Realistic Soviet Lunar program leading to American manned Mars landing preferably without a POD before 1966

Anyways, it's about time I did some worldbuilding, don't you think?
What? Why? Isn't that dangerously like "on-topic" and maybe almost like "work"? Isn't that against some forum regualtion or something? I'm not sure....

:D

Going to hold off and review the rest but:

Following the Soviets landing a Man on the Lunar surface in June 1969, a list of possible actions to take in retaliation will land on the president's desk within 6 months. That list will detail what the US should do in response to the 'Red Moon', and will be as follows:

- Continue normal Apollo missions through to Apollo 20, no changes
- Construct a permanently manned Lunar base based on Apollo hardware. The standard Apollo missions through Apollo 14 will fly as planned, then followed by LEM shelters / MOLEMs through Apollo 17, then a LESA base around 1975, with a total estimated cost around 5 to 10 billion dollars through to 1980 (0.5 to 1 billion dollars a year)
- Develop a Space Shuttle and a large space station in Earth orbit, coming online around 1980. The estimated development cost would be, though to 1980, 7 billion dollars (0.7 billion dollars a year) (keep in mind that was the original estimated cost, in reality, it would cost more like 30 billion including launch costs through to 2010)
- Develop a manned Mars program, launching around 1980, with 2 slated landing missions. The estimated costs would be around 20 to 60 billion dollars through to 1985 (1.3 to 4 billion dollars a year)

(Keep in mind, all costs listed here are in 1969 dollars)

If I was the president in 1969, without the benefit of foresight, and had these options, I would pick all three. If I did have the benefit of foresight, I would pick the Moon and Mars, but not the Shuttle. It's just a no-brainer, the total yearly costs could be lower than the Apollo program so people cant yell at you for wasting money, and you get a Moon base and a Mars mission. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've messed something up here with my maths because this is telling me that a Mars mission would be really cheap to pull off. There's no way that's right. Nevertheless, I'm now confident that the president in 1970, faced with these choices, would choose a Mars mission.

What are your thoughts? Have I completely messed up my maths somehow, or is this actually doable?
Ok a couple of items to add:
Big one first: Cost to restart the Saturn V production even on a limited basis is several billion dollars by 1969 in fact IIRC correctly NASA recommended the lines be scrapped in 1968 to avoid storage and holding costs to the companies. Worse you actually have NO "Saturn V's" left even if you stop at Apollo 15, why? One for Skylab remains either way but the others are going to be expended in testing to research, design and build you 'up-rated' Saturn V's that has to be done before you restart production since it's going to be expensive enough just re-installing and re-stating the lines. You'll need to expend several SII and SIVBs modified for long term LH2 storage on-orbit as well.

Several things needed to be added to the decision tree on those suggestions:

Continuing Apollo WILL lead to another accident it was something like an 80% chance of an 'incident' if the Apollo program followed through landings to Apollo 20. The chances were high of loosing a crew ON the Moon if the program kept up but 13 had shown they chances were still high despite how 'routine' it had gotten. Worse when the figured out the likely cause of WHY 13 happened rather than from the assumed pogo issues which were actually fixed post-13. That made NO ONE happy.

A Lunar base using Apollo equipment would have required a re-start of Saturn V production as well. Not to mention expending several "Apollo" production Saturn V's to test hardware and required changes. The estimated costs were seen to be low-balled even though BellComm was rarely guilty of that it was found several 'assumptions' were questionable and no one at NASA liked the idea of stopping at 14 since the 'real' work didn't begin till Apollo 15. (Having the Russians there first isn't going to fly as an argument since they really DO have longer and more extensive missions planned post-14)

The space shuttle was at the time of the estimate assumed to be 'leading' to the Space Station which entailed it's own 'assumptions' on costing. The 'initial' shuttle was a personnel transport with the original 'booster' doubling as a reusable Saturn V booster with expendable upper stages ala-"Right Side Up" where as later Shuttle had larger and more complex Orbiters with more in-built capability. In addition there needs to be a clear idea if anything from Apollo can or will be used to build the shuttle or the station as this greatly effects the cost estimates.. Especially if restarting Saturn V production is added in. (Keep in mind that most quotes of 'development' of advanced Saturn V's work assume that either the production is never shut down or don't include re-start costs in the estimates) Then there's what KIND of shuttle we're talking about since the biggest fully reusable two-stage (both manned) space planes while being the most expensive to develop always had the lower 'per-flight' cost than something like OTL's shuttle. And then there's if the Saturn V or Apollo equipment is going to be around which adds in further complications and/or advantages.

Lastly no one that I can find was going to suggest a Mars mission could be cheaper than Apollo, double Apollo's cost to START was a baseline it went up the more differences from Apollo there were. I'm confused how anyone could 'sell' a Mars mission as being cheaper than Apollo? Yes people are going to blame the President for 'wasting' money even if 'public/government' support is around the same as the early/mid-60s it's not much over 51% in general and with no big 'terrestrial' spending projects like there were in the first 5 to 8 years of NASA, (and there won't be) the overall support base is going to be more diverse and spread thinner. And even without Vietnam you still have a lot of hot-button down-to-Earth issues that people will insist could use the money and support on Earth rather than in space. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watts_riots)

Randy

Randy
 
Holiday's? No LIVING is more important, (after all the after-life-internet cross-connects have never been reliable as we all know) since they are importan to my WIFE I must take part.. or die... You must admit it is a GREAT motivator!
Quite understandable. Life is good. ^_^

Actually :) It started as a neccessity since the majority of personnel that transfereed to the Air Force from the Army Air Force were pilots, navigators, mainteance and the like but few supply support personnel. Which left the new USAF in somewhat of crunch.
Very interesting... Thanks for that insight.

While I agree per-se... :D
I'm not sure anyone is going to be willing to let that 'fly' as it were. Topping an Saturn-1B based launcher with an inert NERVA shipped up to rendzvous with an LH2 tank in orbit maybe?
Depends, IMO, on how much they can minimize debris output and the confidence there is in the Saturn 1 stage not exploding.

Coming back to peroxide IIRC it had a pretty high ISP when used with Furfuyl Alcohol
Isn't that stuff pretty darn toxic?

Specifically and especially the opposite, it's far to EASY to cancel at a whim. Worse than Apollo because it's both 'cheap' (so not very much money 'sunk') and easy, (because people will get bored after the third landing) And mind you that 'assumes' (with all that work implies) that it is actually 'cheap' since as we are already aware the cost per launch of the SLS which is pretty near a Ares rocket is going to be higher per launch than the shuttle it is supposed to replace and vastly more than a single Falcon Heavy launch and it can't even do Mars Direct.... Yet.
Well, one of the reasons for the SLS' cost is that it looks like it will only get used a handful of times. If NASA used it for enough launches, economies of scale and amortizing the development costs out over many launches could theoretically bring the cost/launch down to a reasonable level. Building a Mars colony Mars Direct style and mandating that the program use the SLS might be one way to actually get a decent amount of use out of the system. Of course, that's likely to be throwing good money after bad...

fasquardon
 
Quite understandable. Life is good. ^_^
Well, yes but IIRC isn't actually having one against forum rules or something?

Very interesting... Thanks for that insight.
Did I mention I'm a retired Air Force vet who know works for them as a civilian? :) As a rocket geek I wanted so badly to work on missiles but they had no openings... There WAS this job tha worked with "unguided rockets" though so ... Which in and of itself got me reading a lot of "Official"Air Force histories which by the mid-80s were a lot more 'honest' than one might have thought. Which got me digging into other areas and finding out how many mid-level and direct supervisors were "steely-eyed-missile-men", (which is why I laughed out loud when that line came up in "Apollo 13" :) ) and then digging deeper into how the Air Force first ignored, (and why) missile development to then develop and deploy the first generation missiles in record time is a pretty fascinating history.

But my service has a history of making screwing up long-term policy as a 'standard operating procedure' and one of the MAJOR areas I'd like to examine someday in an AH is 'fixing' the origin issues that kind of made that inenvitable...

Which, BTW gives me little confidence in the new "US Space Force" given it will be mosty Air Force people though they really worked more for the NRO than the Air Force anyway so maybe?

Depends, IMO, on how much they can minimize debris output and the confidence there is in the Saturn 1 stage not exploding.
Well, one never DID explode for one thing and the engine out capability is also a plus but that's not the actual issue or sticking point. RIFT was essentially an S-IVB stage with the J2* replaced by a NERVA. Saturn V launch plans had the RIFT directly replace the S-IVB whereas using a Saturn-1B "kind-of" assumed they'd mount a RIFT on the second stage S-IVB. Problem was it still couldn't make orbit without a burn of the RIFT and that was seen as a problem since that meant powering up the NERVA at a pretty low altitude in a suborbital trajectory. (Once the reactor goes critical even the NERVA folk prefered it being on an 'outbound' trajectory if at all possible :) ) If it doesn't power into orbit after that SOMEONE down-range is going to have a very bad day. Hence if using the Saturn-1B to launch they were pretty adamant about using an upgraded model AND a smaller model of RIFT, or launching the tankage on one flight and the NERVA in a second. That way it never powered up lower than around 200 miles or so.

*Fun fact! The J2 was in fact developed from the 'bread-board' pumps and flow system developed for the NERVA.

