Space Station Ready for BEAM Installation, ULA and Bigelow Announce Future Plans

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be berthed to the Tranquility Node of the International Space Station for a two-year demonstration. It will be the first private space habitat of its kind. Credit: Bigelow Aerospace

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be berthed to the Tranquility Node of the International Space Station for a two-year demonstration. It will be the first private space habitat of its kind. Credit: Bigelow Aerospace

Little more than a week since its rousing launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship—and just six days since it reached its orbital home for the next two years—the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is slated to be physically installed onto the Tranquility node at the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday morning. The 3,000-pound (1,360-kg) BEAM was developed by Las Vegas, Nev.-based Bigelow Aerospace, under contract to NASA, and represents the first human-rated expandable structure ever used in space. Its installation over the weekend will set the stage for several weeks of leak checks and other work, ahead of BEAM’s expansion to its full, torus-shaped configuration in late May. Also this week, Bigelow and United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced their partnership over B330 expandable habitat technology for proposed science and industrial missions, together with space tourism and perhaps eventually human voyages to the Moon and Mars.

As outlined in AmericaSpace’s preview of the BEAM mission, the $17.8 million Bigelow-NASA contract was publicly announced in January 2013, with initial plans that the expandable module would be launched to the ISS two years later. However, the loss of SpaceX’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)-7 Dragon, last 28 June, placed all subsequent missions—including BEAM—on hold, and its original September 2015 launch date was repeatedly delayed until the January-February 2016 timeframe, before slipping further to 8 April. Two days after Friday’s successful liftoff from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at the Cape, the CRS-8 Dragon, with BEAM safely tucked into its unpressurized “trunk,” was captured by the 57.7-foot-long (17.6-meter) Canadarm2 robotic arm last Sunday morning and berthed at the station.

The CRS-8 Dragon is seen through the windows of the cupola during the late stages of rendezvous on 10 April. The BEAM module, in its stowed configuration, was housed inside Dragon's unpressurized trunk. Photo Credit: Tim Kopra/NASA/Twitter

The CRS-8 Dragon is seen through the windows of the cupola during the late stages of rendezvous on 10 April. The BEAM module, in its stowed configuration, was housed inside Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. Photo Credit: Tim Kopra/NASA/Twitter

Tomorrow’s four-hour effort to robotically detach BEAM from Dragon’s trunk and install it onto the aft-facing Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) of the Tranquility node is scheduled to get underway at 2:15 a.m. EDT. Overseeing the operation from the Mission Control Center (MCC) at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, will be Flight Director Amit Kshatriya, assisted by Capcom Rebecca Wingfield. However, the actual commanding of Canadarm2 will be performed by Laura Lucier of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), seated at the Robotics Officer (ROBO) console. All three have extensive robotics experience. Prior to his selection as a flight director in April 2014, Mr. Kshatriya served as a robotics system instructor and was Lead Robotics Officer for SpaceX’s Dragon demo mission in December 2010. He subsequently led the planning for the first robotic capture of a commercial vehicle: SpaceX’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Demo in May 2012. Ms. Lucier was the Lead Robotics Mission Planner for shuttle Endeavour’s STS-118 mission in August 2007, whilst Ms. Wingfield has served as an ISS Flight Controller and, since September 2013, as an ISS Capcom.

Following the arrival of BEAM at the station, the unloading of the Dragon cargo ship is proceeding according to schedule and no checkouts of the expandable module will be necessary before or after its installation onto Tranquility, until its actual outfitting at the aft CBM interface gets underway in late May. As detailed in a recently-released NASA animation, Canadarm2 will be based off the Power and Data Grapple Fixture (PDGF) on the U.S. Destiny laboratory for the BEAM extraction and installation task. After removal from Dragon’s trunk, it will be translated under the nadir side of the station’s U.S. Orbital Segment (USOS) and berthed at Tranquility aft.

Aboard the station itself, Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra and his five crewmates— Russian cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko, Alexei Ovchinin, and Oleg Skripochka, together with NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Britain’s Tim Peake—are not expected to participate in the robotics operation itself. However, they will take an active role toward the end of the operation, assisting with CBM operations. Assuming an on-time start of the robotics, BEAM should be in position at the aft-facing Tranquility CBM by 6:15 a.m. EDT. Kopra, Peake, and Williams will then oversee the final latching of BEAM in much the same fashion as during a Dragon or Cygnus berthing.

