Technology: On Apollo, using the bathroom was ‘messy.’ America’s next moonshot will be radically different in many ways - PressFrom - US
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TechnologyOn Apollo, using the bathroom was ‘messy.’ America’s next moonshot will be radically different in many ways

16:05  23 june  2019
16:05  23 june  2019 Source:   msn.com

NASA selects 11 companies to help develop lunar lander for 2024 moonshot

NASA selects 11 companies to help develop lunar lander for 2024 moonshot NASA has selected 11 companies to help spearhead its efforts to put humans back on the moon by 2024, the agency announced Thursday. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The selected companies will conduct studies, design, and produce prototypes of human-rated landers for the moonshot program. NASA has announced 2024 as a firm goal to put humans back on the surface, then again in 2028 for "sustainable missions.

But moonshots are high cost and high risk, as the name suggests. They sometimes seem to be a special domain reserved for superhumans and misguided optimists. Clearly, this was a moonshot , figuratively as well as literally. On the surface it seems as though But when you look more closely

We use the word moonshot to remind us to keep our visions big. The moonshot factory is a messy place. We haven’t yet found a way to kill this project, and the longer it survives that pressure, the more excited we get that this will be a much cheaper and more deployable form of wind energy for

On Apollo, using the bathroom was ‘messy.’ America’s next moonshot will be radically different in many ways© MIKE BROWN / Reuters Photo

The three Apollo 10 astronauts are zipping through the desolate expanse of space, the Earth a small blue marble behind them, on a mission poised to set the stage for one of humanity’s seminal achievements, when, suddenly, astronaut Tom Stafford called out from inside the cramped spacecraft: “Oh — who did it?”

After some confusion, he repeated himself: “Who did it?”

He was laughing.

Then astronaut Gene Cernan spotted the source of the commotion: “Where did that come from?”

“Give me a napkin quick,” Stafford said, horrified. “There’s a turd floating through the air.”

Ah, the glamour of space travel.

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The speech was intended to persuade the American people to support the Apollo program, the national effort to land a man on the Moon . The speech resonated widely and is still remembered, although at the time there was disquiet about the cost and value of the Moon -landing effort.

Astronauts don't actually go to the bathroom during training, but by watching a video screen in front of them, they can check that their alignment is spot on. As for peeing, each astronaut is given his or her own funnel — made in different shapes for men and women — which attaches to a hose on the toilet.

In the 1960s, an entire nation set out to complete a presidential mandate to get men on the moon by the end of the decade. They did it with Apollo, a craft that at the time was built to perform that exact purpose — a mission to the moon and back — with the bare bones required to make it happen.

That meant no toilets.

Now, the United States is again talking about going to the moon as early as 2024, this time on a craft that resembles Apollo in only its shape. When the U.S. goes to the lunar surface this time, it’ll do it in a vehicle called Orion that has benefited from the 50 years that have elapsed since the first moonshot.

For one, privacy curtains are a thing now.

“Although we bear a striking resemblance to Apollo, boy, the mission engineers then would not recognize [Orion],” said Jim Bray, director of the Orion crew and life systems for Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the program. “They folded in all the lessons learned from Apollo, all the lessons learned from [the Space] Shuttle ...We are taking advantage of what the world has done over the past 50 years."

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Today marks the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. But when we landed on the moon , everyone in America put all that aside, if only for a couple days. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and

Read Common Sense Media' s Moonshot : The Flight of Apollo 11 review, age rating, and parents guide. Readers will learn everything from how Saturn V, Eagle, and Columbia operated together to how astronauts use a toilet in space -- all wrapped up with a strong sense of time and place.

Bray, who was been working on Orion since the start of the program in 2005, said it all started with a strict set of requirements from NASA. The teams worked through various different shape designs before settling on the one used on Apollo, said NASA Orion engineer Stu McClung, who has worked on the program since 2007.

They found that the “blunt body shape works” to get a spacecraft into deep space.

“Physics hasn’t changed,” McClung said.

But technology and our understanding of radiation and effects of long-term exposure to space on the human body has.

And that’s there where Orion started to deviate from its ’60s era twin.

Living in space

Solid waste collection on Apollo was primitive at best and dysfunctional at worst.

The astronauts only spent a few days in the capsule and they were given Lomotil, a medication typically used to treat diarrhea that decreases bowel movements, as well as low-residue foods for the same purpose. They weren’t expected to use the bathroom much in space and if they did, well, they could just strap on a bag and use that to collect their waste. It would stay in the craft until landing.

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Apollo was making America cleverer. Nasa knew that its entire moonshot challenge would rely on one thing above all others – navigation. The agency really needed only a few hundred for its Apollo programme, but, aware that they would be betting the lives of their astronauts on them, they were

In a paper Bray co-authored comparing Apollo and Orion, the clean-up process and “potential loose stools" were described as "a health concern that many Apollo crews shared, as the bagging and storing process was described by them as simply being ‘messy.’”

Taking lessons from the International Space Station, which required astronauts to stay in space for months at a time, Orion has a built-in toilet system with a privacy curtain that collects solid waste without risking fly aways because it gets compacted and stored in canisters that don’t tear like the Apollo bags sometimes did. (Urine collection, though, will be similar as on Apollo, with urine kept in a tank and then released to space.)

The privacy introduces better conditions for a mixed gender crew, too. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has repeatedly said he expects the planned 2024 lunar landing will carry the first woman to the surface of the moon.

The astronauts who take that journey — and other potential missions to deep space — will also have more leg room. Orion is about 40% to 50% larger than Apollo, allowing room for a crew of up to four. The seats collapse, giving the astronauts more space to move about the cabin.

