Saturday, May 27, 2017

(Part II) Practical Timelines and Funding for Establishing Permanent Outpost on the Moon and Mars using Propellant Producing Water Depots and SLS and Commercial Launch Capability


Twin Lunar Regolith Habitats (LRH) on the sintered surface of a lunar outpost. Surrounding walls are composed of aluminum panels that are automatically deployed while remaining  attached to the side of the pressurized habitat with each panel  joined together by a surrounding envelope of kevlar). The regolith wall is filled to the brim with lunar regolith, protecting astronauts from heavy ions, micrometeorites, and extreme thermal fluctuations, while reducing radiation exposure below 5 Rem per year. Twin habitats are connected to each other by a pressurized  inflatable tunnel.


by Marcel F. Williams
 
Part II: The Moon 

If NASA is provided with $3 billion in annual additional funding from the DOD, as proposed in Part I of this article, then full funding for NASA's cis-lunar  architecture can begin in 2019.  About $1.5 billion annually could be used for the development of unmanned and crewed single staged extraterrestrial landing vehicles derived from Boeing's 2.4 meter in diameter super light weight cryotank technology. Most of the remaining $1.5 billion in annual additional funding could be used for the conversion of the SLS EUS into a solar powered  propellant producing water depots and into spacious deep space habitats and into regolith shielded lunar habitats. 

Additional human spaceflight related funding for NASA will come from charging guest astronauts from foreign space agencies $150 million for every foreign astronauts participating in a beyond LEO mission for NASA. Since NASA's MPCV can carry up to six astronauts and private commercial companies will be capable of transporting up to seven individuals into orbit, NASA could easily accommodate up to three foreign astronauts per beyond LEO mission, saving NASA up to $450 million per flight. 

Substantially  more funding for NASA will be available once funds currently dedicated for Commercial Crew-- development-- are ended in the early 2020s and the ISS program is, finally, ended in the late 2020s.    

The following notional  SLS and private commercial launch sequences present a scenario for establishing a permanent American presence within cis-lunar space and  on the surface of the Moon  by the mid 2020s while also establishing water mining and propellant producing architecture on the lunar surface and a propellant producing water storage systems at LEO and EML1. During the 2020s, under this scenario, SLS flights will be limited to two launches per year once new RS-25 engines are in production.


Nomenclature: 


ACES-68: United Launch Alliance reusable upper stage with BE-3 LOX/LH2 engine

Credit United Launch Alliance

BA-330: Bigelow Aerospace inflatable habitat that will be inherently designed to protect astronauts from heavy ion radiation.


 CLV-7B: Notional cargo landing vehicle that uses seven Boeing 2.4 meter super light weight cryotanks.  With a water bag attached to the top of the vehicle, at least 35 tonnes of water can be delivered to EML1 from the lunar surface. CLV-7B should be capable of being reused at least ten times. 


CST-100 (Starliner): Boeing Aerospace commercial crew capsule. Combined with an ACES-68 and a Cygnus module, the Starliner could  be utilized as a reusable orbital transfer vehicle within cis-lunar space.  

Credit Boeing Aerospace


Cygnus/Orion: Internally mass shielded external habitat Cygnus module for Orion MPCV to protect astronauts from heavy ions during cis-lunar journeys beyond the Earth's magnetosphere  


Credit Orbital ATK


DSH: SLS/EUS deployed microgravity Deep Space Habitat derived from SLS hydrogen propellant tank technology  


Credit NASA
EML1: Earth-Moon Lagrange point 1



EML2: Earth-Moon Lagrange point 2  


ETLV-4: Notional reusable  crew landing vehicle and orbital transfer vehicle utilizing Boeing's 2.4 meter cyrotank technology and the ULA's IVF technology. Five tonnes of water shielding provides a section of the crew area with protection from from heavy ions. Unmanned version (R-ETLV-4) could be used  to deploy small robotic vehicles or cargo to the lunar surface.



EUS: The exploration upper stage would enable the SLS to deploy up to 105 tonnes of payload to LEO or at least 30 tonnes of payload to the Earth-Moon Lagrange points or low lunar orbit. 

Credit NASA


LRH: Notional CLV-7B deployed Lunar Regolith Habitat derived from SLS hydrogen tank technology that automatically deploys a surrounding regolith wall (eight aluminum panels hinged to the side of the pressurized habitat and joined together by an enveloping kevlar sheet ) filled with lunar regolith  2 meters thick, reducing radiation exposure withing the pressurized habitat to less than 5 Rem per year even during solar minimum conditions



MHT (Mobile Hydrogen Tanker):   Derived from three 2.4 meter cryotanks for fueling reusable landing craft with liquid hydrogen.


 MLT (Mobile LOX Tanker): Derived from a single 2.4 meter cryotanks for fueling reusable landing craft with liquid oxygen.

MPCV (Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle): Would enable the SLS to be used to deploy astronauts practically anywhere within cis-lunar space and return them safely to the Earth's surface. A radiation shielded Cygnus habitat module would be required to adequately shield astronauts from the deleterious effects of heavy ion radiation. 

Credit Boeing Aerospace


MWT (Mobile Water Tanker): Derived from a single 2.4 meter cryotanks for fueling reusable landing craft with liquid oxygen.



OTV-125: Notional reusable EUS derived orbital transfer vehicle utilizing ULA  IVF (Integrated Vehicle Fluids) technology  would be capable of transferring spacecraft and other payloads up to 90 tonnes in mass from LEO to other regions of cis-lunar space

After NASA


SLS: Space Launch System would be capable of deploying 70 to 105 tonnes to LEO or more than 30 tonnes of payload to the Earth-Moon Lagrange points


Credit NASA
 
Water Bug: Notional mobile robotic vehicle that utilizes microwaves to extract water from the lunar regolith at the lunar poles. 


