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Deep Space Hardware (MARS)

Posted by: rpspeck - Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:57 am
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Deep Space Hardware (MARS) 
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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:13 pm
I have been “Whelmed” for several months (struggling to keep from being Overwhelmed !) and have posted very little. Since much has happened, I will try to catch up with update installments.

Our NASA work went very well, and we are optimistic about the prospects for Phase 2 Funding! We not only demonstrated that we could accomplish the desired “Automated Celestial Navigation” on Mars and Earth's Moon, we were able to expand the applications for use on asteroids, on Mars' moons and other applications. We were also able to expand the system's utility to automatically provide high quality records of all exploration activities and findings using the same basic hardware. :D

We did find, and work around, a number of “Undocumented Features” of the commercial components we were using (and will probably continue to use) and had several pleasant surprises when expected problems didn't materialize, and component performance exceeded expectations. Both of these are typical in a development effort, with the former guaranteeing that the “Work Plan” and “Schedule” are edited early and often!

In the context of this Forum, we are very pleased with our “Star Tracking” results, and in particular with those using a commercial 1 gram video camera. There is no question that we will be able to use these for precise navigation in ultralight lunar and interplanetary spacecraft! With all of the necessary hardware and analytic electronics, our system will probably be under 10 grams mass, a small part of a 1 to 3 kilogram “NanoCraft”, bound for aerocapture at Mars.

Our work on the PQ-Satellite cluster is also going well, with the mass of important systems shrinking as we progress. I confess to thoughts of not just the present 2 inch cube (120 gram mass), but of what we could fit into a One Inch Cube (15 gram mass)! A working satellite of that size is definitely feasible. On the other hand, we are also forcing some very sophisticated demonstration systems into the 2 inch cube.

I am very optimistic about entrepreneurial space work, including human expeditions! It is easy to get discouraged about short term news, but I can see how much progress has been made since 2001, when I proclaimed “The Road to Space is OPEN!” (Open, but not Easy.) I had good reason (with supporting documentation) to make that claim in my 2001 “Bubonicon” presentation, and progress since only reinforces that conclusion. On the other hand, funding remains difficult to raise. Thus it is important to continue to focus on the smallest, lightest systems possible to accomplish a goal in space. Launch cost , per pound to orbit, will remain high, But:

With serious mass minimization, even Human Interplanetary Expeditions are now affordable!


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:41 pm
The IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) has completed its "Frequency Coordination Efforts" for our PQ-Gemini Satellite Cluster to be flown to orbit late this year (typical Launch Schedule adjustments may occur). This is the internationally recognized process by which amateur satellites are "Licensed", involving operations for which the principles are already Licensed as Amateur Radio Operators in their nations of residence.

Official Frequency Coordination for the Four Satellites of the PQ Gemini Satellite Cluster places their operation in a band at 437.525 MHz +/- 10 kHz.

Operation is planned with 2048 Hz frequency offsets, with 2-1-2 spacing. i.e. 437.525 MHz center of 20 khz band, 2048 Hz Delta Base Offset YIELDS:
roughly 437.519, 437.524, 437.526, 437.531 MHz "In Orbit" carrier frequencies for the four satellites of this cluster (no Doppler Offsets).

BPSK modulation at no more than 300 Baud adds 300 Hz min (to 600 Hz max) to the "occupied bandwidth" of any of these carriers. Each satellite will emit no more than 10 milliwatts RF.

Command Uplink is planned to fit into this same frequency band, probably into the "2 Delta" gaps (4096 Hz gaps), offset 1024 Hz from the carrier of the intended cluster member. Command frequencies at the Earth Station will be offset up to +/- 10.5 kHz from these Orbital Frequency targets to "Pre-compensate" for Doppler Shift.

Each satellite of the cluster will continuously monitor the transmissions of the other three members, Phase Locking its transmission to a designated Master Unit, with emissions of a properly phase locked group appearing at 2048, 4096, 6144 or 10,240 Hz (1, 2, 3 or 5 Delta Base) offset from its own carrier, which serves as the Local Oscillator for its receiver.

