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#1 2021-07-08 09:38:54

tahanson43206
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Posts: 7,602

Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

This topic is offered in support of the position of GW Johnson, who has advocated investing in a capability to support the Hubble Space Telescope permanently.

As I understand the position of GW Johnson (to be corrected by GW Johnson below) the Hubble Space Telescope mirrors are capable of operation for many decades or centuries to come.

While electronics in the HST has failed and is now failing, there is nothing electronic in that system that cannot be replaced.

This topic is available for those who are in favor of saving the telescope and (if practical) developing a service platform that would remain in orbit near Hubble between visits by astronauts.

If the service platform is sufficiently well designed, many repair operations could be performed using teleoperation from Earth, with only small deliveries of needed parts or supplies from Earth periodically.

(th)

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#2 2021-07-08 16:57:30

kbd512
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

We need 5 types of on-orbit stations:

1. Scientific research facility operating in micro-gravity (ISS or a suitable replacement)

2. Space hotel / equivalent (a suitable place to put large numbers of people in orbit, many of whom will not be trained astronauts)

3. Consumables replenishment depot (replenishment of propellants, heat exchange liquids, and fluids required by humans)

4. Electronics repair depot (replacement of computers / batteries / solar panels / scientific equipment)

5. Structures fabrication and repair depot (repair or replacement of failed or likely to fail structures)

These facilities should be physically separated from each other because they're either potentially hazardous to be around, require special and expensive equipment or environmental control that we wouldn't want damaged by propellant leaks, or have specific control requirements for visiting spacecraft that may not be met by certain types of satellites.  All vessels that visit the ISS are essentially human-rated spacecraft with lots of redundancy and assurance-of-control requirements not present in most satellites, for example.

We don't want a consumables replenishment depot anywhere near an R&D facility or space hotel or an electronics repair depot, because we don't want to needlessly endanger the lives of people living and working in space (nor the facilities themselves), we don't want to store hazardous or radioactive electronic waste aboard ISS, and we don't want any metal working going on near any of the other facilities.

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#3 2021-07-08 18:04:07

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

For kbd512 ...

Thanks for giving the new Hubble Replacement topic a boost, with your interesting post!

***
For this topic, your suggestions in Post #2 seem to cover most of the category of "permanent" facilities.

I am intrigued by #4 and #5 because they both seem applicable to the Hubble service challenge.

A purpose built package designed to service the Hubble in the immediate near term could be designed as an extensible model along the lines of your vision.

The immediate need (for the Hubble) appears to be replacement of electronics.  While the momentum wheels are a mechanical component that can fail and has failed on other satellites, I don't recall hearing that those particular components are failing on Hubble.

However, they surely ** will ** fail at some point, so your #5 facility might be the right choice for coordinating repair.

This topic was created in response to a suggestion by GW Johnson, so it remains to be seen how he might prefer to lead an initiative along these lines.

I'd like to see a decision happen here in the forum within at most a few weeks.

We can continue to discuss all sorts of topics as we've  been doing for over 20 years, while at the same time concentrating on one or two specific proposals that might come to pass in the real world.

(th)

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#4 2021-07-08 20:08:28

SpaceNut
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

Permanently staffed is the issue4 that makes the ISS unique as its low enough in earths orbit to give it some radiation protection was as a bit further out we get less protection and even further we get blasted by our own radiation belts.

As far as permanent for a telescope there really is not a need to keep such a station attached or even that close to a Hubble or any other space telescope.

Since the station modules are made from a basic cygnus unit with modifications made for the intended use we can use a simplified version with any capsule to fill the role of a temporary unit for missions.

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#5 2021-07-08 20:49:47

RobertDyck
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

Orbital dynamics. The air force looked at using an aerodynamic orbiter to skim the atmosphere for inclination changes. But I don't think any test vehicle was ever built. Or is that what they're doing with X-37? But changing orbital altitude can only be done with propellant. So how are you going to travel to different orbits to visit different space telescopes? This is why the proposed satellite service module for space station Freedom really wasn't practical.

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#6 2021-07-09 06:16:24

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

For SpaceNut re #4

This topic is ** not ** about (we don't need something) ... that is appropriate in the replacement topic.

** This ** topic is about (WE DO) need a permanent repair facility attached to the Hubble!

This topic was created to give GW Johnson some running room to develop his ideas for a permanent service facility for Hubble.

There is plenty of open space in the Replace Hubble topic for alternate points of view.

(th)

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#7 2021-07-09 19:01:36

kbd512
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

tahanson43206,

All 6 of the gyros were replaced in 2009 with 2 pairs of a newer model that were supposed to last longer in operation and 1 refurbished pair of the older / original design.  Since then, all of the "old model" gyros have failed and 1 of the newer model gyros has also failed.  As such, it's time for another complete gyro replacement with the newer model, or an even longer lasting / newer gyro model.  When things get old, they wear out or break.  It's a fact of life that must be dealt with if you want to continue using the machine.  I simply presume that the users want to continue to use the machine to explore, which means it's time for another round of upgrades / replacements.

