Author Topic: If you had money what would you do for space in general  (Read 5457 times)

Offline sarjil

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Ok if you had one hundred thousand dollars, where would you start, what would you start, what would you invest in or what would you fund when it comes to space exploration, space technologies, just space in general?

Keep in mind, this has to be within one hundred thousand dollars.
« Last Edit: 12/13/2010 12:21 AM by Chris Bergin »

Offline Downix

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #1 on: 12/13/2010 12:27 AM »
OTRAG, here we come!
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #2 on: 12/13/2010 01:21 AM »
I would found a company that specializes in rocket engine technology, with a focus on engines for SSTOs.

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #3 on: 12/13/2010 01:51 AM »
I would give it all to Chris B so he could finally devote himself to this website full time...well he already does so maybe give away some L2 action.
And this is a good reminder that just because one of your fellow space enthusiasts occasionally voices doubts about the SpaceX schedule announcements or is cautious about believing SpaceX has licked a problem before actually seeing proof that's true, it doesn't mean they hate SpaceX.

Offline sarjil

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #4 on: 12/13/2010 02:07 AM »
well thanks for the posts everyone. i was just wondering what you guys think about using the 100k for a small competition like x-prize. now of course 100k is nothing compared to the 10 million dollars. but x-prize had a huge goal of making a ship then going to sub orbit. but with 100k you can have less difficult goals like more efficient rocket engines or mass produced materials to make things cheaper. just a thought since the x-prize was 100 million and the teams together spent over 100 million. i am not a engineer though so its kind of easy for me to say all this lol.

Offline kkattula

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #5 on: 12/13/2010 10:58 AM »
Umm, the X prize was $10 Million and Scaled reportedly spent 20 to 30, but did get the Virgin deal in return.

The N Prize is only ₤9,999.

A $100,000 prize for a nano-sat launch might be interesting.
 
« Last Edit: 12/13/2010 10:58 AM by kkattula »

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #6 on: 12/13/2010 12:44 PM »
Loan it to Jongoff ;)
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Offline sarjil

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #7 on: 12/13/2010 08:57 PM »
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Umm, the X prize was $10 Million

yeah a big typo on my part lol, i know it was 10 million i just type really fast and rely on the spell checker most of the time lol

but yeah for 100k you can try nano-sats. i wonder how long it will be until we see mass produced products in space lol. only if i and other people had ------> $$$$$$$$ lol
« Last Edit: 12/13/2010 09:02 PM by sarjil »

Online ugordan

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #8 on: 12/13/2010 10:41 PM »
I see the time has finally come for a replacement to the full stop punctuation mark lol

Offline Sparky

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #9 on: 12/13/2010 11:02 PM »
Umm, the X prize was $10 Million and Scaled reportedly spent 20 to 30, but did get the Virgin deal in return.

The N Prize is only ₤9,999.

A $100,000 prize for a nano-sat launch might be interesting.
 


My school's Engineering club is considering applying for the N-Prize. It's an exceptionally difficult reward for a fairly paltry payoff, but that seems to be the point.

Offline drbobguy

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #10 on: 12/14/2010 11:15 PM »
EDIT: Oh crap I didn't see the $100,000 limit.  Well for that I would probably just fund some local education programs, model rocket building, HAM radio, etc.

I would start a non-profit scientific research group to build unmanned missions and launch them on commercial rockets.

Helps commercial space, as well as increasing the number of scientific missions out there (say NASA's runners up).  I'd also make some of those missions silly but interesting things, like lunar rovers on the moon that can be controlled via a webpage for part of the time, etc.  Probably a planet-finding mission too, maybe a solar-sail or VASIMR demonstration project, etc. etc.

Proven technologies on commercial launchers and all of it unmanned.  Involve the public, make some of it pointless but fun (bigelow module with automated hydroponics and some flying robots inside and hi-res live camera), and I think you'd get tons of bang for your buck.

