Lockheed Martin "Plymouth Rock"

Triton

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In November 2009, Lockheed Martin proposed an unsolicited near-Earth asteroid rendezvous mission named "Plymouth Rock" to NASA. "Plymouth Rock" proposes sending a crew of two astronauts, in the 2020-25 time-frame, using two docked Orion spacecraft or a docked Orion and Altair spacecraft. This mission is intended to give NASA additional manned spaceflight experience that can be applied to a future manned Mars mission. "Plymouth Rock" was entirely funded internally at Lockheed Martin and was not part of Project Constellation.

Hopkins, Josh and Dissel, Adam. Plymouth Rock: An Early Human Asteroid Mission
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company November 2009

URL: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/ssc/Orion/Toolkit/PlymouthRockasteroidmissionNov2009.pdf
 

Triton

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Artist's impression of two Orion spacecraft docked at the nose, part Lockheed Martin's "Plymouth Rock" proposal. The docked Orion spacecraft could carry enough water, food, and oxygen to sustain a crew of two for a mission of 180 days in duration.

Source: http://www.jpgcs.com/Category/25/914.html
 

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Triton

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Upon reaching the asteroid, the crew would not attempt to land a spacecraft. Instead they would don jet-powered backpacks and rendezvous with the asteroid via EVA.
 

blackstar

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Not a terribly well-thought proposal. They're going to live in those two small cans for at least six months? How will they exercise? Where's the airlock?
 

Triton

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blackstar said:
Not a terribly well-thought proposal. They're going to live in those two small cans for at least six months? How will they exercise? Where's the airlock?

Is that the case? Or is it possible that Lockheed Martin has worked out the technical details and has chosen not to release this documentation to the public?
 

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Triton said:
blackstar said:
Not a terribly well-thought proposal. They're going to live in those two small cans for at least six months? How will they exercise? Where's the airlock?

Is that the case? Or is it possible that Lockheed Martin has worked out the technical details and has chosen not to release this documentation to the public?

...Mox nix, since Obama in his <cough> "infinite wisdom" has scrapped all aspects of Constellation.
 

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blackstar said:
They're going to live in those two small cans for at least six months?

All things considered, two Orions would be fair volume for only two astronauts.

How will they exercise?

Presumably the "mission module" Orion would have some basic equipment.

Where's the airlock?

The presentation suggests using the mission-Orion for that.
 

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Triton said:
I am still interested in it even though the Constellation program has been cancelled.

...No moot pointing on your interest was intended. In fact, I share your interest in the proposal. Chalk it up to venting about Obama's lack of proper leadership where the US space program is concerned.
 

Triton

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I presumed that astronaut gender didn't matter in crewing decisions made in the twenty-first century. I guess I was wrong. :(
 

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Triton said:
I presumed that astronaut gender didn't matter

Err... for a 180 day mission, astronaut crew psychology would be quite vital. The sex of the two might well be important, though I honestly can't see any clear advantage to any of the mulitple possibilities.
1 - straight male + straight male
2 - straight female + straight female
3 - straight female + straight male
4 - homosexual female + straight male (probably bad)
5 - homosexual female + homosexual female
6 - homosexual male + homosexual male
7 - homosexual male + straight female
8 - homosexual male + straight male (almost certainly bad)
9 - homosexual female + straight female
 

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Triton said:
I presumed that astronaut gender didn't matter in crewing decisions made in the twenty-first century. I guess I was wrong. :(

As Scott said, it is not directly about the gender, it is about the psychology (that in much aspects depends on the gender). Even the crews for the ISS are made with the great attention on the psychological profiles of the members, so on the mission as the Plymouth Rock with only two people it is extremely important. Just remember the problems that were at the Mir station.

I am wondering, what advantage does this type of mission have compared to unmanned one with one or two sophisticated robots. Is the "man on board" so important or is it only some sort of marketing?
 

