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update, near term plans

Posted by: ckpooley - Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:39 am
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update, near term plans 
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Space Walker
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Post update, near term plans   Posted on: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:39 am
Finally, time for setting up a shop--a workspace to allow the start of making hardware. It is to be in Henderson NV, or in an industrial area of Las Vegas nearby. Industrial M-1 property is very inexpensive now, and many vacancies for lease are available.

We are looking at several around 2000 sq ft if for Microlaunchers alone, or about 3000 if combined with some LED lighting effects projects (the more likely).

Once safely out of California, ML will be incorporated, set up for starting with small overhead. The first project will be to make, test performance of the 3rd stage engine so it can scale the required size of the 3 stage rocket.

Right now, 88-90% of the total liftoff mass (GLOW), is the first stage, and the mass of that depends on the mass of the stage2-3 combination. That may be anywhere from 5 to over 10 kg.

The test setup for that or the 2nd stage engine may be packaged as a product--a test/performance evaluation "kit", to be marketed to schools, universities.

The initial engines are to produce a very small thrust and be relatively safe to use--even indoors (with good ventilation). The smallest is to produce a vacuum thrust of about 1500 grams and burn about 4 grams of oxygen with about 2 grams of propane or butane per second. The 3rd stage engine is to run at only twice atmospheric pressure and the 2nd stage at about 5 times, to allow low tank pressure and light weight.

The 2nd stage engine is to be about 10 times larger, and of similar design. They will operate with most of the divergent part of the nozzle absent as operating at sea level restricts the expansion of the exhaust. The performance can be evaluated on the basis of determining C* , the gas producing capability of the combustion chamber/propellant combination.

An 8 channel data logger and a laptop, pressure and temperature transducers will make up the kits.

More anon...


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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:09 pm
Charles
Great News! I hope to see some hardware from Microlaunchers! Go for it!

Monroe

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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:06 am
Charles --

I've been following microlaunchers for a while. In catching up on developments I've gotten a little confused. Have you gotten financial backing and are relocating to Nevada or relocating to Ohio? I'm sorry to pry, I'm just intensely interested in your concept.

Regards


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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:27 pm
responding to previous post: Discussions re locating in Ohio slowed then stopped a year ago. Might resume, but will not wait. "on deck" now is a move to Henderson Nevada (southern part of Las Vegas) and set up a facility engaged in LED lighting electronics and the rocket work

Am also involved in seeking interested, motivated collaborators, both for N Prize attempt and the more general Microlaunchers development. Also, financial partners or sponsors.

There may be news to report soon.

Charles Pooley Microlaunchers


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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:02 pm
Charles:

Thanks for the quick response. Would you mind a few follow-up questions via telephone? I'd like to find out more about your current plans.

Thx

Quanta


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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:51 pm
quanta: How do I contact you? Your profile has no information. Please email me at http://www.microlaunchers.com/ , giving phone #, good time to talk.

I generally want to talk to anyone seriously interested in joining with me in the N Prize attempt, and then, by scaling up the launcher (from about 70 kg to 100-200 kg) for the originally intended entry level Microlauncher, to be designated ML-1.

ML-2 will be a 10x scale up, with 1-2 ton GLOW and a payload of 2-3 kg to escape to 1 kg onto lunar surface (could base a GLXP entry on that but it will be more expensive.

ML-3, a 10x scale up again, to 10-20 tons, or about 1/2 that of a Falcon 1.
The escape payload will be about 0.5% of Glow.

An advanced form of ML-2 will use a turbopump based on a diagram presented in the last slide of SAS 2005:
http://www.microlaunchers.com/7816/L3/sa05/sa05.html .

It, and any of the ML-3 series are to be LOX based closed cycle similar to what the Russians have been doing (some differences, but to be explained later). This engine design should have an Isp close to what they get, but be lighter. Thrust to weight over 200.

These invitations are general, but extended to those who might consider getting involved--referred to in the N Prize presentation as "one in then thousand". Very few exposed to the Microlaunchers ideaq are going to like and agree enough to make a commitment to join and bring it from plans, designs to reality.


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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:17 am
Yeah, that's the idea! Ya'll help out Charles and he could beat us to the prize like Masten beat AA! Really I'd like to see more competition and Charles is a great guy.

Monroe

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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:51 pm
Hello Charles

Out of interest what is the smallest commercial launcher you can buy a ride on at the moment that is actually flying to orbit?

Does anyone have a launcher that has a pay load capacity in the sub 100kg region and if so what do they charge for a flight?

My understanding is that cubesats normally have to wait for a ride as a secondary payload what is the alternative?

Thanks
Andy

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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:58 pm
Cheapest present US launch may be Falcon-1 for about $10 million. No other small launch available.

Preparing a secondary payload is not easy. It results from negotiations with owner of main payload, adhering to his schedule, orbit, and conforming to restrictions placed on it. That's why the P Pod Cubesat dispenser. It's a "Kosher" interface.

ML, when it gets done (still looking for partners), will be the first really inexpensive launch. And each launch will be on a separate vehicle.

Though the main purpose if escape velocity, there will be a small (under 1000 or so) market for small satellites.

They will not be able to do much and LEO is no longer space exploration. That begins beyond escape. Lunar orbits, landings, NEO photo flyby, rendezvous & orbit NEO, etc.

The orbit of Mars is 380 m/s beyond escape; closer NEOs just beyond escape, and high elliptical lunar orbit just about exactly escape velocity.