The goal would be to make it cheap and accessible, not focused on academic scientific results (of course there would be some).  For too long the debate between human/robotic spaceflight has been one of prestige and the importance of having real humans experience spaceflight versus lower costs and more science of robotics.

I say we get average humans to experience spaceflight through robotics, and that means not designing all of the missions around concrete scientific goals.  More Apollo-style where the science is integral, but not the main point of the mission.
« Last Edit: 12/14/2010 11:32 PM by drbobguy »

Offline Patchouli

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #11 on: 12/15/2010 01:42 AM »
Maybe do some tests to see how commercial off the shelf electronics perform in a space environment.

Have the experiments flown as a secondary payload on a Falcon.

Now if I had as much money as one of Microsoft's founders I'd fund a demonstrator model of Skylon.

« Last Edit: 12/15/2010 01:45 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Archibald

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #12 on: 12/15/2010 10:52 AM »
I'll do my best to try and finish that Kistler K-1 RLV that stands in mothball for years... 75% complete last time I heard of it.
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Offline khallow

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #13 on: 12/15/2010 11:10 AM »
I favor the prize approach mentioned several places above. Maybe fund some small software/idea based prizes off the interest. A good gravel pile asteroid simulation, for example. Or maybe a contest to use a collection of human operated tools (with a basic level of functionality) to build a copy of the collection. Or an idea contest for dealing with a hypothetical problem (for example, design a prospecting tool for finding gold or PGMs on the Moon, design a system for harvesting the upper atmosphere).
« Last Edit: 12/15/2010 11:10 AM by khallow »
Karl Hallowell

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #14 on: 12/15/2010 11:33 AM »
$100k isn't really much to spend on any sort of mission or hardware, IMHO.
Far better to use it to promote public excitement about space- although I'm not entirely sure how this could be achieved. Perhaps direct it at the schools by supporting the kids to do projects whereby they learn that Space Is Important.
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Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #15 on: 12/15/2010 02:48 PM »
$100k isn't really much to spend on any sort of mission or hardware, IMHO. Far better to use it to promote public excitement about space

This is precisely what I wouldn't do. Last thing we need right now is more people on the bandwagon, pulling in different directions and generally not being all that productive.

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- although I'm not entirely sure how this could be achieved.

Imo, it can't (especially with 100k) and it shouldn't.

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Perhaps direct it at the schools by supporting the kids to do projects whereby they learn that Space Is Important.

What's needed is funding hardware, that people could get excited over (even though 100k doesn't do much here either).
What's not needed, is getting people excited with propaganda, only for them to find out later on that things aren't as rosy as they were lead to believe. This is when they'll either give up, or rationalize why reality isn't what they expected, by blaming it all on a scapegoat (organization, person, specific technology, specific idea etc.). Granted, some won't do either one, but for the most part it seems to play out like that and things will remain the same.

Edit to add - I realise that I said what I wouldn't do, but I neglected to mention what I would:

Probably try to start a profitable business with that 100k, so I can support spaceflight efforts as an investor for extended periods of time.
« Last Edit: 12/15/2010 03:00 PM by Cog_in_the_machine »
^^ Warning! Contains opinions. ^^ 

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #16 on: 12/16/2010 09:49 AM »
Last thing we need right now is more people on the bandwagon, pulling in different directions and generally not being all that productive.
(snip)
What's not needed, is getting people excited with propaganda, only for them to find out later on that things aren't as rosy as they were lead to believe. This is when they'll either give up, or rationalize why reality isn't what they expected, by blaming it all on a scapegoat (organization, person, specific technology, specific idea etc.). Granted, some won't do either one, but for the most part it seems to play out like that and things will remain the same.

The worst possible thing is that people have no interest in space whatsoever. That means no drive, no money. With the general move away from sciences and engineering that seems prevalent across the western world, even the nation's ability to pursue technilogical challenges will diminish. Kids today all want to be glamour models (whatever that is) and TV reality 'stars'. This is a dangerous trend which I believe must be reversed.

