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Mazon Del

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    Junior Rocket Scientist

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  1. Alright guys and gals, here's the situation. Despite being an engineer, I'm not up on orbital math like some of you, so this is mostly a "Can anyone tell if this is even within the realm of possibility?" type question. Enjoy. As we all know, or are learning now, the Hubble Space Telescope is in Low Earth Orbit at around 300 miles altitude. For reference the ISS is at about 250 miles. Hubble weighs about 24,500 lbs (11,110 kg) and is described as being 43x14 ft (13.2x4.2 meters) in size. What I propose as a possibility is the following: In short, utilize the Falcon Heavy as an unmanned recovery platform for the Hubble. The FH incidentally is 39.9 ft (12.2 m) in diameter. http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy I think the problem should be broken down into three aspects, the first is, regardless of HOW we go about attaching, securing, landing this whole thing together, does the FH have the dV to get up there to that orbit and land with that increased payload? The second is, can the FH carrying such a weight land at all? The third is, what sort of difficulties could we run into with the part where we attach and secure the Hubble to the FH? I've got a few random ideas on this, but do not take them as requirements for your solutions and proposals. First off, at current time how much effort, if any, is going into establishing a reusable 2nd stage rocket at SpaceX, is largely up for debate. I've heard reports that they are still working on it, others that say the effort has been shelved for the near term, etc. Given this, I posit that rather than attempting to use a system that doesn't exist yet (somewhat ironic of course, given that the FH has yet to fly, but it at least has prototypes under construction), we proceed along the lines of utilizing the FH without it's second stage rocket. Obviously this changes a lot of the equations a fair bit, that's for you all to discuss. I would state that the second stage is likely replaced by an extension to the main core of the FH, providing it with extra fuel for both the main rockets as well as the orbital maneuvering jets. Obviously any such system is going to need a some form of robotic arm/grappler, if only to help close up the satellite. For re-entry shielding purposes, I think one of NASAs deployable doughnut shields fit around the interface between the FH and the Hubble will suffice. Assorted possibilities to consider, if Hubble has any usable amount of propellant on board, it could be used to intentionally lower Hubble's orbit for the intercept with FH, thus reducing the dV requirements of the mission AND reducing Hubble's mass.
  2. http://observer.com/2016/04/elon-musk-says-spacex-city-on-mars-will-be-announced-in-guadalajara-mexico/ Musk announces/reconfirms that specific details about the Mars Colonization plans will be revealed in September.
  3. Off topic, but if you like a space vista with beautiful backgrounds that have "things" to look at, I recommend looking into Homeworld.
  4. One thing I read today is that they are looking into methods of recovering the fairings as apparently those actually cost upwards of a couple million on their own, which is kind of impressive to me. I'd always thought of them as just relatively precise latices of aluminum and basically sheet metal.
  5. That fear is still there for normal hull. Heck, on the first Moon missions I remember once reading about how the crew was acutely aware that if they were to elbow the wall hard enough or lose control of a pair of needle nose in certain areas there was a decent possibility of poking a hole in the hull.
  6. And indeed, even if the Falcon 9 flubbed the launch, it now has the capability to emergency eject the payload and activate the chutes during launch. I hope we don't need an "unplanned live test" of that capability anytime soon, but I also would love it if it worked that first time.
  7. http://news.yahoo.com/probe-ula-rocket-engine-early-215155316.html So it IS getting a review done. The Air Force wasn't too happy about how close things came so they are participating.
  8. In a similar line of thinking, what about the thought of machining a nozzle, and having it mounted to the rocket such that the motor's exhaust must flow through it? Of course stand back before you light it off.
  9. The problem is that there is currently no system in place to bring any of the modules back. The shuttle, best I am aware, was the only way that was even remotely possible.
