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Arcadia Divine
12-11-2011, 08:16 PM
The MC is an astronaut and at the very beginning of the story he is going to the moon. He works for NASA, btw.

What I need to know is, well, everything. How does the launch happen? What terminology do they use? Do they stop at a space station before traveling there? How many people are generally on the shuttle at one time?

Snick
12-11-2011, 09:38 PM
There's a lot on material on the NASA site that would help, including number of people on the shuttle; and there have been several books (non-fiction) describing how NASA shots are done.

thothguard51
12-11-2011, 10:03 PM
Since the last moon shot was in the late 60's, you are pretty open to what you want to do, so long as it's somewhat believable.

The shuttle was never designed to leave low earth orbit, but I always felt it could, if Nasa had a gas station in space.

If I remember right, the Apollo missions would circle earth for a few days to pick up speed and then sling shot out at the right moment, using thrusters, and head towards the moon. The trip I think took three days and entering orbit around the moon is a very complicated set of events. Get it wrong and the ship just sails past the moon and keeps on going...

One of the ores the moon is loaded with, and might be a reason for mining the moon, is Titanium. Lots more titanium than is found on earth.

If we could put a mining and manufacturing facility on the moon, and manufacture all the components to build ships on the moon, they would be easier to launch into deep space. Fuel though is still a major issue unless of course we can find some Trillium spheres...

robjvargas
12-11-2011, 11:30 PM
That's not a short description you'd get in one post. For example, the shuttle actually launches at less than full power. It then (or, rather, it did, dammit) enters "throttle up" where the rockets go slightly more than full power. There's Main Engine CutOff (MECO), and a whole host of acronyms and jargon.

Time to travel depends on that space station you want or don't want. Here's a fairly good description of how Apollo 11, the first manned Moon landing (unless you believe the conspiracists), went.




First landing on moon. Apollo 11 (AS-506) - with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., aboard - was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 9:32 a.m. EDT July 16. The activities during earth-orbit checkout, translunar injection, CSM transposition and docking, spacecraft ejection, and translunar coast were similar to those of Apollo 10.

At 4:40 p.m. EDT July 18, the crew began a 96-minute color television transmission of the CSM and LM interiors, CSM exterior, the earth, probe and drogue removal, spacecraft tunnel hatch opening, food preparation, and LM housekeeping. One scheduled and two unscheduled television broadcasts had been made previously by the Apollo 11 crew.
The spacecraft entered lunar orbit at 1:28 p.m. EDT on July 19. During the second lunar orbit a live color telecast of the lunar surface was made. A second service-propulsion-system burn placed the spacecraft in a circularized orbit, after which astronaut Aldrin entered the LM for two hours of housekeeping including a voice and telemetry test and an oxygen-purge-system check. At 8:50 a.m. July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin reentered the LM and checked out all systems. They performed a maneuver at 1:11 p.m. to separate the LM from the CSM and began the descent to the moon. The LM touched down on the moon at 4:18 p.m. EDT July 20. Armstrong reported to mission control at MSC, "Houston, Tranquillity Base here - the Eagle has landed." (Eagle was the name given to the Apollo 11 LM; the CSM was named Columbia.) Man's first step on the moon was taken by Armstrong at 10:56 p.m. EDT. As he stepped onto the surface of the moon, Armstrong described the feat as "one small step for a man - one giant leap for mankind."

<LINK> (http://www.astronautix.com/flights/apollo11.htm)

That should help.

Edit to Add: Here's a description of a shuttle mission (generic) from NASA. <LINK> (http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/technology/sts-newsref/sts_mes.html)

Psychomacologist
12-11-2011, 11:42 PM
The film Apollo 13 has a pretty in-depth sequence where they launch the rocket into space. It's not the Shuttle though, it's the older Moon landing craft. It's worth watching just from the experiencial point of view, because it gives a pretty clear idea of what it was like for the astronauts actually in the craft rather than an objective, scientific 'this is what happens'.

kuwisdelu
12-11-2011, 11:45 PM
Well, the shuttle isn't going to the moon and never will, anyway.

Arcadia Divine
12-12-2011, 12:00 AM
There's a lot on material on the NASA site that would help, including number of people on the shuttle; and there have been several books (non-fiction) describing how NASA shots are done.

Yeah I guess I could've looked on their website, lol.

Arcadia Divine
12-12-2011, 12:11 AM
If I remember right, the Apollo missions would circle earth for a few days to pick up speed and then sling shot out at the right moment, using thrusters, and head towards the moon. The trip I think took three days and entering orbit around the moon is a very complicated set of events. Get it wrong and the ship just sails past the moon and keeps on going...

Granted I wasn't even thought of at that point in time, but I remember that.


One of the ores the moon is loaded with, and might be a reason for mining the moon, is Titanium. Lots more titanium than is found on earth.

I knew the moon had some ore, but I couldn't remember which ones


If we could put a mining and manufacturing facility on the moon, and manufacture all the components to build ships on the moon, they would be easier to launch into deep space. Fuel though is still a major issue unless of course we can find some Trillium spheres...