Educating and exciting people is not about 'propaganda', and it is not about painting rosy pictures and telling tall tales. What's required is that people re-connect with all that is exciting and important about space. If I have to spell out what these things are to you, I'm rather surprised that you are even on thsi website...
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Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #17 on: 12/16/2010 11:15 AM »
The worst possible thing is that people have no interest in space whatsoever.

What's even worse is people having unrealistic expectations born of their interest.

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That means no drive, no money.

True, but if you want to solve this problem, "the public" is the last group you should be aiming to convert. Businessmen, they are the one's with the money, it's them you should target. That's why I said I'd try and start a profitable business so I can become an investor in the space industry. Mobs of space zealots, who try to pressure the government into funding their fantasy projects, is essentially what space advocacy has been for decades and I don't see how repeating this approach again will produce different results than the stagnation we're in now.

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With the general move away from sciences and engineering that seems prevalent across the western world, even the nation's ability to pursue technilogical challenges will diminish. Kids today all want to be glamour models (whatever that is) and TV reality 'stars'. This is a dangerous trend which I believe must be reversed.

Not 'all' of them. I still haven't determined what age group "kids" is referring to. The way you describe it, sounds like teenagers. I still maintain that the massive disinterest in science and engineering is nothing alarming or abnormal. Most people just don't like it, it's been that way ever since the first schools opened and there were a few who understood what was taught, while the rest just tried to get by without falling asleep in class or failing.

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Educating and exciting people is not about 'propaganda', and it is not about painting rosy pictures and telling tall tales.

Painting rosy pictures and telling tall tales is essentially what a lot of spaceflight proponents do and have always done. It's what the first most vocal ones who pushed for the luanr landings did way back in 1952. It's why there are so many disappointed people today, who were told when they were children, that we'd have colonies on the Moon, Mars, Venus sky cities and other fantasies today.

I'm curious, since you proposed educating kids about why "Space Is Important", what exactly will you tell them? You'll bring out mission cost analyses, architecture evaluations, trajectory calculations, explain the 9 levels of TRL and how they affect options for planing a mission, explain the current state of space policy, explain space policy over the decades, point out certain trends throughout etc.

Or are you going to tell them about colonies/bases on other worlds, how a certain architecture/spaceflight paradigm 'could' get us those and make the inevitable comparisons to the "New World" or any other standard salesman tactics like the threat of China/Russia/The World doing x in space before the US?
The first is education, the later is propaganda and sadly it's more effective.

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What's required is that people re-connect with all that is exciting and important about space.

What's required is that someone starts funding it sufficiently. Government/the public hasn't managed to over the decades, what with all the competing ideas for the same slice of NASA's budget and political leaders wondering what in the world is going on in the "space community". So perhaps it's time to look to someone else - businessmen. I'm not exactly sure how this paradigm will pan out, but it seems more promising than the status quo.

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If I have to spell out what these things are to you, I'm rather surprised that you are even on thsi website...

Some days, I also wonder why I bother opening my trap. Seems like most people keep proposing doing the same things over and over, reading straight out of Von Braun's manual as it were and in the end they wonder why there's no progress. Dare to suggest trying a different approach - bam, you've been declared anti-spaceflight.
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Offline sarjil

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #18 on: 12/16/2010 06:28 PM »
when you want public and government money its all politics and good luck with your great project especially now, i am kind of surprised  people here wants to go the same route by trying to get kids excited and motivate them....i don't know i am not bad mouthing the idea at all because this is all speculation and opinion, just seems like the same old all talk but no walk routine. with everything going on right now that route will not work, it would be better if you help out your cause yourself somehow. i graduated high school 4 years ago and i am going to college now, most of them don't care. i honestly don't think i have to go into details on this, i am not being pessimistic, i just do not see it working out. i mean the only way i see it working out is if you target specific colleges and students and high school, but if you want to target the general public than yeah i just do not see it working in these times. i would take my money and help in some other ways. spaceflight just can not compete with the cool mainstream stuff they have such as lady gaga, george clooney and Angelina Jolie, and of course OPRAHHHHHHHHH lol, though i wish it was the opposite of course :).
« Last Edit: 12/16/2010 06:36 PM by sarjil »

