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Space Habitation

Home Forums Community General Chat Space Habitation

This topic contains 108 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Ken Sims Ken Sims 3 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 109 total)
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  • #14520
    Avatar of kurt9
    kurt9
    Participant

    Many of the technologies necessary to space settlement can best be developed for seasteading first. Examples include bio-remediation and recycling. The Biosphere II experiment 20 years ago was not successful at this at all. It would be good to develop bio-meme technology for the seasteads. High density food production (hydroponics, aeroponics) will be developed as a part of seasteading as well, particularly of seafood. These technologies must be available in order to settle space and it is much easier and cheaper, not to mention safer, to develop these technologies as a part of seasteading capabilities prior to any kind of space development.

    #14533
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    kurt9 wrote:
    Many of the technologies necessary to space settlement can best be developed for seasteading first.

    Agreed 100%. Seasteading will be the training ground for living in space. The three areas that require the most investment are waste disposal and recycling, food production, and energy production. Any seastead needs to be fully self-sufficient in these three areas, as will any space habitat.

    #14546
    Avatar of SimianAngel
    SimianAngel
    Participant

    The Millenial Project started by Marshall Savage is a group interested in both seasteding and then moving on to spacesteding. His book, The Millenial Project, is what got me interested in the sea in the first place. I think they are now called the Living Universe Foundation.

    I don’t like their idea of a space launch system, though. Too complex, relying on superconducting maglev and lasers. I like the concept of a space tower, or spaceshaft. They say we have the technology to build one for 100 euros, taking 10 years to complete it. From tower above the atmosphere you could take off not having to worry about aerodynamics at all. They extimate it’d cost 1% of current lanch costs.

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/07/could-100-kilometer-high-towers-usher.html

    #14547
    Avatar of SimianAngel
    SimianAngel
    Participant

    Didn’t see your post until after I commented, Smith.

    On the subject of getting materials from space, I’m crossing my fingers that we might find more space rocks that share Earth’s orbit. One was recently found in the Lagrangian point 60 degrees ahead of us I think, but I think it’s inclination is too high to make it attractive to visit.

    Quicklaunch is a promising company. Would be good for fuel and cargo, but humans can’t ride that. I wanted to invest in them, but they wanted needed a $50,000 minimum.

    #14561
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    The QuickLaunch stuff is just HARP by another name (they actually reference SHARP on their website). They still need a dual-stage rocket launch vehicle to circularize the orbit. But the idea of ocean launch on the equator is good (SeaLaunch is already doing this with rockets), and their plans of using the final 1000m launcher to put 2000 tons of material per year into orbit is nice. But we need to be working on a scale of MILLIONS of tons per year…not thousands. This either means bigger launchers, or many smaller launchers.

    And it’s not just about finding lots of stuff in space. There is a lot of stuff to grab. But, like I said before, you need a well-developed space-based infrastructure BEFORE you start grabbing stuff from space. That means permanent habitation and space-based processing facilities. Future habitats will be built using materials gathered from space, but those first installations will need to be built from stuff we bring up from the ground.

    Marshall Savage’s Bifrost Bridge is a great concept in theory. Electromagnetic launch is a very viable mechanism, as long as we have a lot of very cheap energy. His idea for a curving launch track is wrong, though, as any human would get liquified. But electromagnetic launch, with laser orbital insertion, is still my favorite idea and can be done right now with off-the-shelf technology.

    You’ll find a lot of his ideas are like that…great concept but problems with the science. Nearly all of my seasteading and space habitation ideas have been grown from seeds found in that book, but using actual science and newer technologies.

    #14570
    Avatar of Terraformer
    Terraformer
    Participant

    You don’t need millions of tons per year to get started, you need thousands at most. Once you’ve got a source of fuel and propellent up there, you’ve cut down on your payload requirements massively. Don’t believe me? Ask the United Launch Alliance (Lockheed and Boeing) – http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/publications/AffordableExplorationArchitecture2009.pdf

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Seasteading is to Boat Living what Traction Cities are to Vandwelling – simply a matter of scale.

    #14580
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    First, I’m not really going to trust two bloated and profit-driven companies like Lockheed and Boeing to do a good cost analysis of a project like this.

