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Hubble Service Prize

Posted by: rpspeck - Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:33 pm
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Hubble Service Prize 
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Post    Posted on: Tue Apr 12, 2005 10:08 pm
Orbit plane changes can take even more energy than starting from scratch, on the Earth. The energy in this particular case is large enough that this move is out of the question.

The service problem is not pressing, since the Hubble is high enough to be in a long lived orbit, and already completed upgrade hardware will provide VASTLY greater performance in a number of areas. If the gyros can be changed (they wear out after several years), and some maneuvering fuel added – as well as installing even part of these upgrades - this will continue to be the most productive astronomical instrument of all time.

However, they want to kill it while all its communication and control systems are still working, since that makes it easier to kill. It could coast for a decade after dying in place (which has not yet happened), but the liability and disposal problem would remain. The “Sky Lab” uncontrolled reentry is no longer politically acceptable. The basic plan is built around the assumption that NASA’s ability to conduct complex missions in space will decrease – not increase – in the coming decade. So kill it while you can.

About a replacement: how easy is it going to be to find twenty Billion Dollars to build one, and how will it be placed in orbit and maintained? The Space Shuttle is scheduled to die as soon as our obligations to the ISS are more or less completed.

We are talking 2020 here, if ever. And what new space system was delivered on schedule, under budget and without problems? If insiders already know that space operations are becoming more difficult, and limited in capability, then the promise of a replacement is nothing more than a pacifier!

More relevant: eighteen months ago, few in the world believed that a “plastic” airplane could achieve hypersonic flight into space. In those few months – with the help of the organization hosting this forum – a plastic craft named SpaceShipOne repeated the aerospace developments of 1947 (X-1 supersonic) to 1963 (X-15 altitude record in space), yet with a three man capability and affordable cost. NO HIGHER PERFORMANCE, SELF CONTAINED AEROSPACE PLANE HAS EVER FLOWN!

Do you believe that this is the end of the story? That reduced cost systems can not move into orbit? Crossing an ocean was once harder than spaceflight is now. It got easier, and more affordable. Why shouldn’t manned spaceflight get easier? Why do we plan on it becoming even more difficult and expensive?

If congress will have the decency to give their soon to be buried trash (Hubble) to someone who “has better ideas” (as detailed above), then it will continue to be the treasure it has been – AT NO COST, WITH NO FINANCIAL IMPACT ON NASA PROGRAMS. It isn’t sane to put a high price on something you are preparing to dump into the sea, just to keep it out of the hands of a friend who could use it! I am actually looking forward to congressional discussion on why the US shouldn’t let someone else rescue this asset. But what I am really looking forward to is the day when the X PRIZE PEOPLE WILL SUCCEED WITH THIS RESCUE!

Don’t get hung up on derivatives of Rutan’s design, good though it is for its intended purpose. Falcon 1 stands poised for launch. This six Million Dollar system could carry a manned capsule to the Hubble, with safe return to Earth! Given the success of Falcon 1 that I am praying to see, how many DAYS will it take to get a one man capsule developed for orbital flight? Satellite repair services will be one of the cash streams for entrepreneurial manned spaceflight. And Hubble is the perfect starting point – a multi billion dollar system, treasured by the world, and fairly easy to reach.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:52 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

you listed several interesting question concerning alternatives. What would think about moving Hubble to Mars and making it a part of a huge-scale system of telescopes? The idea won't be that aproblem - it could be done privately. It just would require to copy or imitate AMSATs private Mars mission. AMSAT's probe will first orbit Earth. The concept could be modified so that such a probe docks to Hubble and then carries it to Mars - the challenge will be to finance the idea only.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 13, 2005 10:13 am
I am not sure that moving Hubble to Mars would serve any useful purpose. I suggested moving into a higher orbit or to the moon as a means of allowing more time for a rescue misssion to take place. A Lunar orbit is close enough that a rescue can take place fairly easily, going to Mars will make it much harder for no apparent gain.

Also the suggestion was made under the misunderstanding that Hubble would deorbit on its own relatively quickly after the time it stopped working, rpspeck's point that it could continue to orbit where it is for a decade after it stopped working means that a future rescue mission could be done using a much safer CEV where it is.

All this seems to suggest that NASA is looking at budgets rather than safety issues when considerring Hubble's continued use. If Hubble is to costly to maintain and keep running then maybe they should turn it over to someone else as rpspeck suggests and I proposed previously in the centennial challenges thread.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 13, 2005 10:34 am
Alright - I asked a question focussed too much on the special question of Hubble being of value when another higher sophisticated telescope has been installed. And I overlooked that a huge-scale telescope could make use of the Moon first.