Until the tail end of May, the module will remain in its stowed configuration, measuring about 5.7 feet (1.7 meters) long and 7.7 feet (2.4 meters) in diameter. “It takes a few weeks for the crew to outfit the vestibule between [Tranquility] aft port and the station,” NASA’s Rob Navias told AmericaSpace recently. “There will be leak checks and other systems checks in the interim.” The physical expansion of BEAM to its fully deployed, torus-like configuration—measuring 13 feet (4 meters) long and 10.5 feet (3.2 meters) in diameter—is targeted over two ISS “daytime” orbital passes, and Mr. Navias noted that the current planning date is 27 May. The expansion of the new module will be orchestrated by the Operations Support Officer (OSO) in Mission Control. This console position is responsible for logistical support functions pertaining to on-orbit maintenance, as well as mechanical systems, including the installation and activation of new modules and truss components.

Tomorrow, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be robotically transferred from the unpressurized trunk of SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship and installed onto the aft port of the Tranquility node. Image Credit: NASA

Tomorrow, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be robotically transferred from the unpressurized trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship and installed onto the aft port of the Tranquility node. Image Credit: NASA

After the expansion of BEAM, the Expedition 47 crew will conduct leak checks and outfit the Tranquility aft CBM vestibule at the berthing interface, prior to hatch opening. According to NASA, astronauts will enter BEAM about a week after expansion, which will place this activity near the end of Expedition 47. Pressure and temperature sensors will be installed inside BEAM during this initial ingress. Kopra, Malenchenko, and Peake are currently scheduled to return to Earth—wrapping up their six-month ISS increment—on 5 June, passing the torch over to Williams, Ovchinin, and Skripochka, who will form the core of Expedition 48. Therefore, depending upon any unforeseen slippage to this timescale, the actual opening of BEAM’s hatch may occur at the very end of Expedition 47 or at the beginning of Expedition 48.

Present plans call for BEAM to be ingressed by astronauts “for a few hours several times a year” for the purpose of assessing conditions and the retrieval of sensor data. According to Mr. Navias, no specific dates have been determined for when the module will be accessed during its period on-orbit, although specific data will be gathered on temperature and radiation conditions, as well as Micrometeoroid Orbital Debris (MMOD) impact events over time. BEAM will remain in place at Tranquility aft for up to two years, evaluating the thermal, structural, and radiation performance of an expandable vehicle, as well as its mechanical durability and its long-term leak performance. In precis, Bigelow expects BEAM to increase its Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of expandable habitat technology, providing the vanguard for larger and more diverse missions.

And expandable habitats are at the heart of Bigelow Aerospace’s future aspirations in low-Earth orbit and beyond. Founded by Budget Suites of America entrepreneur Robert Bigelow in 1998, the aerospace firm has pioneered the construction in expandable modules and had received a total financial injection of $180 million by 2010. As described previously by AmericaSpace, Bigelow licensed the multi-layered technology from NASA—following the 2000 cancelation of the space agency’s TransHab concept—and secured a trio of Space Act agreements. By 2010, NASA revived its interest in connecting an expandable craft to the ISS and in early 2013 BEAM, as a “sub-scale demonstration” of Bigelow technology, was formally announced.

In parallel, Bigelow Aerospace operated two highly successful expandable spacecraft, Genesis I and Genesis II, launched in July 2006 and June 2007, respectively. Both represented an approximately one-third-scale model of the company’s planned B330 (or “BA-330”) facility. The B330—whose numerical designator offers a nod to its 11,654-cubic-foot (330-cubic-meter) internal volume—will greatly surpass BEAM in dimensions. Moreover, according to Bigelow, it will dwarf the 3,740-cubic-foot (106-cubic-meter) habitable envelope of the U.S. Destiny lab. Measuring 45 feet (13.7 meters) long and 22 feet (6.7 meters) in diameter, the B330 will weigh around 43,000 pounds (20,000 kg) and will accommodate a crew of six.

