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Posted by: Dr_Keith_H - Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:29 am
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Post first ?   Posted on: Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:29 am
Hello? Anybody in here?

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Tue Feb 22, 2005 7:18 pm
good question. wild guess, since they actually seem to be doing stuff, if slower than most teams, no.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:24 am
Well, sorry, but there's not really much on which to comment in here. Sure Micro-Space might be a worthwhile operation, but they haven't done anything yet on which I can form an opinion or analyize. Or, perhaps that in of itself is something worth commenting on...

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Post Micro-Space Progress   Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:06 am
We are spread a bit thin here, so news won't be frequent.

Like most X-Prize competitors, we promised to perfect our system with unmanned (actually robotic) flight tests. This isn’t the way that Burt Rutan did it, but then we don’t have a history of successfully developing hundreds of manned aerospace vehicles to build on. We do have a history of hundreds of flights of small rockets with telemetry, several successful flights with active guidance systems and success with high resolution tracking systems.

We have an active development and flight test program for controlled, unmanned rockets (although it may be politically incorrect to admit it) including Flight Termination Systems. We have done preliminary work with the FAA/OCST relative to launch licensing for our unmanned tests, and have invested considerable effort into developing launch plans for these rockets. A number of “popular” launch sites will never be licensed for testing of unmanned, developmental rockets.

Anyone who has not completed these steps will not test a credible precursor to a manned rocket. John Carmack, of Armadillo Aerospace, is well along this path. So are we. Rutan made the other approach look easy, taking only 8 years to go from the altitude record holding Proteus, to the new record holding SpaceShipOne. I shudder to think about those who promise to shortcut this process!

Our design is certainly “Spartan”, as described in the FAA report. Complexity and weight have always had a major impact on the development costs of anything. So the simplest possible system will be much less expensive to develop than a more elegant design. If the proponents of the elegant designs really have the funds to complete such expensive projects – good for them. We don’t. On the other hand, our design offers special uses. We are really focused on a ONE MAN launch. This, and our minimal system, is perfect for “Space Diving”, including the development of astronaut rescue systems. We have already produced the components to begin flight tests (manned and unmanned) of this system, when we find pilot/passengers and funding for such an effort.

For our effort, and everyone else’s, I wish someone would offer AFFORDABLE PRESSURE SUITS, and a vacuum test / training facility for these. Neither of these is overly difficult. But I don’t want to add this to my task list (although I can offer suggestions). Some day people will remember the oxygen mask demonstration in airplanes, and remember that oxygen won’t keep you alive in zero pressure. “In case of depressurization, in your experimental spacecraft ….” DO WHAT?

No one is going to fly passengers without supplying emergency pressure suits, and the current scarcity of them says more about the spaceflight time frame than all the press releases!


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:46 pm
Cool. Ask and ye shall receive. Thanks for dropping us a line rpspeck. Mind if I just ask you a few "tester" questions? It's just to see how often you can drop in and let us know about things micro-space-related.

1. I notice that the Crusader-X schematic is decorated by a red cross on a white field. Was the inspiration for this

a) a love of England's flag?
b) St George and the dragon?
c) an interest in the history of the crusades? (my bet)
d) something else?

2. Is there another website with more up-to-date information concerning your team's progress? The website we are looking at currently (http://micro-space.com/) is the same one we've seen for quite a long time. I understand that website glitz has virtually nothing to do with actual progress (re: daVinnie and others) but it would be nice to have the occasional little update about new sprockets ordered or whatever. Just to show that the patient still has some life. Armadillo does this and it annoys very few people.

3. Is there any relationship whatsoever between your group and the similarly termed satellite communication outfit Microspace? Or the PC applications development team Micro Space Systems?

Thanks,
DKH

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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:57 am
1. Re our design patterns: I confess to being a “born again”, bible believing Christian. I believe that the Creator of the Universe wants mankind to intelligently utilize the resources on, inside and off this planet. I think He is actively encouraging us to tap off planet resources which will makes fights over what are now arguably “scarce resources” laughable. This has happened a number of times in the last 2000 years.

Micro-Space’s progress over the last 14 years has been made possible by events so improbable as to reasonably be labeled “miraculous”. If these miracles continue we will not only achieve orbital spaceflight, but land a payload on (or in) the Moon. I don’t think the Jewish carpenter I call “Boss” intends that bible toting Christians should walk the surface of the Moon only once. Whatever role we may play in this heroic journey, we soldier onward with this idea: “In this Sign, conquer Space!”

And yes, I am fascinated with the Crusades as a whole, but not with a fixation on the defects of its human activity, since such efforts always fall short of the inspiring idea. Responding to the fears of Constantinople, the “idea” unified the fragmented nations of the continent, and held back the Islamic invasion of Europe (outside Spain) for 356 years. The fears, voiced in 1092AD, were certainly not imaginary, since that city is now called Istanbul. In the process, the cross fertilization of science and technology from east to west exploded. A courageous social scientist might discuss progress in science and technology, on both sides, during the 552 years since the battle for that strategic crossroads ended.

2. Up dates, including more photos, for the website are in process. But at the moment I am more focused in getting our coherent Telemetry / Control link hardware in operation
since this will radically upgrade the "range" component of our precision tracking system, and permit flight documentation comperable to NASA's best "instrumented Test Range".

3. The only relationship is that there is a dash in our name (on line and corporate) because they had already grabbed the domain name without the dash! Ours is a renamed Colorado Corporation, manufacturing electronic and electro-optic instruments since 1977. Richard P. Speck


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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 04, 2005 9:04 am
rpspeck wrote:
1. Re our design patterns: I confess to being a “born again”, bible believing Christian.

Viva la difference. Proving that peoples of all backgrounds have equal validity to harness whatever inspires them. More power to you.