WPD-LV-7A: Notional  propellant producing water depot derived from seven 2.4 meter cryotanks capable of self deploying itself to the lunar surface after SLS launch into orbit. The WPD-LV-7A would be capable of storing up to 70 tonnes of LOX/LH2 propellant and up to 150 tonnes of water.  

WPD-OTV-125: Notional reusable propellant (LOX/LH2) producing water depot derived from the EUS and utilizing IVF technology capable of storing up to 125 tonnes of LOX/LH2 propellant and up to 200 tonnes of water.


WPD-OTV-125@EML1


Notional  launch sequences utilized to progressively establish a permanent American presence on the surface of the  Moon:


2017

First Space X launch of the Falcon Heavy (up to 54 tonnes to LEO)

2018


First  commercial crew launch of the Atlas V/Centaur/CST-100 (Starliner) by the ULA

First  commercial crew launch of the Falcon 9/Dragon by Space X

1. This will be  the beginning of private commercial crew launches to LEO and  the return of crew launches into space  from American soil and


2019

SLS Launch 1: First NASA test launch of heavy lift vehicle  and  unmanned  Orion/MPCV

First  commercial launch of the Vulcan/Centaur by the ULA (up to 20 tonnes to LEO)

1. This will be the beginning of NASA's heavy lift program 



2020

Commercial launch vehicle deploys first private  habitat  to LEO ( BA-330)

1. This will be the beginning of the deployment of private commercial pressurized habitats to LEO by private commercial spacecraft 


2021 

SLS Launch 2: NASA SLS/EUS deployment of  BA-330 to EML1

SLS Launch 3: First  SLS/EUS  launch of a crew aboard the Cygnus/Orion MPCV to EML1

Commercial Launch:  Satellite  lunar navigation system for NASA and DOD are deployed by commercial launch vehicles to EML1 and EML2 (two lunar navigation satellites to EML1 and two lunar navigation satellites to  EML2)


1. The beginning of two NASA SLS launches per year. 

2. Since the SLS is likely to be assembled and operated by a private company, NASA should give that company the option of being able to utilize an SLS vehicle for at least one private commercial launch per year. Such commercial launches could include the deployment of private commercial microgravity or artificial gravity habitats to LEO or the deployments of habitats to the lunar surface.

3. The first test launch of the EUS for an unmanned mission should enhance the safety of the first crew launch later in the year 

4. Since the BA-330 will have more than 40 cm of shielding, that should be more than enough to effectively protect astronauts beyond the magnetosphere from the deleterious effects of heavy ions and radiation from major solar events. 

5. Lunar navigation satellites will enable NASA and the DOD to deploy payloads to the lunar poles and to communicate with astronauts on the lunar surface at the lunar poles. 



2022


SLS Launch 4: Deployment of  EUS derived  propellant producing water depot (WPD-OTV-125)  plus two ETLV-4 reusable landing spacecraft housed within the large  SLS  payload fairing .

SLS Launch 5: Second  NASA SLS/EUS crew launch of the Orion/MPCV to BA-330@EML1 

Commercial Launch:  BA-330 launched to LEO for NASA by commercial launch vehicle 

1. Beginning of water deposition to depots @ LEO and EML1 by private commercial launch companies for NASA (over 100 tonnes of water delivered to EML1 per year; over 200 tonnes of water delivered  to LEO per year)

2. After producing its own propellant at LEO,  the WPD-OTV-125 depots will transport itself and its detachable solar array to EML1

3. An  ETLV-4 vehicles will be tested unmanned, traveling from  LEO and EML1 where it will refuel to return to LEO

4. A second unmanned  ETLV-4 will also travel from LEO to EML1 but will return with astronauts aboard who initially traveled to EML1 aboard the MPCV .

5. MPCV will remain docked at the BA-330 @ EML1 as an emergency escape vessel

6. DOD astronauts will be launched to their LEO BA-330 LEO habitat by commercial crew launch vehicles 



2023

SLS Launch 6:  Deployment of OTV-125 plus  two tele-operated R-ETLV-4 to LEO (destined for the lunar poles).

SLS Launch 7: Deployment of  second  propellant producing water depot (WPD-OTV-125)  plus two more ETLV-4 reusable landing vehicles.

Commercial Launch: First ULA Vulcan launch with reusable ACES 68 upper stage (up to 40 tonnes to LEO with the addition  solid rocket boosters)

Commercial Launch:  BA-330 launched to LEO for DOD by commercial launch vehicle


1. The MPCV will no longer be used to transport astronauts to EML1. 

2. The two unmanned R-ETLV-4 vehicles will make their first landings at the lunar poles (one to the north lunar pole and the second to the south lunar pole). They will both return to EML1 with regolith samples from both lunar poles less than two weeks after landing. Crewed ETLV-4 vehicles will transport the regolith samples back to LEO and Commercial Crew vehicles will return the crew and lunar samples back to Earth. 

3. OTV-125 will be used to transport heavy SLS payloads (up to 90 tonnes) from LEO to other regions of cis-lunar space.

4. 51 years after the last crewed American lunar landings, American and foreign astronauts  will use two ETLV-4 vehicles to conduct the first crewed mission to the lunar surface, . One ETLV-4 will transport the other ETLV-4 to low lunar orbit from EML1 and then back to EML1 after the other ETLV-4 returns the crew from the lunar surface. A third ETLV-4 will transport the astronauts back to LEO where Commercial Crew vehicles will transport them back to the Earth's surface.

