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Test consultants?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:00 pm
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Post Test consultants?   Posted on: Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:00 pm
Hello, rpspeck,

regarding what you said in the your thread Spacelaunch Development Infrastructure - what would you think about a company offering test consultants? I refer to the post Sigurd answered to today.

Such a company

- could be founded by Microspace and Armadillo Aerospace by outsourcing skills,
- used by both these companies for their own needs,
- do service for other temas if being payed,
- reduce the risk of catastrophies feared regarding teams which are assumed to do too litte testing (and such catastrophies are considered to be a danger for private space travel),
- reduce the difficulties and burden of some temas to get the manpower having the required skills,
- increase the image of the private space travel branch in the eyes of the FAA and
- provide the opportunity to share experiences without reveiling important secrets.

It could be a source of additional revenues for the owners of such a company and a source of cost reductions for other companies.

Is that a stupid thought or an interesting one?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)[url][/url]


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Post    Posted on: Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:29 pm
One of the problems with this is location. While in principle the idea is OK, sharing anything over long distances is nearly always more costly than finding a local supplier. The cost of shipping equipment and personnel around, either across the US or between countries (dont forget ITAR rules being a problem also), will be more than using local companies.

The exception to this is where no local company exists, but it is likely that the reasons for this will make importing test engineers more expensive (remote locations where rocket failures wouldn't endager the public springs to mind). Teams strugging to launch due to lack of finance will not have the money to pay outside test engineers.

Not sure whether different teams share information to any extent as they are effectively in competition to get some of the sub-orbital business. Those in front like Scaled give very little away I suspect and to be honest why should they, from their point of view the less competition the larger the slice of the market they can get.

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Post Micro-Space welcomes co-operation   Posted on: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:31 pm
Ekkehard, as an expert economist, you are well aware that if this community does not begin to share its expertise, we will fail. None of us has the funds or personnel to “do it all”. The list of things Scales Composites DID NOT DEVELOP for SS1 is long and impressive! This includes the rocket motor (developed by eAc and SpaceDev), the life support systems (developed and perfected for previous, funded “Scaled Composites” projects) and the instrumentation to equip a suitable “test range” (supplied by Edwards Air Force Base). Edwards Air Force Base also loaned “Scaled” pressure suits to test and perfect their pressurized cabin and life support systems. There are very good reasons to do test flights far from “Edwards”, which will guarantee that these resources are not available.

Any team which is going to equal or surpass “Scaled” in spaceflight needs to find a replacement for each of these items, as well as the aerodynamic and other systems which “Scaled” did develop for their own use. A poorly run program might assume that the test systems are trivial and can be quickly arranged – but this is never true. A measure of whether a team is actually getting close to test flights is whether they have arranged for appropriate test tools: those which have not are “blowing smoke” and making meaningless promises!

Given the scarcity of affordable rocket test sites in this country (and the world) the need for specialists to travel some distance to a launch is meaningless: everyone will be traveling considerable distance. When dealing with systems which can easily be partitioned, with clearly defined requirements, there is no benefit to keeping all the work in one place. This only guarantees that each team will have to repeat the specialized work done by every other team.

Micro-Space would welcome an opportunity to apply our developments in Telemetry, Tracking and Control to other team efforts. We offer them not free, but at close to “out of pocket” costs – with no return at this point on our multiyear investment.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:18 pm
Since Scaled used the rocket motor supplied by SpaceDev what happened to the one that eAc produced. They might have lost the competition to provide SS1's engine but they still have a rocket motor sitting on a shelf that could be used by someone with a suitable craft. Perhaps they would be willing to collaborate with a different team to produce a sub-orbital vehicle.

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