Isn't that stuff pretty darn toxic?
Copenhagen Suborbital used it in a test engine and it's used to treat building and outdoor wood, but if you ingest around between 160 to 400 mg/kg and are a rabbit or mouse you'll probably croak :)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furfuryl_alcohol#Safety

It's also listed as a cancer causing/risk in California.

And it is in fact the WRONG one I was thinking of. I found Bruce Dunn's archived "Alternate Propellants for SSTO Launchers" paper here:
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:I_lKwgeSygUJ:https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=34919.0;attach=587468+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Turns out I was thinking of another alcohol and it IS nasty, Propargyl Alcohol which give about 40% better performance than kerosene with peroxide, while Furfuryl Alcohol only provdes about 75 to 80% the performance of kerosene. My bad.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propargyl_alcohol

Ethylene of propylene are probably better in this context though if we're going by possible ISP performance it looks like Cyclopropane, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclopropane) may be a good bet.

Well, one of the reasons for the SLS' cost is that it looks like it will only get used a handful of times. If NASA used it for enough launches, economies of scale and amortizing the development costs out over many launches could theoretically bring the cost/launch down to a reasonable level. Building a Mars colony Mars Direct style and mandating that the program use the SLS might be one way to actually get a decent amount of use out of the system. Of course, that's likely to be throwing good money after bad...
Mars Direct Ares was pretty much the same as it was optimized for going to Mars, (because what else matters?) and it was launched two times every two years. As a "derived from a shuttle-derived" LV the original would have some utility but itself it was ONLY a heavy launch vehicle for interplanetary payload. (And keep in mind it was an "engines in a recoverable side-pod" design so it wasn't even that efficent) The ARES-V was supposed to be the Mars Direct LV for VSE (Griffen was very much a MD fan) with pretty much no utility for anything else. Which btw was why he disliked ARES 1 since he saw no need for orbital operations and felt a capsule on the V with an escape system 'fixed' the Shuttle problems.

And for the SLS itself keep in mind the alternate name of Sentate Launch System :) It's payload was, (oddly enough) specifically mandaged in a NASA authorization act being a specifc and (so far) unattained number of Lbs per orbit as a minimum capacity. Why? Because the "Utah delegation" had been briefed by "expert witness" (never named) that had stated that the mandated payload mass would 'require' the use of SRB's and therefor those would continue to be built in Utah. Hatch was publicy very proud of that inclusion, (quoted in a local paper) but noted that it would no greatly effect current SRB work in Utah as the SLS would not require as much processing and work as the previous Shuttle SRB program. (In other words those layed off at the 'end' of the Shuttle program weren't getting their jobs back becaue the SLS would not be flying as often)

Similarly Rocketdyne (https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/07/aerojet-rocketdyne-six-engine-rs-25-run/) has made it petty clear, (a "six-engine production run" of one set of flight engines and two spares by 2024 and four engines per year after that for a current (planned) "run" of about 18 engines to support a flight rate of one (1) SLS per year. Maybe.

The US government and by extension it's Space Program and manager thereof, (NASA) has no interest in nor intention of 'colonizing' anything off world, in fact the only reason Congress is supporting going to the Moon, (but note not actually FUNDING anything) is because Obama proposed bypassing it in favor or Mars. Once Trump proposed the Moon they verbelly supported the idea but as noted haven't done a thing to actually support that idea. If he proposed Mars they would do exaclty the same thing.

Note as well that SpaceX and NASA recently made an agreement to study on-orbit propellant transfer with NASA providing technical but no monetary support. Why? Because Congress mandated that NASA will spend NOTHING on any work involving propllant transfer or orbital propellant transfers. (On the other hand NASA is Congressionally mandated to physically and when authorized monetary support to "private" efforts towards such technology... Really makes things confusing) Why? Because Congress sees any such development as leading to working on going to Mars so it is forbidden to NASA.

People either don't know or tend to ignore such un-sublte incidents as a Congressal Representative, one Dana Rohrabaher (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Rohrabacher#Space) in his capacity as Chairman of theSubcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, (note considered a "strident advocate for supremacy in space" which just goes to show how easy it is to fool Space Advocates with a bit of rhetoric) declared that he was line-item vetoing and zeroing out the NASA budget for the research and development of the "TransHab*" inflatable module. (Litterally an "Act of Congress" directed at a single program that had great potential, see section 127 here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/106th-congress/house-bill/1654) Why? Becaue he felt certain that such an inflatable module had only one purpose, to open a door for NASA to build Mars equipment against Congressional orders. So he killed it, then held a public meeting where he supported the construction of Space Solar Power Satellites and praised the contractor currently building the "Habitat" module for the ISS, (and located in his district as well as a constant campaign contributor) Boeing Aerospace. You may note the wording in the above where; "Provides that nothing shall preclude NASA from leasing or otherwise using a commercially provided inflatable habitation module" but Rohrabaher had directed a memo to NASA managment to deep archinve or preferably destroy all documents and samples of the TransHab project since there was 'non commercial interest' and such a module was found by officail experts, (Boeing) to have no cost, safety, or other advantages over the Boeing module. (So why waste money storing something nobody will every be interested in?) Luckly word got out to Bigelow aerospace who was in fact interested in such technology and he asked NASA to hand over the data. "What data?" Serioulsy if a bunch of the people working on TransHab handn't hand carried data and samples out of the labs Bigelow probably would have had to start from scratch. Irony? The Boeing Habitation Module was cancled for cost overruns and lack of utility in a couple of years anyway.

And while we're at it this was also the person who called for FBI investigations on Elon Musk so often they finally flat out refused to take his calls and would trash his memos and letters... He only stopped when he realized how much of an asset Musk was to Space Exploration... (Ya, the second Musk kicked campaign funds his way)

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TransHab, and may I LoL at the way the article has been edited? To quote: "Considerable controversy arose during the TransHab development effort due to delays and increased costs of the ISS program." Which is funny since TransHab was never an offical part of the "ISS program" and while the end goal was to deploy a module to the ISS NO ISS money was every spent on TransHab. It was to be an cheaper alternative to the current aluminum modules and when a cost comparision was finally done Boeing, two months later than the TransHab group released an "Official Price" quote for it's aluminum Habitat module that was exactly the same as the TransHabe estimated price. When asked NASA defered, (ordered to) to Boeing as an 'expert' in it's own financial costs and would not release the price that Boeign was actually charging them for module)

Seriously, all this is current and continuing "fallout" from NASA and Congress' post-Apollo conflict and it doesn't look likely to go away anytime soon.

Randy
 
Many more fuels that are more toxic. You don't want to drink methanol or kerosene either.
But a glass of bleach every day is healthy! (I WISH I was kidding :( )

As I noted the one I was actually thinking of IS pretty toxic but then again so it hydazine and such so...

RAndy
 
But a glass of bleach every day is healthy! (I WISH I was kidding :(
Hey we are only talking about drinking fuel, not oxidizers.

I noted the one I was actually thinking of IS pretty toxic but then again so it hydazine and such so...
I remember that in the '60s, any Joe Schmoe could order a barrel of Hydrazine, and homebrew fuel.
Buick Nailheads dumping green flame from the open stacks was kind of cool on the Quarter Mile. Not so cool was the guys dumping fuel after their run, before the unburned Hydrazine started combining with gasoline impurities into shock sensitive compounds in the gastank...
 
As far as I could tell from the cost models we did for Right Side Up (admittedly very rough), the cost of the Ride Side Up Space Lifter at a flight rate of 6+ a year was roughly comparable to the Titan III family, in spite of having nearly 3x the payload. This isn't as crazy as it might sound: a reusable lower stage based on Saturn V's S-IC means you're only throwing away an S-IVB every flight, about 20 metric tons of rocket stages instead of the 40-odd tons of Titan hardware. Properly revised for cost reduction or even only partially so, there's no reason the 40-ton launcher can't end up just as cheap as an expendable 15-ton launcher. There might be an argument that a reusable 10-15 ton launcher is more "right-sized" for the majority of the missions...but a reusable S-IC stage (and maybe even a reusable S-IVB-derived stage!) has lower development cost and is thus may be the OMB and NASA preferred option in the critical window, as it can be shared with ongoing lunar or Mars use of Saturn V, meaning there's less of a sharp transition from Saturn V to the "new thing".
So to see if I've got this straight: A flyback SiC coupled with an expendable, (but 'cheaper-than-Apollo') S-IVB-ish stage would provide similar performance and access as a Titan III LV with about three (3) times the payload capacity? Ok I can see why the Air Force bought into the concept in that timeline :) I forgot if it happened TTL but I would figure the S-IVB would be capable of delivering multiple satellites not only to GEO but to a couple of diffrent parking orbits so that actually makes it cheaper than the Titan III if you can spread the cost, or is that included?

In theory, if there's more of an expectation of need for ongoing S-IC utilization in 1970-1972, there's a chance that one of the reusable S-IC options for Shuttle boosters could win. I've tossed the idea around for a moon race-era Apollo-and-derivatives timeline, where the "Shuttle" is a manned glider pushed uphill by a reusable S-IC and a reusable S-IVB in a fully reusable (~30-35 metric ton payload) stack derived from a planned semi-reusable (R-SIC, expendable S-II, RS-IVB) Saturn V for lunar base missions or Mars. By 1973, the chances of that big launcher actually getting flown all-up may fall off, but if the RS-IC and RS-IVB end up enabling that kind of fully-reusable crew-and-cargo lifter, it'd be remarkable for the rest of the 70s and into the 80s.
As I noted the 'idea' was there and wasn't only the "flyback" S-iC but included thingsk like the Saturn VR, and VM as well as others.