    Second, I’m going to have to read through this a little more closely. Because first they say:

    In rough terms a total propellant delivery of 30 tons/month is baselined for this architecture

    and then they say:

    roughly every third tanker launch continues on to L2 (Figure 8). This LEO to L2 trip consumes 41 mT of propellant…

    So they can only do less than one LEO to L2 depot run every month? More like once every few months. This doesn’t make much sense.

    Like I said I need to read it a little more closely. But I don’t see any figures in here on the amounts of materials required to build a base in LEO as well as move all the normal everyday stuff like food, electronics, oxygen, etc up to LEO. All that has to be moved up as well. And there’s no way 30/tons per month is going to cut it.

    What about radiation shielding? I don’t see any designs in that paper for what the actual space habitats would look like?

    Thousands of tons per month might be more realistic to start with…my millions per year is just me being impatient.

    #14596
    Avatar of HopDavid
    HopDavid
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    Like I said I need to read it a little more closely. But I don’t see any figures in here on the amounts of materials required to build a base in LEO as well as move all the normal everyday stuff like food, electronics, oxygen, etc up to LEO. All that has to be moved up as well. And there’s no way 30/tons per month is going to cut it.

    The goal of ULA’s architecture is to set up a moon base, not settle LEO. The architecture calls for propellant depots in LEO and at EML1.

    They aim to get people and infrastructure on the moon without using a monster HLV like Ares V.

    Should we develop propellant depots and infrastructure on the moon, exporting materials from the moon to LEO might be easier than exporting the same materials from earth’s surface.

    #14599
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    HopDavid wrote:
    They aim to get people and infrastructure on the moon without using a monster HLV like Ares V.

    Hmm, that’s not what I read at all. All they talk about is in-space transport systems in that paper. And while I agree that using a streamlined infrastructure with minimal complexity and plenty of common components makes total sense, what I’m focusing on here is how we get that streamlined infrastructure, minimal complexity, and common components into space in the first place.

    All they talk about in that paper is using existing bloated organizations (NASA, DoD, commercial ventures) and existing heavy lift vehicles like the Atlas 554 and Delta IV HLV.

    “The LH2 storage element is launched empty as a payload on an Atlas 554 or Delta IV HLV.”

    They also talk about a lot of in-space modifications that need to take place, like converting mated ACES 41 and 71 modules into depots, deploying shields, and transferring fuel. I assume they believe these procedures will all be automated, but I feel a lot of these tasks will need to be performed by people in space. That means long-term or permanent habitation in space, which requires a LOT more put in orbit than a few empty ACES 71 tankers and some LOX fuel.

    I’d like to see more focus on changing the launch system. When can do whatever we want once we get up there…it’s the getting up there in the first place that’s the hard part.

    #14601
    Avatar of HopDavid
    HopDavid
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:

    HopDavid wrote:

    They aim to get people and infrastructure on the moon without using a monster HLV like Ares V.

    Hmm, that’s not what I read at all. All they talk about is in-space transport systems in that paper.[/quote]

    Right at the outset they say lunar exploration is their goal: “This architecture encourages the exploration of the moon to be conducted not in single, disconnected missions, but in a continuous process which builds orbital and surface resources year by year. “

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    And while I agree that using a streamlined infrastructure with minimal complexity and plenty of common components makes total sense, what I’m focusing on here is how we get that streamlined infrastructure, minimal complexity, and common components into space in the first place.

    All they talk about in that paper is using existing bloated organizations (NASA, DoD, commercial ventures)

    3 very different entities there. I haven’t given up on commercial yet.

    Do you have an alternative way to get to space?

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    and existing heavy lift vehicles like the Atlas 554 and Delta IV HLV.

    A whole lot more doable than using pie in the sky vehicles like Ares V.

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    “The LH2 storage element is launched empty as a payload on an Atlas 554 or Delta IV HLV.”

    They also talk about a lot of in-space modifications that need to take place, like converting mated ACES 41 and 71 modules into depots, deploying shields, and transferring fuel. I assume they believe these procedures will all be automated, but I feel a lot of these tasks will need to be performed by people in space. That means long-term or permanent habitation in space, which requires a LOT more put in orbit than a few empty ACES 71 tankers and some LOX fuel.