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American Moonshot : John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race. All from the humble beginnings, how JFK pumped in more money to the Moon landing and the end of the Apollo program. I would still recommend it but I will be seeking out more books that can cover the intimate details of the

A moonshot typically aims to do something that many might consider impossible, or very difficult to achieve. As individuals, ALL of the activities and disciplines required to achieve such a goal are way beyond any of us. In a lot of ways , moonshots are closer to startups than research projects, and

It’s also enough space to add better exercise machines.

Missions to the space station have revealed that humans need a lot of exercise to fight back the effects of the weightlessness of space on muscle and bone mass degradation.

The switch from a rudimentary exercise device on Apollo — essentially a cloth and a rope — to a pulley system with resistance weight on Orion is designed to keep astronauts healthy on long flights. Environmental control systems on Orion accommodate for the heat, moisture and smells produced by exercise.

The spacecraft will also adjust for the harsh radiation environment in deep space, providing astronauts with a safe stowage area where they can take cover in the event of a solar flares.

“Since Apollo, we’ve learned that radiation is a significant item that we need to monitor, measure and control,” Bray said. “They launched in areas where the solar flares were kind of low. We want to have anytime, anywhere capability.”

Better technology, tougher challenges

If the main engine on the Apollo capsule didn’t ignite, if it failed, the astronauts were not coming home.

At the time, the systems on Apollo were severely limited to the scope of the mission and the technology at time. Back-up systems were lacking on several components, raising the risks involved in the missions.

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A good moonshot has three ingredients. Google’ s moonshots seem to fit these characteristics. Take the driverless car, for example. And there are many reasons to believe that technology will make mass adoption of driverless cars conceivable in the next generation.

Moonshot is a podcast exploring seemingly impossible technology ideas and the crazy people that believe they can make them happen. Would you be willing to swap your regular steak for something that tastes the same but is grown in a lab, if it meant saving the planet?

Orion endeavors to correct some of those limitations. The vehicle has eight auxiliary thrusters on the service module as backup in case the main engine fails. Its flight software’s read-only memory capacity is 925 times larger and it has 5,000 times faster processing speeds, freeing up astronauts to perform more science onboard.

Orion also uses solar arrays that keep the vehicle powered by the sun, instead of fuel cells, allowing it to travel farther.

All of those changes make the spacecraft more nimble to serve any deep space mission regardless of the destination, instead of only being constructed to perform a mission to the moon. Since the program began development, the destination for Orion has changed from the moon to an asteroid and back to the moon as presidential administrations’ priorities shifted.

“To a great extent, the vehicles design has not been affected by the evolution in the missions over the years,” McClung said. “It is destination agnostic.”

But the lack of political pressure, much of it dictated by the Cold War, that pushed Apollo forward has also created challenges for Orion.

The craft has taken more than a decade to finish and without the access to a bloated NASA budget as in the Apollo days, as well as a more limited aerospace industry supply chain, troubleshooting challenges is harder.

“When you run into a technical challenge ... it’s a tougher thing to solve because you can only throw so many people at it. You can’t necessarily throw money at it or go buy something else,” McClung said. “There is a little less robustness in the system to deal with some of those [problems].”

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achievable in the next 5–10 years. You can read more in my SXSW talk here and my TED talk here about how this philosophy shapes X’ s technology development, and in While each moonshot has a core team, we try to keep that team as small as possible, and supplement them with people from a

How is a moonshot different than any other scientific or technological research project? To Shoot for the Moon . Sweet Dreams are Made of This | Introduction to Moonshots . The term “ moonshot ” derives from the Apollo 11 spaceflight project, which landed the first human on the moon in 1969.

The result in part has been significant delays to the schedule.

According to a report released last month by a government watchdog group, Orion is not on track to meet the planned June 2020 launch date for its second uncrewed test mission to space (it performed a successful test in 2014 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from the Cape).

The causes are delays to the European Service Module ⁠— the propulsion element that carries all the life support items for the crew ⁠— and issues with the avionics systems in the crew module, among other problems.

Those factors could push a launch into as late as June 2021. The accompanying rocket Boeing is building to take humans to the moon, the Space Launch System, is about 30 percent over budget and also not likely to launch until June 2021 at the earliest, the Government Accountability Office found.

“We’ve had some bumps along the way, which you expect [but] you don’t like them because we all want to get there quicker than we are,” McClung said. “Do you prefer to practice or would you like to play the game? We want to get out and execute. So it’s important for us to go and execute, hit our marks.”

When Orion does lift off from the Cape, McClung said it will be the emotional culmination of more than a decade of work. He’ll be the thinking of the astronauts whose lives depend on whether he and his team did their job right.

“They haven’t been named yet, but you get the privilege of working with these folks that are going to take us back to the moon and represent us,” he said. “I’ll shed a tear.”

Want more space news? Follow Go For Launch on Facebook. Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 407-420-5660; Twitter @ChabeliH

This series

This story is part of the Orlando Sentinel’s “Countdown to Apollo 11: The First Moon Landing” – 30 days of stories leading up to 50th anniversary of the historic first steps on moon on July 20, 1969. More stories, photos and videos at OrlandoSentinel.com/Apollo11.

On Apollo, using the bathroom was ‘messy.’ America’s next moonshot will be radically different in many ways© Provided by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Want more Apollo 11?

Order your copy of “Apollo 50,” the Orlando Sentinel’s new hard-cover keepsake book chronicling the 50th anniversary of America’s moon landing. Order before July 21 and get $10 off the cover price. Supplies are limited. Order your copy at OrlandoSentinel.com/Apollo50

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