Two reusable ETLV-4 vehicles would be required for crewed sorties to the lunar surface from EML1 and back. But once propellant is being manufactured on the lunar surface, only one ETLV-4 vehicle will be required for missions to the moon and back to EML1.

2024

SLS Launch 8: Deployment of two CLV-7B to LEO and then transported to EML1 by reusable OTV-125: Fueled at the EML1 depot, the first CLV-7B will have an  ATHLETE robot that will deploy electric powered excavation vehicles, sintering vehicles, , backhoe, lifting crane,  to the south lunar pole. The second EML1 refueled  CLV-7B will be used to deploy  four mobile solar arrays with more than one MWe of  total electric power capacity to the South lunar pole.

SLS Launch 9: A  single  CLV-7B to orbit plus a second  OTV-125 orbital transfer vehicle plus a single CLV-7B carrying a Lunar Regolith Habitat (LRH) will be deployed to LEO. The OTV-125 will transport the CLV-7B and the LRH to EML1. Fueled at EML1, the  CLV-7B to deploy a LRH to the already sintered landing area at the lunar outpost at the South lunar pole.


Commercial Launch 1:  BA-330 launched to LEO for DOD by commercial launch vehicle and then transferred to EML1 by OTV-125

Commercial Launch 2: Cygnus/CST-100/ACES deployed to LEO by Vulcan launch vehicle for utilization as a reusable crew orbital transfer vehicle within cis-lunar space

1. Teleoperated mobile microwave robots will sinter areas for landing spacecraft, deploying solar arrays, and for habitat modules, and for propellant depots will be created  

2. Electric powered backhoes will deposit lunar regolith withing the automatically deployed regolith wall surrounding the pressurized habitat providing astronauts with radiation exposure levels less than 5 Rem per year during solar minimum conditions and protection against micrometeorites and radiation from major solar events. 

4. First NASA and DOD astronauts transferred between LEO and EML1 by private commercial  ACES-68/CST-100/Cygnus.  The use of reusable private commercial orbital transfer vehiclees will allow NASA  to use its reusable ETLV-4 vehicles exclusively for crew missions to the lunar surface from EML1.   
  
 5. Reusable teleoperated ACES-68 space vehicles could also refuel at NASA LEO depots in order to deploy satellites to GPS, geosynchronous, and polar orbits. An Delta IV heavy, for instance can only deploy a satellite weighing up 6.7 tonnes into geosynchronous orbit; but it could place four such satellites into low Earth orbit which could later be transferred to GEO by the ACES-68.
 
5. Reusable teleoperated ACES-68 vehicles could also be used to transfer duplicated military satellites to EML4 where the could be safely stored away and monitored and redeployed if a similar satellite is damaged.


2025

SLS Launch 10: Deployment of two Deep Space Habitat (DSH) to EML1 for OTV-125 deployment to EML1(NASA)  and EML4 (DOD)

SLS Launch 11: A second SLS launch will deploy a single  CLV-7B to orbit plus a second  OTV-125 orbital transfer vehicle. Transported by the OTV-125 to EML1, the fueled CLV-7B to deploy a LRH (Lunar Regolith Hab to the lunar surface.

Commercial Launch: BA-330 launched to LEO for DOD by commercial launch vehicle and then transferred to EML4 by OTV-125


1. The DSH will allow NASA to test the integrity of SLS EUS derived pressurized habitats

2. DOD operations at EML4 aboard the BA-330 and DSH will involve the repair and refueling of zombie satellites for later redeployment and the monitoring and testing  of back up satellites located at EML4. If a strategically valuable satellite is destroyed or disabled, back up satellites located at EML4 will be deployed.


2026


SLS Launch 12: SLS deployment of two WPD-LV-7A to LEO. Vehicles refuel at LEO and self deploy themselves to EML1 and then self deploy themselves to the lunar outpost. Alternatively, both vehicles could be transported to EML1 by an OTV-125 before being fueled for lunar deployment.

SLS Launch 13: SLS deploys two CLV-7B to LEO. OTV-125 transports the vehicles to EML1 where they will refuel. One CLV-7B will be carrying a mobile hydrogen tanker (MHT) derived from the 2.4 meter cryotank technology plus  four   Water Bug water extraction robots
the second  CLV-7B will carry two mobile water tankers (MWT), two mobile LOX tankers (MLT


1. The teleoperated Water Bugs will use microwaves to extract and store up to a tonne of water from the lunar regolith at the lunar poles. Teleoperated MWT will be used to extract the water from the Water Bugs and then deposit the water into the WPD-LV-7A propellant producing depots. 

2. Teleoperated MHT and MLT units will extract the liquid hydrogen and oxygen from the WPD-LA-7A depots in order to refuel the reusable ETLV-4, R-ETLV-4, and CLV-7B vehicles.

3. Teleoperated MWT will be used to extract the water stored at  the WPD-LV-7A in order to fill up water bags tied securely on top of the reusable CLV-7B vehicles in order to transport lunar water to the propellant producing water depots located at EML1.


 So, before the end of 2026, under this scenario, thanks to the additional DOD funding ($3 billion annually), NASA will have one BA-330 habitat at LEO and one at EML1. The DOD will also have one BA-330 at LEO, one at EML1, and one at EML4. NASA will also have a DSH at EML1 while the DOD will have a DSH at EML4. And  NASA will also have two habitat modules (LRH) at the south lunar pole, the beginning of America's permanent human presence on the surface of the Moon!