    I’d like to see more focus on changing the launch system. When can do whatever we want once we get up there…it’s the getting up there in the first place that’s the hard part.

    One of the things that make spacecraft extremely expensive is low production runs. If you make only 10 rockets, each rocket bears 1/10 of the design and development expense.

    With a high flight, we could enjoy economies of scale that reduce cost of space flight. For example, Musk is mass producing Merlin engines. This could make his vehicles substantially cheaper than what NASA presently uses.

    With monster HLVs, two flights per year is very optimistic. Thus our present paradigm can’t enjoy economies of scale.

    #14602
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    HopDavid wrote:
    Right at the outset they say lunar exploration is their goal:

    That’s fine. But what I’ve been focusing on in this thread is how to get into space in the first place. Lunar exploration is great, but it can’t happen until we can get large quantities of stuff up there first.

    HopDavid wrote:
    I haven’t given up on commercial yet.

    When it comes to lifting large quantities of stuff on a high-volume launch schedule, I have. They may be able to put the occasional commsat into GEO, or fly a few millionares into the edge of space, but I don’t see them doing large numbers of launches with large payloads.

    HopDavid wrote:
    Do you have an alternative way to get to space?

    While I still hold hope that breakthroughs in material science will yield techniques to cheaply and rapidly grow long lengths of multi-wall carbon nanotube sheets and make a space elevator possible, I think there are still far too many issues that need to be solved even beyond the cable material.

    I’ve grown a bit fonder of the Launch Loop idea recently. While at first your gut instinct is “whatever” it has solid science behind it and can be built right now using off-the-shelf technology and materials. With construction costs only in the tens of billions, launch costs in the range of a few dollars per kilogram to LEO, and launch rates allowing MILLIONS of tons to LEO per year with human-safe launch environments, it is a fantastic idea that I would love to see advanced.

    I’m still most fond of laser launch, though. This is another launch system that can be done right now using off-the-shelf technology, and even better can be done in a modular way to allow the system to grow in power and launch capability over time. While this system focuses on small individual launches of a few hundred kilograms each, you are talking volumes as high as thousands per month and launch costs of a few hundred dollars per kg.

    Chemical rockets were great, but to truly conquer space we need to move to systems that allow for greater volume. Even SpaceX is only talking a few launches a year with Falcon9, which can only put 10.5 metric tons into LEO at a cost of nearly $6000 per kilogram. Better than NASA, but not good enough to colonize space.

    It’s simple, really. When you were a kid a bike was a great mode of transportation, because the distances you had to go were small and the frequency of those trips were low. But when you grow up and need to travel longer distances at greater frequency, a bike just doesn’t cut it.

    HopDavid wrote:
    One of the things that make spacecraft extremely expensive is low production runs. If you make only 10 rockets, each rocket bears 1/10 of the design and development expense.

    And the current commercial ventures aren’t talking high production runs either. Again, SpaceX isn’t talking more than a dozen launches per year, and I’m not sure how many Virgin Galactic is planning. And I don’t see either venture building dozens of launch vehicles either. Virgin is only looking at 5 if I remember, and I don’t think SpaceX is talking hundreds of Falcon 9s or Falcon Heavys.

    The trick is to have a large, expensive, heavy, complex launch system that stays on the ground, and small, light, simple vehicles that actually go into space. Like a machine gun, the bullets are simple and are sent off in large volumes and the complex machinery stays in your hands. That is the future of launch technology, and the only way I see us moving enough material off-planet to make the colonization of space possible.

    #14604
    Avatar of HopDavid
    HopDavid
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    And the current commercial ventures aren’t talking high production runs either. Again, SpaceX isn’t talking more than a dozen launches per year, and I’m not sure how many Virgin Galactic is planning. And I don’t see either venture building dozens of launch vehicles either. Virgin is only looking at 5 if I remember, and I don’t think SpaceX is talking hundreds of Falcon 9s or Falcon Heavys.

    The ULA architecture would provide a market for ULA, SpaceX et al. This would provide the flight rate needed to enjoy economies of scale.

    Docking with fuel depots can be automated.

    Whether mining lunar propellant needs a human presence or not is not known. The state of art for telerobots is constantly improving.

    If we succeed in extracting and exporting lunar propellant to EML1 and LEO, that would be a dramatic game changer.

