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Discovery Program 2006 and Missions Of Opportunity
Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 3 2006, 10:19 PM
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I'm not sure exactly which forum this fits in but NASA has just released the AO for Discovery Program 2006 and Missions of Opportunity. See the Discovery Program Acquisition Home Page for more details. Click on the "Discovery AO" link to download the PDF.
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djellison
post Jan 3 2006, 11:28 PM
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All the documentation says there are guides to the current status of Stardust and DI at the library
http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/discovery/dpl.html

but I cant find them ohmy.gif

Doug
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 4 2006, 12:23 AM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 3 2006, 11:28 PM)
All the documentation says there are guides to the current status of Stardust and DI at the library
http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/discovery/dpl.html

but I cant find them ohmy.gif
I'm not surprised. Typically, the supporting documentation for AO's isn't fully up-to-date when the AO is released. And based on past experience, I recommend one periodically check (and refresh) the DPL web page throughout the solicitation period as the library is updated based on proposal input, especially after the preproposal conference.

Note that the Discovery Launch Services Information Summary was updated last month.
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djellison
post Jan 4 2006, 12:54 AM
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The ELV doc is very interesting....I wonder how close that figure they quote for each performance target matches the bill from Boeing or LoMart.

Very interesting chart for DSN charges as well - trying to figure out a rough value - but with 5 contacts a week, 70m DSN access is about $2114 per hour *, with the 34m access being 1/4 of that. It must get to a point where the design of a telecoms system to go onboard a spacecraft is an exercise in accounting more than engineering.

Lots of excellent reading to be had in there - it'll be interesting to see the applications in a few months time.

Doug

(*PS - at say 128kbps, $2114/hr is roughly $37 / megabyte )
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jan 4 2006, 03:24 AM
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About time! Sen. Mikulski managed to gum up this AO for 10 straight months with her personal insistence that the Discovery cost cap must be kept at $350 million. (Jack Dantzler said at the COMPLEX meeting that he is determined to compensate for that delay, and for the fiasco of the last Discovery AO, by picking two Discovery missions this time.)
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helvick
post Jan 4 2006, 09:12 AM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 4 2006, 01:54 AM)
(*PS - at say 128kbps, $2114/hr is roughly $37 / megabyte )
*

And remember that that effective bitrate drops off following a square law, all other things being equal. So something that supports 4Mbps at Mars drops off to a fairly miserable 2.5kbps at Pluto.
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ugordan
post Jan 4 2006, 09:49 AM
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QUOTE (helvick @ Jan 4 2006, 10:12 AM)
So something that supports 4Mbps at Mars drops off to a fairly miserable 2.5kbps at Pluto.

It's nitpicking, but I get a figure of 5.9 kbps at Pluto's mean distance from the sun. How'd you get that figure?


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djellison
post Jan 4 2006, 10:05 AM
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Yup - the maths could get quite interesting. Is it worth spending perhaps $10m upgrading to a slightly heavier version of your ELV to get larger solar arrays so you can have a more powerfull transmitter and thus get more kbps and thus fewer sessions.

Might have had my maths a bit wrong earlier.....but this is all very very 'ballpark guestimation'

say 14 1hr passes of 35m coverage per week ( i.e. the daily uplink for MER plus beep back ) would be something like $2424/hr, or about $34k/week ( $1.7m/year ). The finances for doing MER Relay with Odyssey is probably quite interesting, I think it would probably be something like 1 hr of Odysseys downlink per day is MER related - so a similar figure.



Voyager
QUOTE (Voyager update in the middle of '05)
There were 90.3 hours of DSN scheduled support for Voyager 1 of which 32.6 hours were large aperture coverage
There were 76.5 hours of DSN scheduled support for Voyager 2 of which 25.9 hours were large aperture coverage


Say it's 28 sessions a week, 7 on 70m, 21 on 35m

$6745/hr for the 70m - $400k (as near as makes no difference)
$527k for the 35m - so that week's Voyager DSN ops cost about $927K.

Youch.

Very rough maths - probably very wrong to be honest.

7 x 8hr 70m passes per week, at 5kbps is $377,220 per week, for 984 MBytes - or $552 per floppy disk smile.gif

Doug
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ugordan
post Jan 4 2006, 10:23 AM
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It just goes to show it's time to switch to optical telecoms. No matter how many watts you pump into your RF transmitter, the vast majority of the transmitted power is simply wasted. The only positive thing a radio comm-link does is loosen the required pointing accuracy, of course due to the same dispersal of the signal.