So under this scenario, before the end of 2026, the DOD will have periodically occupied microgravity outpost at LEO and EML1 while NASA will have a water storage and propellant producing  outpost at EML1 and a water producing, storage, and propellant producing  outpost at one of the lunar poles. Such a water and propellant producing extraterrestrial infrastructure should make it relatively easy for NASA to quickly and sustainably expand America's realm to the orbit of Mars, to the moons of Mars, and to the surface of Mars-- using much of the infrastructure developed for cis-lunar space and the surface of the Moon.

 The conclusion of this article (Part III: Artificial Gravity and Mars)  will be posted next week.  


 Links and References

Practical Timelines and  Funding for  Establishing  Permanent Outpost on the Moon and Mars using Propellant Producing Water Depots and SLS and Commercial Launch Capability (Part I)

Reusable Heavy Cargo and Crew Landing Vehicles for the Moon and Mars

The ULA's Future ACES Upper Stage Technology

Protecting Spacefarers from Heavy Nuclei

The Case for a US Miltary Presence at LEO and Beyond

Congress Requires NASA to Develop a Deep Space Habitat

Utilizing the SLS to Build a Cis-Lunar Highway

An SLS Launched Cargo and Crew Lunar Transportation System Utilizing an ETLV Architecture


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Practical Timelines and Funding for Establishing Permanent Outpost on the Moon and Mars using Propellant Producing Water Depots and SLS and Commercial Launch Capability (Part I)

Two SLS launch vehicles with 10 meter payload fairings. The vehicle to the left will be able to deploy at least 70 tonnes of payload to LEO. The vehicle to the right with its  EUS upper stage will be able to deploy up to 105 tonnes to orbit (Credit NASA). 

by Marcel F. Williams

Part 1: NASA & the DOD


Establishing a permanent human presence on the surface of the Moon is the most  expedient and economical way to eventually  establish a similar permanent human presence on the surface of  Mars. But as  long as NASA continues to spend $3 to $4 billion a year on its big LEO program (the ISS), it is doubtful that the American space agency can adequately  fund its beyond LEO efforts--  without a significant increase in its annual human spaceflight related budget. 


So under this scenario, the ISS program is continued. But starting in 2019,  an additional $3 billion is added to NASA's human spaceflight related budget by the DOD (Department of Defense).  In exchange,  NASA will be committed towards eventually deploying  microgravity and artificial gravity habitats, and lunar and martian surface outpost for the exclusive use and occupation by DOD personal. And such habitats will be derived from similar habitats used my NASA or the private space industries.   

Under this scenario,  DOD funding would also require NASA to provide military astronauts with access to LEO through private commercial spacecraft  and to its beyond LEO habitats either through NASA or private spacecraft.  

So for less than  0.6% ($3 billion) of the annual DOD budget, the ISS program and NASA's beyond LEO program could both be adequately funded while also enabling  DOD personal to have a permanent strategic  presence within cis-lunar space and eventually on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars.

Private American commercial space companies and their astronauts and paying customers will soon  be joining NASA and foreign space agency personal in the New Frontier. So it will be  important for  US companies to know that their investments, hired  personal, and their paying customers will be protected from possible intimidation and coercion from  foreign governments and other hostile organizations. 

The DODs role in space would, therefore, be similar to the role that the US Coast Guard has in America's territorial waters on Earth. And this should prevent  private companies from having to spend money developing  their own private space defense forces  in order to protect their property and personal in space from the  potential hostile  interest from potentially  hostile strategic  competitors such as China and Russia. 

Positions of the Earth-Moon Lagrange Points (Credit: Maccone)

A DOD Earth-Moon Lagrange point presence at EML3, EML4, and EML5 would allow the US military to deposit, protect, and to quickly deploy backup satellites in case US satellites of strategic importance are seriously damaged by terrorist or a hostile foreign power. 

DOD habitats could also be a place for emergency refuge and medical treatment for DOD and NASA astronauts, personal and customers from private space agencies, and for personal from foreign space agencies. So the first extraterrestrial sickbays and hospitals in the New Frontier might be operated by the DOD. So military physicians and nurses might be an important part of the military personal deployed to  all extraterrestrial  habitats under the control of the DOD.

In  2018, Russia intends to charge NASA  $81 million for each NASA astronaut transported too and from the ISS  aboard Russian launch vehicles and spacecraft. Additional funding for NASA's beyond LEO efforts could also come from charging foreign space agencies $150 million for each foreign astronaut participating in a NASA beyond LEO mission.  This could save NASA at least $150 million or more, depending on how many foreign astronauts are allowed to participate in a  beyond LEO mission. NASA could also allow foreign astronauts participating in a mission to the Moon or Mars to  eventually return  to the Earth with up to 10 kilograms  of material retrieved from the lunar or martian surface for their  own space agency's (an absolute bargain) that also helps to reduce NASA's recurring cost for  human missions.  

Part II of this article (The Moon) 

Marcel F. Williams


Links and References

The Case for a US Miltary Presence at LEO and Beyond

Declassified: U.S. Military's Secret Cold War Space Project Revealed (Newly released documents describe the U.S. Air Force's secret cold war project known as the Manned Orbiting Laboratory)

 LUNEX

NASA is paying Russia more than $70 million to bring an astronaut home in this spaceship tonight

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reusable Heavy Cargo and Crew Landing Vehicles for the Moon and Mars

Notional ETLV-4 rendezvous with propellant producing water depot @ EML1 with orbiting solar power plant (where propellant depots dock when converting water into LOX/LH2) in the background.
by Marcel F. Williams

In 2018, NASA will launch the first unmanned test flight of its wide body super heavy lift vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS). That first launch will also test the first uncrewed version of the Orion spacecraft. Coincidentally, 2018 will also be the same year that private companies, thanks to  the  financial help of NASA, will return American astronauts into orbit aboard private spacecraft. Crewed Orion/SLS missions are not scheduled to occur until at least the year 2021.