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #19 on: 12/16/2010 08:14 PM »
True, but if you want to solve this problem, "the public" is the last group you should be aiming to convert. Businessmen, they are the one's with the money, it's them you should target. That's why I said I'd try and start a profitable business so I can become an investor in the space industry. Mobs of space zealots, who try to pressure the government into funding their fantasy projects, is essentially what space advocacy has been for decades and I don't see how repeating this approach again will produce different results than the stagnation we're in now.
Is that not an admission that the only point in 'doing' space is as a rich man's plaything. That it will never be of relevance or interest, or benefit, to the population as a whole.

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I still maintain that the massive disinterest in science and engineering is nothing alarming or abnormal. Most people just don't like it, it's been that way ever since the first schools opened and there were a few who understood what was taught, while the rest just tried to get by without falling asleep in class or failing.
Perhaps it's too much to ask that it becomes something that the majority of people find interesting enough to want to participate. But a lot depends on what you do to involve people. Spaceflight is so full of superlatives that it should be pretty easy to make it sound interesting.
I suppose what I'm suggesting is that we get kids interested at an early stage by talking about the 'big stuff'- save the engineering minutiae for when they're a bit older, and for the ones that are actually going to be interested.

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It's why there are so many disappointed people today, who were told when they were children, that we'd have colonies on the Moon, Mars, Venus sky cities and other fantasies today.
And who do they blame for this not happening? It's the public who would have footed the bill after all. I actually think that much of the stuff going on in space would be interesting enough, if people understood a bit more about it.

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I'm curious, since you proposed educating kids about why "Space Is Important", what exactly will you tell them?
Impress on them just how vast space is. You know, the old game where you stand in the playground to see how far apart the planets are. Find ways to demonstrate all the other superlatives- how fast, how hot, how heavy. A good teacher will find ways to engage people with material like that.
As they get older, talk about the real life ways in which space technology transforms our lives. GPS, weather, TV, satphones (as an amateur sailor maybe I find GPS and metsats more miraculous than most people do?).
For those youngsters who want to go into engineering, present space as the ultimate challenge. For those who might only be paying taxes towards it, there should have been some effort to educate them and instill a sense of value out of all of this. Tell them how understanding other planets helps us to understand Earth better.

It amazes me how little the general public are aware of what's happening in space. I would say the majority are unaware that there is a functioning Mars rover part way through an epic journey across another planet as we speak. Or that we have only a few tantalising fragments of evidence for or against there being life on Mars.

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What's required is that someone starts funding it sufficiently. Government/the public hasn't managed to over the decades, what with all the competing ideas for the same slice of NASA's budget and political leaders wondering what in the world is going on in the "space community". So perhaps it's time to look to someone else - businessmen. I'm not exactly sure how this paradigm will pan out, but it seems more promising than the status quo.
I see what you're saying, but I think it serves both purposes if we can instill space exploration as a childhood fascination for a great many people. Did Musk found SpaceX because people wrote letters to him asking him to donate his fortune to 'the cause'? Not as far as I am aware. More likely he sees it as the fulfillment of a childhood dream.
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Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #20 on: 12/16/2010 10:08 PM »
Is that not an admission that the only point in 'doing' space is as a rich man's plaything.

No it isn't. And I'm not saying this should be the reason for "doing space", I'm saying it's an alternative method to finance it. The reasons for spaceflight themselves are numerous and range from scientific to religious, but there are very few, if any, economic ones and this leads to the difficulties with getting funding. What I'm saying is that the ideal situation would be if space could be woven into the economy, like most other things are. Government (represents the public) subsidies have been adequate to barely sustain it, but not grow it and that's a problem.

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That it will never be of relevance or interest, or benefit, to the population as a whole.

Hard to say. I can't see into the future, but judging by the past interest will remain low across the board. Even if something that you and I might deem 'exciting' were to happen.

