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The Next Big Thing: Getting Canada into Human Exploration Steve Braham NASA HMP Chief Field Engineer and Canadian PI Director, PolyLAB, SFU Telematics Research Lab Senior Researcher, CSA MarsCanada Researcher, CSA Mars Interplanetary Comms Study Moon/Mars Exploration

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the next big thing getting canada into human exploration

The Next Big Thing: Getting Canada into Human Exploration

Steve Braham

NASA HMP Chief Field Engineer and Canadian PI

Director, PolyLAB, SFU Telematics Research Lab

Senior Researcher, CSA MarsCanada

Researcher, CSA Mars Interplanetary Comms Study

moon mars exploration
Moon/Mars Exploration

Trying to ensure that CSA doesn’t get left behind in the car

the issue
The Issue
  • ESA has Aurora - Humans to Moon and Mars
  • EU Supporting ESA, building relationship with Russia - potential EU/Russia joint human missions in 2008 onwards, using Soyuz TMA. Discussions of a joint ESA/Russian human space capsule.
  • US Adopted Vision for Space Exploration
  • China: human missions
  • India: will have robotic missions to the Moon
  • Sample return missions to Mars starting in 2011 to 2014 timeframe
  • Even Japan is now looking at human missions
evolving fast
Evolving Fast
  • ESA has initiated a Humans to Moon Lunar Roadmap process
  • NASA is accelerating CEV schedule
    • Bending metal on CEV next year, single source
    • Probable reductions in Earth Science
    • Probable reductions in Planetary Science
    • Certain reductions in ISS
    • Possible reduction of international cooperation and use of industry
  • Both EU and US scientists are starting to have doubts about robotic missions, on cost/science and cost/impact grounds. Good missions may be $1-$2B, similar to per-person cost for human missions.
problem we re behind
Problem: we’re behind
  • Now too late to concentrate on small robotic missions if we want to be visible, or have any chance of retaining HQP – NASA no longer even lists robotic missions as milestones in roadmaps
  • NASA wanted input last June from all agencies, if they wanted to collaborate on Moon/Mars. No new major CSA areas identified at a strong level.
  • (Just) Canadian Robotic Mars missions in 2011 or later will not cut it - we’ll all be working for ESA and NASA by then!
  • We’re the only country, apart from Russia, which hasn’t refocused our space agency to human space exploration. Indeed, we’re going the other way.
  • But we have a combined human and space science-based exploration thrust? Maybe time to move Space Exploration outside Space Science?
key point of plans no money
Key point of plans: No Money
  • Getting humans into space isn’t about more money
  • Asking for more money just increases chances agencies get rejected, as we’ve seen with CSA
  • US Space Policy already demonstrated to be hard to kill, last year, in Senate vote on budget - works by shifting focus and funding, with minimal funding injections
  • CSA doesn’t need more money - needs to prove it can retain it’s budget as the SSRMS, Canadarm, and Radarsat 2 come to completion. Can we fit in with new CSA structure and retain human spaceflight and exploration?
  • Focus CAN including working on human missions to Moon and beyond, with no extra budget!
interesting points
Interesting Points
  • ESA seems to be ahead on the CEV! Experience with ATV and ARD, and relationship with Russia.
  • NASA and Boeing imply ESA ATV concept crucial to CEV, Lock-Mart actually seems to be using ATV-H in their CEV design.
  • CEV requirements closer to Gemini (designed by Canadians) and Soyuz, not Apollo.
  • Goddard has Lunar lead, not JPL: Exploration-driven R&D better for science, long-term, than direct science-driven R&D.
  • Given 10 year Dev cycles, Canada has to move very fast (ESA tested ARD in 1998, and NASA needs ESA).
  • However, if we devote enough budget, no reason we can’t deliver $1B+ contribution over 20 years. $50M/year. Enough for a Canadian to go to the Moon.
human missions
Human Missions
  • Extensive communication required for scientific field exploration
  • Mission operations requires complex modalities in Human missions
  • Missions high power, high mass, high margin: communications operate in a far less constrained environment
  • Large number of interacting systems: cannot afford to add extra communication protocols or other technologies to multiple small hardware ($B’s/pa spent by COTS R&D community on protocol and comms). Less buy-in cost, more use of all industry possible
  • Human Space Exploration is not Robotic Space Exploration
  • Human Space Exploration is not Human LEO Spaceflight

Reliability is the single most important requirement

human spaceflight easier
Human spaceflight EASIER
  • Not such a hard road to follow:
    • Having humans in the loop requires many systems that operate in human-survivable environment. Low TVAC requirements, large masses allowed, only rad to worry about.
    • Systems can be cheap - some NASA suppliers spend less than $1M to fly hardware on ISS, with a few months development time (sensor networks)
  • Lunar missions are actually WAY easier, environmentally, than the conditions we face for S/C like Anik F series!
choosing our partners
Choosing our Partners
  • We can’t sit on the fence
  • NASA maybe isn’t the best choice as our only choice
  • ESA ahead on many technologies, including CEV systems, and far more interested in having critical infrastructure development than NASA
  • Possible short-term ESA and CNSA human spaceflight options. NASA ones far off in the future.
canadian tech possibilities
Canadian Tech Possibilities
  • Life Support
    • Mars Environment
    • Spacesuit Technology
    • Plant Growth
  • Drilling and Sample Handling
  • Communications (hardware and protocols)
  • Computing (hardware and software)
  • Navigation
  • Imaging
  • Analogues
  • Robotics
  • Communications rapidly growing to become Canada’s biggest industry
  • Only country to supply NASA with a Criticality One system (comms) to ISS, apart from Russian (eg, life-critical, not just mission critical)
  • Involved with key ESA discussions on communications - EU expected to spend millions of Euros per year on technologies derived from Canadian concepts, but with no Canadian involvement.
  • Canada has the best surface wireless comms system for Moon and Mars
  • Canada provided the comms antenna for Apollo (start of SPAR!)
  • Canadians designed most of DSN, for NASA (after leaving Arrow project)
  • Mars and Moon comms relay satellites would be cheap, inside our expertise, and would multiply returned science data by a minimum of 100 times (probably in excess of 1000 times).
  • V-band, W-band, Optical comms are strengths
  • EMS, Xiphos, ComDev, SFU, UTIAS, MDA, Bristol Aerospace
  • Cheap, but high impact.
esa industry wireless wg scenarios appropriate for lunar mars missions cont