Congress has directed NASA to reveal the design of a  microgravity Deep Space Habitat (DSH)  by 2018. Unfortunately, the American space agency continues to ignore the use of a DSH as a gateway for crewed missions to the lunar surface while simply ignoring the significant  physiological problems associated with potential multiyear interplanetary missions within a microgravity environment.


Orion MPCV docked @ SLS propellant tank derived Deep Space Habitat (Credit NASA)

 The primary purposes for a  Deep Space Habitat (DSH) should be to:

1. Serve as a gateway to the lunar surface. Astronauts traveling from the Earth or from the lunar surface could dock their spacecraft at an EML1 habitat, taking temporary advantage of the more spacious accommodations before transferring to vehicle fueled destined for the lunar surface.  

2. Serve as a storm shelter during the occurrence of major solar events. This will probably require at least 30 cm of water shielding for the areas within the habitat that the astronauts will be occupying. Major solar events can last for several minutes to several hours.

3. Serve as a maintenance and repair station for reusable lunar shuttles (ETLV) and orbital transfer vehicles. Flex Craft docked at the DSH could also be utilized  for extravehicular repairs to  nearby water/propellant depots and associated solar arrays at EML1.

4. Test the effectiveness of various levels of water shielding required to mitigate cosmic radiation and potentially brain damaging heavy nuclei. In theory, 20 cm of water would be enough shielding to to stop the penetration of the heavy nuclei component of cosmic rays while 30 cm of water would reduce overall  annual cosmic radiation exposure to less than 25 Rem per year during solar minimum conditions. Solar storm events would also be significantly mitigating with 30 cm of water protection. Minimizing the mass of radiation shielding required for safe interplanetary travel would be essential for reducing the amount of propellant required for such missions.

5. Test the integrity and reliability of the pressurized habitat structures that might also be used for habitats on the surface of the Moon and Mars and for rotating  artificial gravity habitats for space stations placed in cis-lunar orbits, Mars orbit, and for crewed interplanetary journeys. 

Of course, a  DSH would be a-- destination to nowhere-- without developing vehicles capable of transporting humans and heavy cargo to the surfaces of the Moon and Mars. And, in my opinion, most Americans and members of Congress will continue to believe that  America's glory years in space are in the past until American astronauts are once again  walking on the surfaces of other worlds-- this time to stay.

NASA's beyond LEO ambitions are severely  hampered by the fact that it continues to operate a relatively expensive (~$3 billion/yr) LEO program (ISS) without a significant increase in the NASA budget for its beyond LEO program. While it has been presumed that much more funding will be provided for NASA's beyond LEO missions once the ISS program comes to an end, there are still efforts to extend the ISS program beyond 2024, again, without increasing the NASA budget in order to pay for its continuation.

Bigelow Aerospace plans to deploy its first private commercial space habitats to LEO  in 2020 aboard the ULA's Atlas V rocket. If this private space company is successful then there's really no reason for NASA to continue the ISS program beyond 2020 since private companies will be able to do  research and development at LEO.   This, of course, would allow NASA to use ISS related funds to develop the cargo and crew landing vehicles, habitats, and related infrastructure for crewed missions to the Moon and Mars.

 Allowing foreign astronauts to participate in NASA's beyond LEO program could provide additional funding for NASA. By 2018, Russia plans to charge NASA,  $81 million per astronaut for transport  to an from the ISS. NASA could charge  foreign space agencies $150 million for each astronaut participating in one of its  beyond LEO missions. The Orion MPCV is capable of accommodating as many as six astronauts. If two of those astronauts were from foreign space agencies paying NASA to join the mission then  NASA could save $300 million per crewed SLS launch.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has estimated that the cost of developing a crewed two stage lunar lander  at approximately $12 billion. Former NASA director,  Charlie Bolden,  estimated the cost of developing a lunar landing vehicle at approximately $8 to $10 billion.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the Moon just seven years after NASA invited  eleven private firms  to submit proposals for the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) in July of 1962. So if we assume that it will take seven years to develop an extraterrestrial landing vehicle or vehicles ( using a COTS type of funding for more than one vehicle), then annual development cost over the course of seven years might range from approximately $1.1 billion  to $1.7 billion. We can also assume that an additional  $1.1 billion a year to $1.7 billion a year over the course of an additional seven years would then be needed to fund the development of a future Mars landing vehicle.  Such annual funding for  extraterrestrial landing vehicles would still leave ample funds for financing the development of lunar and martian habitats and the associated infrastructure.

Boeing Aerospace 2.4 meter Super Light Weight cryotank (Credit Boeing Aerospace)
However, the development time, cost, and recurring cost  for an extraterrestrial landing vehicle (ETLV) could be substantially reduced if: 

1.  A single stage vehicle, or vehicles,  were developed instead of a-- two stage vehicle

2. An ETLV was developed that was largely derived from technology that either already exist or is currently in development

3. An ETLV was developed that utilized LOX/LH2 common bulkhead propellant tanks instead of two different tanks for liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen

4. An ETLV was developed that were capable of transporting cargo and crews to the surfaces of both the Moon and Mars and back to the orbits of the Moon and Mars

5.  An ETLV was  developed that had pressurized habitat and airlock areas derived from re-purposed ETLV propellant tanks. 

