From: Henry Spencer <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Apollo 18 and 19
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 1997 21:58:25 GMT
In article <ant1021310b0Mfirstname.lastname@example.org>,
Graham Nelson <email@example.com> wrote:
>On the subject of stay times, would it have been possible to
>accommodate longer stay times with the Apollo hardware more or less
>as it was -- say, of 4 or 5 days?
Things could have been stretched a bit further with no great effort. The
LM upgrade package that produced the J-series LM originally included a
solar array to reduce battery mass, and the stay time dropped a day or so
when that was trimmed out to cut costs. I'd guess that a determined
effort could have eked out a one-week stay without major hardware changes,
although it would have meant a lot of detail changes (including further
souping up of the Saturn V to handle the extra payload mass).
The next step, capable of lengthening stay times quite a bit further
without *radical* hardware changes, would have been the "LM shelter": a
setup mission takes an Apollo CSM plus crew to lunar orbit for orbital
science, and they send down an unmanned cargo LM with no ascent systems.
The cargo LM is outfitted as living quarters and carries a heavy load of
consumables etc. Then the main mission lands nearby, using an "LM taxi"
configuration which is specialized for transport, with the bare minimum of
consumables and maximum cargo capacity (both down and up).
Modest hardware changes can take this further, to the "LM truck": delete
the LM ascent stage entirely -- moving a few key subsystems to the descent
stage -- and replace it with a shelter or a pressurized rover.
You still need a manned CSM to take the LM truck as far as lunar orbit,
and the next and larger step is to get rid of that and replace the whole
setup-mission spacecraft with a heavy cargo lander, perhaps using LOX/LH2
propulsion for greater cargo capacity. (A modified version of the RL10
was qualified for deep throttling for use in lunar landings.)
Committees do harm merely by existing. | Henry Spencer
-- Freeman Dyson | firstname.lastname@example.org