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Red Dragon
Paolo
post Aug 7 2011, 09:46 AM
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'Red Dragon' Mission Mulled as Cheap Search for Mars Life
any opinion on this? would it really make sense adapting a manned spaceship to unmanned Mars landing? I am skeptical...

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AndyG
post Aug 7 2011, 11:26 AM
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...and 1.2, and 1.3!

I think the best thing we can say is that more affordable delivery costs are a great thing, and - if Musk's vision is as good as his demonstrations to date - then I suspect he'd get nothing but thumbs-up from all of us here.

Andy
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pospa
post Aug 7 2011, 12:16 PM
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Since payload capacity of Red Dragon to Mars surface would be couple of tons I see this concept quite suitable for MSR mission.
It could IMHO merge at least two separate missions: Sample Caching Rover and Sample Return Lander.
Don't you think?
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ugordan
post Aug 7 2011, 03:37 PM
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QUOTE (pospa @ Aug 7 2011, 02:16 PM) *
Since payload capacity of Red Dragon to Mars surface would be couple of tons I see this concept quite suitable for MSR mission.

Payload mass (i.e. launch vehicle performance) to Mars will be just one factor in MSR. A much bigger cost will be the actual spacecraft, as is usually the case. I don't see Red Dragon helping here. If a large mass is needed there, just using Falcon Heavy with a dedicated spacecraft would make more sense (coincidentally, MSR with one spacecraft was something Elon Musk suggested would be enabled by the Falcon Heavy).

This concept of using Dragon to land something on Mars is interesting but it does have drawbacks. A big chunk of the landed mass would be Dragon itself and its (for unmanned landers) unnecessary pressurized structure. It also remains to be seen if a Dragon could actually perform a successful EDL in the first place.


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Greg Hullender
post Aug 8 2011, 12:07 AM
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Treating Dragon strictly as an unmanned vehicle, it's hard to see what it brings to the party. Unless they seriously thought they could easily adjust the design to let it land on Mars. But if it were that easy, would MSL being using the sky crane?

--Greg
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ElkGroveDan
post Aug 8 2011, 12:48 AM
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My recollection from the earliest days of SpaceX has been that the Dragon has always been intended as a multi-use capsule for cargo, science payloads, and ultimately self-aware biological payloads. I'm not going to get into the myriad ways a constant like the Dragon can save costs, but in many ways it is like the common automobile chassis that many manufacturers have successful used on different vehicles over the years (especially trucks), or the standard motherboard and BUS arrangement of modern PCs that has allowed for an explosion of critical innovation around a reliable manufacturing platform. That the Dragon is being considered as a vessel for unmanned Mars missions should come as no surprise then, since the origins of Elon Musk's interest in space are rooted in a desire to explore Mars.

(Have I mentioned, that I really like this guy and what he's doing? rolleyes.gif )


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djellison
post Aug 8 2011, 01:24 AM
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QUOTE (ugordan @ Aug 7 2011, 08:37 AM) *
A big chunk of the landed mass would be Dragon itself and its (for unmanned landers) unnecessary pressurized structure.


The point being, when the LV can lift so much weight - then you can get away with 'wasted' mass.

The thing we have the least of, is money. If a system like this gets instrumentation onto the ground at <$ than, say, 'traditional' spacecraft design and LV's.... then it's a win.
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Jim from NSF.com
post Aug 8 2011, 02:27 AM
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Full inline quote removed - ADMIN


No, the capsule is still a fixed size and it is a pressurized structure meant to contain personnel and loose cargo. It is ill suited to contain a rover or instrument suite such as Phoenix. All previous landers jettisoned their heat shield to expose the spacecraft, Dragon can't do this and if it could, it would expose a sealed vessel.
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ElkGroveDan
post Aug 8 2011, 03:20 AM
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The Viking landers and MSL wouldn't fit in it either so it must be a bad idea. Clearly Musk and all of his engineers have lost their minds. With that kind of thinking they'll never get any rocket off the ground.


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djellison
post Aug 8 2011, 03:20 AM
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QUOTE (Jim from NSF.com @ Aug 7 2011, 06:27 PM) *
No, the capsule is still a fixed size and it is a pressurized structure meant to contain personnel and loose cargo. It is ill suited to contain a rover or instrument suite such as Phoenix. All previous landers jettisoned their heat shield to expose the spacecraft, Dragon can't do this and if it could, it would expose a sealed vessel.



You're thinking 'how would dragon deliver Phoenix'. That's not the goal here. It's a change in philosophy.

The actual question is - what science could you do with a Dragon on the surface.

One scientist, at least, clearly thinks there is plenty that can be done.

I can see massive potential for Dragon as depicted in that video - and even more with comparatively simple modifications to the vehicle structure.
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Jim from NSF.com
post Aug 8 2011, 05:37 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Aug 7 2011, 11:20 PM) *
You're thinking 'how would dragon deliver Phoenix'.


No, I was thinking how Dragon could deliver Phoenix's instruments.
Scientists will compromise everything for a free ride.
There are no simple mods to the structure. Look at the recovered Dragon, the only place for instruments is in the interior. They would have extend through the two hatches.

Any other mods and it is not a Dragon anymore.
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djellison
post Aug 8 2011, 05:55 PM
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QUOTE (Jim from NSF.com @ Aug 8 2011, 09:37 AM) *
No, I was thinking how Dragon could deliver Phoenix's instruments.


Again - still the wrong mind set.


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Jim from NSF.com
post Aug 8 2011, 08:16 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Aug 8 2011, 01:55 PM) *
Again - still the wrong mind set.


Huh? So the "right mind set" is not to deliver instruments and just land a Dragon capsule.

Ok, I will go back to lurking and let the spacecraft "experts" state their "qualified" opinions based on their experience this field.
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djellison
post Aug 8 2011, 08:35 PM
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QUOTE (Jim from NSF.com @ Aug 8 2011, 01:16 PM) *
Huh? So the "right mind set" is not to deliver instruments and just land a Dragon capsule.


Very very obviously, that is NOT the point I was making. You really are very very determined to start an argument rather than have a discussion, aren't you.


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Ok, I will go back to lurking


Please do.
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ZLD
post Aug 8 2011, 11:44 PM
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Just out of curiosity, are there any obvious applications of the Dragon module? I can envision some instruments getting deployed through the hatch in some manner. I'm having trouble thinking of any other method of delivering instruments with the craft without serious modification though. Also, very large parachutes will be necessary to slow the craft; is there anything in the works for a booster module to help slow during decent? I really like this idea and I think it shows, if not just for good PR from the science community, an actual interest from SpaceX in delivering more than just people to space.
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