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Perhaps it's too much to ask that it becomes something that the majority of people find interesting enough to want to participate.

Agreed.

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But a lot depends on what you do to involve people. Spaceflight is so full of superlatives that it should be pretty easy to make it sound interesting.
I suppose what I'm suggesting is that we get kids interested at an early stage by talking about the 'big stuff'- save the engineering minutiae for when they're a bit older, and for the ones that are actually going to be interested.

Isn't this basically how things are now? Or is bumping up the scale and magnitude what you're suggesting?

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And who do they blame for this not happening?

Mainly other space advocates, who have different ideas on how the limited money should be spent and politicians of course. Everyone blames them.

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It's the public who would have footed the bill after all. I actually think that much of the stuff going on in space would be interesting enough, if people understood a bit more about it.

If, a big if. What leads me to think it won't, is that not even at it's peak did spaceflight manage to reach a critical mass of advocates, strong enough to make the government support it with adequate funding over the years.

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Impress on them just how vast space is. You know, the old game where you stand in the playground to see how far apart the planets are. Find ways to demonstrate all the other superlatives- how fast, how hot, how heavy. A good teacher will find ways to engage people with material like that.
As they get older, talk about the real life ways in which space technology transforms our lives. GPS, weather, TV, satphones (as an amateur sailor maybe I find GPS and metsats more miraculous than most people do?).
For those youngsters who want to go into engineering, present space as the ultimate challenge.

I like this idea, since it is indeed one big challenge.

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For those who might only be paying taxes towards it, there should have been some effort to educate them and instill a sense of value out of all of this. Tell them how understanding other planets helps us to understand Earth better.

Ok, basic literacy regarding space. This is good, not sure how many will pay attention, but it's better than nothing I guess.

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It amazes me how little the general public are aware of what's happening in space. I would say the majority are unaware that there is a functioning Mars rover part way through an epic journey across another planet as we speak. Or that we have only a few tantalising fragments of evidence for or against there being life on Mars.

Well, it all boils down to personal interests at the end of the day. Everyone is passionate about different things in life and a big chunk of the public isn't about space. Hasn't been in the past, likely won't be in the future.

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I see what you're saying, but I think it serves both purposes if we can instill space exploration as a childhood fascination for a great many people. Did Musk found SpaceX because people wrote letters to him asking him to donate his fortune to 'the cause'? Not as far as I am aware. More likely he sees it as the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

Indeed, but I don't understand why you think there isn't enough happening to excite the few future aero-space engineers and space proponents out there. Sure, there isn't enough to do it on a mass scale and get a substantial boost in the ranks (and as I've said I doubt it's even possible), but there is enough sci-fi (you know it has an effect), actual history and hardware out there to bring in new blood. Let's go back to the beginning, Von Braun and people like him weren't taught by anyone how important space is. There was no space program in the entire world at that time to excite them. Those folks in the german rocket society got interested in the concept on their own and by what was science fiction at the time. Even if today the motivation for kids is at abysmal levels, it's nowhere near as bad as it was for the first space advocates. Letting people discover it on their own as they grow up can work. Ultimately I think what the industry is hurting for most of all right now is cash, not interest. Interest might not be sky high, but it's enough. Even if it were possible to address the funding issue via increasing interest and hence subsidies from the gov (something I don't think can be done), it makes more sense to try and tackle it head on and develop a solution that doesn't require begging the public to pay for our dreams on a regular basis. As I said, not sure if it's possible, but it's a good goal to aim for imo.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2010 10:10 PM by Cog_in_the_machine »
^^ Warning! Contains opinions. ^^ 

Offline martin hegedus

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #21 on: 12/17/2010 09:14 PM »
What would I do for space in general for $100K?

