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Old 01-30-2019, 11:07 PM
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Default Study Summary- Single Launch Venus Flyby using Extended Apollo Hardware

This is an interesting study from early 1967. The Advanced Mission Design Branch at the Manned Spacecraft Center (later Johnson Space Center in Houston) did the math and decided that it was POSSIBLE to launch a crewed FLY-BY mission of Venus in the 1972-1975 time period using a SINGLE Saturn V launch. No "wet workshop" conversion of the S-IVB into a hab module, either. It would replace the Lunar Module on the regular Apollo-Saturn V spacecraft "stack" with a dedicated "mission module" within the LM fairing panels beneath the CSM. The mission would launch like a lunar mission, go into a 100 nautical mile parking orbit, then perform a second S-IVB burn to put them into a 70,000 nautical mile apogee elliptical orbit, similar to the regular Trans-Lunar Injection (TLI) manuever. This two-day long orbit would set them up with most of the delta-V (velocity) needed to reach Venus, while allowing time for transposition and docking of the CSM to the Mission Module (MM) in a method identical to that used for docking to and removing the Lunar Module from the spent S-IVB stage on a lunar mission. It would also provide time for checkout and testing during the coast phase of the orbit, plane and phasing change burns at apogee of the orbit, (and including ground-tracking by radar to determine that the guidance system of the Apollo CSM and MM were "up to speed" and working properly by comparing its predicted orbital flight path to that measured by actual ground radars tracking the spacecraft in the elliptical orbit.) The spacecraft would then swing back towards Earth, reaching perigee of the elliptical orbit at 100 nautical miles the next day, and at that time perform a 3,000 fps burn of the SPS engine on the Service Module of the CSM to get the additional velocity needed to reach Venus as it completed the Trans-Venus Injection (TVI) maneuver that would put it on a path to Venus in 109 days. There would be a six-minute abort window for the CSM to jettison the MM, turn around, and perform a two-burn abort from TVI back first into the elliptical orbit, and then burning the SPS again at the apogee of the 70,000 nautical mile elliptical orbit the next day to put it on a path to atmospheric reentry about 24 hours after that second burn. If everything had of course checked out and gone as planned, however, the Apollo CSM/MM combination would be on course for Venus.

The spacecraft would fly by the planet and swing back out to Earth. Three midcourse corrections were required on the path out to Venus, and three more on the return to Earth, all carried out by the CSM SPS. The last midcourse correction would be about 1 hour before reentry. The main modification to the Apollo spacecraft was beefing up the heat shields to allow for a 45,000 fps reentry velocity, considerably higher than the typical 35,000 or so fps reentry velocity on a lunar return. This was seen as a basic, well understood modification that would pose no issues.

The scientific goals of the mission were astronomical and solar observations on the coast phase before and after the Venus flyby, and observations, mapping, and various studies of Venus during the flyby itself. A Venus surface sample return mission rendezvousing with the flyby mission was also briefly mentioned, but it would require a second launch of another vehicle and mission to get the surface lander, sampler, and sample return vehicle down onto Venus and back up into position to rendezvous with the Venus flyby mission.

Probably a bit of a stretch, but it certainly demonstrated the confidence of the men and their machines to even consider such an audacious mission, and the flexibility and capability of both the Apollo and Saturn V launch vehicle that it was even capable of such a mission in the first place, particularly with only "minor modifications" (the Saturn V wasn't modified AT ALL for this mission concept!) This was big thinking from a time when "thinking big" was considered a GOOD thing, not like the NASA we have now, which is incapable of doing even simple things without a decade of planning and another decade or two of development and testing before they even lay the groundwork to do anything...

Enjoy!

Later! OL J R
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:15 PM
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First, Table I showing the orbital parameters for a Venus flyby launch, first into 100 nautical mile parking orbit, then doing a second burn of the S-IVB into a 48 hour 70,000 mile high elliptical orbit as phase 1 of the Trans-Venus Injection maneuver...

Second, Table II, the weight summary of the launch vehicle and spacecraft...

Third, Table III, performance of the Saturn V into a 70,000 nautical mile elliptical orbit...

Fourth, Table IV, Trans-Venus Injection dates for a Venus flyby mission...

Fifth, Mars preliminary flyby payload, used in lieu of a Venus payload since no payload planning for a Venus flyby had been done to this point...

Sixth, the Venus flyby vehicle in Trans-Venus Injection configuration for the trip to Venus...

More to come! OL J R
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:38 PM
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Continued...

First, a cutaway showing the interior of the Mission Module (MM). Solar panels provide electricity, the MM provides living and work space for the crew during the mission. The CSM is powered down, only powered up during the midcourse corrections, since it provides all propulsion. Navigation would be done by ground tracking backed up by onboard sextant navigation done by the crew for the inputs for the guidance computer on the CM...