Scott Lowther has a nice cleaned up rendition of the reusable Saturn VR/VM stage but (if I can get it to load) the basic design is this:
Saturn VR REcoverable First STage.JPG


Which is the one mentioned that is 'snuck' into the overall NEXUS report. The thing is the same and other stuff showing this stage compared to a standard Saturn V:
SaturnV and SaturnV with Reusable Booster.jpg


Clearly shows they did the SAME thing with the S-II yet I can find nothing on it .... Grrrrr. What the heck just to do the SAME thing with the S-IVR I guess! :)

And another point is this is rather 'adjustable' depending on the mission and needs. While the VR first stage would be difficult to add SRMs to, like the later "Advanced Multipurpose Large Launch Vehicle" study that Boing produced, (https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/boeing-amllv-advanced-multipurpose-large-launch-vehicle.9630/) it could be done and would work especially well to launch the second and/or third stage when acting as a 'zero' stage. I suspect it's even a bit more flexible than the "Lifter" configuration :) (Fails the every flight manned requirement though)

Randy
 
Hey we are only talking about drinking fuel, not oxidizers.
This is about HEALTH! Or should I note a couple of folks whom I work with who 'swear' hydrazine is safe enough you could wash your hair with it but fear peroxide of any %?

I remember that in the '60s, any Joe Schmoe could order a barrel of Hydrazine, and homebrew fuel.
Buick Nailheads dumping green flame from the open stacks was kind of cool on the Quarter Mile. Not so cool was the guys dumping fuel after their run, before the unburned Hydrazine started combining with gasoline impurities into shock sensitive compounds in the gastank...
Sounds like the "Madness that was Turbonique!" :)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbonique

Found out my brother actually had a turbine but never bought any fuel for it. And buried it along with his car collection when he went to Vietnam... Came back and couldn't remember where he buried the cars :(

Randy
 
So to see if I've got this straight: A flyback SiC coupled with an expendable, (but 'cheaper-than-Apollo') S-IVB-ish stage would provide similar performance and access as a Titan III LV with about three (3) times the payload capacity? Ok I can see why the Air Force bought into the concept in that timeline :)
Yep. running through the numbers a little:Start with the Stages to Saturn cost breakdowns. Assuming building a reusable S-IC stage costs about 3x the expendable version (may be conservative, but there will be higher upfront tooling costs and fewer builds to divide it among). Additionally assume that per-flight refurb is about 5% of the original build cost (so basically every 20 flights you've spent as much in parts and labor as it took to build it in the first place--this is probably conservative as the X-15 found cost of about 1-2% of build cost for similar flight regimes). Thus, each flight of the first stage would cost about $3.2 m/flight in 1969 dollars. The IU had a path to cost reduction to <$1m, and the F-1 engines could be reflown several times, so engine cost is mostly just the J-2 (or lively a J-2S), at perhaps $1-1.5m in series production instead of small batches at ~$2m (I think I have numbers on this from one of the S-IVB cost-out studies, just not handy). GSE should remain similar and will be paid off by initial startup costs, but there may be ground operations costs of a $1m or so per flight in operation.

If the cost of the S-IVB stage hardware can be brought down by simplification of production operations (thing like changing the insulation method from hand-assembly of internal "artificial balsa" tiles to spray-on-foam on the exterior) to even $12m from the initial $17m, then the total vehicle adds up to roughly $18.5-$19m in 1969 dollars--well within comparison to the cost of a Titan 3C (IIRC, about $14m in 1965, so about $18m in 1969 inflated dollars) especially given benefits like larger fairing size and increased payload.

Using an S-II instead of the S-IVB raises costs to maybe $30m or so, but the payload rises north of 90 metric tons (I didn't run Silverbird on this lately--it might even exceed 100 metric tons), and the three-stage Saturn V configuration with no boosters and the reusable S-IC is maybe $60-70m instead of the $113m while offering very close performance to the three stage expendable Saturn V.

If you can reuse the S-IVB, even if it costs 10% of the cost to produce it to refurb every flight, then the costs change again. The hardware for the S-IVb is probably back to being something exhorbitant like $4-50m, but each stage needs a refurb cost of only $5m or so. The J-2S engine is probably now back to low-volume production, so may run more like $2-3m upfront, but is also reusable. Per The Space Shuttle Decision, chapter 6, "We never wore out an engine of the J-2 type," recalls Rocketdyne's Paul Castenholz, who managed its development. "We could run it repeatedly; there was no erosion of the chamber, no damage to the turbine blades. If you looked at a J-2 after a hot firing, you would not see any difference from before that firing. The injectors always looked new; there was no erosion or corrosion on the injectors. We had extensive numbers of tests on individual engines," which demonstrated their reliability." Thus, per flight engine cost for the J-2S reusably is probably $0.3m or less. The IU is refurbishable, so that's also something like $100k. GSE adds $1m or so, and the RS-IC brings $3.2m in cost to the party, same as before.

Thus, total flight cost of the fully reusable RS-IC/RS-IVB is down to perhaps under $10m--cheaper than the Titan 3C and yet still more capable, if only of perhaps 35 metric tons instead of the 45 of the RS-IC/S-IVB or the 55+ of the expendable S-IC/S-IVB.

Putting these into a three-stage Saturn stack gets very interesting--with an expendable S-II costing perhaps $5m in engines and $21m in hardware, the 2/3rds reusable Saturn V could probably throw north of 100 metric tons for maybe as low as $40m. That'd make lunar bases with additional safety factors or Mars missions (both of which need throw mass cheap) much easier to justify on cost down the line, if you can get Congress to not kill it when it walks in the door.

I forgot if it happened TTL but I would figure the S-IVB would be capable of delivering multiple satellites not only to GEO but to a couple of diffrent parking orbits so that actually makes it cheaper than the Titan III if you can spread the cost, or is that included?
It's potentially possible, the S-IVB can relight and would have excess performance for coast and orbit changing even with two Titan 3C-class payloads aboard, but I didn't count it in the cost estimates. These are single-mission flyaway costs. Any cost reductions from figuring out how to fit two or three Titan payloads into a single launch is to additional Air Force's benefit but also their own special problem if they want to try. ;)
 
...if you can get Congress to not kill it when it walks in the door.
Aready with the ASB qualifiers? ;)

Seriously that was ALWAYS the biggest issue with continuing anything from Apollo in that NASA had to face reality AND present a plausible plan and option to the Administration and deal with an already hostile Congress. (And public)

Loseing the Moon race doesnt' HELP this at all and the 'outrage' is not going to directed towards the Russians :)

Yep. running through the numbers a little:Start with the Stages to Saturn cost breakdowns. Assuming building a reusable S-IC stage costs about 3x the expendable version (may be conservative, but there will be higher upfront tooling costs and fewer builds to divide it among).
Also essentially a VERY large aircraft development program tacked on top which always gets downplayed in the proposals I note :) In theory you can somewhat 'incrementally' test such a vehicle but in reality it's like the Shuttle orbiter itself, your 'tests' are going to consist of putting propellant in the damn thing and launching it and hoping it flies so you might as well go all the way the first time...

Additionally assume that per-flight refurb is about 5% of the original build cost (so basically every 20 flights you've spent as much in parts and labor as it took to build it in the first place--this is probably conservative as the X-15 found cost of about 1-2% of build cost for similar flight regimes).
3% refubishment per flight was what the report said so I'd think 5% was more accurate.
"The ratio of refurbishment cost ($270,000) for reuse of the X-15 to the cost of using a new X-15 ($9 million) for each flight was 0.03 per flight or 3 percent."
(Page 8, https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19670001999.pdf, Wired makes the same mistake)

Which btw works out to the same costs for refubishing an H1 recovered from the ocean :)

They also assumed around a 33% reduction in per-flight costs, (over $602,000.00 for each flight) which sounds about right but as the vehicle is also larger, and they don't seem to take this into account but since there's not an 'example' RLV cost estimate I'm guessing a generalization is ok. It's supposed to be an aerospace trusim that larger airframes automatically cost more at pretty linear rate, (the 707 cost about $16 million to develop, while the about 2X bigger 747 came in between $1 and $2 billion including a new production plant facility) so the development cost is likely low all things considered. Ballpark though.

Thus, each flight of the first stage would cost about $3.2 m/flight in 1969 dollars. The IU had a path to cost reduction to <$1m, and the F-1 engines could be reflown several times, so engine cost is mostly just the J-2 (or lively a J-2S), at perhaps $1-1.5m in series production instead of small batches at ~$2m (I think I have numbers on this from one of the S-IVB cost-out studies, just not handy). GSE should remain similar and will be paid off by initial startup costs, but there may be ground operations costs of a $1m or so per flight in operation.
Works

If the cost of the S-IVB stage hardware can be brought down by simplification of production operations (thing like changing the insulation method from hand-assembly of internal "artificial balsa" tiles to spray-on-foam on the exterior) to even $12m from the initial $17m, then the total vehicle adds up to roughly $18.5-$19m in 1969 dollars--well within comparison to the cost of a Titan 3C (IIRC, about $14m in 1965, so about $18m in 1969 inflated dollars) especially given benefits like larger fairing size and increased payload.
I believe I pointed out somewhere the 'cost' of a Titan III was actually falsly lowered by the Air Force with some 'creative' accounting anyway so I'll buy this.