I am assisting the idea to turn over Hubble to someone else as I already have done - still AMSAT or similar private federations can be the "someone else". This could be an opportunity for the private launchers too once one of them has had a successful launch to the orbit. Perhaps SpaceX - what about Microspace themselves?



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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:28 pm
rpspeck wrote:
Orbit plane changes can take even more energy than starting from scratch, on the Earth.
The 23 degree plane change needed would take a delta V of about 40% of the current orbital velocity.

rpspeck wrote:
About a replacement: .... We are talking 2020 here, if ever.
The proposed launch date for the James Webb Space Telescope is 2011.
http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/


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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 14, 2005 7:53 pm
23 degree plane change needed would take a delta V of about 40% of the current orbital velocity.

And you know that 41 % increase would boost to escape velocity, providing thousands of years of useless life. An interesting coincidence! :D


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:54 pm
These prizes are getting more and more pointless. We did not get flood control with a "TVA-prize" or win WWII with a "Manhatten project prize." Suborbital flights, the human genome and other small time ventures are one thing.

Real spaceflight is something else again.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 16, 2005 10:33 pm
We have the example of “real” intercontinental flight in 1927. Was that pointless?
Real, controlled aircraft flight in 1903 (with no prize, but with a “serious” – i.e. Government sponsored - competitive FAILURE).
We have “real” affordable computing in 1976 (with no prize, but the reputation of “toys”, for example the one Bill Gates dropped out of college to write software for).

We have the V2 systems developed by Robert Goddard, with private funding.
We have the X1, first supersonic aircraft powered by the product of a four man, entrepreneurial startup.

What is pointless is the expectation ANY GOVERNMENT to be good at developing commercial technology. They do OK with military technology, but that is not what we are talking about. Government FUNDING has done well to support private organizations in research, but that model has been rejected for space. The NSF style focuses on results, with a “sanity check” on procedural details (and a serious review of past performance). It is not NASA style, with reams of engineering mandates, hundreds or reports to let NASA look over your shoulder – and second guess your decisions – and a lower priority on results. If you did what they told you to do, bad results are of course more their fault than yours. The results of this approach speak for themselves.

The focus on Prizes is of course peculiar, and suboptimum: BUT IT IS THE BEST AVAILABLE ALTERNATIVE!

The Spaceflight market is too politically perverted to make any rational business plan or investment possible. How do you plan for a market which has one customer (all US research projects use NASA purchased launchers, exports are prohibited), if that customer has “intangible” reasons for picking another (higher priced) vendor – you are dead. Ask Andrew Beal.

A free and rational market would let investors gamble on which approaches will pay off. But if the market is capricious and totally unpredictable, then there is no rational expectation for sales (let along profits) even if the effort is completely successful! The prize sets at least one, nonzero payback from success.

I have been impressed recently by the fact that the majority of high performance sensors ARE NOT MANUFACTURED OR DEVELOPED IN THE USA.

The US has an opportunity to once again kiss off its lead in aerospace, and become a consumer of foreign offerings – which to a large extent it is already doing with manned and unmanned space launch. Is that what you mean by “serious” = NOT MADE IN US?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:14 pm
"We have the example of “real” intercontinental flight in 1927. Was that pointless? "

As a matter of fact it was. People had flown in fits and starts across the Atlanitc.

If you look at modern airliners--you will see they don't look like the Spirit of St. Louis--but more like the Gov't funded DASH-80--that we know as the KC-135 tanker, and--in civvie clothes--as the 707.

THAT revolutionized trans-atlantic travel

Not the deathtrap that Nazi sympathizer flew.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 7:18 am
The intercontinentral flight in 1927 was the a revolution of airflight - no revolution of trans-atlantic travel without that revolution of airflight.

You are talking about something different then those you are responding to - you are talking about something that wouldn't be there if there hadn't been what those are talking of you are responding to.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:12 pm
publiusr wrote:
"We have the example of “real” intercontinental flight in 1927. Was that pointless? "

As a matter of fact it was. People had flown in fits and starts across the Atlanitc.

If you look at modern airliners--you will see they don't look like the Spirit of St. Louis--but more like the Gov't funded DASH-80--that we know as the KC-135 tanker, and--in civvie clothes--as the 707.

THAT revolutionized trans-atlantic travel

Not the deathtrap that Nazi sympathizer flew.


Yes, the newer 'liners are essentially military models -- it's cheaper to produce a few thousand airframes and modify them all slightly than it is to produce several batches of a few hundred each.