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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:53 pm
ckpooley wrote:
Cheapest present US launch may be Falcon-1 for about $10 million. No other small launch available.


I think Orbital's Pagasus XL is stil flying, though very rarely, has a payload capacity of about 443kg but I think it costs more than $10m a flight.

Both Falcon I and Pegasus seem a bit big for a cubesat launch, if nothing else exists that is smaller then I think that you might have a fair size market for your small vehicle.

What about trying to get a group of universities together and sponsor you so that they can get their payloads launched, you migh even be able to tap into their engineering departments and scare up some student help with your company which they could use as part of their studies.

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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:57 pm
Moving up to the starting line:

Microlaunchers is preparing to incorporate the N Prize entry and set up facilities in two locations in western US. The corporation name, some other details are now being decided, but the entry itself is still Microlaunchers.

The area of activity for the new company will be similar to that posted in the previous forum: setting up a miniature "production line" to build about 100 launchers, each capable of orbiting 125 grams to LEO. This will reduce the incremental cost of each rocket, and better quantify the cost of each as a part of the entry.

Another part of the plan is to offer as a product the launch system. First and most easily, offer launch services for the new Pocket Cube satellites, standards for which are being set by Bob Twiggs, the person mainly responsible for the standard for the 1 kg Cubesat.

Then, from the prepared mobile launch capability which is designed to enable simple setup, launch without installed infrastructure, prepare complete "launch kits", containing all the hardware and other means to conduct a launch.

This will not be easy to actually lease or sell, as the regulations in US are still being formulated.
But with actual hardware "kits", the characteristics of these may enable the licensing. Until that can happen, the launching as a service will still be possible via the launch license process for the N Prize launches.

Not counting hardware test components and test vehicles flown under US amateur rocket regulations, it is anticipated that perhaps 3 to 5 launches for orbit will be the N Prize attempts, with the remainder available as a product. The prize attempts will characterize the performance and allow adjusting for the 125 gram capability.

Though the N Prize vehicle (termed "ML-N" in internal planning) will not be capable of reaching escape velocity, it will use the same major components as the original entry point "ML-1", for 100-200 grams to escape (shown on the Microlaunchers site) and with a set of eight tank tubes, in a configuration resembling a Saturn-1, ML-2 will be designed to deliver to escape about 3 kg, or about 1 kg onto lunar surface or to orbit of a near Earth asteroid.

These further activities will be done via a separate corporation after the mission for these extended plans are better established.

The N Prize opportunity has become a new lower threshold entry point for the planned series of Microlauncher systems


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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:10 am
As just posted in the N Prize forum, there's not a whole lot to add to last update--things are slow till financing is arranged. Talks are underway now re setting up and funding a separate corporation for the N Prize entry and production of 100 launchers.

As before the launchers left after prize attempts will become or be used as a product.

Regulatory and liability issues will probably delay offering "launch kits", but a kind of lease may be possible. Both IBM and Xerox leased their product for years before selling. The more likely start point is a launch service for 125 gram satellites--perhaps Pocket Cubes, the new standard being set up by Bob Twiggs, of Cubesat fame.

As stated in the N Prize presentation of April 2009 on microlaunchers.com, the nominally 18 gram satellite will send, along with temperature, battery voltage the amount of propellant in the third stage at release of the satellites (probably 2 per attempt). This will assure the capacity of 125 grams for Pocket Cube.

In the brief mention in Air & Space, page 10 the launchers will use beverage cans for propellant tanks. Only for 2nd, 3rd stage actually--the 1st stage is still to use 8 inch irrigation tubing or equivalent.

The next upcoming steps are to incorporate Microlaunchers in Nevada, separately from the N Prize corp, and secure the shop space in Henderson, the southern part of Las Vegas.

As in the April 09 presentation, the 3rd stage engine will be designed, tested first so to determine the GLOW, and because it is less espensive to start there. The test setup for that may be prepared as a product--a desktop scale engine test kit.

Charles Pooley


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Post Re: update, near term plans updated update   Posted on: Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:03 pm
Now living in Las Vegas, not Henderson. Until I can lease a shop building (too financially risky to do that out of my pocket), over half the floor space of the residence will be for electronic/small parts development.

Because of the new Nanosatellite Challenge with its $2 million prize, the focus is now on parallel development of the similar "ML-N" and "ML-1" launchers. The latter, to be capable of one Cubesat, is what is required for next year's Challenge.

Both are to be 3 stage, GLOW of about 80 kg for N Prize, 100 to 120 for Cubesat, with most major parts in common. A small production run of about 100 is still the plan, with the leftovers to be a product--initially launch service.

The larger prize and better publicity in US should help in finding participants, investor or sponsors.


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Post Re: updated update   Posted on: Sat May 14, 2011 3:26 pm
Since last post I have relocated to eastern part of Las Vegas, north of Henderson. In the apartment is means to work on some of the smaller parts before a shop is leased. Still have not leased one yet--that will await better financial situation.

At Space Access in Phoenix last month I was interviewed by Moonandback.
part one: http://moonandback.com/ .

There's also a new Meetup group here in Vegas that will meet on Saturdays:
http://www.meetup.com/microlaunchers-com/ .

Design of portions of system still ongoing.


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Post Re: update, near term plans   Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:00 pm
Well, I do hope you succeed - 3kg to escape, I wonder what sort of missions that would enable if equipped with a small ion engine... a radar satellite to Ceres, perhaps?


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