SpaceDev's Manned Lunar Mission

First private sector mission concepts, potential revenue streams, what various companies and organizations are doing along these lines, <b>closely</b> related topics

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John Hunt
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SpaceDev's Manned Lunar Mission

Post by John Hunt » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:09 pm

Here is a YouTube video of a rather complex mission envisioned by SpaceDev. It includes what appears to me to be three medium lift launchers strapped together, a reusable, small lifting body shuttle, an inflatable habitat, a capsule which never returns to Earth but performs an aerocapture, perhaps a cycler, and four rocketchairs to land people on the Moon.

My take is that it is too large and complex such that it might be too expensive for private companies and Congress. Because it is so complex, I think that it has too many failure points.

Because they choose to send four astronauts at a time and choose to house them during transit in an inflatable and capsule, the boosters must be large and multiple.

I would like to minimize the mass that needs to be sent to the Moon. The rocketchair is definitely a minimalist lander. Although it could be fueled from lunar ice, I think that it should have enough extra fuel while landing to allow for an abort to LLO in case it looks like the landing will be bad. Presumably the lander would ascend to mate with a type of OTV in LLO. However, it would be interesting to see just how much fuel the lander would need to have so that it could mate with a capsule in a cycling orbit.

I'm sort of thinking out loud while typing, but, if we need enough lunar-derived fuel for ascension, returning to Earth (Homann transfer?), and circularization after aerocapture, and occasionally carrying crew, and if the crew needs a shield to slow down near Earth, then could Joe's type of OTV serve all of those purposes? In other words, could people just be part of the cargo in some of the flights carrying cargo or water?
Last edited by John Hunt on Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sam Fraser
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Post by Sam Fraser » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:26 am

Yes, too complex with too many failure points as you say. This video is from 2005 (haven't graphics come a long way in just 5 years) and at the time the moon seemed a major focus of SpaceDev. See this press release that relates directly to this video:

http://www.spacedev.com/press_more_info.php?id=48 (missing images are just screenshots from John's video)

Their press releases hardly mention the moon at all since 2008, when they were taken over by Sierra Nevada Corporation:

http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=e ... e2e8efe107

Work on their Dream Chaser shuttle continues:

http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-coun ... i_17304881

It will be launched on top of an Atlas V now, not side-mounted on an EELV-type rocket like in the video:

http://www.spacedev.com/spacedev_advanced_systems.php

I like the minimalist rocket chair concept. What altitude would you envision they operate to? All the way to LLO? *gulp*
Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand..... I don't care, I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.
Take me out, to the black, tell em I ain't coming back..... Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.

John Hunt
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Post by John Hunt » Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:09 am

SpaceDev Finds Lunar Missions Can Be Completed for Less Than $10 Billion
If such a complex mission could be completed for less than $10 billion, I wonder how much ours could be done for.

Anyone care to comment on my previous question as to how much of the mission envisioned by SpaceDev could be accomplished with an OTV such as Joe describes? I noticed that the YouTube video showed two large fuel tanks apparently being discarded which would be a recurring cost. For our OTV, it would be continuously refuelled on the Moon and so that cost would be saved.

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joertexas
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Post by joertexas » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:52 pm

[quote=""JohnHunt""]If such a complex mission could be completed for less than $10 billion, I wonder how much ours could be done for.

Anyone care to comment on my previous question as to how much of the mission envisioned by SpaceDev could be accomplished with an OTV such as Joe describes? I noticed that the YouTube video showed two large fuel tanks apparently being discarded which would be a recurring cost. For our OTV, it would be continuously refuelled on the Moon and so that cost would be saved.[/quote]

As an aside, if SpaceX develops the Raptor engine, then the second stages could be saved and used as fuel depots with some judicious modifications. I'd have to look at their plan more closely to see about the OTVs...

JR

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