    The moon is much closer to LEO than earth. Exporting lunar regolith, air, water and propellant to orbital habs is much more doable than lifting it from earth.

    Cislunar Fuel Depot

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    The trick is to have a large, expensive, heavy, complex launch system that stays on the ground, and small, light, simple vehicles that actually go into space.

    I see no indications that we’re moving towards making elevators, launch loops etc. If these are prerequisites, we will likely remain earthbound.

    But I believe it’s possible to establish lunar infrastructure with chemical rockets.

    #14619
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    HopDavid wrote:
    The moon is much closer to LEO than earth. Exporting lunar regolith, air, water and propellant to orbital habs is much more doable than lifting it from earth.

    I agree. And once we have a sizable space infrastructure in place, as well as a sizable lunar habitat, then exporting those materials will be a vital process. But, as I’ve said several times before, we have to get that infrastructure in place first before we can start exporting lunar regolith and other materials. And the only way that infrastructure will be built will be by moving vast quantities of stuff from Earth into space…probably LEO but preferably GEO. And we cannot lift that vast quantity of stuff using existing rocket technology.

    HopDavid wrote:
    I see no indications that we’re moving towards making elevators, launch loops etc. If these are prerequisites, we will likely remain earthbound.

    There are plenty of groups who are working on solutions to the technological and engineering obstacles that hold up these new systems. But I agree that there is no real move towards them. That isn’t because they are not feasible…that is because there is already a vast and powerful industry set up around rocket launch that doesn’t want to see its empire diminished. Same thing that is happening in the fossil fuel industry, and why renewable energy systems can’t get a foot in the door.

    What we need is for a group who can start something new without being tied to the old world way of doing things. That’s why I feel it will be up to seastead nations to take humanity in a new direction.

    HopDavid wrote:
    But I believe it’s possible to establish lunar infrastructure with chemical rockets.

    I would agree that it is possible to establish a basic, minimal lunar infrastructure with existing launch and in-space flight systems. But I don’t believe we can establish anything more than a minor outpost in that way. To establish a major lunar infrastructure with mining, processing facilities, living area for hundreds of people will require far more material than we can supply with existing systems.

    What we have now is the pony express. We need to establish a pipeline or high-speed rail system to allow full access and industrialization of space.

    #14620

    Before we do anything in space it would probably be a adequate first step to settle our inner space – the ocean – not only on the surface but also below surface. This would be a perfect training ground.

    Especially the captain nemo float out described below – one of the at least 8 major axes seasteading will develop has good potental to bring up technology and practice that can directly lead to space habitats in a future.

    The catamaran float / The plate float out / The real estate squaremeter deal / The Captain Nemo float out / The bubble hotel / The current turbine / Breakwater lagoon marina / Oceanic port city design /

    As long as there is no space elevator available – any settlement plans in space will have to wait – so why not use that time to explore the ocean first and develop the technology.

    Lets develop the one family habitat for any ocean condition …

    Wil

    concretesubmarine.com

    #14621
    Avatar of HopDavid
    HopDavid
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    But, as I’ve said several times before, we have to get that infrastructure in place first before we can start exporting lunar regolith and other materials. And the only way that infrastructure will be built will be by moving vast quantities of stuff from Earth into space…probably LEO but preferably GEO. And we cannot lift that vast quantity of stuff using existing rocket technology.

    You haven’t demonstrated that vast quantities of stuff in LEO or GEO are a prerequisite to lunar propellant mines.

    The first lunar resource will be propellant from water. Breaking the exponent in Tsiolkovsky’s rocket equation would make the difficult transportation much less difficult.

    The lunar ice is thought be relatively pure. Cracking water to get hydrogen and oxygen is energy intensive, but not as energy intensive as getting oxygen from ilmenite. Or mining aluminum, iron, etc.

    I echo ULA’s suggestion for 71 tonne propellant depots in LEO and EML2. We would need some heavy equipment on the moon: shovels, ore carts. We’d also need a power source to provide electricity for electrolysis. Fractional distillation to separate the volatiles in the ices. Various containers to store extracted volatiles.

    It will indeed take some mass. But vast quanties in GEO? Stanford Tori or O’Neill Cylinders in earth orbit aren’t a prerequisite for lunar propellant mining.

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