Since 1998, Robert Bigelow's aerospace company has sought to develop a new means of placing large habitable structures into orbit. Included in this planning are variants of the B330. Image Credit: Bigelow Aerospace

Since 1998, Robert Bigelow’s aerospace company has sought to develop a new means of placing large habitable structures into orbit. Included in this planning are variants of the B330. Image Credit: Bigelow Aerospace

Earlier this week, Bigelow and ULA announced a partnership in the development and deployment of habitable volumes in low-Earth orbit. The first launch of a B330 will occur in 2020, atop ULA’s venerable Atlas V, which will fly in its “552” configuration, equipped with a 17.7-foot-diameter (5.4-meter) payload fairing, five strap-on solid-fueled boosters, and a Dual-Engine Centaur (DEC) upper stage. Although the DEC is as-yet unflown, it is expected to make its debut on the unpiloted maiden launch of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner vehicle in mid-to-late 2017. Flying with the additional muscle of five solids, the Atlas V 552 has the ability to deliver up to 45,240 pounds (20,520 kg) of payload to low-Earth orbit and is thus ideally suited for B330 launch operations.

“The craft will support zero-gravity research, including scientific missions and manufacturing processes,” ULA noted of the B330 plans. “Beyond its industrial and scientific purposes, however, it has potential as a destination for space tourism and a craft for missions destined for the Moon and Mars.” According to Mr. Bigelow, discussions are underway with NASA about possibly locating the first B330 at the ISS, where it could potentially “enlarge the station’s volume by 30 percent.” In tandem, he explained, an ISS presence “could function as a multi-purpose testbed in support of NASA’s exploration goals, as well as provide significant commercial opportunities.” The working name for the concept is “Expandable Bigelow Advanced Station Enhancement” (XBASE).

“We could not be more pleased than to partner with Bigelow Aerospace and reserve a launch slot on our manifest for this revolutionary mission,” said ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno. “This innovative and game-changing advance will dramatically increase opportunities for space research in fields like materials, medicine and biology. And it enables destinations in space for countries, corporations and even individuals far beyond what is available today, effectively democratizing space. We can’t begin to imagine the future potential of affordable real estate in space.”

It is noted that transportation to B330 destinations, whether ISS-based or free-flying, would be undertaken by NASA’s Commercial Crew providers, SpaceX and Boeing. “The traffic to just one module,” ULA pointed out, “will more than double the number of crew flights per year.” Looking ahead, and with B330 habitat technology tried and tested, it has been suggested that it could be deployed to the surfaces of the Moon and Mars. Other “Deep Space” (DS) variants are envisaged for cislunar or Earth-Moon Lagrange Point destinations, as well as rocky bodies in the inner Solar System.

 

 

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41 comments to Space Station Ready for BEAM Installation, ULA and Bigelow Announce Future Plans

  • Jeff Wright

    ULA needs to forget Vulcan–and work with Dynetics and build Pyrios.

    Don’t make a rocket smaller and more complicated–make one bigger with reduced part count.
    Pyrios would give ULA the F-1 prestige–compete with Falcon heavy–be used for SLS–have Shelby’s backing–and could launch Orion with one core to LEO.

    Moreover–a larger hammerhead shroud and solid augmentation means that–volume wise–Pyrious beats Falcon.

    Play that up.

    Screw reusability.

  • James

    “Aerojet Rocketdyne and Dynetics have been collaborating on large engine programs for the past three years. Most recently, the companies performed testing of additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, for a key component of a one million pound thrust booster engine as part of the Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and/or Risk Reduction (ABEDRR) contract.” From: ‘Aerojet Rocketdyne Names Dynetics as Key AR1 Engine Team Member’
    Feb. 29, 2016 At: http://rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-names-dynetics-key-ar1-engine-team-member

    Reuse could eventually be seen as a latent or add-on feature for any launcher’s 1st and 2nd stages that would of course also greatly reduce the LEO payload.

    Large kerolox boosters mean the evolved SLS’s payload to LEO could eventually become huge.

    Very large expandable B330 type of habs on the Moon could become doable by launches of an evolved SLS. Bury the habs under 6 meters of lunar dust and small rocks and we could protect astronauts from GCR caused health problems and enable a permanent lunar ISRU colony.

  • Tracy the Troll

    Lets not for get that the Centaur second stage will be replaced by the more powerful ACES in 2023. This will have onboard refueling capability and robotic platform construction capability making it a reusable system after primary cargo placement. This may very well become ULA’s bread and butter as SpaceX takes control of the reusable launch market.

    • James

      Tracy the Troll –

      ORBITAL ATK has over 30 years of large reusable booster know-how.

      BLUE ORIGIN also has lots of useful reusable launcher know-how.

      BLUE ORIGIN and ORBITAL ATK could be around and have successful launchers for many decades.

      “SpaceX” may have a hard time COMPETING WITH nonreusable launchers made by INDIA and others.

