Outpost todo list

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Revision as of 16:22, 8 October 2012 by Charles radley (Talk | contribs)

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Please enter your suggestions for the Outpost todo list.


1) Design vacuum trunk line to allow each of the airlock pumps to be switched in to or out of vacuum line. This will allow each of the three pumps to be used as back up to the other two or if all are switched to the trunk line it will reduce the wait for draw down.--Len 23:55, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

2) Upload dwg of quonset hut style Outpost.--Len 23:55, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Charles' musings:

A key point in the LSF/SV roadmap is that we do not believe chemical rockets are a viable basis for space development. The lunar outpost is not a viable idea, for example, if it depends on chemical rockets. The key enabling technology for lunar outputs will be development of a lunar elevator. For $800 Million US, a lunar elevator can be built TODAY, capable of delivering unlimited numbers of 100 kg payloads to the lunar surface, and retrieving the same mass of materials from the Moon. LSF/ISV roadmap shows that lunar and asteroid development are crucial to human expansion into the solar system and beyond.

There is no way the mission you describe can be accomplished for anything less than $10B. It would be an interesting exercise to dig into the details. To begin this process, we will need your detailed mass or weight breakdown at least down to the 100 kg granularity. I do not see any breakdown, that is central to the cost calculations.

Launch costs are substantial, but might not be the driver. For example, with the ISS, launch cost was much less than 50% of the total system cost, not sure of the exact percentage. A lunar outpost will require most of the subsystems of ISS, although smaller of course. But soft landing hardware on to the lunar surface is several times the cost of launching into LEO, so the ISS percentages would not apply.

A 6 month stay on the lunar surface is a very difficult engineering challenge. Nobody has built a space qualified life support system which can keep humans alive and at a livable temperature in 14 days of total darkness, in hard vacuum. 14 day energy storage system will be extremely heavy. I would like to see the electrical system design concept. Also need to see the power budget. How much weight have you allocated for batteries?

Dev cost for a "Gemini style" capsule will be a few $Billion by itself. Re-engineering ISS hardware for lunar use will be quite expensive, but probably cheaper than starting from scratch. The lunar gravity is a nuisance, the solar arrays and radiators design for Zero-g will need additional support structures on the Moon, for example. Also, ISS hardware is not designed to handle 14 day cold soak, that will require a lot of work and modifications.

note that Bigelow aerospace had to cancel crewed space operations, primarily because of the lack of manned launch vehicles and manned crew capsules ..... if Bigelow cannot afford to develop these then we know it is in the Billions cost range.

The L-1 power sat is a good idea. How many KW ? That alone will cost a few hundred $million to $1billion+ depending on how much power. A Hubble size mirror would help greatly to focus the beam. There are two surplus mirrors which have been donated to NASA by NRO which might be suitable.


Paul (talk) Charles, You are wrong, So very wrong. You are making so many incorrect assumptions that a;most nothing you noted here is relevant. Having said that, Please don't stop. If you want, please, detail your numbers, help us detail ours, but note, we do NOT do things the NASA/ULA way.

For example, Why would we need an outpost that can tolerate a 14 "day" night? We're planting it on the poles, Done, No night. (as you are no doubt aware, there are places on the poles, especially if you link a few close together, that have complete sunlight coverage.)

Sure, You could build a space elevator, but certainly not now, and for $800M, we could build the outpost.

and - In what insane, big aerospace, FAR + Cost + Profit world would you possibly expect to spend Billions to redevelop Gemini? didn't Musk already do it for far less? - And besides, we don't use a capsule.

The reason Bigelow didn't develop a capsule was not that "he couldn't afford it", it was simply that the market couldn't support it at the time, and by the time the market could support it, someone else, (Space-X) already was.


Charles radley

Musk has not developed a Gemini type vehicle. The Dragon is not yet man rated... I have not seen any numbers on the dev cost of Dragon, I would SWAG close to $1B and it is not yet man rated, so more cost remains. But we can probably assume Soyuz will be available at least.

We seem to be a long way apart on our cost projections.

There is no way the lunar outpost can be built for $800M. The lunar elevator can be built for that price and more quickly than a lunar outpost.

Putting outpost at the poles is a good location.

I do not see any discussion of radiation shielding. I notice that the habitat appears to be covered with lunar soil, but difficult to tell from the artwork. Even at the lunar poles, like anywhere else on the Moon, solar wind and cosmic particle radiation flux is high, and much shielding will be needed. Lunar lava tubes would be the best location to use, not sure if any have been found near the poles.

Where is the WEIGHT BUDGET? The lunar elevator first model will weight 11,000 kg, which can be launched to LL1 or LL2 by a single Delta-IV or Ariane-V. That is about 95% fiber mass by weight, the rest is the deployment system and anchoring system. With a breaking stress of ~20kgf it can soft land ~100 kg on to the lunar surface, depending on safety factor.

What is the weight breakdown for the lunar outpost? Be sure to include the weight of all the construction equipment and consumables.

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