Second, The launch configuration of the Venus flyby mission with the MM under the LM panels on top of the S-IVB in place of the LM, and after transposition and docking to the MM after the S-IVB burn to put them into elliptical orbit. This would be how the spacecraft remained configured throughout the mission (unless it had to jettison the MM for an abort) until shortly before reentry back at Earth after the mission.

Third, the trajectory and timeline of the mission, from launch, through the first 100 nautical mile circular "parking orbit" (used for phase adjusting the spacecraft to the precise time and position for the second burn), the burn to the 70,000 nautical mile elliptical 48 hour orbit which provided most of the velocity needed to reach Venus before discarding the S-IVB stage, the transposition and docking with the MM and its solar arrays and communications antenna deployments, checkout and inspection, before arriving at the apogee of the 70,000 n. mi orbit the next day, where the SM would perform maneuvers to adjust the trajectory and phasing of the orbit in preparation for the main Trans-Venus Injection, a burn of the SM SPS for an additional 3,000 fps velocity needed to reach Venus, conducted 24 hours later during the perigee of the orbit at 100 nautical miles above Earth, to gain maximum advantage of the Oberth effect, which would place the spacecraft on course for Venus.

Fourth, the actual flight path of the spacecraft toward Venus on the flyby. Launch would have been on 5 April 1972, actually heading outbound from the Sun and Earth about 1/3 of the way toward Mars in a heliocentric orbit before swinging back inward past Earth's orbit and down toward Venus's orbit, rendezvousing with Venus in a flyby on 23 August 1972, and continuing on past the planet heading back "up" towards Earth, arriving back at Earth on 30 March, 1973 (the day after my second birthday!)

Fifth, Periapsis at Venus (closest approach altitude above Venus during the flyby) versus velocity of the reentry back at Earth... As well as the required velocity from the S-IVB and SM's SPS to achieve the required velocity to Trans-Venus Injection... The closer the approach, the more velocity required of the launch vehicle, and of course it also affected the timing of the launch as well, as indicated at the bottom of the chart...

Sixth, the Apollo Service Module performance requirements for various Trans-Venus Injection trajectories and velocities depending on the trajectory chosen and closest approach to Venus (periapsis)...

Later! OL J R
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:38 AM
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Yep...sooooo much more could have been done with the Saturn V..... instead we got the Shuttle, which never lived up to it's initial hype, and did almost nothing new.
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Yep...sooooo much more could have been done with the Saturn V..... instead we got the Shuttle, which never lived up to it's initial hype, and did almost nothing new.

While I'd rather have the Saturn, the Shuttle was quite useful. It could retrieve and return large payloads. It could carry a fairly large temporary lab that could be specifically outfitted for each mission. It could capture satellites for repair. It could land on a runway. It could carry a whole bunch of Astronauts. Typically 7, but I think it could haul 11 or 12.

Was it a financial success? No. Did its concept help kill the Saturn? Yes. However, standing alone with its accomplishments, it was a cool machine.
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Old 01-31-2019, 06:17 PM
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Plenty of potential in the Saturn launch system - I’d say the real possibility for problems would be the longevity of the CSM systems. The CSM was designed for lunar missions lasting for much shorter periods than a trip to Venus and back lasting roughly a year. I wonder if the orbital dynamics would’ve worked with what undoubtedly would’ve been a heavier trans-Venus rated CSM. Weight gain would’ve been inevitable in order to ensure enough longevity and redundancy for a 12 month mission. Sure would’ve been a fabulous follow up to the lunar missions and a real steppingstone to deep space capable spacecraft.
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Old 01-31-2019, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ghrocketman
instead we got the Shuttle, which never lived up to it's initial hype, and did almost nothing new.


Which left us "wallowing" in Low Earth Orbit for 30 years . . . What a "waste" !

Dave F.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Yep...sooooo much more could have been done with the Saturn V..... instead we got the Shuttle, which never lived up to it's initial hype, and did almost nothing new.


Yes and managed to kill not ONE crew but TWO; 14 good men and women gone.

Plus, just to perform 135 missions over 30 years (rather paltry given shuttle was "sold" originally with the idea of performing over 70 missions PER YEAR when it was up and running... they later rolled that back to merely "about 50", which is still one shuttle launch PER WEEK-- sheer insanity!) they managed to finish with 2/5 of the fleet having blown themselves to smithereens...

NOTHING shuttle did *NEEDED* doing anyway, or wasn't capable of being done by other spacecraft that could have been designed FAR more robustly and reliably... and shuttle's breathtaking expense took a HUGE toll on the space program overall, manned AND unmanned!!!

