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DocM

Bigelow Aerospace - long term

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It starts with Space Complex Alpha in 2014-2015 and moves on to other missions. These were presented at a recent space conference and the Deputy NASA Administrator was very, very interested in how these would affect exploration logistics.

Yes, they're very serious. Mr. Bigelow is a multi-billionaire with a mission, and he's building a 180,000 sq/ft factory to crank out these modules in Las Vegas with plans for another near KSC.

(excuse the wrinkles & shine - photos under bright exhibit hall lights)

SC Bravo (to be followed by other SC's

Photo%20Feb%2028%2C%208%2037%2017%20PM.jpg

Resupply Depot Hercules (space dock)

Photo%20Feb%2028%2C%208%2036%2049%20PM.jpg

Deep Space Complex (planetary orbit to support landing sorties)

Photo%20Feb%2028%2C%208%2036%2010%20PM.jpg

Advanced Medical Facility (triage/treatment/Earth transport as space population increases)

Photo%20Feb%2028%2C%208%2035%2032%20PM.jpg

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This one is a special case. Bigelow has patented a means of assembling modules and several modified propulsion buses into a land-able base, to assembled at EML-1 (Earth/Moon Lagrange point) which could put down, do whatever, then because the buses are re-fuelable they could potentially re-locate the base.

What looks like yak's hair on the habs are Kevlar/Vectran tubes filled with lunar regolith (soil) and draped over the habs as enhanced radiation and meteor shielding. The means for generating and positiong these is also a Bigelow patent.

The propulsion buses also incorporate the landing gear, air locks, berthing ports and folding stairs. Extra thruster fuel is generated by electrolyzing waste water & excess humidity.

Photo%20Feb%2028%2C%2010%2006%2045%20PM.jpg

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WOW is all i can say amid jizzing my pants and spasming like a lunatic. sign me up for one of them Hercules babies. you basically had me at "regolith". any mention of regolith and i'm smitten. all of these look awesome, thanks much for posting. but a question - are these space stations or ships? they look like they could fly off to Mars on their own, and one of the posters does imply that.

as for Bigelow - nice and well, but is he a wholly-owned subsidiary of Haden Industries? hey Doc...wanna go for a ride?

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Most of their designs are bases/space stations but a few use modules as spacecraft habs. The Deep Space Complex would be a mix - transportation there and back, but once there serving as an orbital base launching sorties to Mars and its moons. They also have designs for lunar and asteroid missions, and NASA's NAUTILUS-X interplanetary ship concept uses them as habs, and uses their basic tech for its toroidal artificial gravity centrifuge.

They're adaptable to either role, and the habs can themselves fly free, allowing them to be replaced or serve as lifeboats because each has independent solar power, stores, galley, bathroom, radiation shelter, propulsion and the ability to make thruster fuel from waste water.

Bigelow Aerospace is a privately held company owned by Robert T. Bigelow and is headquartered in Las Vegas. He made his billions as the owner of Budget Suites of America. He's committed $500M to developing the tech since 1998 and has spent less than half, including a full mission control center (operational), 2 orbiting Genesis prototypes, that big new factory, contracts with Aerojet & others for propulsion module components (in delivery), guidance and life support (in long term human trials now) and joint projects with Lockheed-Martin, Boeing and SpaceX.

Mr. Big budgets his money wisely.

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whoa! I'd have thought space flight would be the first commercial step but this takes it to whole another level.

@DocM appreciate your informative posts this forum (Y)

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yes, Doc is a veritable fountain of info.

but Doc, what do these do for gravity? just occurred to me looking at the pics, doesn't look like they plan on generating any gravity.

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yes, Doc is a veritable fountain of info.

but Doc, what do these do for gravity? just occurred to me looking at the pics, doesn't look like they plan on generating any gravity.

maybe they are round so that they can constantly spin to create centrifugal gravity? good for the muscles and bones of people living there for long periods, but not sure what effect it would have on their mental state...

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i always think about that...let's say you're on a shuttle going up to dock with a ship headed to Mars, and that ship has one of those torus things that keeps spinning around for gravity...do you get really dizzy as soon as you step on board? i know it sounds like a dumb question, but i don't think we have a lot of experience to go on beyond the vomit comet etc...

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Just spinning the hab presents too many issues. A better way is a dedicated structure like NASA's NAUTILUS-X exploration ship would have. That proposai would use the expandable tech in its gravity centrifuge, as well as for its habitats.

They propose testing this at ISS first. Only a very few hours a day of just .13 G is enough to stem the ill effects of microgravity on the crew. Very Discovery-like in its approach, right down to the 10-11 meter diameter of the centrifuge.

Nautilus-class ships would be built in orbit in a modular manner, which would allow the propulsion modules to be swapped out according to the mission; chemical for lunar/near asteroids, plasma drives like VASIMR for Mars.

Once built the logical way to use them would be to station them at a space dock (see earlier post) at EML-1, which would allow low-energy transfer to most anywhere. Just fly the crew direct to the space dock when she's ready.

