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Bigelow Aerospace updates: thread 2

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Draggendrop    5,747

I don't know the full situation, but I hope Bigelow gets a portion of this allotment.

 

Spending Bill To Accelerate NASA Habitation Module Work

 

boeing-nextstep-879x485.thumb.jpg.2b45d6

Boeing is one of four companies with study contracts from NASA to study habitation module concepts. Funding provided in the 2016 omnibus spending bill, and attached report language, could accelerate that work. Credit: Boeing

 

Quote

WASHINGTON — An omnibus spending bill passed by Congress this month directs NASA to accelerate work on a habitation module that could be used for future deep space missions, although how NASA will implement that direction is unclear.

 

The report accompanying the fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill instructs NASA to spend at least $55 million on a “habitation augmentation module” to support the agency’s exploration efforts. The money would come from the Advanced Exploration Systems program, part of the Exploration Research and Development line item in the budget that received $350 million in the bill.

 

“NASA shall develop a prototype deep space habitation module within the advanced exploration systems program no later than 2018,” the report states. It also requires NASA to provide Congress with a report within 180 days of the bill’s enactment on the status of the program and how it has spent the funds provided.

 

The agency hasn’t described how it will use that funding. Speaking at a Space Transportation Association luncheon here Dec. 16, Sam Scimemi, International Space Station director at NASA Headquarters, said he was not immediately aware of any specific plans for that funding.

 

Over the last several months, NASA has increasingly emphasized development of a habitation module that could be tested in cislunar space in the 2020s. That module could then be used for human missions to Mars that NASA hopes to carry out some time in the 2030s.

 

Scimemi said he envisions testing out the habitation module and other key technologies in a year-long “shakedown cruise” in cislunar space by the late 2020s, demonstrating that they are able to support a long-duration human Mars mission. “That is our big objective for cislunar space for human spaceflight,” he said.

 

NASA has resisted providing details about how it will develop that habitation module, or even its requirements. “It’s much too early for that,” Scimemi said. “As soon as I put a picture up there, somebody is going to assume what the configuration is.”

 

The agency has instead funded several industry studies of habitation module concepts. Under its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships, or NextSTEP, program, NASA awarded study contracts in March to Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Orbital ATK to study habitat designs. It also awarded contracts to Dynetics, Hamilton Sundstrand and Orbital Technologies Corp. for specific module technologies, such as life support systems.

 

The NextSTEP contracts, valued at up to $1 million each and lasting for one year, will inform NASA’s plans for later habitat development work. “We plan to leverage the output of those studies to shape our plan and then go to a next round,” Scimemi said, adding that NASA hadn’t settled on the details of that next phase.

 

The funding provided in the omnibus bill, as well as the direction to complete a prototype module by 2018, could force NASA to speed up those plans. Some in industry, including those working on NextSTEP studies, welcomed the new emphasis on a habitation module provided by Congress.

“We’re thrilled that Congress took the lead,” said Mike Gold, director of D.C. operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace, in a Dec. 16 interview. “It is the missing piece of the human space exploration puzzle.”

 

Gold emphasized language in the omnibus report that not only requires NASA to provide Congress with a report on its habitation module work within 180 days, but also describe the “appropriate management structure” for the program. That language, Gold said, is a sign that Congress wants NASA to move more quickly on this project.

 

Besides its NextSTEP study contract, Bigelow Aerospace has also developed a prototype expandable module that will be installed on the International Space Station in early 2016. Those efforts, Gold said, could provide NASA with the information it needs to allow it to meet the 2018 deadline set by Congress for developing a prototype module.

 

One of the decisions facing NASA will be who will build the habitation module. Companies like Bigelow are interested in providing the module for NASA, leveraging technologies that could be also used commercially, such as for space stations that could succeed the International Space Station.

 

Scimemi, though, suggested that NASA might decide to build the habitation module internally. Asked at the luncheon who could build the module, he said, “I want to build it.”

http://spacenews.com/spending-bill-to-accelerate-nasa-habitation-module-work/

 

NASA....Please do not build anything.....newspace already has a handle on this......:woot:

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DocM    16,587

Bigelow got a big chunk of the NextSTEP habitat appropriation for their BA-330 module, so take heart.

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DocM    16,587

BA-2100 is a 2100 cubic meter habitation module, which is more than 2x the internal volume of the ISS.

 

Previously BA-2100 was mostly artwork, but with BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) going to ISS in February for a 2 year test and another BEAM being built as an airlock for a BA-330 module, it seems things are ramping up for them.

 

Bigelow says more information coming.

 

Edited by DocM
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Draggendrop    5,747

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Unobscured Vision    2,677

It's a big 'un. REALLY big. Puts the "Big" in Bigelow. :D

 

(I had to. :rofl:)

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IsItPluggedIn    1,684

The problem with the BA-2100 is that we dont have a rocket that can throw it up. Wiki says that BA-2100 is 65-70 Tonnes, and FH can only lift 53 Toned to LEO(http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy) unless those numbers have changed with the FT version? 