The ONLY thing shuttle could do that really wasn't in the cards for *anything else* was bringing back "large cargoes" in the payload bay. In fact, this "feature" basically was discovered to not be particularly useful. Shuttle was touted as being capable of "retrieving satellites from orbit for repair/refurbishment back on Earth" and while that sounded good as a "sales gimmick" the REALITY was that the costs, PARTICULARLY of having to "recover and RE-LAUNCH" said satellite *on the shuttle* made it completely cost-prohibitive. In short, it was simply cheaper to launch a NEW SATELLITE with the latest updated technology than to retrieve an old broken down one and bring it back for repairs and relaunch it, so you could get the functionality of your OLD satellite back... meanwhile technology had leapfrogged the thing and a NEW satellite could do WAY more WAY better than the old one anyway. In point of fact, MOST of the "satellite retrievals" that shuttle did were "fixing their own screw-ups" that happened BECAUSE those satellites were launched ON THE SHUTTLE rather than actually doing anything novel and worthwhile... (for instance, they retrieved a few satellites that failed due to malfunction of the booster rockets designed to push them from the shuttle's orbit to a USEFUL orbit, leaving them stranded in a "useless" orbit-- in short, shuttle fixing it's own screw-ups-- that's hardly "success" IMHO).

When you count the cost, shuttle was a HUGE mistake... It's development difficulties and huge cost overruns nearly cost us the Viking landings on Mars (which were scaled back to free up badly needed money for Shuttle), the Voyager missions to the gas giants and outer planets (which were nearly cancelled for money reasons, mostly due to shuttle cost overruns) and shuttle did more to hurt unmanned exploration than any other thing NASA has ever done. Hubble, for instance. While Hubble is touted as one of "shuttle's greatest triumphs" it's another case of "fixing it's own mistakes", because Hubble was hobbled by shuttle before it ever left the ground... Shuttle program cost overruns were a large impetus behind the "better, faster, cheaper" mindset that eliminated things like the testing of Hubble's mirror BEFORE it was launched, in the interests of saving money. Hubble itself was delayed by years due to the fact that it *MUST* launch onboard shuttle. Of course it took every last ounce of performance they could wring out of shuttle to stagger up into a 250 mile Low Earth Orbit to deploy and service Hubble... shuttle was absolutely INCAPABLE of putting Hubble up any higher, into a MORE SCIENTIFICALLY USEFUL orbit, like a highly elliptical orbit, geosynchronous orbit, or out orbiting at one of the Lagrange points. Those orbits would allow for long-duration, uninterrupted observations, unlike the silly LEO that Hubble is trapped in, where there's a BIG HONKIN' PLANET (Earth) in the way for nearly 45 minutes out of each 90 minute orbit, a choice that cut Hubble's practical observation time BY HALF from the moment the decision was made. It also required shuttle 'servicing missions' to not just fix the screw-ups caused on Hubble previously mentioned, but to REBOOST the thing to the highest orbit possible, to prevent it from reentering and burning up. In a high orbit, FAR BEYOND *ANYTHING* shuttle was capable of getting to, Hubble could have orbited for CENTURIES or even MILLENNIA without reboost, and had an uninterrupted view, since Earth would be a small orb in a different part of the sky most of the time. If we had kept Apollo, it was entirely feasible for Hubble to be serviced by an Apollo CSM and crew, having docked to a dedicated airlock and "repair pallet" with parts and a robotic arm for capture and maneuvering the telescope once they'd rendezvoused with it. Such a "repair pallet" could have been launched beneath the CSM on a Saturn IB in the space inside the LM panels atop the S-IVB, and could be left in orbit for subsequent use by other crews. Also, when one figures in the costs of the shuttle servicing missions, it's been PROVEN that it would have actually been CHEAPER to simply build a new version of Hubble and launch it into space on an UNMANNED rocket, one capable of putting it into a more useful orbit, rather than servicing the single hobbled Hubble... Can you IMAGINE the science return we'd have gotten from having SEVERAL Hubbles orbiting AT ONCE, even if they DID only function together for a short time before the "older ones" failed??

More to come... OL J R
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:19 AM
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Continued...