  10. Quite an impressive post PB666, good work! The only immediate criticism I might have is that the biggest unknown on such material discussions is that we have a lot of theories on the elemental compositions of various planets, moons, asteroids, etc and some spectroscopy or other surface readings, we have precious little information on what actually lies beneath the surface of most of these bodies. One could probably fairly argue that any of the inner planets are largely likely to be elementally similar on the whole (excluding gasses) as it wouldn't make the most sense for say, Earth to have the uranium deposits it does, but Venus and Mars to have effectively zero, especially when given the largely randomized nature of matter distribution in an early and energetic solar system during planet formation. Any given asteroid is probably likely to simply be what it says on the tin, IE: given the surface area to volume ratios, what you can get from spectroscopy of an asteroid is most likely a fair representation of the contents within. Past a certain size though, this gets murky. Ceres for example might have some fairly interesting innards being a dwarf planet. Mars in many respects is probably set as far as any solid element is concerned, at least when considering a global sense. When you start to consider terraforming then the question gets interesting. The books Red Mars and Green Mars have some fairly interesting thoughts on various possibilities while generally assuming that Mars itself has quite a lot of stored sources of various gasses. Additionally, yes, there is the possibility of redirecting comets and the like to dump more gasses. Venus is harder to figure out as we don't really have too good of an idea what the surface conditions are like. There certainly isn't going to be much in the way of surface water for example, but quite possibly there could be some deep deposits. What is likely true is that short of some very interesting engine techs or semi-unlikely infrastructure growths, any initial Mars colony is likely to be fending for itself with ISRU activities for bulk materials. I partly come to this conclusion because first off, NASA has stated that any current plans for Mars missions are temporary stay only, no colonies. That means that so far the only group likely to have a means to Mars in the next 10 years AND a stated goal of colonization is Musk. Now, whatever your personal beliefs on the likelihood of his plan happening, you have to admit that currently we are absent any colonization statements from NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, or the Chinese Space Agency (I forget the name, sorry China!) that I am unaware of, this means that Musk is the only possible colonizer. While he has not revealed his plans yet, he has not historically seemed that interested in asteroid mining, so you could probably safely assume his Mars plans do not rely upon this. That said, if he has the means to reach Mars, he has the means to reach the asteroids, springing a surprise asteroid mining industry out there would also somewhat be in keeping with Musk's known MO. Even if all he did was offer a discount on launch services to Planetary resources in exchange for something like 1/10 of their mineral shipments heading to Mars instead of Earth, that could certainly help. The trick currently is still just the economics of it all. Yes setting down a gigaton of iron or even something more precious on Earth could make its owner a rich person, you have to get it there which has energy costs. Not to mention fascinating political and legal questions that are still as yet unsettled on the international stage. So right now, the only place you can make an economic profit (as opposed to an infrastructural profit [IE Using your resources to further develop your own capabilities rather than selling them]) is Earth or near Earth space, which again brings up those issues. So I suppose the tldr of this all is that we largely don't actually know what the elemental scene looks like in the solar system to any real degree of confidence and as such it is somewhat hard to predict what material trades or economies might develop in the early or late game, even more because we don't know what engine techs might exist.
  11. Personally, I've loved the idea (anybody got a rough idea how much that might cost, both in dV and in $?) of sticking a booster of some sort on it and just kinda kicking it into a solar orbit where we can one day enjoy it again.
  12. For a satellite launch, yes, but it is most certainly capable of suborbital shots as evidenced by their desire to use it as an anti-ICBM weapon.
  13. Really the big boon for it is the possibility of launching modules with very high volume, without having a similarly wide rocket. You can of course have fairings wider than the diameter of the rocket, but there is only so much you can do with that before it starts causing you issues. As increasing the diameter of the rocket tends to dramatically increase the costs of that rocket, it's a pretty decent way to pack big rooms onto smaller rockets.
  14. Technically only the laser is on a ship at the moment. The USS Ponce, and it is a test system, though testing is proceeding rapidly. I believe the laser is a 30,000 KW beam, and by the end of the year they intend to be testing something like a 150,000 KW beam. The railgun is not just yet on a ship, though that is supposed to happen this year, again it is a test system and not ready for combat though if the schedule holds they should start arming ships with production railguns on or about 2020.
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