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These guys could possibly do it.

But their build rate is still much lower than the needed rate. They would need to build at 20-40X their projection of 100 to 200 per year for 4000 units/year. And then by 2023 be able to produce 16,000 units/year.
Electrical/RF systems need to be checked in vacuum hot/cold as well.  Bad connections and FOD can sometime not be found at ambient testing and the temperature extremes are key to finding these issues. It's not just prop (though I'm not really familiar if they do test fires in vacuum chambers, seems like a nightmare to keep the vacuum during firing and then cleanup afterwards).
Yes they do do test fires in vac chambers, especially of ion thrusters. Yes it is a PITA to keep the chamber pumped (the 100Kw NASA unit currently under test must be a colossal PITA)

But the industry is full of stories of stuff that ran fine in a room-tempearture-and-pressure test cell but went spectacularly "off nominal" when placed in a more accurate environment, a classic being the Shuttle APU. A 150Hp gas turbine powered hydraulic pumped powered by a chemical with nerve gas level exposure limits. The RUD must have been quite impressive but the cleanup afterward would have been even more so.  :(
Not every process/product is conducive to fully robotic manufacture yet.  For a lot of things you'd spend far more on developing all of the specialized robots than you would just hiring people to assemble them.
I suspect this is the real reason so many shots of satellites being assembled show them being surrounded by a group of people in bunny suits.  :(

Historically the argument has been "We only make a few of any kind of satellite. What we gain in the (potential) speed up of assembly and test we lose in the all the set up time."

From 1960-1980 this was probably true, but from then on I suspect the balance has been shifting. By then a compnay called Automatix was doing binary vision systems based on sensors based on RAM chips, but satellite mfg have never really felt they needed to spend that kind of money to get the speed up (although a study of the Iridium mfg line, developed by the guy who set up Apple's highly automated Macintosh assembly operation, would be an interesting benchmark).

Obviously that is now changing.
Great analysis.

And if some of it is subbed out, it doesn't matter if the sub is robotic or not, really... just that the input component or subassembly has to arrive in sufficient quantity to cover productions...
For this project both quantity and quality are issues.

It's no good if they deliver 40/week on time but even 3-4 of them fail every time.  :(
What I was trying to accomplish was to determine those items that could not be produced by readily available COTS (commercial off the shelf) manufacturing equipment. I think I am down to these items that will need specialized hardware built up/designed to be able to perform the task/manufacturing:
-Electric Thruster

Could you describe an electric thruster as several pieces of high tech piping?

If you could it might be in the range of SX's CNC pipe bending machines already, perhaps coupled with their 3d printing technology for the "pipe fittings."

If that can't deliver the performance Sandia NL has been doing a lot of work with Low Temperature Cofired Ceramic. Historically this has been used for making high reliability multi chip modules for things like RF modules, under-the-hood automotive electronics and other harsh environments.

Normally this stuff is used flat but Sandia have pioneered way more creative uses, such as bending them round curves like wing leading edges, but most impressive was an ion spectrometer they built by rolling the green (unfired) ceramic tapes into cylinders, after they'd screen printed on patterns for ion steering electrodes, heaters and resistors.

Keep in mind "Low Temperature" is a relative term. It's fired in a kiln at 950c, so it can run pretty hot without damage.

This probably would need a special purpose machine to to be built but the cost of automation has dropped dramatically when only something with the production run of a car engine could justify a completely automated line (as in the case of car engine blocks).
This basic video hit most of what we have been discussing here. I don't want to stir the pot, but to add emphasis there is much we don't know and much we simply don't understand yet. We need to keep an open mind.


The Vacuum Catastrophe | Space Time

There is a lot in there ripe for discussion, but just one thing I would question straight off.

While it is certain that at the longer wavelengths there is a degree of smooth transition between wavelengths, as wavelengths become increasingly shorter there is no certain evidence that the same smooth transition occurs. The background potential need only represent wavelengths that can be associated with a physical counterpart. Which would result in gaps in the high frequency short wavelength portions of the background potential..., and corresponding reduce the total ZPE potential. Perhaps not enough to alter the catastrophe issue... And then even if a full smooth background spectrum were to exist, only those potions that could be expected to interact with physical counter parts could have any affect on our reality. Reality, the universe as we know it would be essentially transparent to any background potential without a physical counter part, with which to interact.

SpaceX Missions Section / Re: Launch, Land, and Relaunch Party Thread
« Last post by CJ on Today at 08:09 PM »
I think the while fairing issue for Zuma is a misdirection. The put out the delay story, then went ahead and launched last Thursday. 
You don't really NEED humans for any manual procedure...if there is an off the shelf solution

for something like wiring
Lets not fool ourselves into thinking humans are needed if we don't want them to be.