ISS test

3-nasasnautilu.jpg

Near-Earth version (lunar, near Earth asteroids etc)

nautilus%2Dx800.jpg

Deep space version (Mars etc)

oo.nautilus.ede.jpg

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now the extended duration version is more like it...starting to look like a proper ship. i'd like to see more shielding to put me at ease, too many sci-fi books and movies as a kid always telling me the evil space rocks are out to get us just as we're about to enter Mars orbit...but i guess shielding will have to wait until we have better materials technology and stronger, safer engines. so the Nautilus take care of gravity, sort off....but what about the Bigelows? still don't see anything that might be able to generate G, unless you mean they will attach the Nautilus centrifuge to those.

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the problem with centrifuges like that is the force the add to the structure they're attached to in weightlessness to.

for a spaceship you will also need to constantly spin the ship in the other direction. unless you have two of them spinning different directions, but then the ship twists. so then you need 3, 2 smaller ones and one bigger one, space small, big small, and the small ones rotating one way and the big one the other. then you shouldn't twist the ship. Still probably will do funny stuff but should be far more manageable.

for space stations it would be even more different since they should be mostly stationary. and you need to consider the metal fatigue it puts on the rest of the structure to.

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Radiation shielding with Bigelow tech is much better than with ISS or spacecraft up to now. They're walls are 16+ inches thick and made of polymers, which are hydrogen rich making them excellent rad shields, and have the option of incorporating water stores in their walls enhancing shielding even more.

Counter-torque can be added by using two counter-rotating tori or torque can be managed by isolating the rotating mass using magnetic bearings, and powering rotation using thrusters on its rim (extra points for ion or plasma) etc. instead of using a motor attached to both the rotating and stationary structures.

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and what kind of gravity can that generate?

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Centrifugal simulation depends on the centrifuge radius and RPM's, kind of like the carnival ride or a training centrifuge. You don't really need a full 1G - .13G is enough and is easily acheved.

Physiologically there is little difference between real gravty and simulated, so it negates virtually all the bad effects of long term microgravity; slowed healing, muscle wasting, bone loss, stem cell changes, most fluid shifting, etc.

The main physiological downside is a gravity gradient which is more pronounced with a smaller centrifuge radius - "gravity" is stronger at your feet tha your head. It can be somewhat gotten used to, but some find it disorienting at first. So far it appears 10 meters is the minimum diameter to minimize this, so Arthur C. Clarke was close when he designed Discovery.

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thanks again for the info. i think they'd likely have stronger ariticial gravity than that for the people coming back from long stays on Mars, asteroids and elsewhere so they could get re-acclimated to Eath g. this is all very exciting stuff, i just wish it'd become reality sooner....this global procrastination is really getting to me the older i become. i feel so sad that folks like Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke aren't around anymore. it's a shame they never had the opportunity to witness their life's work materializing, even as a start.

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I found this on the nasa website basically shows testing of inflatable habitat technology and plans to implement it on the ISS. Bigelow as of February is in talks with nasa to use their modules and test em on the space station. So this is all early design and a lot more information about what makes up each module. Great pictures Doc im really interested in this stuff i see huge implications if bigelow can pull it off. My link

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welcome to neowin mako, we need all the pro-space and pro-future people we can get around here...

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UPDATE: NATILUS-X

NASA's TAAT (Technology Applications Assessment Team) has generated a video of how NAUTILUS-X would look with the centrifuge running. Note the counter-rotating mass just ahead of the centrifuge. It also appears that the centrifuge would use ferrofluid seals.

Video - needs Blue Danube playing in the background ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zJ__F7ktvo

Some updated info - PowerPoint....

Excerpts -

- Long-duration space journey vehicle for crew of 6 for periods of 1 -24 months

- CIS-lunar would be initial Operations Zone [shakedown phase]

- Exo-atmospheric, Space-only vehicle

- Integrated Centrifuge for Crew Health

- Life Support in deployed Large Volume with shirt-sleeve servicing

- Truss & Stringer thrust-load distribution concept (non-orthogird)

- Capable of utilizing variety of Mission-Specific

- Propulsion Units [integrated in LEO, semi-autonomously

- Utilizes Inflatable & Deployed structures

- Incorporates Industrial Airlock for construction/maintenance

- Integrated RMS

- Supports Crewed Celestial-body Descent/Return Exploration vehicle(s)

- Utilizes Orion/Commercial vehicles for crew rotation & Earth return from LEO

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thanks for posting Doc, i could watch that in replay all day, it's sweet. still not the big Discovery II-class ship i'd like us to build, but if this cheaper design is what gets us deeper into space this decade then go for it. can we still hope for a Mars landing before 2020, do you think?

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No funding, private or public, for a pre-2025 Mars mission unless the economies and attitudes change drastically. If they were to change tomorrow, yes. NAUTILUS-X is entirely do-able in a shorter timeframe. It could be built for a few billion $ using conventional boosters like Atlas V. Delta IVand Falcon 9 for most of it and Falcon Heavy for the heavy stuff (>30 metric tons a pop.)

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that gives us hope. thanks as always for the very clear explanation. i do sense some change in moods, but it could just be wishful thinking. wouldn't it be grand, though? a mission to Mars in this decade...i'll take the Nautilus if that's what's needed...you know i'm not a huge fan of that design.

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