6. An ETLV was  developed that was  capable of being reused for at least for ten round trips to and from their destinations (the surfaces of the Moon or Mars)

7.  An ETLV was  developed that was capable of also being utilized for unmanned robotic and cargo missions

8.  An ETLV was  developed that was capable of also being utilized as a crewed orbital transfer vehicles between LEO, Low Lunar Orbit, and the Earth-Moon Lagrange points

Front view of notional singe stage reusable ETLV-4 derived from 2.4 meter in diameter cryotanks
Side view of notional singe stage reusable ETLV-4 derived from 2.4 meter in diameter cryotanks

ETLV-4 

Up to 40 tonnes of LOX/LH2 propellant in four 2.4 meter in diameter propellant tanks 

Four RL-10 derived CECE engines 

2.4 meter in diameter propellant tank derived central crew habitat area with lower heavy ion shielded storm shelter   

Twin 2.4 meter in diameter propellant tank derived airlocks 

Inert mass without heavy ion water shielded area: ~12 tonnes 

Inert mass with heavy ion water shielded area (22 cm of water): ~17 tonnes 

Gross mass: 57 tonnes 

specific impulse: 445 seconds

   
Due to reduced vehicle mass, reductions in vehicle components, and reduced vehicle complexity, Lockheed-Martin  concluded that the development  cost and recurring cost for a lunar lander could be substantially reduced if a reusable single stage vehicle were developed instead of a two staged spacecraft.   NASA reached a similar conclusion back in the late 1980s when JPL proposed its own single stage LOX/LH2 lunar landing vehicle.  

Boeing developed and tested a 2.4 meter cyrotank as a prelude to its development of a 5.5 meter in diameter, Super Light Weight Tank, that might possibly be used for the 5.5 meter LOX tank for the SLS upper stage (EUS). The 2.4 meter tank was successfully filled with liquid hydrogen chilled at  –423 °F  and cycled through-- twenty-- pressurization and  vent cycles.  If Boeing's 2.4 meter tank were utilized in a common bulkhead configuration for storing LOX/LH2 propellant in an Altair-like vehicle then such tanks could be utilized for a reusable single staged spacecraft. 

Four RL-10 derived CECE (Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine) engines, currently in development by Aerojet Rocketdyne,  could enhance vehicle safety with engine out capability and would be capable of up to 50 restarts. This should enable the vehicle to be used for at least 10 round trips from the surfaces of the Moon or Mars and to various orbital regions near each celestial body.  The CECE engines are also supposed to be designed to have a throttle capability ranging from 104% of thrust down to just 5.6%, which should allow an extraterrestrial landing vehicle to land on worlds as large as the Moon and  Mars or as small as the moons of Mars. However, thrusters near the bottom of an ETLV could also be used to land on the surfaces of the small low gravity martian moons.

Utilizing Integrated Vehicle Fluid (IVF) technology currently being developed by the ULA, helium and hydrazine would no longer be required for an extraterrestrial spacecraft with some ullage gases even being utilized for  attitude control. With the addition of  NASA emerging cryocooler technology, solar powered cryocoolers could reliquify some ullage gases, eliminating the  boil-off of hydrogen and oxygen.

Pressurized crew areas and airlocks derived from re-purposed ETLV propellant tanks, could further reduce development and recurring cost.  The twin cryotank derived airlocks allows more room within the cabin while allowing astronauts to leave the vehicle without having to decompress and then re-pressurize the crew cabin.  With the airlocks positioned just a few meters above the landing pods, pressure suited astronauts could depart the vehicle just few meters above a planetary surface, reducing the difficulty and risks associated with exiting and entering the spacecraft.   The low position of the airlocks should also make it convenient for mobile robotic vehicles to be deployed to the surface of a the Moon or Mars or the moons of Mars for robotic exploration and potential sample  returns to orbit.

NASA's ADEPT deceleration shield concept (Credit NASA)
Developing a  landing vehicle that could be used for crewed missions to both the lunar and martian surfaces would, of course, substantially reduce development cost.  A spacecraft capable of transporting astronauts from surface of Mars to Low Mars Orbit (~4.4 m/s delta-v)  would also be easily capable of transporting astronauts from the surface of the Moon to Low Lunar Orbit or to any of the Earth-Moon Lagrange points (less than 2.6 m/s delta-v).

Landing such an extraterrestrial landing vehicle on the surface of Mars, however, would require the development of a deceleration shield. NASA is currently doing research on two types of deceleration shields: HIAD and ADEPT. The rigid ADEPT deceleration shield could allow spacecraft to deploy up to  40 tonnes of payload  practically anywhere on the surface of Mars. After the ADEPT deceleration shield was discarded, a delta-v of less than 0.6 meters per second would only be required to land the vehicle on the martian surface

 
Notional ADEPT deployment of 40 tonnes of cargo to the martian surface (Credit NASA)

An extraterrestrial landing vehicle capable of transporting astronauts from the surface of Mars to low Mars orbit would also be capable of transporting astronauts from LEO to Low Lunar Orbit or to any of the Earth-Moon Lagrange points. Utilizing the ETLV in such a manner, however,  could make the Orion MPCV obsolete,  allowing astronauts to be transported into orbit by Commercial Crew vehicles and then transferred to a propellant depot fueled  ETLV  for easy access to the Earth-Moon Lagrange points and Low Lunar Orbit and to the lunar surface.
Notional CLV-7B cargo lander derived from 2.4 meter diameter cryotanks

A cargo lander (CLV) derived from the crew version of the ETLV could easily be derived using all seven 2.4 meter in diameter pressurized tanks to carry propellant. With a  diameter of at least 7.2 meters, such a cargo transport could deploy large and heavy structures as large as 8.6 meters in diameter to the surfaces of the Moon and Mars. Pressurized habitats derived from an SLS propellant tank technology with diameters up to 8.4 meters  could easily be deployed to the surfaces of the Moon and Mars by such an ETLV derived CLV. 
ATLETE robots could be used  for offloading heavy cargo to the surfaces of the Moon and Mars aboard a notional CLV-7B (Credit: NASA)



CLV-7B

Up to 35 tonnes of LOX/LH2 propellant in seven 2.4 meter in diameter propellant tanks 

Four RL-10 derived CECE engines 

Specific impulse: 445 second

Inert mass without payload: ~8 tonnes 

Gross mass without payload: ~43 tonnes 

Capable of accommodating cargo with diameters as large as 8.6 meters 

Notional SLS propellant tank derived  regolith shielded habitat for the Moon and Mars with an 8.4 meter in diameter pressurized habitat area that could be deployed to the lunar or martian surface using the CLV-7B and ATHLETE technologies. 