If someone developed a good enough hydrogen engine all of this wouldn't even be an issue lol. If I remember right, doesn't space have a lot of hydrogen in it?

Arcadia Divine
12-12-2011, 12:13 AM
Well, the shuttle isn't going to the moon and never will, anyway.

Maybe not right now, but it will eventually.

kuwisdelu
12-12-2011, 02:28 AM
Maybe not right now, but it will eventually.

We might. The shuttle itself never will. It wasn't designed for that, it's horrendously outdated, and it's now a cancelled program. If and when we go, it'll be in a wholly new spacecraft. Preferably one with more powerful and advanced computing systems than a graphing calculator.

FennelGiraffe
12-12-2011, 04:57 AM
Which do you want to know:
- How it would work with the equipment we actually have on hand?
- How it could work if we allocated the resources to build what we currently have the knowledge and technology to do?
- Or how it might theoretically work some time in the future? If so, how far in the future?

It's like asking how do you travel from New York to California in 1800 (horseback) vs 1900 (railroad) vs 2000 (jet).

Arcadia Divine
12-12-2011, 05:10 AM
- How it could work if we allocated the resources to build what we currently have the knowledge and technology to do?

More this one than the others.

Bing Z
12-12-2011, 09:45 AM
The New Mexico government has built a spaceport (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaceport_America) which has been officially operational for a couple of months. Virgin Galactic (http://www.virgingalactic.com/) is working on a commercial space tour program. It has some info (pics/sketches) about their future spaceships on their site. I think they can give you some ideas if your setting is futuristic.

movieman
12-12-2011, 10:49 PM
The shuttle was never designed to leave low earth orbit, but I always felt it could, if Nasa had a gas station in space.

It could, but there'd be little point carrying those huge and heavy wings around the solar system when you'd only ever use them near Earth. Plus the heat-shield wasn't designed for a return from lunar velocities; even 'Lifeforce' had the shuttle go into orbit before re-entry.


If I remember right, the Apollo missions would circle earth for a few days to pick up speed and then sling shot out at the right moment, using thrusters, and head towards the moon.

One and a half orbits, or thereabouts; that gave them about two hours to check out the hardware and ensure everything was working, and some leeway in timing so that if the launch didn't put them into quite the right orbit they could change the time of the TLI burn to ensure that sent them on the right course for the moon.


The trip I think took three days and entering orbit around the moon is a very complicated set of events. Get it wrong and the ship just sails past the moon and keeps on going...

On the early missions, if you did nothing it would just loop around the moon and come back. The later ones used a non-return trajectory so you had to get the engines working somehow if you wanted to return to Earth.

The most complex part was probably the course-correction en route to the moon, which happened a couple of times on a typical mission. They'd have to fine-tune the orientation by marking the positions of specific stars in a telescope, update the position based on data from Earth, and then point in the right direction and fire the engine for a few seconds to tweak the orbit. By the time they reached the moon they were already on the right course and just had to fire the engine for the right amount of time to put them into orbit.

blacbird
12-12-2011, 11:22 PM
One of the ores the moon is loaded with, and might be a reason for mining the moon, is Titanium. Lots more titanium than is found on earth.

The moon is not "loaded" with titanium "ore". An ore is a mineral concentration that can be economically mined for metal extraction. None of the material known to be present on the moon can possibly be considered an "ore". The titanium is present in common silicate minerals at a somewhat higher concentration than is characteristic on earth, but these concentrations are nowhere near "ore" quality, and economic extraction of metals from silicates is extremely difficult, energy-intensive, and uneconomic, even on Earth. The rocks retrieved from lunar expeditions are typical mafic silicates containing the common minerals found on similar earth rocks, things like olivine, pyroxenes, feldspars.

If somebody ever found concentrations of metal sulfides on the moon, that would get interesting. But even then, the energy requirements for transporting even refined industrial products, like titanium metal, in sufficient quantity to make it worthwhile, are staggeringly uneconomic. Transportation of raw ore from an extraterrestrial source to the Earth would be ridiculous. It's one of those SF tropes that just ain't much of a reality likelihood.

Titanium is actually a fairly abundant element in the Earth's crust, anyway.

caw

Mark G
12-13-2011, 05:32 AM
If I was King of the Earth, I'd do this just for the heck of it.

Solar-powered Space elevators...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

Plus a "space shuttle" (not even close to current design) that's permanently in space, using a
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetoplasmadynamic_thruster
for propulsion and a small nuclear reactor (as in a submarine) for power,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reactor

...which shuttles between the moon's elevator and earth's; collecting Hydrogen along the way and transporting materials back and forth.

Piece of cake.

If there were huge deposits of "Unobtanium" (q.v. "Avatar" movie), or we had some realistic, economically viable reason to be there for mining (gold? platinum? diamonds? di-lithium crystals?), then there'd be a mad rush to mine the heck out of the moon.

