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New Horizons Design Reuse?
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post Sep 22 2006, 05:04 PM
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Hopefully this thread is located in the right place...if not, my apologies, Doug.

It occurs to me that one of the fundamental problems with UMSF from a funding/project management perspective is that each spacecraft is usually unique, which pretty much zaps any savings that might be realized via economies of scale. It would sure be nice to drive down costs & fly more missions.

Of course, each spacecraft usually HAS to be a little--or a lot--different in terms of payload in order to answer the investigative questions that justify the mission. However, why don't we at least standardize the spacecraft bus for specific classes of missions? For example, the NH design should prove to be an extremely robust outer system platform for flyby/orbital operations anywhere at or beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

If we could produce, say, twenty NH busses for use over the next twenty years or so, then the payload design would be driven in part by a fixed set of interfaces, thus simplifying systems engineering considerably, decreasing lead-time, and therefore enabling far better long-term mission planning. Also, we could always go to Congress during hard times & say something like "we built all these NH clones...it would be a shame not to use them" (an old DoD trick)...and then we'd have orbiters for all four of the gas giants, plus lots of other cool things.... wink.gif

This sort of schema would also provide a rapid-response capability for new discoveries or unique events. For example, let's say that another comet like Shoemaker-Levy 9 was found that was gonna crash into Saturn or pass through its ring system in about ten years. A standard outer-planet bus could conceivably allow us to fly a mission on short notice, provided that other circumstances like launch window/trajectory availability are favorable.


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Posts in this topic
- nprev   New Horizons Design Reuse?   Sep 22 2006, 05:04 PM
- - dvandorn   IIRC, spacecraft from Mariners 6 through 10, and t...   Sep 22 2006, 05:19 PM
- - Mariner9   I'll start by saying I think your idea has som...   Sep 22 2006, 05:23 PM
|- - centsworth_II   QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 22 2006, 01:23 PM) ...   Sep 22 2006, 05:43 PM
- - tasp   The early Mariners and the Ranger probes had quite...   Sep 22 2006, 05:25 PM
|- - nprev   QUOTE (tasp @ Sep 22 2006, 10:25 AM) The ...   Sep 22 2006, 05:37 PM
- - Mariner9   Mariner 4, 6,7, and 9 had a very similar bus, and ...   Sep 22 2006, 05:29 PM
|- - gndonald   QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 23 2006, 01:29 AM) ...   Sep 23 2006, 01:25 AM
- - mcaplinger   QUOTE (nprev @ Sep 22 2006, 10:04 AM) It ...   Sep 22 2006, 05:43 PM
- - Jim from NSF.com   NH was good only for this mission. It was a point...   Sep 22 2006, 07:15 PM
|- - tedstryk   QUOTE (Jim from NSF.com @ Sep 22 2006, 07...   Sep 22 2006, 09:21 PM
- - Mariner9   I'm not sure why we all forgot this one, but M...   Sep 22 2006, 09:31 PM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 22 2006, 11:31 AM) ...   Sep 22 2006, 09:36 PM
|- - mcaplinger   QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 22 2006, 02:31 PM) ...   Sep 22 2006, 10:11 PM
|- - Jim from NSF.com   QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Sep 22 2006, 06:11 PM...   Sep 23 2006, 02:13 PM
- - Mariner9   Polar Lander and Pathfinder had some connections, ...   Sep 22 2006, 10:49 PM
|- - mcaplinger   QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 22 2006, 03:49 PM) ...   Sep 22 2006, 11:43 PM
- - Mariner9   Ok, a comparatively rare moment for me (being humb...   Sep 23 2006, 01:12 AM
|- - mcaplinger   QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 22 2006, 06:12 PM) ...   Sep 23 2006, 07:23 PM
- - AlexBlackwell   Mariner9, I don't know if this helps but a pre...   Sep 23 2006, 01:22 AM
- - nprev   Interesting discussion. So, it seems that there i...   Sep 23 2006, 04:51 PM
- - Mariner9   Hmmm. This "debate" got way out of han...   Sep 23 2006, 11:37 PM


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