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Open Source Rocket.

Posted by: DanielW - Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:22 pm
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Open Source Rocket. 
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Post Open Source Rocket.   Posted on: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:22 pm
Just wondering if public domain plans have ever been proposed.

With the relative simplicity of Armadillo's modular design it seems that folks with experience in various aspects of production engineering could help streamline the design for efficient mass production. Even if it is just designing a stamped leg mount instead of the machined one that they currently use.

Unlike open source software, someone still has to build the hardware so there is money to be made.

Of course some sort of regulatory body would have to make set a spec and make final decisions on what changes get included. As it is with Linux.

A few companies competing to make less expensive modules (or even module components) could drive costs even lower.

What do you say?

Dan


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:50 pm
Interesting Idea Dan
I havnt had time to read this through but it came up on a search

Titled "Open-Source Software and Its Role in Space Exploration"

http://www.cio.com/article/111950/Open_ ... xploration

Also an open source page at NASA

http://colab.arc.nasa.gov/files/oscon20 ... ftware.pdf

This is however all software open source. Hardware may be different, if anyone else has any links id be interested in a read :)

Could be worth a look around!
Wiki pulled up
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_hardware

Cheers
Rob

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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:44 pm
Rob,

I did not think to search for "open source hardware". The age old assumption that because I have not seen it it does not exist. All the references you sent were directly related to computing. Not a problem, just an indicator that the "Open" mentality has not yet left the cradle.

With the advent of information technology, it becomes possible to organize the efforts of a good number of individuals and companies. It seems a natural extension. This is as long as researchers and manufactures can rethink their business model. It requires thinking that puts the goal ahead of profit and individual accolades. Not that either will be lost...

Thanks for the links

Dan


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Post    Posted on: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:02 am
It requires a industry and government rethink and mindset shift.

Coming from the government, I can say safely that the reluctance to go Open Source boils down to the fact that there is no account mgr to scream at and no company to threaten liquidated damages if things goes wrong. 8)


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Post    Posted on: Sat Sep 01, 2007 7:35 am
With opensource regarding hardware, i assume you mean that nobody has to pay any patent or other such fees to anybody. It is a nice idea, and it works well for software because it is relatively easy to made and thanks to the internet it can be spread and developed quickly. With actual hardware its a bit more complicated, you can only use the internet as a source in the design phase, but the actual build/constructing and testing phase, it's no help. But you all allrady know this.

I don't see the large companies setting up a non-profit company which hold the patents. They're not a charity organization. They don't care much about space exploration, it's business, they want and need to make money. They spend probably a lot of money on r&d, and they don't throw that money away to other people, or competitors, for zip. Plus they have the only means to even do serious r&d.

I thought of how universities could play a role in it, but if they develop some new technology, they also simply apply it for a patent and then sell it to a big aerospace company. What might help is that these patents have a definite lifetime which cannot be extended. Let's say 5 to a max of 10 years. So they're r&d money isn't wasted, but it's not like the competitors have to guess on their technology or pay millions for it. It's not a solution, but it could be a middle-way, or at least a start.

And yes, i know that 5 years is a long time for technology, but look at the aerospace-industry, Soyuz is who knows how old and still the best out there. And cheap. It's not like if we're talking about the computerindustry.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:18 pm
Yes I mean that no one has to pay for a patent. But more importantly smallish companies could benefit from the wide body of knowledge and skill that is out there. I do not see large companies utilizing this method to start. I think it would be a better buisness plan for companies such as Armadillo aerospace. Once they get their module design fairly set. They could release the plans. They are already the most transparent company I have ever heard of.

I am sure that there are plenty of excellent engineers, that do other things, who would happily submit designs for individual components that are cheaper to manufacture or give a significant increase in performance. While I do not put myself in the category of possibly helpful engineers. I do have a small milling machine in my garage and could conceivably build and test prototypes for small parts. Linkages.. etc..

This way small companies could spread R+D costs over a large support base of folks who are in it for the dream and not the money. Of course those who help are helping themselves as it should in the long run drive down the cost of space flight to a level they can afford.

Yes there is a risk to companies putting their designs out there. They risk being under cut by some one who is simply an efficient manufacturer. But all ventures have an element of risk. The reward, are Lower R+D costs, lower overhead, in terms of employees and infrastructure, A more competitive product.