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Matej said:
Is the "man on board" so important or is it only some sort of marketing?

"Marketting" is the most important aspect. "No Buck Rodgers, no bucks." That's why Constellation can vanish overnight and the American public doesn;t get in an uproar... because NASA has not done any real marketting yet. If NASA was already flying astronauts into space atop Ares rockets in Orion capsules (and lets face it... five years should have been more than enough time to do that), then program cancllation would be harder, and the public would care more.

A robomission to an asteroid would be nice, but few people apart from the science community would even really be aware of it, never mind give a damn.
 

Triton

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"National pride" is one of the reasons given in Lockheed Martin's pitch, attached above, with the intention of:

"Decisively re-establish America's preeminence in space."

"Reduce the 'exploration gap' before the next lunar landing."

In addition, "Project Plymouth" is manned for training and experience purposes:

"If a lunar mission precursor: Demonstrate lunar launch profile, LEO rendezvous, and Orion re-entry at lunar-like entry speeds. "

"As a Mars mission precursor: Learn to fly lunar missions in deep space, with speed of light lag, radiation risk, and no resupply or rescue. Asteroids are shorter, simpler, practice for Mars."

I wonder if a man and woman were chosen to crew a "Plymouth Rock" mission that many citizens in the United States would insist that they be husband and wife just in case there is any intimacy in space or for appearances sake seems more proper.
 

Triton

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Orionblamblam said:
"Marketting" is the most important aspect. "No Buck Rodgers, no bucks." That's why Constellation can vanish overnight and the American public doesn;t get in an uproar... because NASA has not done any real marketting yet. If NASA was already flying astronauts into space atop Ares rockets in Orion capsules (and lets face it... five years should have been more than enough time to do that), then program cancllation would be harder, and the public would care more.

A robomission to an asteroid would be nice, but few people apart from the science community would even really be aware of it, never mind give a damn.

You aren't taking into account that much of the enthusiasm for manned space exploration in the 1960s by John Q. Public was the desire to beat the Soviet Union in the Space Race. Without the Cold War politics and an active Soviet space program attempting to establish a permanent moon base or a manned flight to Mars and/or beyond, NASA has a tough time selling manned space exploration.

Sadly, I believe that efforts by NASA to market manned space exploration are ignored by politicians, opinion leads, and the general public here in the United States. With the exception of space and aviation enthusiasts, I believe that most people in this country believe that money spent on manned space exploration is money wasted.

Most people haven't shed a tear for the loss of Apollo or the space shuttle program.
 

Orionblamblam

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Triton said:
Orionblamblam said:
"Marketting" is the most important aspect. "No Buck Rodgers, no bucks." That's why Constellation can vanish overnight and the American public doesn;t get in an uproar... because NASA has not done any real marketting yet. If NASA was already flying astronauts into space atop Ares rockets in Orion capsules (and lets face it... five years should have been more than enough time to do that), then program cancllation would be harder, and the public would care more.

A robomission to an asteroid would be nice, but few people apart from the science community would even really be aware of it, never mind give a damn.

You aren't taking into account that much of the enthusiasm for manned space exploration in the 1960s by John Q. Public was the desire to beat the Soviet Union in the Space Race.

Huh? Never said otherwise. But in the 60's, progress was visible, and NASA seems to have gone all-out to advertise it.

I believe that efforts by NASA to market manned space exploration are ignored by politicians, opinion leads, and the general public here in the United States.

That's because NASA hasn't done any manned space exploration in nearly 40 years. In the case of NASA, their best marketting is showing off what they actually have. And manned space exploration is something they haven't had since I was a toddler.
 