Then there's the sad story of Galileo... Another mission that very nearly didn't happen because of shuttle costs, but finally squeaked by and managed to survive... BUT it TOO was *FORCED* to be launched by Shuttle, even though it didn't really make SENSE to do so, particularly since it was going to JUPITER. Galileo suffered YEARS of delays and was forced through several redesigns due to the INADEQUACIES of the shuttle... First, it was going to have to take "the long way around" using several Earth/Venus/Earth fly-by's to gain enough velocity via "the slingshot effect" to even make it to Jupiter, because at the time the ONLY booster rocket available to boost Galileo out of LEO was the IUS... which was WOEFULLY underpowered for the job. Basically all the IUS could do was put Galileo onto a "long track" multiple slingshot maneuver trajectory and required Galileo to get the rest of it's velocity from the planets themselves, adding YEARS to the travel time to Jupiter. So, after the spacecraft was basically mostly designed around this limitation, the "Shuttle Centaur" became available, and with a powerful twin-engine hydrogen-powered upper stage like Centaur to propel it, a direct injection from LEO to Jupiter became possible, shaving years and multiple planetary encounters off the trajectory to get to Jupiter. SO, the spacecraft was redesigned for this additional performance. Enhancements to the design were made, etc. Then Challenger happened, and the Shuttle Centaur got the ax, permanently. SO, it was back to the IUS, which meant a HUGE decrease in performance and a mad scramble to redesign the spacecraft, which was already being built by this time, to shave weight so IUS had a hope in hanna of launching it out of LEO. Launching on shuttle also meant no room for a large solid high-gain antenna like the Pioneers and Voyagers had used, not that they could spare the weight for one anyway, so they designed a complicated folding high gain antenna for Galileo. The spacecraft was finished and spent YEARS waiting for a launch slot due to the backlog of launches in the wake of Challenger, and when it finally DID get launched, it was into the "long way around' multi-slingshot-maneuver multiple planet encounter trajectory that would take YEARS longer to get to Jupiter. Basically before they launched it, there were concerns whether the high gain antenna would actually unfold and work as planned after remaining folded for YEARS on the ground and in space during the transit than it was designed for. Sure enough, when the high gain antenna was finally commanded to unfurl, it irretrievably jammed and for awhile it looked like the entire mission was ruined. The enterprising team on the ground, however, figured out a "work around" for the disabled high gain antenna, using the low gain antenna to "whisper" the data back across space from Jupiter, far more difficult to receive on Earth, but possible. The problem was, it was PAINFULLY SLOW because of the low data transmission rate, which was the only thing possible. Galileo recorded all the pictures and measurements it took, all the data it had collected, in on-board storage on the spacecraft, until it swung out away from Jupiter and could reorient it's antennas toward Earth and transmit the data and images back. Because of the slow transmission rates of the low-gain system 'work around' due to the shuttle-instigated failure of the high-gain antenna, only a FRACTION of the recorded data and images Galileo had taken could be sent back before it had to reorient itself away from Earth for the next pass... it basically just 'taped over' whatever hadn't had time to be sent back to Earth. Basically, OVER HALF of the data and images Galileo took at Jupiter were "recorded over" on the spacecraft and lost forever, due to the stupidity of INSISTING it be launched on shuttle. We'll never know how many DISCOVERIES were lost due to this.

Fortunately, by the time Cassini was being planned for Saturn, all such stupidity as *insisting* it be launched on shuttle was abandoned, and Cassini was given a proper UNMANNED booster.

There's a lot of other things I could mention... we lost Skylab because shuttle was delayed and its development problems and cost overruns left NO MONEY for even an unmanned tug mission to save it. Reagan's "Space Station Freedom" was a basket case of multiple redesigns, in large part because of being launched and serviced by shuttle, and difficulties arising from that choice. ISS has suffered a lot of the same problems. (Of course ISS was basically just SSF, but without the US having to develop the "hard parts"-- in-space refueling capability and a service and propulsion module for SSF-- instead after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was now possible to BUY *their* technology that they had invented for their Salyut and Mir programs, paying their rocket scientists to modify the Mir II core into a service module as their contribution to the "International Space Station", leveraging their knowledge of automated rendezvous and docking for their Soyuz spacecraft and Progress space freighters and tankers to resupply and refuel the station, in addition to shuttle, and provide reboost propellant, water, and other consumables via in-space refueling; all things the US never bothered to develop and which would take a decade and cost BILLIONS for the US to do...

Without shuttle, we COULD have launched a space station of equal size on our own, out of five Skylab-size modules docked together. Not the 40 some-odd flights of the shuttle required to build ISS... and even then, ISS technically was never "finished"-- it simply reached "construction ceased" point when shuttle was retired and the remaining hardware now had no way to get to orbit so was scrapped or mothballed...

And, of course, each shuttle launch ended up costing MORE than a Saturn V launch, for about 1/5 the payload, if memory serves... basically the orbiter was correctly described as "a reusable 100 tonne manned payload fairing"... IOW, a BAD tradeoff...

Later! OL J R
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2019, 03:52 AM
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Totally agree with 100% of what Luke just said above.
The shuttle was a giant TURD that HELD BACK our space program by several DECADES.
DOUBLE FACEPALM !
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