Analytics On Steroids

Okay, the topic of course is a pun of the current moon exploration approach chosen by NASA. It has been the subject of endless debate, and rightly so, but the various ideas for that are a subject for other days. Bush’s Vision For Space Exploration (VSE), NASA’s 90 day Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS), the resulting Ares I and V and Orion. The engineering. And the politics…

George Low, from NASA Photo 70-26105

But this is a new approach to the whole problem that I haven’t seen applied yet:

Table of organizations with space interest
So, the numerical, analytical and modeling mind goes, digging deeper beyond the question how, or even why, actually to analyze, who?

And who does this kind of analysis? Well, the man who designed rockets from ABMA to Saturn – H. H. Koelle. He was around when history was made and is in his eighties now and still does active work in the space field in the technical university of Berlin. The above table is from the Lunar Base Quarterly, (yearly report 2007, pdf)  which has been published for over 10 years and has many assistant editors besides dr. Koelle.

On his page you can find a massive amount of studies and articles, mainly focusing on the lunar transportation problem. But beware, they are not easy reads.

H. H. Koelle’s homepage at TU Berlin.

These studies often have such huge amounts of parametrizations that it’s hard to keep along. But even with short reading (I’m terribly short on time now, I’m sorry), it is very fascinating at times. Here’s an excerpt from “Space Travel in the 21st Century” chapter 3, “Space Transportation Systems” (chapter pdf here, whole study at the homepage.):

The 17 concepts were then evaluated and rated with respect to the fulfillment of the
weighted systems criteria specified above and then put into a ranking order. The result
obtained for passenger transportation concepts were as follows:Table 3-16: Ranked order of candidate “Passenger Lunar Transportation Systems”1. Fully reusable system using lunar propellants (P-7) achieving 85.3% of criteria
2. Fully reusable system with refueling in lunar orbit (P-6) with 81.4 %
3. Partly reusable system with direct lunar landing (P-5), with 74.4 %
4. Fully reusable SSTO system with LEO refueling (P-8) with 69.2%
5. Expendable system with direct landing on the Moon (P-2) with 65.0%
6. Fully reusable system with refueling in LEO and LUO (P-10) with 59.8%
with Earth or lunar propellants
7. Fully reusable system with partly refueling in LEO or LUO (P-9) with 58.4%
8. Expendable system with lunar orbital rendezvous (P-1) with 57.1%
9. Expendable system with lunar refueling (P-3) with 57.0%
10. Expendable system with LEO assembly or refueling (P-4) with 54.3%.

The respective ranking of the cargo transportation systems was as follows:

Table 3-17: Ranked order of candidate “Cargo Lunar Transportation Systems”

1. Fully reusable system with refueling in lunar orbit (C-4) with 85.9%
2. Partially reusable system with direct landing (C-2) with 72.6%
3. Fully reusable single stage system with LEO refueling (C-3) with 72.4%
4. Fully reusable system with assembly and refueling in space (C-5) with 71.3%
5. Fully expendable system with direct landing (C-1) with 68.9%
6. Fully reusable system with thermo-nuclear propulsion (C-6) with 59.3%
7. Fully reusable system with thermo-electric propulsion (C-7) with 55.8%.

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