[amsat-bb] From The Twisted Pair (!).
archie.hackett at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 7 06:22:42 PDT 2009
For those who don't read 'OBSERVATIONS' ... (you should !!!, it's FREE).
73 John. <la2qaa at amsat.org>
07 July 2009
GM1SXX & LA2QAA
with Space Stations... and a possible Opportunity.
International Space Station is scrapped.... probably in the 2015-2018 time
frame, a valuable space asset will be lost. It needn't have been that way,
and the Russians have wakened up to a new possibility, one that was sadly missed
on the ISS.
ISS is built
around MIR-2 hardware. The core, the Zvezda module, is essentially
unchanged from the old MIR design, a tubular cylindrical living area with solar
arrays attached to a docking 'ball' with five docking ports available.
Once Zveda becomes life-expired, the whole assembly is useless. A
more practical approach would have been to fly a 'passive' six-port docking
ball, to which active modules can be docked. In this way, station elements could
be detached and discarded as they reached the end of their design lives while
the docking ball remains a 'permanent fixture' in space.
Pilotiruemyi Eksperimentalniy Kompleks', OPSEK, or the 'Orbital Manned
Assembly and Experiment Complex' This is a plan for a future space
station unveiled by the Russians in 2007, and documented by Anatoly Zak on his
web-pages. It centres around the use of a passive 4 ton 'docking ball'
with six ports, to which additional modules can be attached.
Such a docking
ball in LEO would have the primary purpose of 'tying a space station
together', by providing passive docking ports, but it could equally well serve as a
long-lived platform for a 'parasite radio package' in the same way that the old
RS10/11 and RS12/13 'satellites' worked. For those not old enough to know,
these were 'parasite' transponder packages attached to spacecraft that were
powered from the main craft. So long as the packages antenna(s) could be
mounted on the ball's -Z axis, it could serve as a useful radio relay
(transponder) in LEO. Such a package would have a fairly small physical
footprint and would require very little driving power from the 'mother-ship' or
solar panels (if fitted). It would obviously be desirable to derive power from
the mother-ship in the interests of simplicity and longevity.
becoming increasingly difficult to find on cost grounds, this would be one
possible way to provide a future new transponder in LEO. If the package
was small and light enough, it could possibly be carried to the (new) space
station by a progress cargo vehicle as freight, and attached to the docking ball
structure during a space walk. What is more, it could function for a long
time, limited only by the overall life of the space complex.
Several people in
the UK already have a track record in building space-rated hardware in addition
to another amateur in Holland, who has built space qualified hardware including
the backup transponder for HM-1 AKA VUSAT, as well as a new linear
'Pico-Transponder'. They know who they are... you don't need to know, at least
not right now :-) The expertise already exists to supply space rated
hardware to fly on such a mission. and we do feel that the possibility of flying
such a mission should not be passed over. I'm sure there are people in
Russia (from the old RS satellite team) who would be just as keen to see this
73 AL & John
GM1SXX & LA2QAA
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