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Old October 2 2012, 03:56 AM   #193
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

publiusr wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Strictly speaking, that's because no one is calling for propellant depots. So far it's just a design concept that hasn't been seriously developed or tested and no funding has been offered or asked for to seek a feasibility study.THEY aren't doing any serious work in space either and I don't really give a shit what they think until they do.
Ouch, I thought you were pro-depot.
I am.

I'm also in favor of establishing a permanent colony on the moon and terraforming Mars. And much like propellant depots, their proponents are not doing any serious work in space right now and therefore their opinions are entirely irrelevant.

Yes that sounds odd, but what scares people about hypergolics is its toxicity
I struggle to think of a convincing reason why toxicity would be a factor for a structure that is supposed to spend 100% of its operational lifetime in space.

More to the point: hypergolic propellants are already being widely used on satellites and spacecraft BECAUSE they are long-term storable, and everyone already knows how to work with them and how to mitigate the risks of using them. It's a mature technology and it makes no sense to change it now, especially now we can understand and control the risks.

A hypergolic depot in Mars threatens very little. Non-hypergolic storables like H2O2 and Kerosene (Beal's choice) might not scare Elon Musk as much as hypergolics--and he doesn't need any cryo-cooler whatzits.
I never got the impression Elon Musk has any phobia of hypergolics, considering the Super Dracos use the same hydrazine propellant as their smaller counterparts.

At any rate, having a fuel bunker on one of Mars moons would add to infrastructure and give astronauts options
But like the SLS, it's not something we're going to need until WAY later, and it doesn't help us do any of the things we're trying to do right now. Propellant depots of any kind are useless unless they serve those near-term priorities.

I think a propellant depot would make the most sense if paired with an active space station in and of itself. In the near term -- where all the money is right now -- the most active space initiatives involve building new space stations by private operators or providing services to the ISS. If anyone's going to talk seriously about the utility of a propellant depot, it needs to be in terms of what we're already doing and how launching depots is going to make that easier. One thing I do know is that the ISS spends a lot more propellant than it should getting reboosted because it has to stay in a lower orbit within range of the Soyuz and the ATV. Adding a propellant depot to the ISS -- even a small one, like an MPLM full of hydrazine -- might allow the station to remain permanently in a 500km orbit while the Soyuz and the ATV will just have to run down to the bone when they make their approach.
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