Using an S-II instead of the S-IVB raises costs to maybe $30m or so, but the payload rises north of 90 metric tons (I didn't run Silverbird on this lately--it might even exceed 100 metric tons), and the three-stage Saturn V configuration with no boosters and the reusable S-IC is maybe $60-70m instead of the $113m while offering very close performance to the three stage expendable Saturn V.
One question would be given the way the Lifter set is 'stacked' there's a flight-qualification and testing issue with every different 'upper' stage and fairing which is why the design evolved OTL to carrying the 'upper' stages on the 'back' of the lifter.
Right Side Up but different S1C Winged stage and Upper Stage.jpg


It's a point I never got around to asking about IIRC.

If you can reuse the S-IVB, even if it costs 10% of the cost to produce it to refurb every flight, then the costs change again. The hardware for the S-IVb is probably back to being something exhorbitant like $4-50m, but each stage needs a refurb cost of only $5m or so. The J-2S engine is probably now back to low-volume production, so may run more like $2-3m upfront, but is also reusable. Per The Space Shuttle Decision, chapter 6, "We never wore out an engine of the J-2 type," recalls Rocketdyne's Paul Castenholz, who managed its development. "We could run it repeatedly; there was no erosion of the chamber, no damage to the turbine blades. If you looked at a J-2 after a hot firing, you would not see any difference from before that firing. The injectors always looked new; there was no erosion or corrosion on the injectors. We had extensive numbers of tests on individual engines," which demonstrated their reliability." Thus, per flight engine cost for the J-2S reusably is probably $0.3m or less. The IU is refurbishable, so that's also something like $100k. GSE adds $1m or so, and the RS-IC brings $3.2m in cost to the party, same as before.
Part of the draw/drawback of reusable is you build less BUT you're at least building so it tends to even out if your planned for it from the start

Thus, total flight cost of the fully reusable RS-IC/RS-IVB is down to perhaps under $10m--cheaper than the Titan 3C and yet still more capable, if only of perhaps 35 metric tons instead of the 45 of the RS-IC/S-IVB or the 55+ of the expendable S-IC/S-IVB.
One "down-side" of reuse (in general while not always specificly :) ) is enhancing your performance can be ... challenging ... over what you can do with an expendable LV :) Adding SRB's has become an easy and quite common 'fix' but doing so to something like the Lifter or OTL's STS is ... questionable ... at best. (Not that it didn't take the Air Force but a moment to suggest adding a 'squashed' Titan to the bottom of the ET for "More Power" anyway :) )

Putting these into a three-stage Saturn stack gets very interesting--with an expendable S-II costing perhaps $5m in engines and $21m in hardware, the 2/3rds reusable Saturn V could probably throw north of 100 metric tons for maybe as low as $40m. That'd make lunar bases with additional safety factors or Mars missions (both of which need throw mass cheap) much easier to justify on cost down the line, if you can get Congress to not kill it when it walks in the door.
Plausible if you can finese the motivation in the public and politcal realm. Of course if you've GOT that I need to point out that IPP is arguably RIGHT THERE and that also pretty much gets everything this Time Line wants... At about 10 times the cost of Apollo but ...

It's potentially possible, the S-IVB can relight and would have excess performance for coast and orbit changing even with two Titan 3C-class payloads aboard, but I didn't count it in the cost estimates. These are single-mission flyaway costs. Any cost reductions from figuring out how to fit two or three Titan payloads into a single launch is to additional Air Force's benefit but also their own special problem if they want to try. ;)
Main point would be this would attract commecial rather than military utility :) The other was the 'right' sizing since the size and mass of communications satellites was getting pretty 'fixed' by the late 70s for the very reason that it was considered a 'waste' to use an over capacity LV to launch something smaller than it's 'average' capacity due to the cost. While this greatly reduces that issue the issue of 'wasted' capacity is still there and SINCE you can legally and arguably charge BOTH 'customers' the same price to launch both on one vehicle if they can get delivery to the right orbit, who's NOT going to do that if they can?

Randy
 
...if you can get Congress to not kill it when it walks in the door.
Aready with the ASB qualifiers? ;)

Seriously that was ALWAYS the biggest issue with continuing anything from Apollo in that NASA had to face reality AND present a plausible plan and option to the Administration and deal with an already hostile Congress. (And public)

Loseing the Moon race doesnt' HELP this at all and the 'outrage' is not going to directed towards the Russians :)
I included the line for a reason when it came to referring to Mars missions or major lunar operations. ;) Anyway, my timeline idea where this fully-reusable Space Lifter came up was a mix of space wank and a take on my own hotter moon race...and one where the US still does "win" but is forced to defend that position and not rest on their laurels. Spoilers: it doesn't likely get to Mars in the 80s, but they get this thing to let them do cheap LEO and maybe ongoing lunar ops. It's back of my queue right now behind an overhaul/continuation of Kistling and a few other ideas, but I can post a summary of it here or in its own thread if people are interested.

Also essentially a VERY large aircraft development program tacked on top which always gets downplayed in the proposals I note :) In theory you can somewhat 'incrementally' test such a vehicle but in reality it's like the Shuttle orbiter itself, your 'tests' are going to consist of putting propellant in the damn thing and launching it and hoping it flies so you might as well go all the way the first time...
Well, that's one of the benefits of wings and air-breathing jet engines--you can start with horizontal takeoffs from a runway, work up to or even slightly beyond Mach 1 depending on installed engine power, and then static fires and S-IC heritage can get you pretty confident that the first time you light it off on the pad, you have a plan to get back down. For a VTVL RS-IC version (father of Falcon, ancestor of Starhopper? :p) you can do a super-grasshopper using some of the S-IC qualification tanks and stages and likewise work up from the ground to altitude to ensure your plans for getting from the altitude to the ground work. If Elon Musk can do it in a cave with a box of scraps, George Mueller can do it at Stennis with the S-IC-T!

As for development costs...yeah, there's going to be an upfront R&D cost for this, for sure. But NASA has a luxury only government and SpaceX have: the ability to write off R&D costs as suck and ignore them when thinking if a new vehicle will be cot effective per flight going forward. As long as NASA can keep Congress or Nixon satisfied that aerospace employees in key districts will be kept employed and voting "right" or SpaceX can keep the lights on, there doesn't need to be anything as petty as a profit, right?

Using an S-II instead of the S-IVB raises costs to maybe $30m or so, but the payload rises north of 90 metric tons (I didn't run Silverbird on this lately--it might even exceed 100 metric tons), and the three-stage Saturn V configuration with no boosters and the reusable S-IC is maybe $60-70m instead of the $113m while offering very close performance to the three stage expendable Saturn V.
One question would be given the way the Lifter set is 'stacked' there's a flight-qualification and testing issue with every different 'upper' stage and fairing which is why the design evolved OTL to carrying the 'upper' stages on the 'back' of the lifter.

It's a point I never got around to asking about IIRC.
You'd have to do a delta-qualification for each configuration independently, starting in wind tunnels and working to flights. It's the same as Falcon moving from fling Dragon simulators and Dragon capsules to flying fairings, or Atlas moved from the 4m and 5m fairings to Starliner. Carrying the upper stage(s) and payload on the nose or sidemounted doesn't really help as far as I can tell, and for something like going to a three-stage configuration it may actually hurt by dragging the center of mass further off the thrust axis. My thought was to use an inline apporach and the same type of disposable (or parachute returned, ocean recovered?) interstage we proposed for the Space Lifter in Right Side Up, with one version to taper from the nose mounts on the RS-IC to the RS-IVB and a different (straighter) one to enclose the engines of an expendable S-II above, which could use the same S-II to S-IVB interstage already on the Saturn V for flights or a really monster fairing in two-stage RS-IC/S-II mode. Thus, you can fly in any of the three configurations: fully reusable RS-IC/RS-IVB, partially reusable but very capable RS-IC/S-II, and the still-lunar-capable three-stage RS-IC/S-II/RS-IVB. The RS-IVB may need to make a 2-pass aerobrake return for that last configuration, but that should be doable with enough battery life and RCS prop--instead of aiming for heliocentric or crashing into the moon, you leave the S-IVB in a free return trajectory. You might even end up with an S-IVB with enough life to use its hydrogen ISp advantages for some of LOI (and then do its own TEI) to help offset payload losses.

One "down-side" of reuse (in general while not always specificly :) ) is enhancing your performance can be ... challenging ... over what you can do with an expendable LV :) Adding SRB's has become an easy and quite common 'fix' but doing so to something like the Lifter or OTL's STS is ... questionable ... at best. (Not that it didn't take the Air Force but a moment to suggest adding a 'squashed' Titan to the bottom of the ET for "More Power" anyway :) )
I'm sure there will be people dissatisfied with "only" getting 35 metric tons for their $10 million and 100 tons for their $45m. Those people can explain their reasoning to OMB, who probably have a special round file for them. In all seriousness, you can still stick boosters (reusable or expendable) on reusable vehicle, as SpaceX does with Falcon 9 to turn it into FH. There's probably room for two 6m boosters attached to the sides of the RS-IC above the wing. @nixonshead has been busy with other projects, but I was able to prepare the below detailed rendering, including launch umbilical tower and booster preparation site, plus attachment support facilities and equipment. The aerodynamic modifications tested on the starboard rudder are the result of flaws in the rendering tool cause by dropping the model during a move. ;) Note this could use basically the same LRBs or SRBs as the Saturn MLV proposals mounted to essentially identical structures in effectively identical ways, just using two instead of four. It limits the maximum boosted payload, but the whole point of reuse is sacrificing a little performance for a lot of cost reduction. It'd be up to NASA to decide if getting an extra few tons of payload for an extra few million (plus R&D and delta-qual) is a worthwhile tradeoff, which is probably easier if those boosters can themselves be recovered/returned and reused.



