schultz wrote:

aircraft are completely reuseable. space vehicles are not. so you can't rightly compare the two.
what parts of the shuttle are re-used, really? at what cost?
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Cliff Sojourner wrote:

Why aren't space vehicles reusable? Because we haven't built them that way. There is no reason why they can't be 100% reusable.
Find a copy of "Halfway to Anywhere" by G. Harry Stine. It is a bit dated now (printed before the loss of the DC-XA) but still appropriate.
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David W. Schultz
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Jerry Irvine wrote:
> > >>Why aren't space vehicles reusable? > > > The real reason is the most expedient method of energy management for an > earth to orbit mission is to drop off mass as you go along. A single > stage to orbit vehicle cannot even make it in theory and none have in > practice.
Read the book. SSTO is not impossible in theory as designs for SSTO have been proposed several times. One of the earliest being a variation of the S-IV-B stage of the Saturn V. 8,000 pounds in orbit.
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/sassto.htm
Proposed in 1969!
And then of course there is the 800 lb. gorilla of SSTO's: Project Orion.
> A two stage is far more practical and several have made it. > Three stage rockets have been used regularly and are the best overall > compormise between complexity and performance. Minimalistic orbital > rockets like the Scout are 4 stages. > > In theory the more the number of stages the smaller the rocket can > ultimately be. There is a point of no return simply because you add so > much mass from staging systems and bulkheads. > > And if you simply ask why not add recovery to a stage, just look at your > own experience recovering rockets and what fraction of the mass is > recovery systems. > > Jerry >
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wrote:

The real crux of the problem is propellants with not enough energy and momentum to get large payload fractions into orbit. All chemical propellants fall into this category, its just that some are worse than others. With single stage to orbit you have hauled the whole vehicle up with you as "payload". Given the tendency for a vehicle to gain weight as design & production progresses, and given the simplifications made in the initial theoretical analyses and preliminary designs slanted toward "happy" answers, it is unlikely that you could actually get a cost-effective SSTO vehicle to deliver a useful payload. Even suborbital ICBM's use several stages because it keeps the gross liftoff weight down, and you usually end up buying aerospace systems by the pound at liftoff.

Brad Hitch
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<< The real crux of the problem is propellants with not enough energy and momentum to get large payload fractions into orbit. All chemical propellants fall into this category, its just that some are worse than others. >>
I believe you are correct. Currently it takes a huge amount of propellent mass to put a tiny payload into space. I'm no expert but it seems to me that "sci-fi" style SSTO flight will never be possible unless some dramatic new energy source and/or propulsion method is discovered.
On the other hand, pulse detonation techonology looks promising. It could (perhaps) be used to fly a vehicle to the edge of space using external air, then switch to onboard oxygen.
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Anti-matter and Dilithium is all you need. ;-)
Joe Michel NAR# 82797

propellants
mass
air,
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 14:21:02 -0500, "J.A. Michel"

Bull!. Antimatter is just the enrgy source, and Dilithium controls the process. You need the Warp engines. But for simple trips to LEO the Transporter is unsurpassed. ;)
Alan
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propellants
mass
Harry Stine didn't think so...in "Halfway to Anywhere," a book he wrote about 2 years before his death, he writes that basically all you need with current propellant technology is the ability to do a propellant mass fraction of about 0.91. This has been achieved by numerous viable space systems over the past several decades. Heck, even NASA (reluctantly, because it challenges their monopoly) admits that it's feasible.

air,
That works too - it has the effect of lowering the required mass fraction because you get as much oxidizer as possible from the atmosphere instead of having to haul it off the ground.
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