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Hardware that can survive crashes into planets...

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:18 am
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Hardware that can survive crashes into planets... 
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Post Hardware that can survive crashes into planets...   Posted on: Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:18 am
Under ww.marssociety.de there is a short article today reporting that the computer of REGINA - the test-capsule for the ARCHIMEDES-related test last year - survived the crash in that a good health that it can be used again for ground test - which will really be done.

REGINA has flown into space and then crashed into Earth in Sweden. The computer still was expecting instructions during the fast descent.

There is an image of REGINA that might be suggesting perhaps that even such hardware could be capable of survival in good health if it would be produced in a modified or altered version.

What about it? Which ways may be imaginable - in particular by involving new methods, concets etc.?

This experience also might mean that the small satellite carried during the failed Falcon 1 launch and crashed through the roof after the failure could be made working again - its computer at least.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:14 am
I think there are several issues here. First and imo biggest issue is weight. Everything that goes to space, except the space shuttle system/orbiter, is made to be as light as possible and thus reducing the cost for the launch itself. If you want to consider the possibility that the rocket will crash but not explode, you'll need to built in some safety in the satelite. And that costs weight. Yes, some parts in the innerbody of the satelite might survive anyway, but still have to be checked and rechecked before using it again. I bet no one would take the gamble, even after extensive testing, to send a polished-up crashed satelite into space on a multimillioneuro costing ride. The stakes are simply to high.

Besides, the developement costs are most likely dwarfing the construction/material costs of a satelite.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:23 am
Hello, Stefan,

yes, you doubtless are right.

I am merely thinking of chances that might be hidden in what is reported. Teams and organizations that have only few financial ressources, few funds could be assited by the experience - like the german section of the Mars Society is happyly reusing the computer that survived the crash. It might be a small or vague hint that hardware losses might be avoided somehow perhaps as long as it is light hardware for testing/tests. It might be a chance to reudce development costs.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:27 am
When you really want to cut in the developement costs, i think it's better to start thinking of off-the-shelve-parts. Off course, scientific-specific-equipement will be expensive, but whats the point of creating everything mission-specific. Not sure, but i thought Spacedev made these little nano-sat-subsystems with usb or utp connectors. If everything is to be standarised as in computers, it can cut the costs significantly. Like a standard module for this and a standard module for that. You'd ony have to create your own experiment-module.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:55 pm
If you could make cannisters that were robust enough to survive a lunar impact you could pack them full of contruction equipment and fire them off to the moon to be waiting for astronauts to assemble when they arrived. You could send water and dried food also this way. Why keep using an expensive transport structure when a cheap "lob it at the moon and let it crash" would work for the majority of the cargo needed?

If the cannister didn't have to carry the fuel necessary to make a soft landing then it could carry more cargo (if the extra capacity wasn't used up in strengthening the cannister it self of course). You might even be able to send electronic instruments this way since there is already some talk about firing penetrators at the lunar surface to record data.

such a cannister could be manufactured in number and be assembled with only minimal/simple systems to allow small course corrections and tracking.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 19, 2007 3:07 pm
This reminds me of Deep Space 2.
http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds2/


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