Main point would be this would attract commecial rather than military utility :) The other was the 'right' sizing since the size and mass of communications satellites was getting pretty 'fixed' by the late 70s for the very reason that it was considered a 'waste' to use an over capacity LV to launch something smaller than it's 'average' capacity due to the cost. While this greatly reduces that issue the issue of 'wasted' capacity is still there and SINCE you can legally and arguably charge BOTH 'customers' the same price to launch both on one vehicle if they can get delivery to the right orbit, who's NOT going to do that if they can?
Well, NASA might, for one. However, the thought was that in RSU, the semi-private Space Transportation Corporation NASA forms from the Space Lifter operators does actually end up selling commercial Lifter flights to GTO for more than the ~$110m (2015) NASA pays to buy a full mission. For instance, say one customer pays $70m for their "main payload" 9 metric ton slot on the front of the multiple payload adaptor, and then STC can sell the other 6-7 metric tons as one or two "secondary" slots for a combined $50-55m. The main customer is paying an extra $9m or so more than they might "per kg" for an ideal, fully-loaded solo-launch Lifter flight, but they're getting a savings of $40m by letting STC sell rideshare space on their flight. The two secondaries get Lifter's cheap cost-per-kg for payloads that'd never be able to afford a full Lifter either, again with a bit of a premium, and STC makes an extra $10-15m in pure profit.

There's less market for that kind of rideshare to LEO, as we figured it'd be hard to rack up 45-50 metric tons of LEO rideshare in the 80s even at Falcon Heavy prices.
 
I included the line for a reason when it came to referring to Mars missions or major lunar operations. ;) Anyway, my timeline idea where this fully-reusable Space Lifter came up was a mix of space wank and a take on my own hotter moon race...and one where the US still does "win" but is forced to defend that position and not rest on their laurels. Spoilers: it doesn't likely get to Mars in the 80s, but they get this thing to let them do cheap LEO and maybe ongoing lunar ops. It's back of my queue right now behind an overhaul/continuation of Kistling and a few other ideas, but I can post a summary of it here or in its own thread if people are interested.
Na, that's ok, we don'... OH HECK YES! PLEASE? I'LL WAIT... (No stalking this time, I promise :) ) ;)

Well, that's one of the benefits of wings and air-breathing jet engines--you can start with horizontal takeoffs from a runway, work up to or even slightly beyond Mach 1 depending on installed engine power, and then static fires and S-IC heritage can get you pretty confident that the first time you light it off on the pad, you have a plan to get back down. For a VTVL RS-IC version (father of Falcon, ancestor of Starhopper? :p) you can do a super-grasshopper using some of the S-IC qualification tanks and stages and likewise work up from the ground to altitude to ensure your plans for getting from the altitude to the ground work. If Elon Musk can do it in a cave with a box of scraps, George Mueller can do it at Stennis with the S-IC-T!
Agree in general but there's that "C" word, (and that "OMB" word if we're honest) so we could see them still going "all-up" (hey it worked with the Saturn V and this is BASED on the Saturn V so...) in short order.

As for development costs...yeah, there's going to be an upfront R&D cost for this, for sure. But NASA has a luxury only government and SpaceX have: the ability to write off R&D costs as suck and ignore them when thinking if a new vehicle will be cot effective per flight going forward. As long as NASA can keep Congress or Nixon satisfied that aerospace employees in key districts will be kept employed and voting "right" or SpaceX can keep the lights on, there doesn't need to be anything as petty as a profit, right?


Profit, no but we'l bring up the C and OMB words again because they do happen to be a 'thing' after all :) One "downside" SpaceX doesn't, well, maybe not as much anyway, have to deal with :)

You'd have to do a delta-qualification for each configuration independently, starting in wind tunnels and working to flights. It's the same as Falcon moving from fling Dragon simulators and Dragon capsules to flying fairings, or Atlas moved from the 4m and 5m fairings to Starliner. Carrying the upper stage(s) and payload on the nose or sidemounted doesn't really help as far as I can tell, and for something like going to a three-stage configuration it may actually hurt by dragging the center of mass further off the thrust axis. My thought was to use an inline approach and the same type of disposable (or parachute returned, ocean recovered?) interstage we proposed for the Space Lifter in Right Side Up, with one version to taper from the nose mounts on the RS-IC to the RS-IVB and a different (straighter) one to enclose the engines of an expendable S-II above, which could use the same S-II to S-IVB interstage already on the Saturn V for flights or a really monster fairing in two-stage RS-IC/S-II mode. Thus, you can fly in any of the three configurations: fully reusable RS-IC/RS-IVB, partially reusable but very capable RS-IC/S-II, and the still-lunar-capable three-stage RS-IC/S-II/RS-IVB. The RS-IVB may need to make a 2-pass aerobrake return for that last configuration, but that should be doable with enough battery life and RCS prop--instead of aiming for heliocentric or crashing into the moon, you leave the S-IVB in a free return trajectory. You might even end up with an S-IVB with enough life to use its hydrogen ISp advantages for some of LOI (and then do its own TEI) to help offset payload losses.
Part of the reason I brought it up is how often it gets mentioned, (and very much NOT in a "good" way :) ) by those in the field as something you want to avoid as much as you can which is why they tend to get 'standardized' really damn fast :) From the stuff I read on Shuttle-C-thu-Z it appears the sidemount actually makes it easier in general than in-line but as per the flip side of the coin, in-line is always more efficient so it preferred despite the hassle.

Pffttt, everyone one knows how to solve THAT one... You use doors:
https://books.google.com/books?id=PS0DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA124#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://blog.modernmechanix.com/all-aboard-for-outer-space/2/#mmGal

I mean giant folding doors opening and closing again at Mach-6ish and around 20 miles up, what could possibly go wrong? :)

I'm sure there will be people dissatisfied with "only" getting 35 metric tons for their $10 million and 100 tons for their $45m. Those people can explain their reasoning to OMB, who probably have a special round file for them.
Rectangular actually... What? I worked for the government we had bulk 'files' of that type through GSA. I didn't see a 'circular-file' till the early 80s...

In all seriousness, you can still stick boosters (reusable or expendable) on reusable vehicle, as SpaceX does with Falcon 9 to turn it into FH. There's probably room for two 6m boosters attached to the sides of the RS-IC above the wing. @nixonshead has been busy with other projects, but I was able to prepare the below detailed rendering, including launch umbilical tower and booster preparation site, plus attachment support facilities and equipment. The aerodynamic modifications tested on the starboard rudder are the result of flaws in the rendering tool cause by dropping the model during a move. ;) Note this could use basically the same LRBs or SRBs as the Saturn MLV proposals mounted to essentially identical structures in effectively identical ways, just using two instead of four. It limits the maximum boosted payload, but the whole point of reuse is sacrificing a little performance for a lot of cost reduction. It'd be up to NASA to decide if getting an extra few tons of payload for an extra few million (plus R&D and delta-qual) is a worthwhile tradeoff, which is probably easier if those boosters can themselves be recovered/returned and reused.

Heh, wow the things a Sharpie is capable of :) And to be honest I should have been clearer in that what I was talking about was the modifications needed to the main vehicle to do so, (as per cited examples to make it happen) it's just not that 'easy' per say. Having said that... I'm using exactly that set up as part of the 'drama' for my, (if it ever manages to 'gel' past several paragraphs and a binder-full-of-notes) "Pye-Wacket and Harvey" reusable Atlas booster TL. (Two guess' who stays more active in the Air Force AND has a 'thing' for spaceflight to get there :) ) Oh and I'd get accused of copying RSU I suppose...

Ouchie on the model/move but you realize that's gotta be a 'vignette' in RSU now right? :)

Well, NASA might, for one. However, the thought was that in RSU, the semi-private Space Transportation Corporation NASA forms from the Space Lifter operators does actually end up selling commercial Lifter flights to GTO for more than the ~$110m (2015) NASA pays to buy a full mission. For instance, say one customer pays $70m for their "main payload" 9 metric ton slot on the front of the multiple payload adaptor, and then STC can sell the other 6-7 metric tons as one or two "secondary" slots for a combined $50-55m. The main customer is paying an extra $9m or so more than they might "per kg" for an ideal, fully-loaded solo-launch Lifter flight, but they're getting a savings of $40m by letting STC sell rideshare space on their flight. The two secondaries get Lifter's cheap cost-per-kg for payloads that'd never be able to afford a full Lifter either, again with a bit of a premium, and STC makes an extra $10-15m in pure profit.

There's less market for that kind of rideshare to LEO, as we figured it'd be hard to rack up 45-50 metric tons of LEO rideshare in the 80s even at Falcon Heavy prices.
You mean NASA might offer something like a "Get-Away-Special" or something? (Had to :) ) Thing is now that I've brought it up it make heck of a lot of sense, and I suspect that "Space Transportation Corporation" likely end up the same as "Intelsat" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelsat) did OTL and evolve into a for-profit company. I'll also add that means it's likely Musk got his 'cheaper' ride in RSU so no SpaceX... Don't remember off hand.