 

We would need to wait for SLS/BFR before we can see this thing up there, unless it can shed some weight

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DocM    16,587

We don't know what an expendable FH FT can push yet given the FT mods and SpaceX sandbagging launcher performance on their website. The fairing may be more of an issue, though in theory FH should handle a 7 meter or so.

 

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Beittil    582

Could such a package be steamlined enough to maybe not require a fairing at all? :p (silly thought, i know)

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DocM    16,587

No. The exterior is fabric. A ballistic fabric, but still fabric.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Yes, seems a lot of specifications are blurred, for now. 

 

With general searches on wiki's, it is like IsItPluggedin had said, BA-2100 appears to need 8 meter fairing and could be from 60 to 100 ton. This appears to be a little strange and must be including hardware, etc. See this link for general layouts of the BA-2100.

 

https://www.google.at/search?q=ba2100&espv=2&biw=1536&bih=794&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjh7K2Iy5LKAhXEVHIKHXq_CTsQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=ba2100+bigelow&imgrc=yNYz5n775k5ihM%3A

 

I would imagine that a lot of stuff could be temporarily removed, slight modifications, etc., to reduce weight for FH FT (50+ ton), or.... have unit in 2 sections, where 2 launcher lifts will do. If they want this up in a quick and affordable fashion, Bigelow should be tailoring this to SpaceX capacities of F9FT and FHFT. SpaceX FHFT is listed as being able to have more lift than the shuttle and Proton, combined. Bigelow needs to start thinking of "how to get the stuff up", or they have and are not telling us.

 

Spaceflight101 has a good wiki on FH....

http://spaceflight101.com/spacerockets/falcon-heavy/

 

Any thought's guys?   :)

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DocM    16,587

Clearly, start with an LEO BA-330 which FH FT can easily lift, though it'll need a stretched fairing (from the current 13 to 18-19 meters long) which has been rumored as being in the works. Add a couple more and NASA will have the commercial ISS follow-on they've recently talked about.

 

Next, move on to putting up a BA-330 DS (Deep Space - more shielding) at lunar L1 or L2. Rinse, wash & repeat for a deep space Exploration Gateway Station; a low ∆V jumping off point to everywhere.

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

The ISS has been up for 15 years and the technology that started it was mid 90's. IMO, we will start seeing the bills start to increase with age and end of normal life, which it kind of is now...been a huge success, but time to start thinking of moving forward like Doc said...lagrange points and on site manufacturing of toys.

 

:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,677

That's an interesting topic of discussion. Let's break this down a bit.

 

SpaceX (as DocM said) was stating the expected performance of FH based on numbers that were current as of the 1.1 varieties of the Merlin engines. Now that they've "fessed up" and we're on the 1.2 FT gear, we can extrapolate FH's performance more accurately -- assuming that they are using the 1.2 model and not the 1.1 model. Remember, SpaceX likes to be conservative with their Engineering at first to work through any issues (and it's a rock-solid practice, imo) before doing a full-commit.

 

So, all that aside, let's crunch numbers with the 1.2 model. We'll go with a 30% boost over the old numbers, since there's always some loss due to whatever. ;) 

 

As @DocM just said, we need to cope with a stretched fairing, adding weight and messing with the flight characteristics. We're going to be more top-heavy, and since it won't generate any aerodynamic lift (and no, not like aircraft wings .. I know better than that .. think of the front of the aircraft instead) so the flight software is going to need to "step on the throttle more" to stay ahead of it but not too much. Nothing FH can't handle but it's funny how an extended fairing can mess with your carefully-engineered launcher, especially if your load is heavy. It'll have the tendency to "rollover" (a "front-flip") more than usual; all of which the flight software needs to correct for.

 

So, let's assume that all of that has been accounted for and dealt with. We've got an 8-meter by 19-meter "Super X" Fairing, the Falcon Heavy in a 1.2 "FT" Configuration sitting on Pad-39A, and Bigelow's best and brightest are all there waiting for the launch.

 

It'll be on all of the Networks -- likely several worldwide, too.

 

Those three cores fire up, and we've got a launch commit -- and she's off!

 

Lifting capacity of a Falcon Heavy in a 1.2 "FT" configuration? 68.9 T to LEO. That "Super X" fairing weight is going to push it right to the edge of what it can do. Bigelow's BA-2100 might have to go up without anything inside of it (food, etc), but it can go up in one piece. :yes: 

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Here are some rough specs, and as Doc has stated, reddit has to be taken with a grain of salt. Don't shoot the messenger, this gives an idea of F9FT potential and we will see that the SES-9 flight WILL set the tone for the other GTO's and ability to land or not.

