Friday, April 09, 2010

Space Access 2010 - Panel: Propellant Depots: "Impedance Matching" Between LEO Launch And Deep-Space Missions - Dallas Bienhoff, Jon Goff, Bernard Kut

The panelists introduced themselves. They were: Dallas Bienhoff, Bernard Kutter, Jonathon Goff, and Rand Samberg.

Rand said someone suggested that the earth is a LEO harbor. Rand says it is a bad analogy, we don’t use tugboats to get ships from earth to low orbit. A better analogy is the small boats that take people from shore out to a cruise ship. There is a problem when you have two sets of requirements into one vehicle. Better to have one rocket to take people up to LEO, and another rocket to take people from LEO to places farther in space.

Jonathon suggested that fuel depots (a gas station) might be an important early RLV markets. It might make sense to have small depots. He pointed out that when refueling aircraft in flight we don’t ram the two together, you reach out a boom. Maybe the right thing is to also have a boom for rockets. If we start going with fuel depots, then in the first 12 months we might end up having more docking that in the whole previous history of docking.

Bernard said that United Launch Alliance launches about 150 tons to LEO. He said he didn’t know what the correct size was for building up the fuel depots. Was it a 1000 pounds? Was it 20,000 pounds? Bernard says we don’t need new technology, we know enough now. He suggests we first launch a large empty tank, get it into space. Could get a 20,000 or 50,000 gallon tank. If build fuel depots in LEO and one of the Lagrange points, then can put large amounts of material on the moon or Mars.

Here are some similar slides from Bernard.

Dallas started off should a video of a proposal of taking fuel up to a fuel depot. He showed various options for putting fuel into various places in space. There are several economic issues that still need to be resolved.


Bernard said he thought they could have fuel depots in four years.

The full agenda for Space Access 2010, with links

Technorati tags:

No comments: