posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 06:30 PM
Xeven, I gotta say that what you want is the opposite of what this program is supposed to be... and I believe you're line of thinking reflects the
mistakes NASA has made over the last 30 years. Here's why, point by point:
1."Should be built in orbit or possibly out of a small asteroid. Football field sized asteroid or maybe a little bigger"
Schemes to build giant spaceships in orbit have contributed to us NOT going to mars or returning to the moon. Ultimately, they revolve around lifting
heavy components into space multiple times... all at great cost. Assembling these parts also requires multiple missions and time. Just think about
the time and money it has taken to (partially) build the ISS compared to the same for Skylab in the 70s.
Yes, eventually multiple components will have to be put together in space, but the point of the CEV idea is that it won't require huge 'dockyards'
As for the asteroid idea, um, inorder to build a spaceship out of an asteroid you'd have to get to the asteroid first -- which is the whole point,
really, of the CEV.
2."Be designed to spend years in deep solar space if needed. "
Ultimately, CEV components will be used for deep space missions, but building something, now, that can support humans in space for years would mean
that both long terms and short term goals would be delayed because we were trying to 'leapfrog' and do the long-term stuff first.
3." Be built of framework design so you can add/remove engines, sensor equpment, crew areas etc.. with upgrades"
The CEV itself is supposed to be a modular component that can be used within a larger system. A CEV flight to the moon would use conventional
rockets, for instance, while a mars flight would involve a CEV and habitation module being fitted to a variant of a nuclear rocket.
4."Have the ability to capture satelites like mars global surveyor so it can be reused/repaired etc.. for continued use or maybe moved to a different
planet or assigned a new mission. Ability to grab earth satelites that really no longer have a use and refuel/reuse them for use around other
Probes are usually designed for specific missions, with specific capabilities in mind. I fail to see how flying to Mars to retrieve and old probe,
flying back with it, rebuilding it from the frame up, and then relaunching it would save money when compared to just launching a new probe.
5."All new exploration probes should be built with reuse in mind. "
There's no point in this. By the time something like Cassini would return to earth all of its equipment would be obsolete or damaged. All you would
be refurbing, then, would be the relatively inexpensive frame.
6."Have return to earth vehicle and of course 2 landers attached."
Well, obviously the idea is to return to earth...
7." Instead of a one shot deal, overall it should be designed for continued use like modern Navy ships."
Navy ships don't reenter the atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour. As we learned with the shuttle, turning a vehicle around and flying it again
takes months of inspections and repairs. Keep in mind that these 'one shot deals' might last weeks or months, or even years, anyways. Also, what
percentage of the shuttle's mass is dedicated towards making it reusable?
8."Should include the best artificial gravity capabilities that we can put on it. "
There's no need for this on a moon voyage. A mars mission will be shortened by using a nuclear engine. Other than that... installing a 'hamster
wheel' in the ship would just add mass and cost.
9.". Have Nuclear and Solar power capabilities. "
I suggest you read the links I provided.
10."Should spend around 200 to 500 billion on its construction. (lets do crew exploration right the first time)"
You will never see this, then. Inflated costs are what has scared congressmen away from supporting space exploration. A half trillion dollar space
cruiser is really no better, as a spaceship, than a capsule.
11."Be capable of supporting colonization efforts of Moons/planets/asteroids."
In the long run things like Constellation Systems might make this happen, but right now we have to get there first.
12.". Oh and we should build 2 or 3 not just one."
Bush wants to build dozens of these capsules and supporting modules.
Xeven, I suggest that you read the resources that have been linked to already. The CEV is not supposed to be a giant battlestar galactica type
thing... it's supposed to be an affordable, modular system.