ESA Concept

ESA-Industry Wireless WG Scenarios Appropriate for Lunar/Mars Missions cont.
  • Several appropriate opportunities for SS RF Wireless







SEA Ltd. Concept

ESA Concordia

SFU Concept

spacesuit tests cheap visible
Spacesuit Tests – Cheap, Visible!
  • Collaboration between NASA HMP, SFU, and Hamilton-Sundstrand
  • On-board Canadian
  • Comms and Computing
    • Next-generation voice control
    • Remote Control
    • Location tech
    • Range of head-mounted displays


(Trish Garner, SFU,


building our own small human spacecraft spacesuits
Building our own small human spacecraft: Spacesuits
  • High visibility (most other options aren’t)
  • Space Comms/Computing - Canadian Strengths
  • Canada already demonstrating startling improvements in situational awareness in suit design, with Hamilton-Sundstrand/SFU collaboration, at MarsCanada.
  • Strong diving suit and life support knowledge in Canada, with Western Canada support
  • Canadian Naval submarine expertise closely related.
  • SFU and DCIEM/DRDC physiology knowledge and facilities
  • Major bit is mechanisms: EMS, MDA
  • Requires integration: MDA
  • Can partner with US, ESA, Russians, China
  • Human roving vehicles a bigger spacesuit, though maybe too expensive.
Greenhouse for Mars: TM, TC, and Autonomy (Guelph / SFU / Mars Institute / SpaceRef Inc.) – ESA and NASA want Guelph already
  • U. Guelph: Mars Greenhouses - critical life support for extended Moon/Mars missions
  • Strongly recognized by Canada
  • World leaders in Aerospace Physiology (Roberta Bondar, Andrew Blaber)
  • Extreme Physiology Program at SFU (Braham, Blaber)
  • Canada are leaders in Telemedicine (including major CRC projects)
  • Canada (EMS Technologies) a world leader in processors that are rad-hardened to Mars/Moon rad environment
  • EMS / Telesat build and operate systems that survive in GEO for 20 years!
  • Goes hand in hand with Comms
  • Human mission requirements far easier than robotic missions.
  • Big impact, and maybe visible?
  • Precise landing critical, as demonstrated by NASA robotic missions to Mars - need to go EXACTLY to where the science is located.
  • Surface traverses require detailed mapping and navigation
  • Canadian LIDAR systems may be critical to this work
    • Only Issue: NASA and ESA developing their own.
  • Human missions allow resources for high bandwidth connections
  • Canadian imaging systems such as SAR and Hyperspectral imaging are effectively impossible at robotic payload accommodation levels
  • POSSIBLE at human mission levels!
  • Highly useful for missions, as remote spotting of important outcrops, water, essential
other canadian resource tech
Other Canadian resource tech
  • Drilling
    • Drilling important for sample recovery, but everybody is doing it, including robotics, but potential niche? We’ll need to work on it heavily if we want it.
    • Drilling totally different issue in human missions, and traversing often better than drilling (as can be seen in MER). But humans allow new ways to drill.
  • Resource Processing (ISRU)
    • NASA’s own studies have show that safe missions do not require ISRU, as orbit and return capability requires way more mass than ISRU saves for anything short-term.
    • However, benefits to large industry (SFU involved in potential mining applications of MarsCanada and emergency comms spin-offs, via NRC)
analogue studies
Analogue Studies
  • Require analogue studies for any robotic or human mission development
    • Too expensive for just science research
    • Only makes sense if it’s supporting exploration systems development (doing analogues properly will cost $10M/site over a few year R&D cycle)
    • Maybe we should do it, but have to think carefully
    • Maybe environmental analogues for small systems tests (Guelph, SFU, DCIEM/DRDC, small field trips) may make more sense. SFU-type vehicles.
  • BUT:
    • Has been high visibility, and it’s getting our tech in people’s face, and producing impact.
  • Spacesuits and human rovers, including spacesuit comms computing, look promising
    • Involves life support
    • Cheap
    • High visibility
    • May be enough for a Canadian to get to fly to the Moon
    • Even components: high visibility and interesting
    • Human Support Robotics critical
  • Imaging leaps right out as well, but maybe a component of suits, or even human rover vehicles?
  • Comms, but aimed at Mars, or maybe Lunar surface?
  • Drilling and ISRU possible, if we can get a lead back
  • Others may be promising, but a tougher sell.
  • Beagle Class Lander to Mars: $200M
  • Comms Relay to Mars, supporting human mission comms / Mars Sample Return, and Canadian imaging tech: $200M
  • Spacesuit: $200M (probably $1-$5M a piece)
  • Spacesuit and spacecraft components: $1M-$10M
  • Imaging systems: $1M-$50M
  • Generic Physiology / Plant Growth / Telemedicine: $1M-$50M each
  • Analogue support vehicles (non-Arctic): $1M-$5M
  • Soyuz launches for tests: $100M (ISS time?)
  • So, say, $1B over 20 years could buy a lot, and make Canada a world leader in human space exploration. 15% of CSA budget.
  • If we don’t, everybody else can afford it anyway