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  [Discuss] Space Adventures circumlunar mission

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Space Adventures circumlunar mission
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 01-23-2011 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the topic Space Adventures circumlunar Soyuz mission focused on status updates, reader's feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss Space Adventures plan to send two clients a professional cosmonaut pilot on a privately-financed Soyuz mission around the moon.

Fezman92
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From: New Jersey, USA
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posted 01-23-2011 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wonder if any of the Apollo astronauts have bought a ticket. It doesn't say how many orbits they will make.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-23-2011 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The mission does not enter lunar orbit. It is a circumlunar "free return" trajectory.

cspg
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From: Geneva, Switzerland
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posted 01-24-2011 12:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And what about the Soyuz heatshield? Can it withstand a higher speed reentry? I'm also assuming that a test flight is being planned - I wouldn't want to pay $150m for a ride aboard a space system that hasn't been tested before...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-24-2011 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Adventures has said there will be tests leading up to the flight, including the possibility for an unmanned flight.

RSC Energia, funded by Space Adventures, completed the engineering studies for the mission and have said there would be modifications needed to the Soyuz but they would be based on prior flight-tested designs.

328KF
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posted 01-24-2011 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would want to read the fine print on the contract. What happens if at any point the mission fails to make it around the moon?

Do you get another flight attempt? A partial refund?

I've done some "high-risk" things in years past, and my contract usually stated that once you get started, you pay, unless it was something out of your control.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-24-2011 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Adventures' reservations are nonrefundable. However clients who purchase seats to the space station have the option to purchase travel insurance to protect for re-flights due to technical or other problems.

I would imagine a similar policy would be available for this circumlunar mission.

onesmallstep
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posted 01-25-2011 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seriously, if they still have the baseline data from the unmanned Zond flights from the 1960s, and can modify/adapt the existing Soyuz TMA spacecraft, then it would be an interesting proposition. The only question remains, would they use a Proton launcher or maybe an Ariane 5 rocket? And launch from French Guiana if they do?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-25-2011 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The plan as I understand it is for a dual launch, both to originate from Baikonur, with the Soyuz launching with the crew as normal, followed by a propulsion module to launch on a Proton.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 01-27-2011 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
And launch from French Guiana if they do?
I don't believe the facilities being built in French Guyana are intended for man rating (no Soyuz processing facilities or astronaut housing for instance), although technically that would not be too hard a hurdle to overcome. Sounds to me like they would just use the R-7 booster since the Proton has never been 100% man rated and its hypergolic propellants mean it typically doesn't get used unless it has to.

While technically it is feasible to just revive Zond's configuration for this flight, the g forces experienced by the returning craft were horrendous and I believe some information said a man might not have survived (living tissue did since they were bio flights, but it was cells and turtles if I recall correctly). As such, if the onboard computer's controlled reentry mode fails, it could be a bone crushing ride (more so than the recent Soyuz TMA reentries that went ballistic) due to the speeds the craft has to slow from.

star61
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posted 03-30-2011 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fezman92:
Wonder if any of the Apollo astronauts have bought a ticket.
!!! ...just how much are they charging for autographs these days?

alanh_7
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posted 02-02-2012 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unlike ISS/Soyuz flights, this is a mission that really pushes the spacecraft to the limits of the Soyuz design.

I may be wrong but from what I have read the Russians had some serious issues with their unmanned Zond programs on circumlunar flights. Mainly with reentry.

I am sure the current Soyuz is a much better spacecraft, but as I said this would really push the capabilities of the Soyuz spacecraft and to test it more than once or twice would really run the costs of the manned commercial flight even higher.

cosmos-walter
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posted 02-08-2012 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally Soyuz spacecraft was designed for circumlunar missions.

alanh_7
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posted 02-08-2012 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Soyuz was designed for lunar missions, but they never did fly the spacecraft manned. The Zond missions apparently suffered from re-entry problems that would have killed the crew they been manned flights.

I think my point was that unlike ISS missions, which Soyuz has flown countless times, a manned circumlunar flight has never been done before by the Russians and would really be pushing the spacecraft beyond its known limits.

I am not saying it could not be done. I would like to see them try. I'm saying that without proper flight testing it would be very risky.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-16-2014 05:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Adventures has said it now has two customers for its proposed private circumlunar mission, but it will require major changes to the Soyuz spacecraft, Spaceflight Now reports.
Speaking to the National Space Club Florida Committee on June 10, [Space Adventures president Tom] Shelley said Soyuz contractor Energia plans to modify the spacecraft for the moon mission by changing the ship's communications and navigation systems.

"We are going to have to change the heat shield because you're re-entering at a significantly higher speed" on a lunar mission, Shelley said, adding engineers are considering whether to guide the Soyuz landing capsule to a "skip re-entry" in which the spacecraft would dip into the atmosphere to dissipate speed before plunging to the surface to a parachute-assisted touchdown.

The Soyuz also needs a new habitation module to give the crew more living space during the week-long trip from Earth to the moon and back.

According to Shelley, the earliest a mission could launch would be late 2017, but that would be "a very aggressive schedule."
Shelley described the two depositors as "independent customers" who booked their flights separately. He did not disclose the identities of the clients.

LM-12
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posted 06-16-2014 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flying into space can be compared to climbing Mt. Everest. The novelty wears off a bit when anyone who is rich enough can do it.

lspooz
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
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posted 06-16-2014 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lspooz   Click Here to Email lspooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boy, that will be a great day (as per shuttle astronaut Joe Allen, who wrote about the day when astronauts will be regarded as routine travelers).

mode1charlie
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From: Honolulu, HI, USA
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posted 06-16-2014 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given the new heat shield that would be required, I think I'd want a test flight before the vehicle I go up and back in.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 06-16-2014 10:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given that the Soyuz was designed for lunar missions, why can't they fly the Soyuz around the moon, brake in Earth orbit (using a skipping trajectory) and then descend as a usual Soyuz flight, obviating the need for a new heat shield?

dabolton
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From: Minooka IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 06-17-2014 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why couldn't they do a braking burn into earth orbit and circularize into a stable orbit first? Can the Soyuz generate enough Delta-v to slow down?

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