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Hubble rescue mission as prize

Posted by: Andy Hill - Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:57 pm
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Hubble rescue mission as prize 
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Post Hubble rescue mission as prize   Posted on: Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:57 pm
How about NASA offerring a multimillion dollar prize for a private company to fix Hubble.

NASA is talking in terms of over a $1bn for a shuttle mission to Hubble, what if it offered a prize of $300m for any private company who could do the same. The contest would obviously be time limited by Hubble's demise.

Of course the Russians might have a go for that sort of cash, but then again NASA wouldn't be allowed to pay them would they.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:29 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

that would be a very reasonable not only but an excellent idea too.

The competitors for such a prize probably could get private funds from hobby and fun astronomers and their organizations as well as from scientists and their organizations, from scientific institutes and so on too.

SpaceX might comoete for it but Elon Musk recently has been quoted that he wants to compete for the ASP. Interorbital Systems have been speaking of rescuing Hubble as one of their first flights but they have a budget of 4 million $ only - this might change if the prize you are proposing would be set and they decide to compete for it really. They may get private funds from the scientists, institues etc. then as well as real convincing arguments to get credits from the banks etc.

The development of private orbital space vehicles will gain significant additional financial ressources that way - it would be a steo further uo the stair to private manned orbital flight.

One problem might be that NASA will have to set the total of the current 34 million $ or significant more than one tenth of 300 million $ as the prize.

All in all - your proposal should be discussed here and given to NASA then.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:35 am
Andy Hill,

if your idea would be made reality quickly and early then this would provide the second element by which the concept of t/Space could be financed and made reality - if modified.

The repair and rescue of Hubble requires refuelling mainly among others if I remember right. Refueling is a topic for other satellites too - and t/Space's concept includes tankers. These tankers could be modified for a Hubble Centennial Challenges Prize.

If t/Space would compete for it they could get a lot of customers by offering the srevice to refuel satellites. Such a service could save tens and hundreds of millions of dollars of reinvestmnet per customer.

This could fund them.

This is the second element I have been speaking of in the ASP section - it's a theoretical chance only up to now. But out of it a way could be found they could make their ideas reality by.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 13, 2005 4:56 pm
If NASA is not able to fund a centennial prize for Hubble, how about private industry supplying the cash?

It could work like this:

Hubble is due to stop working in a couple of years, at that point it will be worthless. If a private investment company got the rights to operate Hubble after a rescue mission then that company could fund the mission to make the necessary repairs and extend the telescopes life. It would then gain revenue from Hubble's extended life much like any commercial satellite provider does.

The cost of a telecoms satellite normally runs into the $100ms so this would not be dissimilar from a Hubble mission. People are always saying how useful Hubble is and how it should not be left to die, if they would be willing to buy time on Hubble via a telecoms company then one might take the task on of saving it.

NASA need not contract with any single company but run the whole thing as a prize, whoever makes the repair gets the revenue from operating Hubble as a reward. No cost to NASA, Hubble stays alive and private company makes money. The only downside might be the users who would have to pay for the Hubble service, but if it is as useful as claimed then they would still use it (maybe the US could subsidies US users).

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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:04 pm
I really would like that idea. At least the institutes of astrophysics may fund or look for companies and people able and willing to fund. If the search for fund is organized and conducted right funds may come from the whole world - including companies who have economic interest in keeping Hubble alive.

The idea should be thought of more detailed and in serious.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:14 pm
I think that NASA might be willing to pay the money it was going to spend on deorbiting Hubble into a fund, if that would then absolve it from any future responsibility for it. The responsibility would then pass to the new "owners" who are operating it.

A rocket engine could be attached during the rescue so that it could be deorbited safely at a later date by the operators.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:40 am
Responsibility and ownership could be handled the way they have been handled in the case of SETI.

SETI simply has been privatized by those who were interested in continuing SETI. The privatization included a lot of hardware - and that hardware that couldn't be privatized and not kept in service for SETI partially has been replaced by SETI@home.

This model could be applied to Hubble in modified version. NASA will want to free its communications equipment from communication to Hubble too - this problem could be solved the way AMSAT is going to communicate to their future Mars probe P2A5 (I already wrote a post about it).

The main negotiation really will be the supplies for Hubble - and the financial ressources required for that negotiation. That's solvable privately I think. The private service will be interesting for commercial satellites too.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:31 am
It seems that NASA has jumped the gun a bit to produce a de-orbit module for Hubble and the money allocated for this task can be epent elsewhere. I hadn't realised that with a small boost from the shuttle it could remain in orbit until 2030.

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1050

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:48 pm
I think Griff' will give it one last servicing--with the shuttle--perhaps even with Discovery on its next mission.

Discovery is in orbit as we speak.

And the alt.spaceniks are still on the ground.

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