      INDIA, and many others, could also eventually have large reusable launchers.

      Note:

      “Twenty years ago, 75 percent of the world’s launch capability was manufactured in the U.S. Today, less than 25 percent is. Fifteen years ago, 75 percent of the world’s satellites were manufactured in the U.S. Today, less than 20 percent are.”
      From: ‘The Politics of Space Exploration’ By “Leroy Chiao Former NASA Astronaut and ISS Commander” and “Elliot Pulham CEO of the Space Foundation” 3/23/2016
      At: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leroy-chiao/the-politics-of-space-exp_b_9532278.html

      And: ‘India says PSLV launches generated $101 million in commercial launch fees 2013-2015’
      by Peter B. de Selding March 30, 2016 At: http://spacenews.com/indias-government-says-pslv-launches-generated-101-million-in-commercial-launch-fees-2013-2015/#sthash.Lwv4mPfK.dpuf

      Probably the Europeans understand reusable launchers. Perhaps we shouldn’t count them out of the reusable or nonreusable launcher game.

      Future B330 habs, and other payloads, headed for LEO and to the Moon, Mars, and Ceres need to have lots of launcher OPTIONS.

      • Tracy the Troll

        James,
        I have a gut feeling that rather than compete with each other, SpaceX and ULA will become partners of a sort with SpaceX securing the launch business and ULA taking the 2nd stage and on orbit assembly market. Once SpaceX starts ramping up first stages surpluses I expect their costs to fall much lower than $30M.

      • Tracy the Troll

        James,
        Additionally problem that SpaceX causes for the rest of the market place is the level of automation that SpaceX will introduce in operations that results in saving time with fewer personnel..

        • James

          The government ‘managed’ launcher marketplace can be automated by everyone.

          SpaceX’s growth has depended a lot on the transfer of the American taxpayer/NASA’s Intellectual Property, money, and even the enormous NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE known as Launch Pad 39A. And that means that maybe another country or two, or even ten, could choose to do the same ‘favors’ for a ‘beloved’ ‘local’ launch company.

          The governments of JAPAN, CHINA, INDIA, RUSSIA, EUROPE, SOUTH KOREA, BRAZIL, IRAN, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, and others could copy the same ‘cozy’ SpaceX-USA taxpayer/NASA ‘model’.

          Why would a country do that?

          “The benefits of a national space program are well known and include gains in human knowledge, scientific discovery, technical innovation, and national aspiration and pride. In the case of human spaceflight, some of the most valuable benefits are strategic. The geopolitical benefits of U.S. leadership in space include global commerce, peaceful technical exchange among nations, and the enhancement of national security now and in the future.”
          From: ‘Op-ed | Stay the Course: Continue America’s Progress in Space By Mary Lynne Dittmar April 19, 2016 At: spacenews.com

          The folks at ULA, LAUNCHERONE, STRATOLAUNCH, ROCKET LAB, BLUE ORIGIN, ORBITAL ATK, SPACEX, and other launcher capable company players probably fully understand that the world’s ‘launcher game’ to resupply the ISS, future B330 habs, and many other types of habs that could head for LEO, the Moon, Mars, and Ceres won’t end.

          • Tracy the Troll

            James,
            Are you assuming that the funding partnerships creates the Tech? One still needs the Tech. What happens when SpaceX creates reusable 2nd stage and Dragon units. Then creates a rail train support from the port and landing pad to their refurbishment facility. Then uses industrial robots to automate the loading and offloading then use robots to conduct the refurbishment process. SpaceX will create a complete automated process that could well lower F9R launch costs to under $10M or $5M or lower.. SpaceX is so far ahead of the rest of the group…I mean decades as they have been at this for 10+ years and we are now seeing the results and I am talking about engineering.

            • James

              Tracy

              “SpaceX wll create a complete automated process that could well lower F9R launch costs to under $10M or $5M or lower..”

              Maybe, maybe not. SpaceX’s river of money from the US taxpayers may taper off…

            • Joe

              Tracy,

              (1) “when SpaceX creates reusable 2nd stage…”
              (2) “creates a rail train support from the port and landing pad to their refurbishment facility…”
              (3) “uses industrial robots to automate the loading and offloading…”
              (4) “use robots to conduct the refurbishment process…”
              (5) “lower F9R launch costs to under $10M or $5M or lower…”

              Those would all certainly be amazing accomplishments.

              Exactly where did you learn they are about to do all that?

