DailyDirt: Getting Back Into Space

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Despite a few mishaps with rockets headed for the International Space Station (eg. SpaceX, Orbital Sciences and the Russian space agency all failed to deliver re-supply cargo ships), there have also been some interesting space-faring developments in the last year or so. Fortunately, none of the lost spacecraft were manned missions, and the ISS also has the Japanese HTV as another backup cargo ship. And with SpaceX's awesome recovery with a successful launch, it looks like re-supply missions are getting back on track -- so the ISS will probably keep going until at least 2020 (and maybe a few years more? 2024? 2028?). If you've been thinking about learning how to code, take a look at our Daily Deals for a collection of online courses to help you program and/or master some professional skills.

Filed Under: antares, atlas 5, cygnus, htv, international space station, iss, manned missions, rockets, space, space exploration, trv
Companies: intuitive machines, nasa, orbital sciences, spacex, united launch alliance


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 5:54pm

    France & Germany could pull their support of the ISS after 2020...

    http://spacenews.com/france-germany-admit-to-second-thoughts-about-sticking-with-space-station/

    If people are still committed to maintaining the ISS, SpaceX better get launch costs down as soon as possible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 8:08pm

      Re: France & Germany could pull their support of the ISS after 2020...

      The elephant in the room is that ISS has too high an orbital inclination to serve as a way station for moon missions and beyond. A station in a more equatorial orbit would be much more useful.

      Bigelow Aerospace has a contract with NASA to connect one of their expandable modules to the ISS as a technology demonstrator. I think it's only a matter of time before launches are cheap enough to start building a private, commercial station using Bigelow modules.

      If I were Elon Musk and I wanted to retire on Mars, an LEO way station in an equatorial orbit is where I'd focus my energies next.

      Just saying.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 6:24am

        Re: Re: France & Germany could pull their support of the ISS after 2020...

        Sure, an equatorial orbit gives you the most mass to LEO. But that's not the only factor you need to consider.

        For manned missions to the moon and beyond you DON'T want to start from an equatorial orbit. That would take you through the worst of the Van Allan belts. The Apollo missions, leaving from Cape Canaveral's 28.5 degrees north, missed most of the radiation. It would be the same for trips to Mars.

        ISS's 51.6 degree inclination is better for tourism and earth observation science. The view from an equatorial orbit is the same on every orbit, it's almost all water, and the rest is mostly poor Third World countries. Those tourists will want to see their own countries and cities from orbit.

        Even the step up from 28.5 degrees to 51.6 degrees greatly increases the percentage of Earth's land area you cover. Skylab went to a 50 degree orbit for Earth-resources coverage, despite the payload penalty.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        JohnPaulJones, 6 Jan 2016 @ 8:11am

        Re: Re: France & Germany could pull their support of the ISS after 2020...

        Might be easier for Bigelow to fulfill that contract if he hadn't just fired half of his workforce.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 6:48pm

    I just realized what a bullet we dodged with the International Space Station. Think of how budget-drainingly expensive it would've been to do the rebranding if we'd all agreed to call it the International Station In Space.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 7:40pm

    The odds of SpaceX sending people to the ISS on a reused rocket in the next decade are slim. It's a big difference between certifying it's ready to fly again and certifying it's ready to fly again for a a manned mission. The scrutiny is vastly different and the amount of risk NASA is willing to take for the two mission types is vastly different.

    They're best bet is to fire a new one off for a manned mission then reuse it for a commercial satellite payload.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 7:42pm

    And Orbital Sciences no longer exists

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jan 2016 @ 8:05pm

    The TRV is a return only vehicle as described. It is basically an escape pod that can be used to send small cargo back to Earth. It can't ferry anything to the station as it has minimal thrust. The article doesn't describe how it "flies" but based on the size it doesn't have the power of fuel capacity to have anything more than manuvering thrusters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 6 Jan 2016 @ 9:07am

    SpaceX's reusable rockets is huge, a much bigger deal than most people realize.

    To put it into perspective, think about the last time you flew on an airplane. It cost a few hundred dollars, most likely, to take a trip on a jet valued in the tens of millions of dollars. Imagine what air travel would be like if, for every flight, you had to build an entirely new plane.

    That's what SpaceX is on the verge of overcoming.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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