Author Topic: NASA seeks to boost Mars communication network ahead of human missions  (Read 15029 times)

Offline Chalmer

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So which companies will be able to bid?

Offline Star One

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So which companies will be able to bid?

The major satellite builders. Boeing, LM, Northrop etc.
« Last Edit: 05/07/2016 12:57 PM by Star One »

Offline Chalmer

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So which companies will be able to bid?

The major satellite builders. Boeing, LM, Northrop etc.

Thanks for the answer.

LM and Boeing I had figured.

Based on discussion upthread it sounds like there is only a handful that are eligible. Can you give a full list?

1. Boeing
2. Lockheed Martin
3. Northrop Grumman
4. Space Systems Loral?
5. ATK Orbital?

Is that an exhaustive list? Ball? SNC?

Offline Star One

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So which companies will be able to bid?

The major satellite builders. Boeing, LM, Northrop etc.

Thanks for the answer.

LM and Boeing I had figured.

Based on discussion upthread it sounds like there is only a handful that are eligible. Can you give a full list?

1. Boeing
2. Lockheed Martin
3. Northrop Grumman
4. Space Systems Loral?
5. ATK Orbital?

Is that an exhaustive list? Ball? SNC?

With the last two looks OK to me?

Offline TrueBlueWitt

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It's interesting they note Atlas 431 or F9. And launch dV of 15km/sec. 

Could F9 do this for 2000kg sat prior to 190Klbf update?

And if it could. Would NASA update requirements given added dV capability? Use it to shorten the flight time to Mars? Or keep the margin and use to cut booster cost with stage recovery?

Online Ronsmytheiii

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Thanks for the answer.

LM and Boeing I had figured.

Based on discussion upthread it sounds like there is only a handful that are eligible. Can you give a full list?

1. Boeing
2. Lockheed Martin
3. Northrop Grumman
4. Space Systems Loral?
5. ATK Orbital?

Is that an exhaustive list? Ball? SNC?


Northrop Grumman's Eagle Spacecraft only uses monopropellant, not electric
I think the same is true for Ball and their Buses are rather small

SNC doesnt build large satellites like this proposal calls for

"Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace." - Robert Goddard

Online savuporo

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Lets add a bit more color

Boeing 702SP - obvious early technology leader, with ion ( XIPS-25 ) propulsion. All electric satellites in orbit since 2015
Space Systems Loral 1300 - extensive heritage with SPT-100 stationkeeping hall thrusters from Fakel/Snecma, but no all electrics yet. First order for EUTELSAT 7C, probably incorporating SPT-140 / Snecma PPS-5000.  By far the strongest platform by market orders
Lockheed A2100 - just recently getting commercial orders, strong heritage platform, currently undergoing extensive modernization. Aerojet XR-5 ( ex Busek BPT-4000 ) hall thrusters. First order JCSat 17 in 2016
Orbital GEOStar-3 - new platform under development, evolved from Geostar-2,  Aerojet XR-5 hall thrusters full electric option announced, no orders yet

I think these proposals are going to be very interesting, and JPL's choice, if any, as well.

Just for reference i'll add two tables, the longer one is a bit dated. This would fall in the 'medium' or smaller category, i.e. below 2500

Also interesting to note, Europe and CNES in particular is subsidizing faster development of all electric competitive platforms for Airbus and Thales, through Snecma PPS 5000 development
« Last Edit: 05/07/2016 06:01 PM by savuporo »
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Offline Robotbeat

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So sounds like Orbital/ATK wouldn't be considered if this was pre-Dawn but post-DS-1, even though at that point Orbital would've had unique capability of having built an operational deep-space ion propulsion spacecraft (beyond Earth orbit).
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Online savuporo

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So sounds like Orbital/ATK wouldn't be considered if this was pre-Dawn but post-DS-1, even though at that point Orbital would've had unique capability of having built an operational deep-space ion propulsion spacecraft (beyond Earth orbit).
I'm not sure why would you be saying that ? Obviously OSC was well qualified for building Dawn, partly thanks to DS-1 which was a high risk high reward technology development and maturation mission, by design. And i'm not sure, but they probably could have met the requirements listed here too even in 2007, adjusting for comsat size inflation perhaps.
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Offline redliox

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cuddihy made an interesting point regarding orbits at Mars, especially stationary orbits.  His points also came from the Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla.  Here's cuddihy's stuff:

Yes, mars geostationary orbit "a" is 20,438 km, but then that can only cover abt 1/3 of the surface (like a GSO sat). If you're willing to launch 3 or 4 of them that works, but if you go to about 8500-9000 km you would get several hours coverage over a landing site per pass from a single satellite, with global mars coverage but only a few hours per site at a time.

Either one of these altitudes gets nearly full earth coverage, and with big enough antennas like they can build now you could get impressive, multi - MB coverage to earth continuously.

So in the near term the medium orbit single sat is probably the best idea, because it alone can give you hours long high bw coverage for hours for important things like EDL.
 Long term, it makes sense to put 3 MSO sats around mars.

The problem is you can't launch any of that in the same launch as red dragon 2018--it's going to get there at the same time as red dragon and aero braking or manuevering into final orbit/checkout makes it useless for EDL. So for now you're stuck with the low orbit Sats relaying...

Optimally we'd have launched a comm sat last week...

Here's a great NASA discussion of martian comm sat orbits:
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2013/stationkeeping-in-mars-orbit.html

Looking at a map of Mars regarding stable stationary satellite positions, it looks like the eastern part of Elysium Mons and Meridiani are the regions where comsats could 'hover' stably, whereas the Tharsis Montes are very unstable.  If we're talking a com network meant to last and to support humans this would definitely be useful knowledge.
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Or:
SUN-MARS LIBRATION POINTS AND
MARS MISSION SIMULATIONS

Quote
Existing research has identified potential utility and data for Sun-Mars libration point
missions, particularly for satellites orbiting the L1 and L2 points serving as Earth-Mars communication relays.