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 4 2006, 06:49 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jan 4 2006, 03:24 AM)
About time!  Sen. Mikulski managed to gum up this AO for 10 straight months with her personal insistence that the Discovery cost cap must be kept at $350 million.  (Jack Dantzler said at the COMPLEX meeting that he is determined to compensate for that delay, and for the fiasco of the last Discovery AO, by picking two Discovery missions this time.)
Did Dantzler indicate specifically what he meant by "two Discovery missions"? In the AO, the term "mission" denotes a stand alone Discovery mission, which is distinct from a Discovery Mission of Opportunity (MO).
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 4 2006, 08:51 PM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Jan 4 2006, 06:49 PM)
Did Dantzler indicate specifically what he meant by "two Discovery missions"?  In the AO, the term "mission" denotes a stand alone Discovery mission, which is distinct from a Discovery Mission of Opportunity (MO).

Section 1.2 of the AO does state: "It is anticipated that approximately three meritorious Discovery Mission investigation proposals will be selected for further study as a result of this evaluation." Note, however, that "further study" refers, I would presume, to the Concept Study phase and not to final selection. On the other other hand, the AO goes on to state that "[o]ne or more MO investigation proposals may also be selected either for study or for immediate implementation."

So, I'm not sure what Danztler's comment means. If he is "determined...[to pick] two Discovery missions this time," does that mean he is committing to final selection of two full Discovery mission investigations (or perhaps one combined with a Discovery MO)? Or is he just re-stating what the AO says (i.e., that three proposals might be downselected for concept study)? If the latter, then that's no big surprise.

Having said that, I wouldn't bet the farm on what is said (or promised) at these COMPLEX-type meetings. Indeed, is Dantzler, even though he is SSD Director and has a tremendous amount of input in the process, the final selecting authority for this AO? I would have thought that Mary Cleave, AA for the Science Mission Directorate, had the final say.

This post has been edited by AlexBlackwell: Jan 4 2006, 10:19 PM
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mcaplinger
post Jan 4 2006, 09:46 PM
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QUOTE (ugordan @ Jan 4 2006, 02:23 AM)
It just goes to show it's time to switch to optical telecoms. No matter how many watts you pump into your RF transmitter, the vast majority of the transmitted power is simply wasted. The only positive thing a radio comm-link does is loosen the required pointing accuracy, of course due to the same dispersal of the signal.
*


I don't disagree, but...

Optical has the same problem, if you're counting as "wasted" any power that doesn't fall on the receiver's mirror. They're both EM radiation, after all. I'm not sure what the actual efficiency tradeoffs look like, but optical isn't such a slam dunk over RF from a system perspective, because the real engineering-acheivable efficiency gains aren't just the ratio of the wavelengths.

And there's cloudy days, what you do near conjunction, etc.

http://lasers.jpl.nasa.gov/PAGES/about.html has some good background, but obviously optical researchers aren't going to present a completely balanced story.

If you wanted to reduce operations costs for deep-space RF, there would be ways to reduce costs below those of DSN. Some Discovery teams have proposed using USN ( http://www.uspacenetwork.com/index.html ) instead of DSN to save costs.


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Disclaimer: This post is based on public information only. Any opinions are my own.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jan 5 2006, 01:17 AM
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Dantzler made it clear that if it is at all in his power to do so, he will pick two full-fledged Discovery missions this time around (regardless of whether he adds any MOs as well). In fact, he went on at some length about the fact that Mikulski's move had ticked him off in part because, while he thought he could probably find ONE scientifically worthwhile Discovery mission below the $350 million limit, he thought it very unlikely that he'd be able to find two of them. (He also said that, if budget problems force him to, he'd be willing to stoop to picking that one $350 million mission simultaneously with a more expensive one.)

As for MOs, he hinted that more than one might be picked -- in fact, he said that there may be more than one simultaneous MO picked associated with the Deep Impact extended mission! He made a vague reference to the possibility of "interplanetary observations" for one such Deep Impact MO, along with a comet flyby for another. But I have some trouble seeing what kind of interplanetary observations they could make with DI that would be worth the trouble -- which makes me wonder whether he may really be thinking about flying DI past more than one additional target, CONTOUR-style. Given the need for as big a sampling of different comets and asteroids as we can practically get, it would seem the logical thing to do if it's possible.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jan 5 2006, 01:19 AM
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Footnote: Mary Cleave does have the final say, at least where New Millennium missions are concerned -- but I must say Dantzler sounded thoroughly confident that he could push this one through.
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 9 2006, 05:39 PM
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BTW, for those of you playing along at home, the first set of questions and answers for the AO solicitation has been posted. Expect many more, especially following the preproposal conference.
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