Quote:
2. Up dates, including more photos, for the website are in process. But at the moment I am more focused in getting our coherent Telemetry / Control link hardware in operation
since this will radically upgrade the "range" component of our precision tracking system, and permit flight documentation comperable to NASA's best "instrumented Test Range".

Well, I consider this post of yours an update. Thanks very much for taking the time. I wish you luck with telemetry improvements and look forward to seeing some updates on your site.

In fact, I wish your outfit further miracles. :wink:

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:14 am
Micro-Space manned design history:

Several X PRIZE teams apparently planned to fly when Murphy was on vacation. Since those days (when "Murphy’s Law" would be suspended) are not marked in my Day Timer, I was left with visions of trying to get out of a flaming (in dreams they are always flaming) spacecraft tumbling from the sky. I put some effort into this problem in 2002, in preparation for a Dec.17, 2003, 120 foot rocket powered hop. (One of those 100th anniversary ideas.) Rutan of course upstaged everything else done that day, and efforts to upgrade my motor thrust bore no fruit that year in any case.

Like Rutan, I figured step one was to kiss the instrument panel goodbye. But for step two, I don’t think I could have crawled out the hole in the SpaceShipOne nose under those conditions. I envisioned something more like an ejection seat. (I once sat in a real F-15. “See that striped cord? Yes, the safety is on. Now, never touch it!”) I even worried about getting the canopy out of the way. (Did you ever notice the zigzags milled into the JSF canopy over the pilots head? Those make it a little easier to be driven THROUGH the canopy if it jams.)

I confess that my X PRIZE design was a compromise, addressing the prize rules with hardware I could produce. But I never really liked the three passenger idea. Now I don’t need to pretend to like it. That pilot position works better in a bobsled. With axial acceleration, you are effectively hanging head downward. Boot hooks and shoulder straps would be necessary to keep you in your seat. Both complicate getting out. Any adjustment to the angle raises the air drag. It is tricky to get the top of the craft off, and this provision destroys any possibility of a pressure hull. (Plus a square box makes a poor pressure hull).

Our new “Spartan” one person design uses a stand up position. You start out hanging in a parachute harness, and stay in it. I credit the FAA “Suborbital report” with bringing “Space Diving” to my attention. If anyone ever funds my human spaceflight efforts, it won’t be someone insisting on a ride in a cozy box. I much prefer the idea of landing with proven skydiving equipment that developing a complex alternative. So, with Micro-Space, you “punch out” on every flight!

My preferred hardware is expendable, although reuse is possible. But then again, my expendable hardware will cost less than Virgin’s $200K ticket! And they are not going to let one of you jump out.

The 2 foot diameter, cylindrical hull now has a wrap around window. It is modestly pressurized, and the pressure assures you get out, even from low altitude. You are extracted (by that parachute harness) when the nose is released, and the pressure pops you out like a cork. This is a variant of what is actually used in “human cannonball” stunts (air pressure launched – in spite of the cosmetic flash/bang).

The motor cluster is now below this minimum diameter capsule. The center of that cluster contains ten (or more) clustered solid fuel motors.(Cesaroni PRO38 765J330-16A) I have had 100% reliability with these motors, and ignition scatter (from e match to full thrust) of .3 to .5 seconds. These weigh only 7.5 kg for the cluster, and will boost the capsule with pilot to 58 meters/sec above launch vehicle speed. Failure of one or two SRBs would modestly decrease this boost. This yields a 230 meter (760 ft) apogee from zero/zero abort. A BRS approach could assist with parachute deployment, or a larger cluster of SRBs can be used. Two seconds of launch acceleration increases abort apogee to 1600 feet. Since the entire liquid fuel motor cluster is stabilized at full thrust before a commitment to flight, catastrophic failure at this moment is most unlikely.

We have explored balloon launch, and while possible, it is expensive, and severely complicates the launch operation. Its best attributes are better abort position, if the above is not considered adequate, and a reduction in the cabin pressure drop rate. Since the cabin will be depressurized to near outside pressure before egress, this drop may be uncomfortable.

The main motors will be a cluster of 8” or 4” propulsion modules, like the ones we have been flying for three years. While we have produced a quantity of these 4” units which would allow manned flights to begin, 330,000 foot (or higher) apogee will require the larger thrust units which are in development.

While a parachute harness is designed to handle large acceleration without injury, it is likely that the constant 3 G total acceleration will be uncomfortable and in this position could lead to “g lock” (blackout). A pressure system to squeeze the lower body is expected to be used as a “g” suit to counter this. This situation is surprisingly easy to simulate, test and train for. It can be arranged by suspending these parachute harnesses from a framework circling once every three seconds if the lines are cut to swing the user in a 20 ft radius circle. (Matching mass is hung on the opposite side). It is possible that two pair of support “panty hose” can replace the “g suit”.

Obviously, “space diving” will require a reliable pressure suit. Note however, that the “counter pressure suit” (including at least chest banding) allows complete redundancy, and fail safe operation – including no tear/cut problem. (As noted elsewhere I need help with design and testing in this area). The attitude control, communications, and telemetry systems are not serious problems, and have been successfully addressed in our efforts.

Note that “g lock” is not serious, if the craft remains in control. Our automated control systems have worked adequately in guided rocket flight. Moreover, our concept places very experienced operators on the ground (where they can think clearly). They have systems control if manual override becomes necessary. The primary task for the flyer, besides enjoying the view from the window, is to pull the eject cord when he panics. This shuts down the liquid fuel rockets, pops the capsule ”cork”, and lights the SRB pack to separate him from the vehicle.

No direct effort is being made on this system, for lack of funds and users. Development of our propulsion modules, to fly instruments into the upper atmosphere or space, is going forward steadily. As described, these modules form the core of the manned flight unit.


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