OK, $100K is not a lot.  I would fund physics based space simulation competitions.  For example, lets say the goal of the competition is to go to Mars.  Then have the teams come up with a design using only freely available public domain design software or commercial software that is below some amount like $100.  For example, one can use FreeCAD to do the drawing.  And maybe FreeCFD or OpenFOAM to do CFD, if required.  Of course one can use Orbiter to do the simulation.  And Octave to do GN&C.  Unfortunately I don't know of a free progam like 20-Sim.  And maybe something like Elmer or Aster for FEM.  Then, as a part of the rules, anything that is submitted by a team gets placed in the public domain.  This includes input files and any codes they created and used for their analysis.  Award points for documentation.  To a certain extent, design elements a team is not able to analyze they can not use.  Minimize hand waving.  And some elements can be provided to the teams, such as models and specs for communications equipment.  The analysis doesn't need to be truly physically correct, for example I don't know if they can analyze buckling with free software, but provide guidelines of what is expected.  Anyway, once they are done, monte carlo simulations are done and the team needs to include hooks within the simulation so uncertainties can be injected.

There may be competitions out there already which are similar to a degree, such as the AIAA undergraduate space design competitions.  But I'm not sure how heavy those competitions are in regards to numerical analysis.  The idea would be to take it up a notch or two relative to those competitions.

Offline Zond

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #22 on: 12/17/2010 10:10 PM »
I fully agree with cog_in_the_machine. And i think the best way to convince those businessmen is to show their are profitable markets and lots of demand for space products. So how do you show them that? Buy the product! So what space product can one buy for $100k?

http://www.rocketshiptours.com/the-experience/
http://www.spaceadventures.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=suborbital.welcome

Offline martin hegedus

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #23 on: 12/17/2010 10:59 PM »
I fully agree with cog_in_the_machine. And i think the best way to convince those businessmen is to show their are profitable markets and lots of demand for space products. So how do you show them that? Buy the product! So what space product can one buy for $100k?

http://www.rocketshiptours.com/the-experience/
http://www.spaceadventures.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=suborbital.welcome

Invest your money wisely.

Offline gospacex

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #24 on: 12/18/2010 02:54 AM »
I'll try a few wild ideas, brainstorm style, so some (or all) of them may end up being stupid/unworkable.

Put up money as a prize:

(1) whoever orbits a sat, however small, spending under $N to build it, gets the money. (N and minimum required number of orbits are TBD)

problems - nanosat launcher is not really that useful, we need bigger rockets.

(2) whoever designs a hydrocarbon/LOX (RP-1? methane? propane?) engine which costs less than $N1 to build, provides more than N2 kN of thrust, more than N3 of ISP, and has better than N4 t/w, gets the money. Params are to be selected so that resulting engine design is useful and better in some way than engines we already have. Perhaps optimizing for REALLY low cost, comparable with high end automobile engines?

(3) whoever demonstrates a zero-boiloff LH storage tank (on Earth, 10 C ambient temp) with no less than 1 ton of LH, with mass fraction of 0.7 or better, requiring less than 2 kW of electricity for operation, gets the money. (Are these params realistic?)

Or, spend money directly:

(1) develop an (open-source?) avionics software, so that every new space company does not need to spend time and money to reinvent this particular wheel again.

(2) simply donate the money to SpaceX or Orbital. They are the people who are most likely to spend them on something useful for space.

Feel free to shoot down my ideas.

Offline sarjil

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #25 on: 12/18/2010 04:05 AM »
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Feel free to shoot down my ideas. 

actually i like those ideas at least your thinking lol hey if i had 100k i would research more about your ideas.

i am very glad i made this thread i did not think it would get this much replies lol. but glad its good. :)

Offline martin hegedus

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Re: If you had money what would you do for space in general
« Reply #26 on: 12/18/2010 05:17 AM »
I'll try a few wild ideas, brainstorm style, so some (or all) of them may end up being stupid/unworkable.

Put up money as a prize:

...

The ideas are good.  Do it in stages 1) engine, 2) launch vehicle, 3) nanosat.  And each stage can be split into a analysis and manufacturing stage, depending on what sponsors can be found.  For example, in regards to analysis, (and this has to be cutting edge analysis to a degree), maybe cpu, computer component, and cloud companies might sponsor.

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