Once the cargo lander is  on the surface of the Moon and after its payload is deployed,  water bags could be securely attached to the top of the  CLV-7B. This could allow the CLV to be reused as a water transport tanker capable of transporting  at least 35 tonnes of water from the surface of the Moon to EML1. Using its CECE engines for ten round trips could enable the CLV to  deliver more than 300 tonnes of water to   propellant producing water depots located at EML1.

With the capability of landing crews and payloads on the Moon and Mars, the ETLV-4 crew lander and the CLV-7B cargo lander should also be capable of  someday landing crews and cargo on the surfaces of the planet Mercury and on Jupiter's moon, Callisto, two other viable worlds for potential commercialization and human settlement. Within Jupiter space, automated unmanned ETLV-4 spacecraft operated from an outpost on Callisto could transport mobile robotic vehicles to the Jovian moons within Jupiter's deadly radiation belt (Ganymede, Europa, and Io) for continuous robotic exploration and sample returns from these interesting but heavily radiation inundated  worlds.


Links and References

Composite Cryotank Technologies; Demonstration


CECE (Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine)


An Integrated Vehicle Propulsion and Power System for Long Duration Cryogenic Spaceflight (ULA)


 The SLS and the Case for a Reusable Lunar Lander

Finally, some details about how NASA actually plans to get to Mars

 

Private Space Habitat to Launch in 2020 Under Commercial Spaceflight Deal


Russia is squeezing NASA for more than $3.3 billion — and there's little anyone can do about it


Apollo Lunar Module


Substantially Enhancing the Capability of the SLS Architecture by Utilizing EUS Derived Propellant Depots and Reusable Orbital Transfer Vehicles


ADEPT Technology for Crewed and Uncrewed Missions to the Planets

 

Landing on Mars with ADEPT Technology

 

Inflatable Biospheres for the New Frontier 

 

Living and Reproducing on Low Gravity Worlds

Friday, February 3, 2017

Leasing the Moon

The near side of the Moon
by Marcel F. Williams

At the bottom of the world lies an icy continent larger than Europe-- but with only 5000-- temporary-- residents. While the continent of Antarctica can be explored, this polar condominium cannot  colonized or commercially exploited in order. It is argued that this is the only way to protect Antarctica's pristine environment.

Of course, the same environmental philosophy could also be argued for Earth's other continents: North America, South America, Africa, Australia, and Eurasia.

 But some have advocated that the Moon should also be under the same environmental protection as Antarctica. This, of course,  would prevent the colonization of the Moon and the commercial exploitation of lunar resources.

On the Earth's surface, only about 3% of the land area is urbanized with cities, towns, and suburban areas.  But the human utilization of the Earth's surface grows to 43% if we include the amount of land used for agriculture.

I happen to be  a strong advocate for preserving the Earth's environment and the environment and natural beauty of the other major worlds in our solar system. Trying to convert Mars into an Earth-like world would be an abomination, in my opinion.  But I don't believe that people should object to a reasonable level of commercial exploitation and colonization of other worlds -- if it proves to be possible to do so under a lower gravity environments.

And this should also apply to Antarctica, in my opinion.


The 1% Rule

What if the nations of the world passed an international law that allowed up to 1%  of the terrestrial environment in Antarctica to be commercially exploited and even colonized (up to 140,000 square kilometers of territory) by the other nations of the world while also preventing at least  99% of the rest of the continent from being settled or commercially exploited? That would mean that up to 140,000 square kilometers of land could be colonized or commercially exploited on the Antarctican continent.

Under this scenario, individual nations would be   allowed to lease territory in Antarctica for $1 million  per year for one square kilometer of land (100 hectares).  While probably only the wealthiest nations would be able to afford to lease and exploit territory in Antarctica,   the  revenue-- from the leases-- would be equally divided amongst every nation on Earth. Because of the need to administer the leases, the UN (the United Nations) as an entity would also a receive a share of the revenue equal to that of the individual nations.  So, in theory,  as much as $140 billion in annual revenue could be annual generated from the leasing of 1% of the territory on Antarctica.

I'd also charge-- a  renewal fee-- of $1 million per square kilometer of leased territory  every 20 years.

Nations leasing territory in Antarctica would have the right to sublease some or all of its territory to private entities. If governments subleased territory for  perhaps $100,000 a year per hectare, each square kilometer of territory could potentially be worth up to $10 million per year.

Antarctica (Credit: Wikipedia)
To prevent enormous blocks of land from being leased in a single region by a single government, I'd limit the amount of continuous land that can be leased in Antarctica by a single nation to just 25 square kilometers within a radius of five kilometers. I'd also forbid a nation from leasing  land in Antarctica that is less than 100 kilometers away from other lands that they are leasing in Antarctica. I'd also forbid other nations from leasing land that is within 5 kilometers of land being leased by another nation. This would allow potentially valuable regions in Antarctica to be colonized or exploited by multiple nations within a particular region. 