              Shotwell is only talking about a 30% reduction in launch cost for a 30% reduction in payload – a net wash.

              You really need to bring her up to speed.

              • Tracy the Troll

                Joe,
                You need to be looking at the BIG picture. The items I suggested above are all about the economics and SpaceX is a software company that actually gets its talent from the video gaming industry. Everything Musk does is about automation. Robot drone ships. Robotically lands space ships. Driverless cars. None of what he is doing is really that new. He has just taken existing tech and automated it or made it more efficient reducing staff and reducing costs…

                • Joe

                  Got it Tracy.

                  You know more about what SpaceX is supposedly doing than Shotwell does.

                  You really need to bring her up to speed.

                  • Tracy the Troll

                    Joe,
                    Shotwell runs the day to day operations. Musk creates the Markets. ULA’s Aces is a second stage reusable craft design that will stay in orbit with the ability to refuel in orbit and with “robotic arms” assemble structures on orbit. I am see SpaceX deliver cargo to orbit then ULA takes cargo and assembles it then ESA or NASA or Company X operates the craft. What See You?

                    • Joe

                      I agree with everything you have ever said (or thought) in your entire life.

                    • Tracy the Troll

                      Joe,
                      Ok first it must be early for you…Go get your coffee then..

                      Once the technology is established for the reuse capabilities then the push will be on for greater economics. Provided SpaceX can actually achieve their projections for engine reuse then automating the processes with robotics is necessary to achieve “airline” like operations it would seem…Isn’t this what everybody has been seeking to achieve since the days of Apollo?

              • Tracy the Troll

                Joe,
                I believe you requested this…

                http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/28/476015372/mars-by-2018-spacex-and-nasa-announce-a-new-space-project

                Looks like the Dragon is going to be power landed for testing after a CRS mission …to test for a Powered landing on Mars.

                Who would have thought?

                • Joe

                  Do not recall requesting it, but thanks for passing it on anyway.

                  Did not find anything in the article about “power landed for testing after a CRS mission” (though there was a reference to a hover test at a SpaceX test facility). My understanding is that the Cargo Dragons used for CRS do not have the propulsion units requited to attempt a powered landing in any case. Adding the mass of the extra engines and fuel would further reduce the Cargo Dragons up-mass capability.

                  • Tracy the Troll

                    Joe,
                    Sorry wrong article…

                    http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/27/11514844/spacex-mars-mission-date-red-dragon-rocket-elon-musk

                    The comment section points out that this test flight will include 3 reused booster cores and a reused D2 which has not flown yet. So the cost is only fuel and a 2nd stage plus refurbishment…$20M…$30M..? What do you think the chances are of meeting the 2018 Mars launch window? less than 10%…20% etc.?

                    • Joe

                      OK so now you say it is in the comments section, not the article itself (and thus not – presumably – directly from SpaceX). However when I went to look at the comments section the article says there are no comments.

                      Believe it or not I do not enjoy “raining on your parade”, but if they are going to reuse Falcon Heavy first stages where are they going to get them?

                      (1) The first Falcon Heavy test launch is now scheduled for No Earlier Than (NET) November 2016 (already pushed back iteratively from 2012) and the next Mars launch window is May 2018.

                      (2) If they are going to use Falcon 9 stages in a Falcon Heavy configuration considerable changes would be required beyond “only” the refurbishment.

                      I mean no offense (as you seem a polite well intentioned sort), but as you really never pay any attention to anything I say; I spend way to much time responding to these conversations and nobody (including you) gets anything out of them. You simply reset to your original position.

                      Again, no insult intended, but I am not going to keep replying to these inquires.

                    • Tracy the Troll

                      Joe,

                      Ok ok you are not following the concept here which is ok…

                      check this out

                      http://time.com/4311049/mars-musk-spacex-2018/

                      It discusses the problem with the F9H and the fact that the 27 engine architecture creates a “harmonic” vibration problem that will shake the rocket into pieces…and is the reason that rockets have large but fewer numbers of engines…Have you heard of this?

                  • Tracy the Troll

                    Joe,

                    Ok ok you are not following the concept here which is ok…

                    check this out

                    http://time.com/4311049/mars-musk-spacex-2018/

                    It discusses the problem with the F9H and the fact that the 27 engine architecture creates a “harmonic” vibration problem that will shake the rocket into pieces…and is the reason that rockets have large but fewer numbers of engines…Have you heard of this?