It should be possible for a Ham, with a standard communications receiver, to monitor all four satellites simultaneously as CW transmissions, if the receiver bandwidth is not set too narrow. The satellite data transmissions will also be time synchronized, with distinctive codes for the satellites sent sequentially, unless one or more satellites have been switched into a continuous "Data Dump" mode by ground command.

Analysis of the Phase of the received, phase coherent signals, will provide high resolution information about their 3 dimensional distribution in space (practical resolution can reach 1 centimeter). This is a modified form of ISAR (Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar, with cooperating sources rather than RF reflections.

This completes the Preflight Licensing, Notifications and Coordination required by national and international law before our satellites can fly.

Richard P. Speck, K0HWA, Micro-Space, Denver, Colorado, USA


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:26 pm
IOS Launch may Soon allow Micro-Space “Deep Space, NanoCraft” flight testing.

Micro-Space keeps in touch with “Interorbital Systems”, because they appear to offer the Only Affordable access to space for Experimental Craft which Include Propulsion. (Our PQ-Gemini satellites are prohibited from having a propulsion system.) Progress and Good News follows:

<http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18780.new#new>
See 8/16/2010 Post with Image of Interorbital Liquid Fuel Tank
(NASASpaceFlight.com Forum > General Space Flight (Atlas, Delta, ESA, Russian, Chinese) > Commercial Launchers (Inc. Orbital COTS/CRS) > Topic: InterOrbital space activities)


Interorbital's CEO Randa Milliron reports that the pictured fuel tank is one being prepared for near term flight tests. Several flights, including one spaceflight with a paying customer, are planned before any orbital attempt, and these will use a single “Module” with a fuel tank like that pictured.

This tank is 24 inches in diameter, and when full of fuel, will bring the Module mass to 4000 pounds. A “Fuel Mass Fraction” of 87% was claimed by Randa (although I am not certain if this included all module hardware in the “inert fraction”, or just the fuel tank and its associated fittings). This is fairly high for a pressure fed, liquid fuel system, and is made possible using either aluminum or thin stainless steel liners and wound fiber reinforcement (Graphite?). Another 6000 to 7000 pound thrust motor is being prepared for static testing, and will be mated with its fuel tank soon. Fuel is the IOS standard, IWFNA (Inhibited White Fuming Nitric Acid) with a hydrocarbon mix dominated by Turpentine. (“Inhibited” refers to small additives in commercial grade WFNA which greatly restrict its reaction with normal Stainless Steel Tanks.)

One lower altitude flight test will be flown at the nearby “Mojave Test Area”, with a 50,000 foot waver clearance. That flight will have a restricted fuel loading to qualify as an Amateur, Class 3 rocket flight. Arrangements have been made for subsequent suborbital flights to be conducted at “Spaceport America” (New Mexico Spaceport). Like the current spaceflights flown by UP Aerospace, those flights can be tracked from the White Sands rocket facility across the low mountains to the east.

Unlike the solid fuel UP Aerospace flights, Interorbital's takeoff will begin at less that 1 g acceleration, with long sustained thrust. Peak altitude is projected to be 100 to 120 miles (Possibly 200 km), and the flights are to be guided. Guidance will use “Secondary Fluid Injection” in the motor (effective only while the motor is running) for these flights. (Differential throttling is planned for guidance of the Orbital Launch Cluster.) One of these 100 to 120 mile altitude flights will carry 100 to 150 pounds of payload for the “Paying Customer” mentioned earlier.

The schedule for flights to orbit with Interorbital vehicles “Has Slipped” (like every schedule in aerospace – Except for Burt Rutan's – since he refuses to reveal any schedule for future events!) Randa implied that the “Customer's” New Mexico flight would occur early next year, with a high altitude test flight before that very likely.

