"space mechanics" to repair satellites?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Widdekind, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. Widdekind
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    Widdekind Member

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    SpaceWatchtower

    Europeans' lost "Envisat" needs repair, at +800km altitude; perhaps "space mechanics", or "space ROVs", could become a profitable business, repairing damaged satellites ?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. whitehall
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    whitehall Gold Member

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    The cost of building a brand new satellite on earth is a fraction of what it costs to put it into orbit. Since the US dropped the space shuttle program an entire new program would have to be developed to put "mechanics" into space to repair the obsolete junk. Europe doesn't have the money and neither does the US.
     
  3. Widdekind
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    Widdekind Member

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    Most of the cost, comes from launching satellites into space. So, repair & refit, of what is already orbited, could be comparatively cost-effective ?

    The ESA touts their Envisat as "the largest Earth Observation spacecraft ever built" loaded with "ten sophisticated optical and radar instruments to provide continuous observation and monitoring of the Earth's land, atmosphere, oceans and ice caps". Hubble orbited for decades, being repaired & refitted.

    If most of the cost comes from orbiting payloads, then re-use & re-cycling of already-orbited satellite systems, seems cost effective & economical (perhaps more so, with "Space ROVs", than with human astronauts)
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  4. Widdekind
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    Widdekind Member

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    if Norway has a roving "sub rescue" squad, then perhaps somebody could deploy a lovable "satellite rescue" system, with space ROVs, tele operated from ground stations, or the ISS ?
     
  5. percysunshine
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    percysunshine Gold Member

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    Jiffy AstroLube has open job slots.

    So, if I go up on my own dime, can I take all the gold foil and claim salvage rights?
     
  6. Widdekind
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    Widdekind Member

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    Space is expensive, because it costs so much to lift loads hundreds of km high. In satellites, what masses the most ? Perhaps satellite "shells" could be built, according to a modular protocol, so that they were "orbiting computer shelving cabinets". The "orbiting cabinets" would contain all the heavy components, including rugged shell, solar panels, etc.. Then, light-weight electronics components could be sequentially orbited, installed with space ROVs, with the old components being removed. The heavy "frame" could be repeatedly reused ?


    while i'm at it, on the general principle of "recycling", perhaps expensive structures could be built to be "un-buildable". Rather than build a factory, that 20-years later becomes obsolete, if factories could be built, so that 20-years down later, they could be economically un-built, and the parts recycled ("all the cinder-blocs snap together like legos, and can be reused & reconfigured"), perhaps long-term costs could be cut, and wastage minimized. By biological analogy, bio-mass that is no longer "functional" (alive), is broken down, and all the bio-valuable carbon & nutrients recaptured, recycled, and reused.
     
  7. Widdekind
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    Widdekind Member

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    sort of "space diving for space wrecks" ? what is the "Law of the Sea" ? i'm not advocating "space piracy", but salvage seems reasonable, and potentially profitable.
     

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