Randy
 
Ok, was re-reading "One False Step" (https://www.amazon.com/One-False-Step-Richard-Tongue-ebook/dp/B00RG223Y6, Chapter 3 "The Moon is Red" has some suggestions on getting it done and goes over the issues the Soviets faced. A great deal of them self inflicted as we've discussed) and I came up with an idea:

Fact: The 'race' is and pretty much always was the US's to lose if they stumbled bad enough
Fact: Kennedy was hesitant over the cost and complexity of the Lunar goal from the beginning, having serious second thoughts soon afterward.
Fact: Kennedy's assassination pretty much cemented both the Lunar Goal and Apollo as a "Martyrs legacy" making it pretty much impossible for the US to back off

So, what if Kennedy isn't killed? I mean his back (PT109 injury) was always acting up so it flares and Johnson has to go to Texas instead of him... and is killed. This also removes one of the "Space Program's" major backers from the Administration and Kennedy had already floated the idea of doing a joint mission to avoid the costs. Above, Chapter 2: "Two Men to the Moon"...

It doesn't 'quite' fit the OP premise, (1964/5 as a POD date) but in these circumstances when Pete Conrad is canvasing Congress on the idea of using Gemini to get to the Moon sooner and cheaper than Apollo it gets as far as Kennedy's ears.. and he likes what he hears. After all he specifically set a 'goal' not a method so IF this works, and is cheaper to boot who cares if it doesn't have as much 'value' to science or future utility? (And someone will point out that 'technically' it should be about half the overall cost of Apollo so even if they DO spend more money they should get more missions... right?)

This splits the US effort and focus, THEN pile on other factors, (interventions but not huge investments of actual fighting forces other than Navy and Marine in Laos and Vietnam to bolster Kennedy's "anti-Communist" cred is pretty much a given I think, race riots and other internal issues coming to the fore, etc) and funding is also reduced. Meanwhile NASA fights tooth-and-nail to keep Apollo despite Administration pressure and Congress is split. The work needed to turn Gemini into a Lunar vehicle and develop the smaller lander is going back and forth. (I'd think they eventually go with direct ascent despite everything in order to get two men to the surface at least, especially when it looks like the Soviet lander is a one man affair) Zond goes around the Moon first followed by "Apollo 8" in Gemini form going into orbit shortly there after.

Meanwhile we streamline the Soviet Lunar program by NOT giving it to Korolev, (IIRC one of the issues with Korolev's death was, beside his general health, the fact they had the "Chief Designer" on the table everyone was nervous and mistakes were made so we take some of the pressure off) as the N1 is declared the 'backup' to the UR500/700. Chelomei goes a bit nuts as does Glushko when they 'beat' their rival but this is reversed when Brezhnev (or whoever) comes to power with both Glushko and Chelomei made subservient to Korolev and told to like it or else...
And Brezhnev makes it clear they are going to the Moon.. (There's going to need to be a "why does he do it" though)

And we still have to 'fix' the N1 or TTL's booster though I'll point out the US may not finish the Saturn V under these circumstances I think it's still likely. Especially if they go for Direct Ascent as a Lunar Gemini mode.

Thoughts?

Randy
 
Na, that's ok, we don'... OH HECK YES! PLEASE? I'LL WAIT... (No stalking this time, I promise :) ) ;)
"This" time? Anyway, I'll see about condensing it into a chronology or something readable today.
Agree in general but there's that "C" word, (and that "OMB" word if we're honest) so we could see them still going "all-up" (hey it worked with the Saturn V and this is BASED on the Saturn V so...) in short order.
"All-up" was a NASA decision, not an OMB one. They did the entire 16-flight series of approach and landing tests for Shuttle, testing as much as they could without lighting rockets. This is a rough parallel--and note it helps qualify the Lifter to self-ferry in normal airspace for trips back to its originally assembly site for maintenance.
Part of the reason I brought it up is how often it gets mentioned, (and very much NOT in a "good" way :) ) by those in the field as something you want to avoid as much as you can which is why they tend to get 'standardized' really damn fast :)
Well, this is standardized--three stages, three configurations. You could argue that's the same number of individual components and fewer configurations than Atlas V!
Heh, wow the things a Sharpie is capable of :) And to be honest I should have been clearer in that what I was talking about was the modifications needed to the main vehicle to do so, (as per cited examples to make it happen) it's just not that 'easy' per say.
Well, the modifications here would be similar to for the original Saturn V, but they are their own complexity--and thus one I'd suspect would be avoided, if the base capability is high enough and flight turnaround and cost low enough. Starting with 35 metric tons for $10m (1969), why spend another $2-5m to add another 5 metric tons when you can just buy a second flight and add another 35 for $10m and save all the R&D and additional ops of boosters?
Ouchie on the model/move but you realize that's gotta be a 'vignette' in RSU now right? :)
Maybe, but I didn't give any of the Lifters to the Intrepid museum. It was a weak spot in the original model from day one--it took a couple tries to find a scale and print settings that didn't give up on the fins and the wing's control surfaces entirely.
You mean NASA might offer something like a "Get-Away-Special" or something? (Had to :) ) Thing is now that I've brought it up it make heck of a lot of sense, and I suspect that "Space Transportation Corporation" likely end up the same as "Intelsat" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelsat) did OTL and evolve into a for-profit company. I'll also add that means it's likely Musk got his 'cheaper' ride in RSU so no SpaceX... Don't remember off hand.
Yeah, there's almost certainly no SpaceX as we know it in Right Side Up. There's already not one, but three fully or partially reusable vehicles operating by the turn of the millennium (STC/NASA Space Lifter, Russian Raskat-Groza, and the fully reusable ~15-20 ton capability TransPacific Sierra). And STC is for-profit from the start, they just have fixed price deals with NASA and certain restrictions on excessive pricing and payment rates to NASA and the USAF for use of government personnel and support services.
 
Okay, here's the summary of my proposed timeline, called "Fire of Mercury:"

The core pitch for the timeline is Apollo to the max, using the classic AH pitch of "we needed the Soviets to do better to drive us further on the moon". However, I don’t really like that those always have to just make the Soviets do better, particularly when (as with For All Time) it means the Soviets somehow land first. I wanted a rising tide to lift all boats, some of the direction of "what if Apollo 1 hadn't put a damper on everything?" However, I also recognize that Apollo pushed pretty close to the edge of the feasible spending and progress a lot in OTL. For instance, the S-II is probably one of the most mass-optimized stages in history in order to make up for weight growth everywhere else, and had multiple stages fail on the test stand as a result. In fact, they had to invent and implement spray-on foam insulation for it mid-program!

The background for my PoD in the US comes from knowing that Apollo originally called for a two-gas environment, and that the original NAA capsule proposal still included this. It was only in mid-62 that NASA began to change their mind to a lighter and simpler single-gas system, though NAA fought them. Only on August 28, 1962 did NASA issue a change order demanding NAA switch to pure oxygen in the cabin.

The PoD itself happens October 3, 1962. Sigma 7 is on orbit with Wally Shirra aboard. On his fifth orbit, he leaves tracking with the Cape at MET 4:47:27. He’s looking at a long, lonely coast 28 minutes to contact with the Indian Ocean Ship. However, in this timeline, shortly after losing contact with the Cape as he coast over Brazil, a loose blob of solder comes lose inside part of the spacecraft electrical system, and is knocked into someplace it shouldn’t be, creating a spark and a fire in the cabin. It’s in space, at low pressure, so the fire isn’t a catastrophic explosion of flame like Apollo 1, but it won’t go out and it’s inches from Shirra’s head. So he follows the only firefighting procedure a Mercury pilot has available: seal your suit, reach at the control panel, and pull the “cabin depress” handle. As the cabin pressure falls, the suit switches automatically to a separate consumables loop, and the fire will eventually die as there is no oxygen to burn.

Over the next 15 minutes, Shirra is able to diagnose the system and set up to repressurize the cabin, but the spacecraft is not healthy. His call down to the Indian Ocean Ship (IOS) at 7:06 PM will be legendary. A station crew expecting a quick status check with a healthy capsule in the final hours of a smooth mission instead hears a calm recounting of a litany of near-disaster heralded by telemetry—initially thought in error—showing a cabin pressure of zero: “I had some problems here. There was a fire in the capsule, the fire is now out. Cabin depress pulled, awaiting confirmation of go for repress from telemetry. I request confirmation of retro situation for deorbit on this rev at next communication window. The following systems are off...” Three minutes later, he fades over the horizon for IOS. The tension in newsrooms and at the Cape is suddenly higher than it was even when they worried if Glenn’s landing bag had rendered his spacecraft incapable of returning to Earth as they wait out another twenty minutes of communication silence. At 7:31 PM, he comes onto the air at the Pacific Ocean Ship, but there are only minutes for everyone to reassure themselves no new problems have developed before his retrofire mark at 7:33 PM. Fortunately for all, the issue does not recur, and Wally comes down in the rev 5-1 abort zone (basically the Rev 6 landing zone but approached from a different angle) at 7:54 PM, about an hour early.

In the aftermath, while re-evaluating global communications requirements and other preventative measures, NASA sends a follow-up memo quietly to NAA. On third thought, NASA has decided to switch back to two-gas for Apollo as the benefits of the two-gas system outweighing the added mass is probably worth adhering too…which is a long way of saying there’s no Apollo 1 fire. Gemini proceeds largely unchanged, though there's definitely more urgency in setting up ground stations and more concerns about contingencies for things like fire. It may end up testing two-gas atmosphere if NASA can change it in time, or it might not--I’d need to do further research to decide it. It’s not super-relevant to the timeline, it’d just be details.