So in the end I see a component by component development. I agree that I cannot build Pixel in my garage.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:52 pm
Using software terminology when talking about rockets will not make them have capability improvements as large and fast as computers; that is just wishful thinking. There is just nothing similar at all between source code for software and plans for rockets (or anything else).

If you want to see how much better rockets could be if the dot com paradigm were applied, just look at SpaceX. A totally new family of rockets designed from scratch, two already lunched, others in construction and numerous launch contracts already signed on an investment of only about $100 million. The primes couldn't even complete their proposal for evolving an existing vehicle into a new version for that amount of money.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:28 am
Hello, DanielW,

Open Source in the world of Software in principle means that the source code of programs, and operating systems is made public which allows for adjustments etc. by the user.

Essential is that the source can be copied which avoids destruction of the original source code.

I have problems to imagine these two properties at or in or regarding hardware.

It would mean to construct a rocket or vehicle including identical copies of it - at order or for a market. Then each customer would get explanations etc. how the parts are mounted together and how to dismount them to adjust etc. this "source".

Each adjustment would require test firings and test launches - which may lead to destruction - in difference to tests of adjustments etc. of Open Source Code.

It might be possible to get an approach to Open Source SOFTWARE - but it would be not very close and require a lot of small and large parachutes perhaps...



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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:13 pm
Hardware Open Source means that all schematics are available for anybody that wants them, and are available for the public for personal use.

Running a open source hardware rocket project only means that people will work together (or someone might try to do it on his/her own) to create a rocket without any "industrial secrets". The licence selected for the project would set the limits on how you could use this information aquired from his or his teams work.

The company / team / person can still sell what they make and earn money, or the source can be used by others to try to build their own rocket. Hi highly doubt that there will be much "astronaut farmer" people running around, even if a project like this starts up.


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Post Re: Open Source Rocket.   Posted on: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:26 pm
DanielW wrote:
Just wondering if public domain plans have ever been proposed.

There's huge difference between open source and public domain. Here's simplified explanation:

public domain - there are no copyrights holders, completely no restrictions. everybody is allowed to do everything

open source - author publishes the source code, so users can modify and use it as they see fit. Depending on the exact license, there may be some limitations. For example, GPL (the license used for Linux and thousands of other software projects) states, that if a derivative software is produced, it must be published under GPL, too. In short: you have the freedom to share, but you can't limit this freedom from others.

Anyway, there are several project, not related to software, which can be considered open (as in open software). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RepRap - kind of 3D printer, which will able to manufacture its own copy (i.e. selfreplicate) is a great example. Its specification is developed under GNU GPL license.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:54 am
A Rocket CopyLeft license will need at least two things above and beyond say GPL3, both much stricter.

The first will be a re-share on use not on sale, because not a lot of people are going to try and sell rockets, rather they will sell launch services.

The other will be an ineligibilty clause if you don't hold an ITAR or comparable waiver. Otherwise you take the blueprints, improve on them but can't share them because 'suprise' Uncle Sam won't let you.

Beyond that the extra eyes an FEA HPC's of universities and companies might have saved Falcons first launch when someone outside the company noticed the fault in the design.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:24 am
It is not quite ob topic - but what about Open Source Rocket Software?

Regarding safety such software might make sense really because it might reduce the problems with the FAA. Next this software might determine the design etc. of safety-critical parts of a rocket - and thus a limited Open Source Rocket.

This way a standrad might evolve perhaps.

What about it?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:40 am
You can't share any of it with the U.S.

Anything a US designer added could not be reshared.

The Sparc Processor is open source hardware.

A set of open standards would be a good place to start, a common set of docking collars, ship atmospheres, filters and other reusables.

Then thirs parties could supply the same products to different companies without the need for redesigning it each time.

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Post rely on "facts"   Posted on: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:13 pm
The Wright Brothers didn't just invent the 1st successful airplane. They invented the FACT of aviation. It was that people in Europe and US relied upon, not copying the Wright design. The FACT that an airplane could certainly be built (because it had) is what got the Aviation Age going.

So must it be with space exploration. The US ITAR regime, and the natural need to use proprietary design to get started will probably preclude any "open source" approach.

Also the mentality involved is, I think, counter to the process of inventing things.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:59 pm
The Wright's patents forced others to invent alternate control and power systems.

Whether this slowed aviation down is an interesting question.

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