Its a cost/benefit/existing solution question only.
Very interesting video. I hd not realized how far the SoA has come.

Particularly the ability to use standard wiring fittings and standard wire.

Of course a satellite bus is likely to be packed much tighter than this and and need fluid piping as well, so it would likely need some specialist grippers for those. But on this showing with the proper design it looks like the head count for the full line could be surprisingly low.

Magnets certainly can do work but what people really mean is if a magnet can be the energy source doing that work of which the answer classically is no. We can invest potential energy into a classical system involving magnets raising the potential energy which is reduced by the magnets then doing work. The myth than magnets call no work comes from the fact that a charged particle traveling in a constant magnetic field only has it's direction changed but not its momentum.

If I understand you, basically you are saying I'm correct regarding all that flux pouring out of a magnet or an electron charge or any EM field source but simply put, that energy can't be measured or used for any gain. If the ZPF continuously has to support each electron from decaying, it is delivering huge energies to support each electron in the universe to both keep it from decaying and to refresh the continuously departing EM fields emanating from each particle, exactly equal to the energy  that would be released if the electrons were allowed to decay or not be a source of fields. So the ZPF does all the work to maintain the universe in that view which you assert is now the standard QED view. If one cannot measure that flux, how is that view falsifiable? Thanks.

Electrons don't spiral into the nucleus and disappear. The necessity of the vacuum ZPF is that it preserves the Commutation relations between position and momentum. Without it, atoms would be unstable. So the fact that atoms are not unstable in general, is proof enough for me. However, what your question boils down to is, does the ZPF of minimum energy state really exist or is there an absolute zero energy. All experiments up to now show that we cannot reach absolute zero temperature and that the ZPF is real. See Milonni's book for the complete picture.


I don’t claim to know an answer to any of the many questions raised by this discussion. I do question, whether the following from your above post, accurately describes reality…, or perhaps is more a statement of the limitations, we experience by the very nature of observation, experiment and measurement...,

”… does the ZPF of minimum energy state really exist or is there an absolute zero energy. All experiments up to now show that we cannot reach absolute zero temperature and that the ZPF is real.…”

The question that keeps coming up for me is that… (setting aside the fact that we cannot as a matter of functional reality ever interact exclusively with the quantum vacuum (QV) or zero point field (ZPF) other than hypothetically, absent very real influences of existing magnetic/electromagnetic and gravitational fields, as well as a real broad spectrum EM background)...; if an absolute zero energy state existed as it relates to the QV and/or ZPF, there may not be any boundary conditions between that state of absolute zero and our “devices” and it is only changes in the boundary conditions or their effects on physical objects, that define our observations and measurement.

I do understand that it is at least in part your contention that it is an interaction between the ground state of the ZPF and the electron field around an atom that results in the fields stability. However, it might be equally argued that the boundary conditions between a charged proton and the surrounding ZPF give rise to the electron field, in the first place.

Stepping back for a moment. Even should the assumed ground state of the QV/ZPF represent the basis for the stability of particle charge and even matter itself, we have no way to know what the half life of say.., “an atom” might be, should the QV/ZPF it is immersed in be reduced to absolute zero.… Unless one assumes perhaps the electron itself is an artifact of an interaction between a charged particle (most commonly a proton) and the surrounding QV/ZPF. But then this, leads toward an almost ether like concept of the role that the QV/ZPF plays in the stability and even ultimately existence of charged particles and matter itself. (However this argument strays from the immediate issue and by its very nature becomes…, complex, to understate the situation.)

The point is or was intended to be, that we would have no way to measure absolute zero anything… at the scales involved, because we would be depending on observing changes in boundary conditions where no boundary conditions may exist.

Ultimately no one can currently answer the question, “… does the ZPF of minimum energy state really exist or is there an absolute zero energy.(?)”, with any certainty. Personally I believe but that is a ways from certainty!
So, given the requirement of launching before November is out and the nonzero chance the Zuma fairing is suspect as well, what are the odds that SpaceX just does not have another fairing ready? Their fairing production rate is also said to be limited, they really cannot crank them out fast.
The question being, what IS the issue with the fairings? Latches, structural integrity, adapter, insulation?
I spy with my @SpaceX eye ... nothing.

Portable floodlights on the TEL ramp, though. 🤔
So, given the requirement of launching before November is out and the nonzero chance the Zuma fairing is suspect as well, what are the odds that SpaceX just does not have another fairing ready? Their fairing production rate is also said to be limited, they really cannot crank them out fast.
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