While Apollo 1 makes a successful debut in the first quarter of 1967 aboard Saturn 1, the issue for NASA comes from North American’s other projects. With two-gas Apollo comes two-gas LM, and just a little more mass everywhere in the system—more pipes, more tanks, more valves. It’s only a few hundred pounds all told, but it’s a critical few hundred pounds that have to go all the way to the lunar surface and back, and pounds on Apollo that have to go into and out of lunar orbit and all the way home. Every bit of margin gets pushed harder...and that includes the S-II second stage. Historically, they broke two S-II stages on the test stand IOTL before the third one worked, and here, they get pressured harder by NASA for mass reductions and they break their third one too. They have to redirect the first planned flight stage, intended for Saturn 501, to testing where it finally works. Saturn 501 is delayed to fly in the middle of 1968.

With no heavy lifter, Apollo gets a couple of the originally planned extended checkout flights in LEO, and to help drive home that Apollo is accomplishing things even with the Saturn V delayed, they run the plan for the original wetlab Orbital Workshop on Saturn IB in mid 1968. It works in the sense that they make it happen and the US manages a duration record and the title of “first space station,” beating Salyut 1 IOTL by about a year and a half, but it’s such a massive pain for so little return that plans for further wetlab derivative missions are canned. Efforts are redirected to dry lab stations. This is my compensation to the US for having to kneecap the Saturn program—they get a first they missed IOTL and avoid the Apollo 1 deaths, instead just nearly giving Wally Shirra and the whole team on the ground a heart attack.

However, I mentioned this is all the compensation on the US side for the Soviet advancements over OTL. See, Apollo 1 not failing was my compensation for a boon on the Soviet side in the same month or so. Soyuz 1 is still a disaster of a mission. After the planned rendezvous and crew transfer is scrubbed and Komarov is brought home solo, there is a single system on the capsule that finally works as intended: his reserve chute deploys and he lands as planned. The Soviets, too, have a working lunar capsule in 1967—if one they also have to work bugs out of with a few follow-ups of their own. It’s a major achievement for Michin, and it’s enough to let him get approval for a Hail Mary: although the Proton is no more reliable than it was OTL in '68, they finally after a try or two get up a “Kosmos” satellite that is revealed, after launch, to be a Proton-launched circumlunar stack. With the Proton finally succeeding, they fly a crew up on a Soyuz/R-7 to board the lunar-bound Soyuz, and send them around the moon on a flyby on the 50th anniversary of the Revolution. Michin has won the race to send a man near the moon. Even if their cosmonaut couldn’t stop for more than a few pictures—this is no Apollo 8—they’ve caught up to the Americans on docking, and demonstrated multiple-launch assembly of mission equipment.

The problem for Michin (and the Soviet leadership) is that now they’ve formally admitted they’re in the race, and the debut flight of the N-1 goes little better than OTL in 1969. In the meantime, late in 1968 the Saturn V finally makes its way onto the scene. After all the trouble to get it to the pad, the rocket is still fundamentally working. An American lunar-orbital mission is certainly soon to follow, something the Proton-launched stack cannot do, and a landing soon after. Thus, while the US is running their abbreviated preparatory flights, Michin ends up having to pull a technicality they seem to have considered historically. They land a Luna probe, but modified with a larger sample return capability…by only launching the payload to lunar orbit, and with no heat shield for return to Earth even if it could break orbit. An N-1 launches with Soyuz, and a crew flies up on R-7 once it's clear the N-1 didn't explode. Once they make orbit (probably the second or third crew to do so, behind one or two American crews), the Luna launches its sample to orbit, and the Soyuz is guided to rendezvous. A cosmonaut goes EVA and grabs it, bringing home a few kg of moon rocks in the summer of '69 while the Americans are still "testing" their LM with their excess of caution. Can anyone ITTL deny the might of Soviet science, which has seen cosmonauts as first to the moon, and the first to orbit the moon and bring back moon rocks? They are getting tremendously lucky and working every technicality to the bone just to stay even with the American program, but their crew is the first to bring home a large sample of lunar material.

On the US side, while this is all embarrassing, they’re still fundamentally on track. The main effect is that though the space program is still unpopular and has a little egg on their face, they had a slower taper in funding from the 19676 peak with no high-profile post-Apollo 1 investigations, and the Soviet successes mean there’s less support for cutting the budget as sharply before the race is one—though never doubt it is cut. It’s perhaps $5-5.1 billion in 1968 and $4.5-4.6 billion in 1969, a few hundred million more than OTL. The landing in the fall of 1969, dramatically fulfilling the Kennedy pledge and sneaking under the wire of the next inevitable dastardly Soviet stunt catalyzes a brief moment of public support exceeding opposition and helps ensure acquisition of long-lead items for Saturn V Block II production continues.

1970 is the US's big year on the moon as 1969 was historically. While they managed a G class mission in the OTL Apollo 12 slot in '69, just squeaking in "before this decade is out," they have the next few missions lined up in close succession as IOTL. 3 H class missions are flown in 1970. The Soviets know they're in some trouble--the Apollo is a very capable system, and even the N1 finally cooperating in late 1969 is little help. However, they have a potential solution as far as I can tell from reading translations and summaries of the Michin diaries. If I understand right, they actually did have plans to use N1 mostly in a 2.5 launch profile even once man-rated:
  • First mission an unmanned lunakhod on Proton to land and mark the site.
  • Second launch is crew with LK to go and land using the LK as a radio beacon.
  • Third launch unmanned with entire backup LK to land if the crew is unable to ascend from the surface.
With this, they know by the time they're looking at their first landing in late '70, the Americans are making the single LK stay of 48 hours for one guy look pretty pathetic. Michin or one of his engineers realize…hey, without a person aboard, that second LK could land with an extra 150 kg of consumables and surface equipment. If you land it first you have your rescue ready on the site, and you can provide consumables for an extended stay right from the start. They manage a landing in late 1970, a four or five day stay with one crewmember aboard.

However, while the Soviets have leveraged N-1 and multiple launches to match the Americans temporarily, the US also have their Block II Saturn V coming. The US is, however, beginning to count the cost. The Block II is just the J-2S equipped version, that's enough to push TLI payload over 50 metric tons from 45 and doesn't require pad infrastructure changes. The budget's getting slashed, even without Apollo 1. We landed, right? We beat the commies. We’re still beating the commies. Why the hell does this cost more than the Department of Education? And sometime in 1971, they have an Apollo 13-style close call.

So now the Gilruths in NASA are starting to also say, "Shouldn't we stop before we run the risk of losing a crew in space for real, or at least until we can make sure they're safe with enough gear to not run the risk?" What happens if a week into a month-long lunar mission the supercritical helium in their LM taxi ascent stage breaks its burst disk and they can't get off the ground? We'd need a month to send them a backup, and we wouldn't have it. So we either need to stop, or find a way to do it more cheaply so we can send more gear for more safety (oh, and heck, maybe more science while we’re at it if we have to). This leads to the cold warrior hawks saying we can’t back down from the challenge of the Soviets landing every few months and maybe having another new trick, but cheaper would be good, along the lines of the leadup to Shuttle IOTL.

The issue compared to OTL Shuttle is we can’t abandon production of some kind of superheavy Saturn V-class vehicle, not as long as the Soviets keep trying to one-up us in little ways. Thus, you get the flyback S-IC, and a reusable but stretched dual-engine S-IVB-derived stage based on SASSTO work. As we’ve mentioned, for "Space Shuttle" type missions, you stack them in the INT-20 style. (Ironically, while S-IVB's hand-assembled tiles of internal insulation was bonkers for the cost efficiency required of an expendable stage, having mechanically robust insulation inside the tank means fitting TPS to the exterior skin isn't that bad.) I ran the numbers again, and payload for the fully reusable version is still about 40 metric tons. For lunar flights, you can insert an S-II and get a lunar payload of about 45 metric tons—the improved engines on S-II and S-IVB basically cancel out all the mass wasted on recovery hardware for S-IVB and the wings and jets for the RS-IC, and any S-IVB stretch is just bonus performance. This gets selected and development on the two new reusable stages begun in late 1971, as the Soviets are beginning to really breathe down our back on the moon, along with a small (~25-30 metric ton) Flax-style orbital glider to launch on the two-stage fully reusable version.

This makes new problems for the Soviets in 1972. Hydrolox for N-1 can be online in the mid-70s, but that really only brings them up to matching Apollo on a launch-for-launch basis. To paraphrase a scene from the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, if they make this a contest of heavy lift, which is all a moonbase race will prove, they will lose for at least the next four years. And if they get unlucky, they may not catch up before this new American vehicle means they can afford to just launch more rockets than the Soviets—the Soviets after all are mostly matching Apollo H class mission capability by using more flights. They know what two-launch Apollo missions could mean for their ability to keep up. They need to stop wasting money on the moon, and focus on developing their own vehicles for LEO. However, to do so without officially having a chance to declare they and the US are equals would be conceding the entire expensive exercise so far.

So in late 1972, with the US Shuttle and Space Lifter stages (why not reuse a good name?) NASA's being told to ease off the gas until they get their new low-cost Saturn V replacement which will mean they can fly longer missions safely by launching more mass, and more LEO missions more cheaply in general. Meanwhile, the Soviets want out of the race in general, and détente is in the air. So the Soviets come forward with a two-part plan. The first part is the Apollo Soyuz Test Project as we know it—a handshake in orbit to prove we’re all friends.