They are more stable than the aerosync ones ... and not as hard delta-v wise, just complicated to enter.

Offline redliox

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Or:
SUN-MARS LIBRATION POINTS AND
MARS MISSION SIMULATIONS

Quote
Existing research has identified potential utility and data for Sun-Mars libration point
missions, particularly for satellites orbiting the L1 and L2 points serving as Earth-Mars communication relays.

They are more stable than the aerosync ones ... and not as hard delta-v wise, just complicated to enter.

Possibly, but likewise why don't we use them at Earth? I'm going to guess signal strength is the other factor in addition to coverage.
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Offline Jim

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Possibly, but likewise why don't we use them at Earth? I'm going to guess signal strength is the other factor in addition to coverage.

Because they would require tracking antenna on the ground

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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If both the ground and Sat used similar phased arrays (same size and transmit power) with computation power to track multiple sources, then this could give significant gain to improve data rates significantly. With the capability to track multiple targets a sat could support multiple ground assets simultaneously and a ground item could then have a more continuous comm stream by doing a hand-off based on signal strength like cell phone towers.

A hardened 4G cell phone comm system would be an interesting starting point for a design with many of the problems for data communication already solved. If the the sat used a very large phased array or multi-narrow high gain spots the ground comm system could be literally the identical of a cell phone. This would enable comm from spacesuits direct to sat (voice, video and data simultaneously).

The only problem is NASA also wants the sat to support legacy ground assets that do not have a better (higher more software definable data rate) comm system. Its this legacy stuff that gets in the way of design of a modern style flexible SDR (software defined radio) system.

A BTW most smartphones are actually SDRs requiring only a change of the software algorithms to adapt them to new system features if the signal processor speed is high enough to execute the new algorithms.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Areosynch buys you fixed RF high gain antennas for fixed surface structures. However, due to Mars mass distribution/wobble, moon resonances -- the "wander" of the sats unless well controlled might limit gain/bandwidth due to pointing errors. Its like the effects of lunar mascons but further out, excepting moons/L points.

If we use laser communication, we have to "fine slew" steer anyways. If we have mobile deployment, we have to steer no matter. Doesn't matter for earth DBS, for the "figure 8" wander pattern is within the antenna lobe.

One thing about L1/2 relay - if you have any surface/orbital solar power, the PV points in the direction of L1, the radiator points in the direction of L2. And the slew/gimbal requirement is minimal on top of that tracking.

There is another way to use areosynch with a induced, dynamic radial resonance to minimize the effects of drift as an optimization of resonance to reduce station keeping cost. However, if you do that, you have to compensate for the positional change if you use the same sats for navigational fixes. Complexity builds in various ways.

Also, another interesting aspect of Mars is the relative locations of the L1/2 points with regard to the significant magnetic reflection surrounding Mars, which is a few hundred kilometers above the surface.  You can induce a LF RF from halo orbits to excite this spherical waveguide, which means you can have with two sats a low bandwidth (enough for significant channels of voice+data) anywhere on the surface with low power omnidirectional ground sets. A form of 911, w/o LOS issues.

Also a form of Omega navigation from timing of this, which also could be used for entry navigation possibly as well (KF don't solely require point fixes, they can use great circle locus as well - on entry to update the inertial platform, you just need to eliminate the "drift" by knowing when you cross the locus/nodal plane of timing difference). Oh, and its easy to disambiguate the two/four solutions with another unique Mars property of fields.

So you get more by structuring an architecture that fits Mars uniquely, then forcing to fit an Earth model that is unsuitable for some very good reasons. Work with the planet's capabilities instead of against them.

Offline redliox

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On the topic of communication networks, there are still plans being considered for a Phobos mission.  A Phobos base is being considered, but apparently would only be used for a single mission and then effectively abandoned.  Even if unvisited again, it could serve as a relay hub.
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Online savuporo

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This never got updated here
http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-five-mars-orbiter-concept-studies

Quote
The companies contracted for these four-month studies are: The Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, California; Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver; Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California; Orbital ATK in Dulles, Virginia; and Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California.

Four-month studies awarded in July, evaluation and further decisions should be coming pretty soon.

Relevant new thread

Also my guess above was off by one, missed Northrop which probably bid Eagle-3 platform.
« Last Edit: 10/09/2016 03:24 PM by savuporo »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Online savuporo

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A coming communications crunch at Mars
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3257/1

Quote
Nonetheless, in April 2016, NASA issued a solicitation seeking industry input on possible designs for the orbiter, calling on it to substantially increase bandwidth communications. By June, JPL had awarded $400,000 contracts to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK, and Space Systems Loral to study concepts for the mission. In an October teleconference held by the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group, Watzin highlighted ongoing studies on the potential of using a commercial spacecraft bus for the orbiter, with initial results “looking very, very encouraging.” Such an approach would allow NASA to “have a very healthy and vigorous competition to select a bus, and expect very little or limited development on that.”

Yet during that same teleconference, Watzin conceded that the agency had made little progress on the mission, saying that “somewhat disappointingly, we are still in a situation where we have no missions beyond 2020 on the books that are approved or budgeted.” While the agency was continuing to study the mission, and continuing “to work on concepts and approaches that will allow us to get that orbiter in place as quickly as possible,” he noted that “t’s a difficult environment to get new missions into the program right now.” Still, with a “focused beginning of the program,” Watzin felt it was possible to support a launch by 2022.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2017 07:21 PM by savuporo »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

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