An idea about a method to repair space satellites and research instruments


log in

Advanced search

Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : An idea about a method to repair space satellites and research instruments

Author Message
Profile Bob DeWoody
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 9 May 10
Posts: 1610
Credit: 574,965
RAC: 447
United States
Message 1369448 - Posted: 18 May 2013, 19:22:37 UTC

In the thread about the trouble the Kepler telescope is having I posted an idea about a means to effect repairs to these vehicles and prevent them from becoming multi-million dollar space junk.

It is not practical to build in total redundancy from the beginning as the craft would get too heavy to launch and the costs would be prohibitive. But for little additional cost or weight penalty a certain number of docking ports for small repair modules could be built and added to future space instruments. These docking ports would be like USB ports on computers. Once attached the repair module would become part of the instrument package replacing or enhancing the damaged component. The repair module would be case specific and therefore light weight and small. It still wouldn't be cheap to launch unless it was included with scheduled resupply missions to the ISS and from there dispatched to the ailing vehicle. Remote and automated controls would be capable of making the intercept and subsequent docking.
____________
Bob DeWoody

My motto: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow as it may not be required. This no longer applies in light of current events.

Profile Michel448a
Volunteer tester
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 27 Oct 00
Posts: 1201
Credit: 2,891,635
RAC: 0
Canada
Message 1369450 - Posted: 18 May 2013, 19:25:33 UTC
Last modified: 18 May 2013, 19:26:24 UTC

a spatio port :) for repairs and assembly futur crafts like all entreprise fleet
____________

Profile ML1
Volunteer tester
Send message
Joined: 25 Nov 01
Posts: 8484
Credit: 4,186,166
RAC: 1,828
United Kingdom
Message 1369493 - Posted: 18 May 2013, 23:14:06 UTC

I like it! A Borg-cube of nano-cubes?

:-)


To be fair for the Kepler mission, they designed in an extra reaction wheel in case of one failing, and they have a very healthy excess of fuel for the thrusters. The design compromises made for the cost vs lifespan look to have been exactly right in that the spacecraft completed its intended mission and we have a surfeit of data to keep us busy analyzing for years yet.

It's always heartbreaking to an engineer/scientist when failure of just one component brings down an otherwise healthy system. However, Kepler has done its job. Whatever else we get from it is now a serendipitous 'bonus'.


Assuming docking ports had been added for bolt-ons for what-if fixes... I very much suspect that a whole new Kepler is cheaper and better for launching new more recent technology than throwing the same or even greater costs at a risky sentimental rescue mission add-on to now old hardware...


Lets instead celebrate a job well done!

Keep searchin',
Martin

____________
See new freedom: Mageia4
Linux Voice See & try out your OS Freedom!
The Future is what We make IT (GPLv3)

Profile Bob DeWoody
Avatar
Send message
Joined: 9 May 10
Posts: 1610
Credit: 574,965
RAC: 447
United States
Message 1369496 - Posted: 18 May 2013, 23:56:00 UTC

My idea is that if the replacement module is light enough it can be piggy backed on another satellite launch or as I stated included in a resupply to the ISS and launched from there. Many times cheaper than building a whole new telescope or major instrument platform requiring it's own dedicated launch. If future projects were built from the start to accept such a package they could have much longer mission durations and maybe help decrease the amount of space garbage in orbit, which is what satellites become after their mission is complete or they take a powder.

And I agree that the Kepler mission has been a great success, but imagine how much more it could do if there were a way to effect repairs while it still has potential.

____________
Bob DeWoody

My motto: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow as it may not be required. This no longer applies in light of current events.

Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : An idea about a method to repair space satellites and research instruments

Copyright © 2014 University of California