Author Topic: Will Ad Astra become a commercial supplier for deep space transport?  (Read 1492 times)

Offline Nydoc

  • Member
  • Posts: 90
  • Liked: 28
  • Likes Given: 7
I spotted this article on Aviation Week. Does anyone think there can be a viable business model for space tugs delivering probes? Is it a "if we build it, they will come" scenario?

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_06_06_2012_p0-465042.xml&p=1

Offline pathfinder_01

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1887
  • Liked: 49
  • Likes Given: 0
Err. Maybe.  The big show stoppers are automated docking and can SEP last long enough to make multiple trips. If those are solved it could be a much cheaper way to send non time sensitive cargo.

Offline Nydoc

  • Member
  • Posts: 90
  • Liked: 28
  • Likes Given: 7
Err. Maybe.  The big show stoppers are automated docking and can SEP last long enough to make multiple trips. If those are solved it could be a much cheaper way to send non time sensitive cargo.
Automated docking seems to be a solvable problem. The first automated docking was done in 1967 between Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188. Successful automated docking has been performed both on Mir and the ISS. Docking with the ESA's ATV progam is currently fully automated. As far as providing power, a very interesting trade study would be to see if solar would be more cost effective than nuclear over a long enough timescale. The devil's in the details I suspect.