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I was there in the sixties in the midst of it all. And the Apollo moon landings tower far above anything we have done since. The public was still very much into it...they we're ready for more for the next hurdle to come. Moon bases, rover exploration and most of all mars. Only that never happened and it looks like it is still decades if not a century away. The public was ready for the next challenge after the Apollo moon landings primed and ready to move on to mars instead they got the pre-shuttle late 70's gap. Then the final punch when probes to Mars showed a very moon like dead world. No canals, or little green martians. Recent rovers have shown mars is still a very interesting place to bad they arrived decades late to rally the public when the time was ripe. Commercial NASA now is a big gamble. Griffin blew Constellation when he went forward with the ill fated Ares plan. Totally ignoring a fleet of Atlas and Delta rockets ready and waiting to do the job. Well to late now we have the goalless, meandering commercial LEO ISS flex forever plan. The private spacers are going ape hyping this as the next revolution in manned US space expoloration. I'm not so sure we now have a $6 billion bribe to the commercial companies to ensure they are on board, a multi billion HLV bribe to sway southern congress and senators. Ensuring a shuttle derived HLV jobs for votes program will not fade away. Then the multi-billion dollar ISS boondoggle continues like the Everyready bunny sucking funds into an endless black hole. No real vision, a vague flex plan, goalless, going nowhere, nothing yet to pull it all together towards an end game. And the Ruskies will most likely get the bid to cover the gap. Should commercial ISS manned ferry suffer a set-back they are poised to reap the benefits. So time will tell commercial has great potential if done right or it could all go south leaving the US with a dead-end early 60's era manned space program going nowhere and decades behind the Chinesse, Russians, India, Iran etc...? Only time will tell.
 

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“A Russian craft, flown by Russians, carrying a few poor Americans, who need our help. That also doesn’t look too bad on the front page of Pravda.”

That’s quote from the old movie “2010″. How sad is it that this quote is now becoming reality.

And you what the really tragic part is? Nobody in America really gives a frak that Constellation is dead. Nobody.

I live in a nation that doesn’t really give s**t about anything anymore. Our kids are the fattest, laziest, and stupidest on the planet and the overall population is apathetic about pretty much everything.

This nation today gets more excited over “Jersey Shore” and Lady Gaga than us going back to the moon.

Constellation getting cancelled because nobody gives a s**t just speaks of greater things going wrong with this country overall.

Pathetic!

If I didn’t have a lack of funds and one last, little gleaming shred of hope, as a patriot, that things will get better, I’d be ashamed to call myself American, pack my s**t, and move to Canada.

Pathetic! Wake up, America!

I gave this country 12 years of service. And for what?

If anyone here is still around when the first moonbases open up, I hope you like freeze-dried curry and stir-fry.

Because at the rate America's going, China and India will be there long before we our s**t together long enough send anyone back to the moon.
 

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Pathetic days not only for America but for Humanity, we're evolving in the wrong direction.
 

blackstar

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There's some new stuff from L-M on this. I'll try to post.
 

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Sorry to split this up, but the software was not cooperating.
 

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blackstar

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The software won't let me post the stuff here (%$#@!!!). So here are the links:

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/ssc/Orion/Toolkit/OrionAsteroidMissionHandout.pdf

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/ssc/Orion/Toolkit/OrionAsteroidBriefingChartsAug2010.pdf
 

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blackstar

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Thanks for breaking that up. I have not gone through it yet, but the one obvious difference from their previous version is that instead of two nearly-identical Orion vehicles, they now have a dedicated hab module. The hab module has no airlock. The astronauts get out by depressurizing one of the craft.

Other ideas that have been floated for this mission include using an inflatable Bigelow-type module, or using a European ATV-type module.
 

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blackstar said:
The software won't let me post the stuff here (%$#@!!!). So here are the links:

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/ssc/Orion/Toolkit/OrionAsteroidMissionHandout.pdf

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/ssc/Orion/Toolkit/OrionAsteroidBriefingChartsAug2010.pdf

There's a 40-odd page whitepaper that I believe provides more detail behind the briefing charts:

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/ssc/Orion/Toolkit/OrionAsteroidMissionWhitePaperAug2010.pdf
 
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