Antarctica

Surface area: 14 million square kilometers

Maximum leasable land area (1%): 140,000 square kilometers ($140 billion per year)

Maximum continuous area allowed to be leased by a single nation: 25 square kilometers within a 5 kilometer radius

Minimum gap between leased areas among different nations: 5 kilometers

Minimum gap between  areas leased by the same nation: 100 kilometers


The Lunar Territories

I would also advocate a similar international law for  the exploitation and colonization of the lunar surface and the preservation of at least 99% of the lunar environment on the lunar surface. A maximum of 1% of the lunar surface could be leased to national governments who would be allowed sublease parts of their leased territories to private individuals and commercial companies.  

I do believe, however,  that there are some areas on the lunar surface that need to be more carefully managed and even banned from potential commercialization and colonization.  I think it should be internationally agreed that territory  on the far side of the Moon below 70˚ north or south (well beyond the polar regions) should be banned from commercial exploitation and colonization.

Positions of the Earth-Moon Lagrange Points (Credit: Maccone)
Because the far side of the Moon is blocked from electromagnetic noise emanating from the surface of the Earth, this region of the lunar surface has always been viewed as the perfect location for future radio telescopes and phased array detectors. However, the prospect of outpost and colonies located at the EML4 and EML5 Earth-Moon Lagrange points would shrink the radio shielded areas on the backside of the Moon to a territorial radius of 910 kilometers extending from the lunar equator at a 180˚ longitude. Again, forbidding nearly all of the territory on the far side of the Moon from being leased would prevent it from being explored or used as an astronomical observatory. But it would prohibit the permanent deployment of spacecraft and potential habitats at EML2.

Protected Antipode circle on the farside of the Moon (Credit: Maccone)

 I'd also prevent the ice at the lunar poles from being-- over exploited--  by limiting the maximum leased area within the polar regions to 1%. Since it is estimated the north and south poles of the Moon may contain as much as 6.6 billion tonnes of water ice. Assuming that areas in the polar regions that don't contain significant amounts of ice are avoided, perhaps up to 10% (660 million tonnes) of the ice in the polar regions could eventually be exploited under these rules.   Over a 200 year period of maximum legal exploitation, up to 3.3 million tonnes of water ice could be mined each year.  About 1000 tonnes of water per year would be required for NASA's human cis-lunar and Mars operations during the next 25 years. A lunar population of more than 450,000 people could probably be supported over a 200 year span, a lot more if a significant portion of the water is recycled and oxygen from the lunar regolith is exploited for air.

Probable ice deposits in the lunar south pole (Credit: NASA)

While such a large and growing lunar population might put intense political pressure on allowing even more polar ice to be exploited, it might be more sustainable for future Lunarians to start importing hydrogen from other regions of the solar system: the NEO asteroids, Mars, Mercury, Callisto, Jupiter's atmosphere, the asteroid belt, the Greek and Trojan asteroids of Jupiter's orbital arc. Water and energy could be produced  By using the Moon's almost limitless oxygen resources, hydrogen can be converted into  water and energy.   The import of substantial amounts extraterrestrial hydrogen into cis-lunar space could also give the Moon the economic advantage of exporting its  oxygen resources to LEO and the Earth-Moon Lagrange points for propellant and to produce water and energy.

Moon

Surface area: 38 million square kilometers

Maximum leasable land area (1%): 380,000 square kilometers ($380 billion per year)

Maximum leasable area in polar regions (1%)

Regions not available for leasing: Regions on the far side of the Moon below 75 degrees latitude (north and south) including the Protected Antipode Circle,  a circular piece of land 1820 kilometers in diameter on the far side of the Moon shielded from potential radio signals from orbital habitats and colonies located at EML4 and EML5. 

Maximum continuous area allowed to be leased by a single nation: 25 square kilometers within a 5 kilometer radius

Maximum continuous area allowed to be leased in the polar regions by an individual nation: 16 square kilometers within a 3 kilometer radius 

Minimum gap between leased areas among different nations: 5 kilometers

Minimum gap between  areas leased by the same nation: 100 kilometers

Minimum gap between  areas leased by the same nation in the polar regions: 50 kilometers


Under these rules,  the 51km in diameter Shoemaker crater alone would have enough area to legally exploitable area to accommodate ice mining by  more than a dozen countries. Even with the 100 km gap between leased regions, the US could still lease several ice rich areas in the lunar south pole.


The Martian Territories

With a surface area of nearly 145 million square kilometers, nearly 1.45 million square kilometers of land could be exploited or colonized by the nations of the Earth with a potential revenues of nearly $1.45 trillion a year if all the territories legally allowed to be occupied were leased. But because Mars is much larger world, I'd allow up to 100 square kilometers of continuous land to be leased by an individual nation within a radius of 10 kilometers.



Map of the martian surface (Credit: NASA)



Mars 

Surface area: 145 million square kilometers

Maximum leasable land area (1%): 1.45 million  square kilometers ($1.45 trillion per year)

Maximum continuous area allowed to be leased by a single nation: 100 square kilometers within a 10 kilometer radius

Minimum gap between leased areas among different nations: 5 kilometers

Minimum gap between  areas leased by the same nation: 100 kilometers

I think its obvious, under these rules, that far less than 1% of the land area on these extraterrestrial worlds would ever have to be leased in order to sustain human civilization in the solar system over the next 1000 years.

 

Links and References

Antarctica - Wikipedia

“Protected antipode circle on the Farside of the Moon,” Acta Astronautica 63 (2008), pp. 110-118. 
 

 PROTECTED ANTIPODE CIRCLE ON LUNAR FARSIDE


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