The second is more ambitious, the Soviet's way out of the race: a joint lunar expedition in 1976. A flight of the Soviet second generation system and the American's two-launch Apollo system to the same site, for two or three weeks of joint exploration in peace on the moon. Both sides fly up on their own, but it lets both sides call off the race without conceding. ITTL, there's certainly some Soviet equivalent in 1971 to go with Aldrin's salute of the flag, but that's less important than this image five years later that really indicates the end of the moon race: a pair of Soviet cosmonauts driving halfway along the 1 km distance from their LK Shelter to a landed LM taxi, and meeting the American crew there for a handshake on the lunar surface beneath both flags.

The Soviets are free. They can stop flying to the moon, they don't have to beat Saturn V or reusable Saturn V, or at least not for a decade or so when Glushko swears he'll have his reusable vehicle flying to beat the Americans on cost. The Americans are free to slow down their flight rate and dramatically scale down any actual lunar use of the new reusable vehicle without worrying about being upstaged, to focus instead on ensuring the highest standard of safety during the few two-launch Apollo flights and the joint lunar mission and introduction of the new (and actually low-cost) LEO Shuttle and the heavy-lifting INT-20-style two stage RLV it rides to LEO. When the reusable vehicle is flying, maybe it'll be cheap enough they can go from man-tended outposts to permanent crews there, plus go from just the six or eight crews that flew to the two Skylab series stations (we learned our lesson in 1968 on preferring drylabs, but the stations are roomy once you launch them as drylabs) to a new permanent station, but that's a year or three away.

The history books will all record that mission as the end of the space race. Nobody won. Or rather, humanity won together. We came in peace, for all mankind. So ends the Moon Race, 1961-1976, and all because of the results of the “Fire of Mercury” (the timeline name in working draft form).

Any sequel/continuation would be dealing with the fallout from having the ability to put 40 metric tons of payload into low Earth orbit for the equivalent of a modern-day $1,500/kg, and six or eight crew or passengers in the same place for the equivalent of maybe $8-12 million per seat, not to mention the ability (using an expendable S-II) to put 45 metric tons on their way to the moon or 120+ metric tons in LEO for stations or Mars preparations for the equivalent of $350-450 million, basically a cost we know NASA IOTL was able to get Congress to pay for Shuttle as many as nine times in a calendar year or ten times in twelve months in the 80s (nearly eleven, but weather moved a launch just barely out of the window). A post-detente Reagan-era station probably is at least 16 crew (supporting not just science but the odd high-profile junket by educators, reporters, and congresscritters) or “only” a 6-8 person station combined with a small 3-4 person permanent lunar outpost reusing US lunar operations by the late 80s. There’d be Soviet reusable vehicles too, maybe reusable N-1, maybe a clean sheet design from Glushko. As for the 90s and beyond? Who knows!
 
basically a cost we know NASA IOTL was able to get Congress to pay for Shuttle as many as nine times in a calendar year or ten times in twelve months in the 80s (nearly eleven, but weather moved a launch just barely out of the window).
To be clear, the first window for STS-33/51-L that wasn't pushed back by issues with STS-32/61-C would have seen it launched several hours before the one year anniversary of the STS-51-C launch. This attempt was scrubbed due to weather conditions at the TAL site.
 
Okay, here's the summary of my proposed timeline, called "Fire of Mercury:"
>snip<

In the aftermath, while re-evaluating global communications requirements and other preventative measures, NASA sends a follow-up memo quietly to NAA. On third thought, NASA has decided to switch back to two-gas for Apollo as the benefits of the two-gas system outweighing the added mass is probably worth adhering too…which is a long way of saying there’s no Apollo 1 fire. Gemini proceeds largely unchanged, though there's definitely more urgency in setting up ground stations and more concerns about contingencies for things like fire. It may end up testing two-gas atmosphere if NASA can change it in time, or it might not--I’d need to do further research to decide it. It’s not super-relevant to the timeline, it’d just be details.
Uhm, well yes this IS actually a major change and I'm afraid it DOES significantly effect both Gemini and Apollo. If they manage it for Gemini this is 'good' but presents issues since you now have to spend time 're-breathing' pure O2 for every EVA instead of being able to suit up and go. (No spacesuite uses mixed gas, they are all pure O2 so they can be kept with an internal pressure low enough so they can still move in them, https://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/suitnasa.html) And this itself has some other effects since both Gemini and Apollo were designed to transition from a mixed atmosphere on the pad to pure oxygen for space specifically to make EVA easier. Worse if it's using a mixed gas on-orbit then things like the door sealing mechanisms is going to have to be more robust which means that the issues with closing the door they had on the first space walk MAY now not be possible to achieve! For the LM that means at least a two hour 'pre-breathing' session before every EVA with the loss of surface time that's going to entail.

Keep in mind that the use of a pure oxygen atmosphere on American spacecraft didnt' change till the Shuttle, they just never used it on the ground again at such high pressure or for manned testing. All capsules lifted off with mixed gas and slowly transistioned to lower pressure pure O2 on the way to orbit. ASTP was the first Apollo that didn't transition though they still had to use a lower pressure and more O2 which was part of why the docking adapter had the inner airlocks since Soyuz DID keep the mixed atmosphere.

Still going through the rest

Randy

Edit: Also the pure O2 atmosphere was NOT the 'cause' of the fire but a contributing factor to it's severity. About 90% of the materials used in the cabin were in fact known to be flammable in REGULAR air let alone in high O2 concentrations. Mixed-gas will not avoid the fire, (unless the mixed gas keeps thing cooler which IIRC was a point made, but it won't prevent a short-induced fire which is what this was) and while it may reduce the incident to heavy injuries rather than death, if nothing else changes Apollo 1 still burns.
 
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Keep in mind that the use of a pure oxygen atmosphere on American spacecraft didnt' change till the Shuttle, they just never used it on the ground again at such high pressure or for manned testing
note to other readers, as I know you know this
pure O2 at slightly higher pressure(16psi) was used to simulate the capsule being in space, while tested at Sea Level.
After liftoff, would run at 4.8psi O2
 
Uhm, well yes this IS actually a major change and I'm afraid it DOES significantly effect both Gemini and Apollo. If they manage it for Gemini this is 'good' but presents issues since you now have to spend time 're-breathing' pure O2 for every EVA instead of being able to suit up and go. (No spacesuite uses mixed gas, they are all pure O2 so they can be kept with an internal pressure low enough so they can still move in them, https://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/suitnasa.html) And this itself has some other effects since both Gemini and Apollo were designed to transition from a mixed atmosphere on the pad to pure oxygen for space specifically to make EVA easier. Worse if it's using a mixed gas on-orbit then things like the door sealing mechanisms is going to have to be more robust which means that the issues with closing the door they had on the first space walk MAY now not be possible to achieve! For the LM that means at least a two hour 'pre-breathing' session before every EVA with the loss of surface time that's going to entail.
Perhaps I should have said, "Gemini program schedule and achievements largely unchanged" instead of "unchanged"--my point was not that there wouldn't be changes from issues like the ones you cite, but rather that those are are the kinds of operational changes and implications I'd need to research and think through to write the full version. However, they're below the level of detail on the draft, other the implications: Apollo is a little heavier, takes a few months longer to get to first manned flight, and a little longer to the moon (so the Soviets aren't too far behind even with the likely issues with N1 and their trickery with technicalities and multiple-launches).

Keep in mind that the use of a pure oxygen atmosphere on American spacecraft didnt' change till the Shuttle, they just never used it on the ground again at such high pressure or for manned testing. All capsules lifted off with mixed gas and slowly transistioned to lower pressure pure O2 on the way to orbit. ASTP was the first Apollo that didn't transition though they still had to use a lower pressure and more O2 which was part of why the docking adapter had the inner airlocks since Soyuz DID keep the mixed atmosphere.
Given Shuttle was the very next US crew vehicle, saying that "they didn't change the pure oxygen atmosphere IOTL until Shuttle" is missing the point a little--they changed it as soon as they could without radically altering the Apollo program already in progress because by 1967 they didn't have time to make the changes. In 1962, they can order the change to happen on the drawing board less than two months after originally requesting the switch away from two-gas.

Edit: Also the pure O2 atmosphere was NOT the 'cause' of the fire but a contributing factor to it's severity. About 90% of the materials used in the cabin were in fact known to be flammable in REGULAR air let alone in high O2 concentrations. Mixed-gas will not avoid the fire, (unless the mixed gas keeps thing cooler which IIRC was a point made, but it won't prevent a short-induced fire which is what this was) and while it may reduce the incident to heavy injuries rather than death, if nothing else changes Apollo 1 still burns.
I'd imagine after an actual fire in space that threatened an astronaut's life, fire prevention in the cabin will be of much higher concern, as it was post-Apollo 1 IOTL. Thus, a lot of those flammable materials won't be in the cabin ITTL. After all, the "fire of mercury" could have been fatal for Wally in this timeline if he hadn't already been suited up, strapped into a seat, and tied into an auto-switching separate environmental loop so he could vent the cabin. That's not a viable solution for the length of a Gemini or particularly an Apollo flight, so they have to focus on preventing fires from starting, not simply on depressurizing the cabin and surviving them.
 
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