 

Quote

To re-iterate a little more about the projected capability for F9 FT.

 

A. F9 v1.1 has "demonstrated" an expendable capability of ~ 4,850kg to GTO-1800. Two sets of data compound to that assertion.

  1. The biggest GTO payload was the 4,707kg TurkmenAlem52E. It was placed in a roughly GTO-1765 orbit (180x36600x25.5)
  2. Thaicom 6 (a 3,016kg sat) got to a GTO-1500 equivalent orbit (295x90000x22.5). This stretched S2 fuel reserves to almost complete depletion (according to USAF, which evaluated this flight as part of the SpaceX EELV certification procedure).

B. F9 FT as a whole is reported to be around 30% more capable than F1 v1.1

C. DPL (barging) costs about 15% performance.

 

This means that F9 FT has a theoretical expendable capability of about 6,300kg to GTO-1800 DPL moves it to 5,355kg. SES9 is 5330 kg.

Its looking very close. Depending on whether the rocket goes to DPL or not, as well as what the end orbit is, we are going to get a lot of info about the current Falcon variant capabilities.

 

If this pans out, and RTLS removes another 15% of performance, F9 FT would be able to RTLS after sending a 4410kg payload to GTO-1800. This number is interesting for some of the following missions (not ordered according to schedule):

 

Payload Mass Orbit RTLS Recovery DPL Recovery
Jason-3 533kg LEO Yes Yes
CRS-8 up to 7500kg LEO Probably Yes
SES-9 5330kg GTO No Possibly
Thaicom 8 3100kg GTO Yes Yes
ABS 2A, Eutelsat 117 West B ~4000kg? GTO Possibly Yes
CRS-9 up to 7500kg LEO Probably Yes
JCSAT-14 ~3400kg? GTO Probably Yes
Amos-6 5300kg GTO No Possibly
BulgariaSat-1 ~3400kg? GTO Probably Yes
JCSAT-16 ~3400kg? GTO Probably Yes
CRS-10 up to 7500kg LEO Probably Yes
SES-10 5300kg GTO No Possibly
KoreaSat-5A 4465kg GTO Unlikely Probably
Es'hail-2 ~3000kg GTO Probably Yes
Formosat-5 525kg SSO Yes Yes
CRS-11 up to 7500kg LEO Probably Yes
Iridium NEXT 3-12 ~8300kg? LEO Probably Yes
Iridium NEXT 13-22 ~8300kg? LEO Probably Yes
SES-11 5300kg GTO No Possibly
SAOCOM 1A 1600kg SSO Yes Yes

 

If F9 FT performance upgrade over v1.1 I listed above is correct (some say its more, like 33%), then almost all the missions above except the biggest ones would be eligible for RTLS, OR a better orbit than GTO-1800 + DPL.

 

In my view, the SES9 mission may be one of the most important milestones for this year. GTO is where the money is.


Appendix

GTO = Geosynchronous transfer orbit

GEO = Geostationary orbit

GTO-1800 = Geosynchronous transfer orbit that needs an additional 1800m/s dV to reach Geostationary orbit

GTO-1500 = Geosynchronous transfer orbit that needs an additional 1500m/s dV to reach Geostationary orbit

Super-synchronous (transfer) orbit = A Geosynchronous transfer orbit with an apogee (apsis) more than GEO altitude.

Sub-synchronous (transfer) orbit = A Geosynchronous transfer orbit with an apogee less than GEO altitude.

GEO = 35,786 km x 35,786 km x at 0 degrees inclination.

GTO-1800 = 185 km x 35,786 km at 27.0 deg inclination.

GTO-1500 = 185 km x 35,786 km at 0 deg inclination.

RTLS = Return To Launch Site

DPL = Downrange Propulsive Landing (landing on a ASDS barge)


Cape Canaveral where most GTO payloads launch from is at a 27.0 deg inclination. This is why we tend to talk about GTO-1800. You need about 300m/s dV to kill the inclination.

Kourou (where ArianeSpace Launches from) is very close to the equator. So, ArianeSpace tends to cancel all inclination when they launch GTO missions. That's why we are tend to talk about GTO-1500.

thrown together by dante80 from reddit.          Accuracy not guaranteed anywhere.

 

This can be some what useful as a gauge for things to happen, the potential of F9FT...and onward to F9FHFT

 

Don't shoot the messenger.....:woot:   this is just for fun. 

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DocM    16,587

The F9 FT performance gain is 33%. 

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Unobscured Vision    2,677
Just now, DocM said:

The F9 FT performance gain is 33%. 

I factored that into my 30% boost for the FH "FT" lifting projection with that "Super X" fairing. We'll lose about 6% capacity just in hauling that thing to jettison altitude, as heavy as it's going to be.