                    • Joe

                      Tracy,

                      Yes I am familiar with the concept, it is in fact suspected to be at least one of the reasons for the failure of the Russian N1 rocket from the 1960’s/1970’s (thus contributing to America winning the Moon Race).

                      The N1 had “only” 24 engines in it’s first stage.

        • James

          Tracy

          Let’s not forget that ULA’s planned excellent ACES upper stage could face other powerful and very useful large hydrolox upper stages, such as one developed by BLUE ORIGIN and powered by the BE-3U with “a vacuum thrust of 670 kilonewtons (150,000 lbf)”. Quote from ‘BE-3U Wikipedia’.

          “In 2015 ULA suggested upgrading the proposed XEUS lunar lander to use ACES as a structural core instead of a Centaur. In this design, based on ULA’s earlier Dual Thrust Axis Lander (DTAL[7]), the ACES stage would land on its side, with four short, simple legs supporting the lower curved surface just clear of the ground.”
          From: ‘Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage Wikipedia’

          Ahhh, the Moon. Ooops!

          No thinking about the Moon can be allowed!

          Note also:
          “The SLS funding includes $300 million directed for work on the Exploration Upper Stage with the goal of having it ready as soon as 2021, the earliest planned date for the first crewed SLS/Orion mission.”
          From: ‘Senate bill gives NASA $19.3 billion for 2017’ By Jeff Foust April 19, 2016
          At: http://spacenews.com

          The Exploration Upper Stage could have 4 RL10-Cs with a total thrust of 440 kN or 99,000 lbs of force.

          There should eventually be lots of great launchers for the B330 and the world’s other large habs.

          • Tracy the Troll

            James,
            That is great and it sounds like ULA has targeted their business market on the Moon and LEO once the product gets there…From Earth to LEO looks like that will be SpaceX market. I do think the overall market will grow big and grow quickly. I do not see a direct competition environment rather partnerships where all these companies take a different part of the market. A spaceX launcher may take a product to LEO that will be picked up by ULA that will take it to a Bigelow craft who takes it to Lunar orbit who drops it off to ULA lunar company…and there would probably be other companies providing other services such as fuel or additional cargo or other passengers..

            • James

              Tracy

              “and there would probably be other companes” and countries “providing” the same and “other servces such as fuel or addtonal cargo or other passengers..”

              No one wants to be left out of the LEO, GEO, Lunar base, ISRU, and resupply game.

              And as the access cost to LEO gets lower, almost every country may be able to afford and want a part of an expanded ISS and some may even want to have a hab somewhere nearby.

              From LEO to the surface of the Moon, lots of players and lots of agendas.

              • Tracy the Troll

                James,
                I agree we live in interesting times…I just hope it becomes cheap enough for me to get a ride in space someday…Otherwise I will be limited to Disney’s Mission To Mars ride at Epcot.

                • James

                  One way to get to the surface of the Moon would be to put a BIGELOW Hab on the SLS’s EXPLORATION Upper Stage and tell everyone we now have a MULTI AXES THRUST HAB LANDER, or ‘MATHL’ for short.

                  Polar craters on the Moon that have permanent shadows would be lots of fun and could have H2O, CO2, NH3, and maybe even some gold for a super secure Offshore Lunar Bank.

                  Of course such a nearby Offshore Lunar Bank could mean those smart folks at DISNEY may want to put a dome on a polar crater and move all of EPCOT, Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, to the Moon.

                  We’ll need a lot of MATHLs to transport the crowds of folks doing the Grand Lunar EPCOT Tour. Some buried habs for hotels would be nice to have.

                  Say, does that guy BIGELOW know much about hotels?

      • Gary Church

        India, Orbital, Launcher One and Blue Origin all becoming reusable and undercutting the hobby rocket? That will never happen because they will never be reusable. The hobby rocket isnt reusable. It cant even land reliably. The rocket equation proves it is impossible.

        • Tracy the Troll

          Gary,
          SpaceX has already proven the concept…The question for you is…How long before LM gets the X-33 out of moth balls and suddenly has the ability to Launch 25+/- Tons to LEO for $20M with a SSTO and a 3 day turnaround…Just think with that system…They could build in orbit the Big Nuclear Space Ship that you have always dreamed about that will have enough power for a rotated crew section for artificial gravity and a force field to block high energy radiation..

