[Update: I had a glaring error on one of the slides pointed out. It turns out that an inclined plane in LEO will only line up with an arbitrary departure asymptote once every 360 degree revolution of the ascending node. This means departure opportunities happen once every 50-70 days. Option #1 gets hurt the worst (requiring 4-6 depots to get the coverage needed instead of 2-3), but the other two still have merits. More details later. And I’ll eventually update the presentation (or flesh it out on Selenian Boondocks in corrected form)]
Thanks for answering my question re: commercial fuel depots on the Space Show this evening.
I see how the human deep space exploration missions will derive huge benefits from a propellant depot, but it seems like there’s ways a small, low depot can benefit other customers – by launching with an empty EDS for planetary missions, for example, or for supporting the MDA satellite refueling tug (which has the benefit of having an existing customer base with expensive-but-useless hardware already floating around in space).
I wasn’t sure how a Bigelow station would benefit from a depot, though. They will be getting regular crew vehicles, which I’d assume would also carry propellant. But maybe they’d rather carry luggage and TV dinners 🙂
The Bigelow station would need a transfer vehicle to get propellant from the depot, right? Or are you suggesting that the station would also BE the depot? There’d be people there to operate/maintain it, in between other station tasks.
Anyway, I was a bit confused. Feel free to enlighten me.
p.s. this blog doesn’t seem to link to http://www.altius-space.com. You might want to put it in your blogroll 🙂
[…] I forgot to throw the link up over here, but I put my presentation for the Space Show Classroom up on my Altius Blog. Here’s a link. […]