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_mining)


On the moon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon), the lunar highland material anorthite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorthite) is similar to the earth mineral bauxite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauxite), which is an aluminium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium) ore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ore). Smelters can produce pure aluminum, calcium metal, oxygen and silica glass from anorthite. Raw anorthite is also good for making fiberglass and other glass and ceramic products.[12] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_mining#cite_note-mining-11)


I don't know about Titanium, but sounds like the moon could be a great source for Aluminum.

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Architecture_(NASA)

thothguard51
12-13-2011, 05:52 AM
We still need to find those Trillium Spheres...

chevbrock
12-13-2011, 07:18 AM
Now come on, stop confusing the poor man. We all know the moon is made of delicious emmenthal cheese!

jaksen
12-17-2011, 05:44 PM
Why don't you start your research on the NASA site?

Why not take out a bunch of books on the Apollo space missions from your local library? (NASA put men on the moon in Apollos 9-17 - excluding 13 which didn't make it, but returned safely to Earth - from 1969 to 1972.)

This would actually be a fairly easy subject to research. There is info all over the net, at all levels from basic to engineering-specific.

I used to start out the astronomy unit I taught (to 7th graders) by asking this: How many times has the space shuttle been to the moon? I'd get all sorts of answers: one time, 20 times, 10 times. Usually, though, one little bright kid would finally raise his hand and say never.

What did amaze me was how many kids were amazed that despite all the stuff they see on TV and in the movies, only a few people - all men, all Americans - have set foot on our natural satellite.

One kid I remember:
"Whadya mean people haven't been to Mars? I asked my Dad and he says he saw this show and the Russians sent people up there and you don't know what you're talking about and he thinks you're a crummy teacher."

:D

BardSkye
12-17-2011, 06:58 PM
One kid I remember:
"Whadya mean people haven't been to Mars? I asked my Dad and he says he saw this show and the Russians sent people up there and you don't know what you're talking about and he thinks you're a crummy teacher."

:D


Well, if his Dad saw it on TV it has to be true, right?


Scarey.

debirlfan
12-19-2011, 08:35 AM
Maybe not right now, but it will eventually.

A shuttle of the type that was just retired won't work on the moon. Wings require an atmosphere.

robjvargas
12-19-2011, 08:51 AM
A shuttle of the type that was just retired won't work on the moon. Wings require an atmosphere.

*But* wings are not a disadvantage outside of an atmosphere.

They are added weight, yes, but they don't affect the moment-to-moment operation of a spacecraft.

DrZoidberg
12-19-2011, 05:11 PM
I'd like to know if there's any examples of troubleshooting in space where "reversing the polarity" didn't fix the problem. Or worse... even caused a disaster!

TheOneTrueBen
12-20-2011, 05:08 AM
I agree with the statement that the shuttle itself is not designed for anything other than low orbital deployment and is not an ideal design for a moon landing. First, it isn't designed to land in an airless environment. It uses the Earth's atmo to slow down to manageable speeds, and parachutes on landing to shed the last of its velocity, plus the wheel brakes, which require a rather smooth surface, something that is hard to find on the moon. Secondly, its engines are placed wrong for launch from an airless environment. It would require vertically placed engines, not horizontal, to achieve escape velocity. That doesn't completely eliminate it as part of the mission.

Personally, I would recommend having a new lunar lander for your astronaut to go to the moon in. A specially designed lander could land vertically, and carry its own relaunch vehicle and platform like the Apollo missions. Now, a new design based on the shuttle, similar to the Armageddon shuttles, with longer range tanks, could carry a lander in its cargo bay and retrieve it. So, you COULD use a version of the shuttle, just in a different way. In fact, that's very similar to how they did it in the 60s & 70s, with a Command/Service Module and a seperate Lunar Module that seperated, landed, then launched from the surface, using its own lower section as a launch pad. A sort of combo between a new series shuttle as the Command/Service Module with a seperate Lunar module similar to the old Apollo, updated with new tech. (The original Apollo's computers were less powerful than most people's smart phones). This way, you can use slightly altered forms of existing tech, in new and creative ways :)

Astronomer
12-20-2011, 09:55 PM
On the early missions, if you did nothing it would just loop around the moon and come back. The later ones used a non-return trajectory so you had to get the engines working somehow if you wanted to return to Earth.
Seriously? The later missions didn't use a free-return trajectory? Even after it saved Apollo 13's butt? Wow, I never knew that. What was the rationale for abandoning such a sensible precaution, I wonder. Thanks for that info gem.

If you do have a space station as a waypoint between Earth and the moon, consider putting it at the moon-Earth L1 point. You can get there (rendezvous) without braking (at the cost of time, but you can optimize one over the other to any degree you wish), and any journey from there to either Earth or the moon is a downhill trip.

movieman
12-22-2011, 08:33 PM
Seriously? The later missions didn't use a free-return trajectory? Even after it saved Apollo 13's butt? Wow, I never knew that. What was the rationale for abandoning such a sensible precaution, I wonder.

If I remember correctly, it was more efficient and allowed them to carry more mass to the moon, which meant they could carry more useful hardware like lunar rovers, etc.

It's worth noting that the Apollo 13 crew would probably have died if they relied solely on the free-return trajectory to bring them back because they'd have run out of power before they reached Earth.