But I might point out vehicles like the elegant and extremely successful Lockheed Constellation, along with most other airframes developed before the 1960s.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:03 pm
rpspeck wrote:
...We have the V2 systems developed by Robert Goddard, with private funding.
Actually the V2 systems were developed by the German military. It was a war time outgrowth of the activities of the Verein fur Raumschiffahrt, or society for spaceship travel. The VfR was a group much like Armadillo, but in Germany during the 1920's and 30's. The most famous VfR member was Werner Von Braun. Here is some info: http://www.astronautix.com/lvfam/gerketry.htm
I have a book called "Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel" by Willy Ley (long out of print) that reads just like the Armadillo updates!


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:25 pm
The group that developed the V2 was a department of the army - I will have a look into Walter Dornberger's book "Peenemünde". Wernherr von Braun has been a member of the VfR until Dorneberger an he himself met one day. Dornberger was interested in von Braun's skills and doings and so von Braun continued his work as member of a group of the army.

The Verein für Raumschiffahrt didn't have anything to do with the V2 and von Braun's work on rockets as member of that Verein had been inspired by astronomy - really von Braun wanted to be an astronomer. And the Verein by far hadn't achieved what Armadillo has achieved already - the Verein was researching on how to develop and construct liquid propelled rockets at all: They didn't know how to do it yet.

When von Braun and Dornberger began to work together the Deutsche Reich still was a democracy and no war was expected. There was no real assistance for that military group until 1942/43. And there have been really developments of civilian jet vehicles and civilian rockets.

Bach to the topic of that Verein - when Adolf Hitler got the power and the Deutsche Reich turned into dictatorship Hitler removed each Verein and forbade them. If there still were Vereine they had been taken over by the Hitler Jugend, the SA or the SS or another nationalsocialist organization.

The name V2 has been created by Hitler's airforce - there was a V1 too that was an unmanned airplane that fell down to english towns and cities carrying bombs. These V1 didn't have a real jet engine.

During development the V2 has been called A4 - there have been A1, A2 and A3 too and A5 etc. existed at the paper.

When the war was over the US got some A4, took them home accompanied by Walter Dornberger and Wernherr von Braun, dubbed the A4 Redstone and continued its development. This is the base of the development rbspeck is talking about I suppose. Goddard was continuing the development that Dornberger and von Braun had begun in Peenemünde.

So rbspeck will be right.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:56 pm
Robert Goddard died in 1945 and did not continue the development that Dornberger and von Braun had begun in Peenemünde.
(EDIT) It would however be accurate to say that the Peenemünde group continued the development that the VfR had begun. (/EDIT)

Goddard worked totally independently and before the Peenemünde work. Here is a good link:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/gsfc/service/g ... oddard.htm
And some quotes from it:

“Goddard's work largely anticipated in technical detail the later German V-2 missiles”
and
“His classic document was a study that he wrote in 1916 requesting funds of the Smithsonian Institution so that he could continue his research.”
and
“He received a total of $10,000 from the Smithsonian by 1927”

So Goddard did get government funding and he had nothing to do with the V2, although he did independently develop much of the same technology.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:54 pm
Sadly--you might say that the real father of the space race was Stalin. He wanted an ICBM--and wanted it NOW. Korolov exploited his wish, and got a space booster sold as an ICBM--as opposed to waiting until warheads shrank as we did with Atlas--explaining how we fell behind.

Korolov was called anti-state--but pressed on. he put huge gov't effort into a space program and had Glushko--who I think was brighter than Von Braun myself--develop engines. The R-7 was called a 'failure' as an ICBM--but it--the HLLV of the time--revolutionized the space race. Captured German rocket engineers were used--but then released.

The Soviet hell-bent-for leather development was only matched by us when we also spent real money on rockets. Only with Saturn IB did we have anything close to R-7 and the UR-500 Proton.

I have always said the biggest difference between our Space Program and theirs was that they kept their Air Force the hell away from it--where Medaris was robbed of the ABMA by the Air Farce--and had to turn over Von Braun to NASA.

And I have hated the Blue Suits ever since.

As far as Hubble is concerned--I would leave it alone for the time being. I had always guessed the automated service mission was a joke and nothing but a bait and switch for a de-orbit package.

The anti-human spacecraft people love to tout robots. But they forget that the two bomb-disposal robots on Mars are delayed action, limited autonomy RC toys that use programs instead of live movements due to time delay.

The last real robotic missions on land was the Darpa challenge--and not one of those Cray-euipped Sport-utes or massively parallel HUMVEES got anywhere near the end.

And then there is the DART debacle.


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