The above picture, and additional information, are Good News for any of us who have been hoping (even Praying) for Interorbital success. No other space launch offers to carry experimental spacecraft with any kind of propulsion (even CO2 or Freon jets)! In my opinion, Interorbital offers the only hope of success with the Google Lunar X PRIZE. With all other launch services, now existing or under development, flying a fueled lander and transfer stage either creates an unacceptable risk to reusable launch hardware, human crew members and other payload systems, or simply costs too much to make the GLXP a good gamble!

Richard Speck, Micro-Space


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Post Re: Deep Space Hardware (MARS)   Posted on: Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:38 pm
Personal Spaceflight: Start Now

Micro-Space is preparing our 2 to 3 “PQ-Gemini (++)” satellite cluster for flight into Sun-Synchronous orbit late this year. This (and a sting of proposals, plus the pater we presented at the AUVSI, international meeting last month) is keeping us pretty busy! More later. For Now: An Opportunity:

We have offered to help OpenLuna with their fund raising efforts by flying a copy of a “Supporter List” in each of our tiny satellites. This is like the “Bigelow Aerospace” paid service, flying business cards and photos to orbit in one of their “Orbital Habitat”, but we can't provide any form of Radio Downlink associated with a payment, because that is prohibited by our Amateur Radio licensing for our Satellite Communications. You will be able to track and listen to the satellite beacons with good Ham Radio Gear (all transmissions will be clustered around 437.525 MHz). If you chose to respond to this opportunity, you will know that your Name and Message are flying in space with those satellites!

Think of it as Your Name Card on a Banquet or Conference Table (in SPACE)!

Of course this is “Simply Symbolic”! As if “Symbolism” is simple and meaningless! Every “Big Accomplishment” starts with a concept, and usually does not move forward until we “Own” and “Name” that concept – making it a “project”. Progress accelerates when we add substance (as a commitment and effort) in the form of money (we trade hours of of our life and real effort for the money we receive – we flag anything we will exchange it for as important to us). God knows (as do many successful humans) that Dreams which inspire effort and personal investment have a chance of being fulfilled! Those that don't will “die on the vine”.

You can dream of flying into space, and do nothing about this invitation. But if so, you will probably find “good reasons” to avoid all the other steps necessary to see your dream of personal spaceflight realized! Decades from now, you will likely be considering your “missed opportunities”, and dreaming of “What Could Have Been”. Or you can begin to take steps which will make the reality possible!

Go to <http://openluna.org/mission1>, and select your level of commitment to this future. Get YOUR NAME onto the list of people “Planning to Fly into Space”!

“OpenLuna:

Sending your name, your loved ones's name, or a clever message into space just got easier. See existing content at openluna.org/mission1”. (None of the funds flow to Micro-Space.)

(Open Luna has done a good job of publicizing the concept of affordable, “Ultralight Spaceflight”, using Micro-Space demo hardware at a number of meetings and conferences. Just as “Ultralight Underwater Gear” (SCUBA), makes undersea exploration affordable for people who can't afford a submarine, Ultralight Space systems will make personal exploration in space affordable! Until the real possibility of “Affordable Spaceflight” sinks in, funding for these efforts will remain tiny compared to Auto or Sailboat racing. Funding comparable to that for an “America's Cup” racing team will take an adventurer to the Moon or Beyond!)

I had a dream (of participation in spaceflight). The first steps led to Telemetry, Tracking and Control, in small rockets. They grew to guided rockets, and liquid fuel motors. A NASA funded project was added. Now they include a cluster of co-operating satellites. What next? God Knows!

But MY Dream, like yours, began to become reality when I decided to Own it: to Attach My NAME to it, and take concrete steps. To put money into it (no matter how modest). The “Road to Space” is actually open: when you take those first actions, you step onto it! It is a long and difficult road, but all who walk that road are “Spaceflight Pioneers”. Not all will see their dreams completely realized, but all will be part of history, and will have aided others on that road. “The road goes on and on ...”, but all who have taken a step, and helped others on this road, will be able to take pleasure from being a part of this great adventure!


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