Altair: Constellation Returns Humans to the Moon


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Presentation by Clinton Dorris (Deputy Manager, Altair Project Office, NASA) at the Von Braun Memorial Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, 21 October 2008.

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  • Welcome audience.Introduce yourself.Tell audience what you do at NASA.
  • This chart shows the roadmap for NASA ExplorationAres I and Orion development get into full swing in 2008Launch pad abort tests of emergency escape system start in 2008 and continue through 2011Abort tests will occur at White Sands Missile Range in New MexicoFirst test of full launch stack in 2009 at Kennedy Space Center in FloridaMissions will launch from Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39B, which will be turned over to Constellation after the shuttle’s Hubble Space Telescope missionBased on current budget projections, NASA has high confidence the first crewed Orion mission will launch no later than 2015Orion 1 will be first use of Ares I upper stage, but will not have a human crewOrion 2 will be first crewed mission and will deliver first low-impact docking adapter to space stationOrion 3 will be crewed and deliver second docking adapterOrion 4 will be first space station crew rotation mission
  • Altair will use some of the concepts and technologies used by it’s predecessor, the Apollo Lunar Module.Clinton: I put actual comparisons in your notes under the Altair Architecture slide – you may want to put them here instead.
  • Lunar lander project taking a lean approach, using a small team of engineers to develop conceptual designsLander team is getting perspective of those from Apollo days who have “been there, done that”Apollo designed to support landings only in narrow band around moon’s equatorBut Constellation lander will support landings almost anywhere on the moon’s surfaceLander team just completed first design cycle.Biggest challenge is weight, since every pound delivered to the lunar surface is dependent upon resources launched for all stages of the mission Plan is to begin building outpost as soon as possible
  • Clinton, check verbage here for accuracyThe Altair Project, still in design and development mode is establishing performance metrics, exploring the full range of implementation options and defining an affordable project concept to meet requirements specified in Constellation’s Program Plan.
  • Altair will be similar in concept to its Apollo predecessors with some notable differences. Like Apollo, Altair will have two stages, the descent and ascent modules. Altair will be carrying a crew of 4 to and from the lunar surface where the Apollo version carried only 2. Altair in cargo mode will have the capability to land 20 metric tons of dedicated cargo which is greater than the total mass of the Apollo Lunar Module.When carrying a crew, Altair will be capable of supporting a crew on the surface for up to 7 days with a payload capacity of 2 metric tonsAltair will be able to access any point on the lunar surface including the Polar RegionsThe Orion spacecraft will orbit the Moon unmanned while the astronauts are on the lunar surfaceAltair has a much larger cabin and an airlock similar to the ISS to keep the interior of the spacecraft much cleaner and add mission flexibility
  • Different configurations of Altair are being developed for different missions. The Sortie Variant allows for both crew and cargo to land on the lunar surface for exploration up to 7 days. Note the sortie variant contains both the airlock and ascent stage.The Outpost variant would be used once a lunar outpost has been established to deliver both crew and cargo.The Cargo Variant would be used to deliver cargo only to the lunar surface (note the absence of the ascent stage)
  • Altair’s workforce will add to Constellation’s economic impact across the country, both at NASA centers and in private industry
  • Constellation Program includes:Two launch vehicles (Ares I and Ares V)Two human spacecraft (Orion and Altair)Additional surface support equipment for exploration, resource utilization and scientific researchConstellation vehicles are being designed initially for missions to moon.Ares V cargo launcher will be big enough to support future missions to Mars.Ares I and Orion are being designed to transport crews the first and last 100 miles – to and from low-Earth orbit.
  • Clinton – feel free to change or not use these notes:These are exciting times for space science and exploration – it’s been almost 36 years since humans last set foot on our Earth’s Moon – Constellation will take us back – Altair will be the vehicle that sets down on the lunar surface with a crew of humans and eventually with the cargo to establish a lunar outpost. What the Altair Project discovers in traveling to and from the Moon will be used to design and develop the next lander which will set down on Mars. Gene Cernan spoke these last words as the last human standing on the moon’s surface: “As we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. As I take these last steps from the surface for some time to come, I’d just like to record that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow.”Constellation is forging ahead with that destiny!
  • Altair: Constellation Returns Humans to the Moon

