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Doing real science with N-Prize sized satellites...thoughts?

Posted by: JamesC. - Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:43 am
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Doing real science with N-Prize sized satellites...thoughts? 
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Post Doing real science with N-Prize sized satellites...thoughts?   Posted on: Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:43 am
Now that Epsilon Vee's N-Prize booster is settling into something that I can start preparing to fabricate and test, I've turned my thoughts to the satellite.

This is an area I have put little thought into in the past, so I ask the collected experience and intelligence here...

...what could/would you do in the way of real science in a payload of only a few grams?

Thoughts anyone?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:53 am
James, did you see Charles' post recently on their thoughts on satellites? Looks like theyre going for very light! The comment was in the Micro-Space Forum.

With this size id imagine there was little you could do, but i could be wrong? Isnt most of it going to be creating a way so that it can be tracked?

Rob

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:05 pm
Yes, I saw his post. I think Charles and I think along very similar lines. You're correct, 20 grams isn't a lot to work with.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:34 pm
James

Quote:
I can start preparing to fabricate and test


Can you fill us in at all on your progress?

Rob

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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:30 am
Surely the SpaceX failure makes the N-Prize seem even more unachievable now...

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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:01 pm
More unachievable? Not at all. While I feel for SpaceX, that has to be a great disappointment, staging failures are nothing new. In fact, staging may well be the toughest thing to do at first since you can't really test it well on the ground. How to stage easily and consistently is something I've been pondering from the start, as I'm sure SpaceX has.

They'll get there, and so will Epsilon Vee.

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Post Serious science in 20 grams?   Posted on: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:21 pm
Serious science in 20 grams? Well....

First, the aim of the N-Prize isn't to do serious anything. This stuff is way too important to take seriously.

But, what *can't* you do in 20 grams? 10 grams (or less) will buy you a transmitter and enough solar panel to talk to the guys on the ground. That leaves you 10 grams. Kylie Minogue weighs slightly less than that, and can do many things. More specifically, most of what you want to do up there concerns sensing of one sort or another, and there aren't that many situations where mass is a limiting factor in sensing. Sure, you can't make a 20ft mirror or lens for ten grams (or can you?), but there's a lot you can do.

Also, consider this. Suppose that someone came to you today and said "we can fly a bunch of satellites for a thousand quid a throw, maximum mass 20 grams each", don't you think that would open up some new possibilities? Give me a thousand 20-gram satellites up there, and I'll do a lot more than you can do with a million quid's worth of conventional launch capability.

Have fun, people.

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Post Magnetic Fields   Posted on: Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:55 am
How well mapped is the Earth's magnetic field in low orbit?

Considering the idea to use the Earth magnetic field with tethers to serve as a booster stage, how uniform is the field itself?

Would it be a useful idea to put up a magnetometer and map it at LEO? Or has it been already done, or not needed because surface level reading accurately reflect LEO values?


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Post science with tiny satellotes? beyond escape would better...   Posted on: Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:30 am
Other than a stunt-like demonstration, I don't think tiny satellites have anything to offer but small additions to low orbit collision hazard. Also satellites this small would have to be in fairly high orbits to have a lifetime over a few days.

Better to use the developed capability to send tiny 100 to 200 gram spacecraft into the space between the orbits of Earth and Mars.

These could easily be tracked by amateur astronomers as slowly moving objects in the night sky, using diode lasers as the data transmission means, as outlined in the Microlaunchers site.

The value of the N Prize is as an evolutionary step toward actual exploration, such as photographing near Earth asteroids.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:04 pm
This may insterest some of you:

Cubesats - How Small Can Satellites Get?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:57 pm
Rob
Hey once the N-Prize is won what’s to say we don’t launch cubesats commercially? I mean that’s the plan isn’t it? The little one to win the prize and then get busy launching small satellites. I cant see expending all that dough with no return?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:07 pm
Will be interesting to see if Paul extends the prize if it doesnt get won! even if the prize money drops every 6 months after or something!

Should be possible to win though! and perhaps any whisper of an extended date may just make people work slower :P thus actually being negative on the prize!

Be good if people could bring concepts and hardware to the next Nprize meeting, be a little like the Xprize Cup perhaps! :)

Hmmm, i wonder if there is a paper anywhere looking into the viability of Cubesats being commercially viable as a business! i guess evolving technology means they can carry more and more thus becoming more useful.

Rob

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:13 pm
just for reference- CubeSat actually refers to a specific document maintained by CalPoly that states requirements for a satellite to actually be considered a "CubeSat". most of those requirements are designed to make it deploy from their deployer thingy, and protect the primary payload. when you say cubesat you mean picosat, but as to cubesats: a) the deployer is too big for an N-Prize class vehicle (~5kg fully loaded (3 cubesats)), and b) alot of their development requirements are unnecessary for a payload that IS the primary. so while capabilities to launch cubesats might be nice, it would make more sense for all you guys (the teams) to get together, and decide on a fairly uniform fairing shape (if not size, since i imagine there will be different diameter rockets). then people developing for N-Prize vehicles would know to make their satellite x shape, with y dimensions and z mass requirements, while avoiding requirements due to being a secondary payload.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:34 pm
Something like that. If we design a solid to orbit it would be designed to carry a larger payload.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:37 pm
Couldn't the rockets be simply made larger to carry a heavier payload? While I couldn't do much except transmit a tracking signal with 20g, give me 100g and I could map the Earth. Well, anything below the orbit. Cameras don't weigh that much.

If I was allowed to launch 1kg into orbit... I could possibly design a small microgravity experiment, using a tether and the expended booster.


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