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Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?

Posted by: quanthasaquality - Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:09 am
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Why not leave astronauts on the ISS? 
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Post Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:09 am
Many people in Congress have complained about the lack of an American man rated rocket to send astronauts to the ISS. Why not pay a few astronauts ~$20 million each to stay on the ISS continuously for several years, instead of buying a few rides every year at sixty million each? Maybe we should put up some cheaper World of Warcraft addicts instead. If we're going to have people living most of their lives in outer space, astronauts should be spending longer stretches of time in outer space. Or maybe this is rhetoric by Congress to get more spending.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:01 am
dude you can't stay in 0g for more than like 9 months max without suffering some really serious health consequences.

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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:26 pm
Yeah it causes long term damage, until we find a way to generate artificial gravity.

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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:53 am
Gygantar wrote:
Yeah it causes long term damage, until we find a way to generate artificial gravity.


We already have just build a station strong enough to spin at the appropriate speed I don't think an O'Neil colony is beyond our technical skills its just beyond our political will at the moment.

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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:39 am
it's not that easy. maybe bigelow will do it, but it's [censored] expensive. and requires a lot of new technology.

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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:31 pm
A separate station with artificial gravity could be placed in the same orbit as the ISS. People who lived and worked in earth orbit could work at the ISS for a week or so, and then go back to the rotating space station for a few weeks to get their required dose of gravity.

The gravity station could consist of two modules separated by 200 feet that rotate around each other. They would be connected to each other by cables, and there would be a docking module located at the center of rotation. According to the artificial gravity calculator at http://www.artificial-gravity.com/sw/Sp ... inCalc.htm an artificial gravity equivalent to the moon's would require a spin rate of 2.2 rotations per minute.

Small shuttle craft could be used to go back and forth between the ISS and the gravity station. They would have to match the rotation rate as they approach the docking module of the gravity station. Once inside the docking module the astronaut would take an elevator "down" to one of the residence modules.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:22 pm
Given the money, why not build it all into one station, with a rotating part and a stationary part in the middle, that way you would not need to waste fuel getting from one station to the other and you could sleep in gravity every night.

Of course this will mean a major reconfiguration of ISS or a new station all together. However I think that it will be a way better solution in the long run.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:34 pm
Yes, in the long run it would be better to attach the gravity station to the ISS. However, this would require a near-frictionless bearing to keep the rotating station from slowing down, and to prevent the ISS from picking up the rotation.

There are also questions about re-orienting the ISS and re-boosting it. These maneuvers would be complicated if the gravity station where attached to the ISS. There may also be a mechanical interaction with the gravity station that would interfere with certain experiments.

Transporting to a detached gravity station could be done by donning a spacesuit and using a small thruster unit to travel a few hundred feet between the two stations. However, I'm thinking that the distance between the two stations would be at least a mile to reduce the possibility of them crashing into each other.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:40 pm
Also currently getting into a space suit takes hours, as you have to let your body adjust to the pure oxygen atmosphere and the low pressure. Not good for a daily commute. I don't see the problem with the bearing friction though, you'll need thrusters or reaction wheels anyway for station keeping and keeping your orientation, so a small amount of friction can be compensated for.

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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:07 pm
I think that innovations like this will take place on a private space complex first, like a bigelow station anyway.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:37 am
There are already plans for spinning module on ISS. No need to build a new station yet.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:04 am
Most of NASAs plans gets sacked before they are carried out, but we can of course hope that the spinning station is not one of those.

At least I think that this "gravity in space" is one of the important things to get right to make human space flight routine.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:36 pm
IrquiM wrote:
There are already plans for spinning module on ISS. No need to build a new station yet.

Do you have a link to that? The closest thing I could find was a centrifuge that two astronauts would strap into, and they would spin for an hour. It looks like they studied this approach in Houston for a while, but scrapped the idea.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:46 pm
TerraMrs wrote:
dude you can't stay in 0g for more than like 9 months max without suffering some really serious health consequences.


Health problems, and reduced productivity might be worth the cost savings.

Yes, the heart, bones and muscle get a lot weaker. The immune system becomes less effective. But if you are in microgravity, where they are needed much less, and UV lamps can be used to sterilize everything left and right, the limited body functionality seems tolerable.

If hundreds of millions of dollars are involved, keep the person alive in a hospital with multiple doctors hired to look solely after the astronaut, upon return to Earth.

Hell, if cancer from radiation is a big concern, in spite of being inside of Earth's magnetosphere, the astronaut can undergo thorough cancer screening every month for the rest of their life.


I would like to know what health problems would make an astronaut after a decade in LEO and microgravity less than, lets say 1/4 as productive, as an astronaut fresh from Earth. This is presuming medicines can be brought up from Earth.


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Post Re: Why not leave astronauts on the ISS?   Posted on: Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:30 pm
And this is exactly what's wrong with economic theory...

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