    1. 1. Altair Cover Page Altair Constellation Returns Humans to the Moon Clinton Dorris Deputy Manager Altair Project Office Constellation
    2. 2. EXPLORATION ROADMAP 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Lunar Capability Initial Capability Lunar Outpost Buildup Lunar Outpost Buildup Exploration and Science Lunar Robotics Missions Exploration and Science Lunar Robotics Missions Research and Technology Development on ISS for Risk and Technology Development on ISS for Risk Reduction Reduction Commercial Orbital Transportation Services for ISS Commercial Orbital Transportation Services for ISS Space Shuttle Operations Space Shuttle Operations Ares II and Orion Development Ares and Orion Development Operations Capability Development Operations Capability Development (EVA Systems, Ground Operations, Mission Operations) (EVA Systems, Ground Operations, Mission Operations) Orion and Ares II Production and Operation Orion and Ares Production and Operation Altair Lunar Lander Development Altair Lunar Lander Development Ares V and Earth Departure Stage Ares V and Earth Departure Stage Surface Systems Development Surface Systems Development
    3. 3. ALTAIR: BUILDING ON APOLLO’S FOUNDATION Constellation Altair 10 Lunar Lander Apollo Lunar Module Overall Vehicle Height in Meters 5 Height: 7 m Height: 10 m Diameter: 9 m Diameter: 15 m Gross Liftoff Mass: 15 Mt Gross Liftoff Mass: 54 Mt Cargo Gross Liftoff Mass: 45 Mt Crewed
    4. 4. ALTAIR: LUNAR LANDER  4 crew to and from the surface  Global access capability  Anytime return to Earth  Capability to land 14 to 17 metric tons of cargo  Airlock for surface activities  Descent Stage -Liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen propulsion  Ascent Stage -Hypergolic propellants or Liquid oxygen/methane
    5. 5. ALTAIR: DESIGN WORK IN PROGRESS “Minimum Functional” design “Safety Enhanced” design “Reliability Enhanced” 8.4 m Ares V shroud, 45 mt control mass 10 m Ares V shroud design In Work Altair Design Cycle: LLPO Design Cycle: LDAC-1 LDAC-1 LDAC-1 LDAC-1 LDAC-2 LDAC-2 LDAC-3 Altair Design Analysis Cycles (LDAC) LDAC-1 – Minimum Functional Vehicle -Habitation module/airlock embedded in mid-bay within descent module structure -Designed for 8.4 meter Ares V shroud (7.5 meter diameter dynamic envelope) LDAC-1 – Minimum Functional Vehicle with optimized descent module structure -Ascent module and airlock on top deck of “flatbed” lander LDAC-2 – Safety/Reliability (crew) Upgraded Vehicle -Designed for 10 meter Ares V shroud (8.8 meter diameter dynamic envelope) LDAC-3 – Safety/Reliability (mission) Upgraded Vehicle (currently in progress) -Global access capability
    6. 6. ALTAIR: VEHICLE ARCHITECTURE Three Primary Elements Descent Module • Provides propulsion for TCMs, LOI, and powered descent Airlock • Provides power during lunar orbit, descent, and Ascent Module surface operations • Serves as platform for lunar landing and liftoff of ascent module • Designed to fit within 10 meter shroud • Liquid oxygen / liquid hydrogen propulsion • Fuel cell powered Ascent Module • Provides habitable volume for four during descent, surface, and ascent operations • Contains cockpit and majority of avionics • Provides propulsion for ascent from lunar surface after surface mission (hyper or LOX/Meth) Descent • Battery Powered Module Airlock • Accommodates two crew per ingress / egress • Connected to ascent module via short tunnel • Remains with descent module on lunar surface after ascent module liftoff
    7. 7. ALTAIR: CONFIGURATION VARIANTS Sortie Variant Outpost Variant Cargo Variant Descent Module Descent Module Descent Module Ascent Module Ascent Module Cargo on Upper Deck Airlock
    8. 8. ALTAIR: WORKFORCE Prime Contractors Andrews Space Inc., Seattle, WA Boeing, Houston, TX/Seattle, WA Lockheed Martin, Denver, CO Northrup Grumman, El Segundo, CA/Bethpage, NY Odyssey Space Research, Houston, TX Goddard Space Flight Center -Avionics -C & DH lead Glenn Research Center Ames Research Center -Power subsystem lead -Simulations -Ascent propulsion -Data management Langley Research Center Dryden Flight Research Center -Structures lead -Trainer development -Flight tests Johnson Space Center -Project management Marshall Space Flight Center JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) -Ascent Module -Descent Stage lead -Guidance, Navigation & Control -Guidance, Navigation & Control -Propulsion System lead -Subsystem integration -Environmental control and life support -Additional subsystem support -Additional subsystem support -Thermal Kennedy Space Center -Ground processing -Final assembly and checkout Subcontractors Ball Aerospace Technologies, Boulder, CO Harris Corporation, Melbourne, FL Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, MA Honeywell Aerospace, Phoenix, AZ Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, W. Palm Beach, FL Wyle Corporation, Houston, TX Hamilton Sunstrand, Windsor Locks, CT MDA Federal, Houston, TX Aerojet, Sacramento, CA Microsat Systems, Littleton, CO United Space Alliance, Houston, TX Space Exploration Technologies, Hawthorne, CA Orbital Technology, Birmingham, AL
    9. 9. LUNAR COMPONENTS OF CONSTELLATION Earth Departure Stage Orion-Crew Exploration Vehicle Ares I – Crew Launch Vehicle Altair- Lunar Lander Ares V – Heavy Launch Vehicle
    10. 10. MISSION:AND ARES V CREW WITH CARGO ALTAIR LUNAR SORTIE  Orion and the crew are launched on an Ares I rocket to low Earth orbit  Altair and the Earth Departure Stage are deployed on an Ares V rocket to low Earth orbit The two vehicles rendezvous and dock  The Earth Departure Stage will provide the trans-lunar injection burn needed to leave low Earth orbit
    11. 11. ALTAIR AND ORION: JOURNEY TO THE MOON Altair and Orion make the journey to the moon after the Earth Departure Stage is discarded
    12. 12. ALTAIR LANDS ON THE LUNAR SURFACE Once in lunar orbit, the crew transfers to Altair and performs a powered descent to the lunar surface.
    13. 13. ALTAIR: ASCENT STAGE After 7 days on the lunar surface, the crew returns to Orion in the ascent module
    14. 14. ASCENT STAGE AND ORION  The ascent module docks with Orion and the crew transfers back to Orion  Orion returns the crew and science payload to Earth
    15. 15. ALTAIR: RETURNING HUMANS TO THE MOON The last human walked on the lunar surface on December 14, 1972 – Apollo sent two astronauts to the lunar surface for only three days. The next generation of lunar exploration missions will have larger landing party of four astronauts, who will stay for extended periods on the lunar surface. Initially, Altair will serve as the surface habitat for a new generation of space explorers who will, over time, build a lunar outpost that will allow for even longer stays. The Moon will function as a testbed to prepare humans for further exploration to include Mars.