 

And DD, great info there. :yes: 

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Draggendrop    5,747
Just now, Unobscured Vision said:

I factored that into my 30% boost for the FH "FT" lifting projection with that "Super X" fairing. We'll lose about 6% capacity just in hauling that thing to jettison altitude, as heavy as it's going to be.

 

And DD, great info there. :yes: 

I cannot verify anything, as Doc has said about reddit on occasion...but it is a fun exercise, and we have 33% now...it's a start. :)

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Unobscured Vision    2,677
18 minutes ago, DocM said:

Another dynamic in play is France and Germany considering exiting ISS in 2020 instead of going to 2024 and deciding then on 2028. That could accelerate plans for starting a commercial ISS replacement.

 

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

I can't wait to see what NewSpace has in store for us. It'll be a thing of beauty and functionality. And OldSpace will be literally stumbling over their own boot-strings to get in on that action. Everything that OldSpace couldn't (or wouldn't) do, NewSpace is already perfecting on the ground and getting ready to send up for Beta Testing. :yes: 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Layoffs Hit Bigelow Aerospace

 

Bigelow_Aerospace_facilities-879x485.thu

A full-scale mockup of Bigelow Aerospace's Space Station Alpha inside their Nevada facility. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

 

Quote

WASHINGTON — Bigelow Aerospace, a company developing commercial space station modules, has laid off an unspecified number of employees as it seeks to transition from research and development to commercial operations.

 

In a Jan. 6 statement provided to SpaceNews, Bigelow Aerospace President Robert Bigelow said that the company determined that many areas of the company were “overstaffed” and decided to lay off employees to reduce the company’s expenses.

 

“In December of 2015, we analyzed the amount of staff that we employed throughout all of our departments at Bigelow Aerospace, and discovered that numerous departments were overstaffed,” Bigelow said in the statement. “Regrettably, we had to make the choice that, beginning with the New Year, we need to follow standard business protocols, which sensibly requires an attempt to achieve balance in how much staff is necessary.”

 

The company did not disclose how many people were laid off. Industry sources estimated that between 30 and 50 people lost their jobs, and that the company had more than 150 employees at the time of the layoffs.

 

The layoffs come after a hiring spree for the company. For much of 2015, Bigelow Aerospace advertised that it was seeking to fill more than 100 positions, both at its North Las Vegas, Nevada, headquarters and a new propulsion division the company opened in the fall in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

As recently as December, the company’s website listed more than 30 open positions. As of Jan. 7, the website listed only four open positions, including chief operations officer.

 

Bigelow, in the statement, said he decided to make the layoffs as part of a company transition. “For sixteen years, Bigelow Aerospace has functioned nearly exclusively as a research and development company,” he said. “Starting in 2016, our intent is to behave in more of a financially responsible manner seeking to generate revenues as well as maintaining financial practicality on operating expenses.”

 

Bigelow Aerospace is known for developing inflatable modules that launch in a compact form and expand to their full volume once in space. The company successfully demonstrated the technology on two missions, Genesis 1 and 2, launched in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

 

The company has also built, under a $17.8 million NASA contract announced in 2013, a prototype module called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) that will be installed on the International Space Station. Bigelow completed work on BEAM last year, and the module will launch to the ISS on the next SpaceX cargo mission there, tentatively scheduled for February.

 

Testing of BEAM and other company work, including a NASA study contract awarded in 2015 to examine the use of Bigelow modules as deep space habitats, won’t be affected by the layoffs. “These layoffs will not compromise in any way our ability to execute the work and activities that we presently have ongoing,” Bigelow said in the statement.

 

The layoffs are not the first time Bigelow Aerospace has cut staff. In September 2011, the company laid off 40 of its 90 employees. The company cited delays in the development of commercial crew transportation vehicles needed to access its proposed space stations.

http://spacenews.com/layoffs-hit-bigelow-aerospace/

 

 

similar article at...

http://www.parabolicarc.com/

 

:(

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DocM    16,587

Hello - this is January, which is layoff season in the tech and other industries.  They do staff evals and cut the deadwood. Usually companies will cut about 10%.

 

Bigelow also needs to keep staffing balanced vs revenues because they can't actually do much until Commercial Crew spacecraft are certified in 2017-2018.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Hopefully, Dragon v2 will be ready by years end, or shortly after. This and FHFT, up and running, will give them options.

 

:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,677

Yep, it's unfortunate but it is solid business practice. Those employees will be taken care of through Unemployment Insurance and (likely) Severance Packages. With their varied experience they shouldn't have trouble finding work in other Aerospace Companies.

 

And maybe NASA themselves will help them find work. There's a press for new habitats, so it's not like those employees won't have options. :yes: They'll be fine. Maybe Bigelow will hire them back after things improve.

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DocM    16,587

Note the airlock and Crew Dragon

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