          • James

            Watch Star Trek. FORCE FEILDS often FAIL…

            Serious space travelers use 1 meter of lead, or anything equally massive, for a GCR SHEILD. No RELIABLE GCR SHEILD, no young space travelers. Maybe real space travel ISN’T very easy for anyone, old or young.

            And speaking of coffee, lots of very large bags of coffee beans could work as a RELIABLE GCR SHEILD. Joe doesn’t get any coffee until we land on Ceres. There’s no easy road for the travelers of deep space.

            Yep, there’s no doubt that the space travelers in habs need some very smart bean counters back on Earth.

            • Joe

              “Joe doesn’t get any coffee until we land on Ceres.”

              Now that’s just cruel.

            • Tracy the Troll

              James,

              “Serous space travelers use 1 meter of lead” Why do you say

              “No RELIABLE GCR SHEILD”

              Won’t the B330 have enough protection? What about the Orion?

              • James

                Tracy –

                “SPACE RADIATION EXPOSURE WILL BE THE PRIMARY LIMITING FACTOR IN SPACE EXPLORATION AND IN ESTABLISHING A PERMANENT HUMAN PRESENCE IN SPACE.”

                FROM: GALACTIC AND SOLAR COSMIC RAY SHIELDING IN SPACE By JOHN W.WILSON, FRANCIS A. CUCINTTA, H. TAI, LISA C. SIMONSEN, JUDY L. SHINN, SHELIA A THIBEAULT, AND M. Y. KIM LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER NASA TECHNICAL PAPER 3682
                AT: http://ntrs.nasa.gov

                BOTH THE EXCELLENT ORION SPACECRAFT AND THE NIFTY B330 LACK THE VERY HEAVY AND EFFECTIVE GCR SHIELDING NEEDED FOR LONG-TERM DEEP SPACE MISSIONS.

                THE NEW ORION SPACECRAFT IS DESIGNED PRIMARILY FOR SHORT 3 WEEK MISSIONS IN CISLUNAR SPACE.

                LEO AND STAYING IN HABS BURRIED WITH SIX METERS OF DIRT ON THE MOON, MARS, OR CERES ARE DOABLE FOR LONG-TERM HUMAN MISSIONS.

                LEO IS NOT LIKE DEEP SPACE BECAUSE IT IS GCR PROTECTED ON THE NADIR SIDE BY THE HUGE EARTH. THE EARTH’S MASSIVE MAGNETIC FIELD ALSO OFFERS SOME GCR SHIELDING IN LEO.

                THE REAL AND COSTLY ISSUE IS ‘EFFECTIVELY SHIELDING ASTRONAUTS FROM GCR DURING THEIR LONG VOYAGES TO MARS OR CERES’.

                SIX METERS OF LUNAR DIRT IS CHEAP AND EFFECTIVE GCR SHIELDING. AND IF YOU WANT MORE GCR SHIELDING, ADD ANOTHER METER OF DIRT.

                PARTIALLY MELT THE DIRT AND FORM LARGE BLOCKS THAT CAN BE USED TO BUILD IGLOO STYLE STRUCTURES THAT COVER THE HABS.

                ANYONE WITHOUT A PLAN TO EFECTIVELY SHIELD YOUNG WOMEN FROM GCR (GALACTIC COSMIC RADIATION) ON THE LONG DEEP SPACE TRIP TO MARS AND ON THE GCR EXPOSED MARTIAN SURFACE ISN’T REALLY TALKING ABOUT MARS COLONIZATION.

                THE MARS REAL SOON FOLKS ARE SIMPLY RUNNING SOME TYPE OF CON OR DEMONSTRATING THEIR GCR IGNORANCE.

                VERY LONG-TERM ISRU ASTRONAUT MISSIONS ON THE MOON ARE DOABLE IN THE NEAR FUTURE WITH WELL BURRIED HABS AND BY MINIMIZING THE TIME ASTRONAUTS SPEND EXPOSED TO GCR ON THE LUNAR SURFACE AND IN TRAVELING TO AND FROM THE MOON.

          • Conway Costigan

            Just so everyone knows, Gary Church/Conway Costigan no longer comments on AmericaSpace due to trolls using those names. He is gone and is not coming back which should make the do-nothing worthless editors of this crummy site and the NewSpace clowns happy.

            Any comments by Gary Church/Conway Costigan found here were not made by him.

            • Conway Costigan

              Conway Costigan is back to give America Space another chance. We will see if the America Space staff can keep the NewSpace trolls from doppelganging me.

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