Hubble needs new batteries (in modern times we use Li-Ion, not NiMH or NiCad), new gyros (all of them should be swapped out), replacement imaging electronics that were made during this decade, and another photovoltaic panel upgrade to produce more power.  We can keep upgrading the electronics and moving parts into perpetuity and it's still cheaper than the alternative (an entirely new telescope).  10 years is a pretty reasonable service life for a complex machine subjected to +/-250F every few hours.

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#8 2021-07-09 20:27:30

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

For kbd512 re #7

Thanks for the details of gyro replacement and current status of those important components.

While we wait for GW Johnson to weigh in, thanks for what I read as support for a proposal to maintain the telescope.  RobertDyck has proposed a repair mission featuring a SpaceX Dragon.  It seems to me stretching the Dragon system that far (and for that duration) is technically possible.

However, this topic is set up to give GW Johnson an opportunity to develop his concept for a permanent repair facility that would be designed to support Hubble repair/service missions by performing the functions that the Space Shuttle performed.   One of those functions was to provide mass to absorb forces generated by astronauts performing service activities.   Another function was to provide (relatively)_comfortable working conditions for the repair crew, including remote arm operations, video support of onsite astronauts, and all the support services relating to EVA.

A service facility could be periodically restocked with gyros, electronics, batteries ... whatever else might be needed, using robot delivery vehicles.

OF1939 has advocated starting from scratch to design, fund, build, launch and deploy a new space telescope of Hubble class, and we have a topic set up for that.

If there is significant interest in planning a Maytag Repairman visit maintenance concept, a new topic could be created for that.

I'd like to see ** this ** topic solidify (if possible) within a (relatively) short period of time.  The climate for major investments is favorable right now (in the US) but that condition may not hold past the next elections, so a proposal for a Hubble Permanent Repair Facility needs to be in the hands of the appropriate decision makers as soon as possible.

(th)

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#9 2021-07-10 06:30:36

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

The inspiration for this topic was a post by GW Johnson: http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php … 84#p181884

While we wait for GW Johnson to return to add to the details of a proposal, it is possible to at least think about what a proposal might look like.

For one thing ... the service station itself could ride in orbit just below Hubble when not in use.  The Hubble never points toward Earth, so the service station will never obstruct the view. 

SpaceNut brought up the issue of contaminants that might (will) issue from the service vehicle, so the distance below the Hubble might be chosen so that Solar Wind will blow any gases from the service facility away from Hubble.

A model for construction of the service facility is the Space Shuttle itself ... A structure with the dimensions and features of the Space Shuttle could be constructed from original plans of the Shuttle, omitting the wings.  The Canadian Arm was a feature of the Space Shuttle:

Space Shuttle Canadarm Robotic Arm Marks 25 Years in ... - NASA
www.nasa.gov › mission_pages › shuttle › behindscenes › rms_anniversary
Nov 9, 2006 · The remote manipulator system – named Canadarm in honor of the country that built it – flew for the first time on Nov. 13, 1981. It was only the ...
Canadarm | The Canadian Encyclopedia
www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca › article › canadarm
Jun 23, 2013 · The Canadarm was a remote-controlled mechanical arm, also known as the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS). During its 30-year ... Specifications · Development · Canadarm in Space · Canadarm 2

The trip to the service facility could ** possibly ** be achieved by a SpaceX Dragon as RobertDyck suggests, but the capsule would dock with the Service Facility and otherwise assume a minor role in the mission.

Supplies for the service mission could be carried in the trunk as RobertDyck suggests.

(th)

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#10 2021-07-10 08:14:39

SpaceNut
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

Since Hubble is in need of such an extensive repair I am wonder if a direct attachment (aka SM) unit with all of the replacements contained to work with a seperate computer might be a better option as the unit parts will wear out eventually once more. About all that we need from the original unit is the mirror assembly/ housing and connection points to connect the controls into.

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#11 2021-07-10 09:37:17

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

For SpaceNut re #10

Please develop your idea further .... we are waiting for GW Johnson to return to fill in details of his vision ... in the mean time, your idea seems sensible (to me for sure) but I am not able to evaluate it's practicality. 

If you were over flowing with enthusiasm, energy and time (none of which are in great supply for anyone these days) you might be able to contact Hubble designers or builders to see if the idea could work.

I ** do ** understand the Hubble was designed from the outset to be maintained.

As kbd512 pointed out in his recent post, the gyros have been replaced, and I recall that electronics has been replaced at least once and perhaps more than once.

If I understand your proposal, it would be to deliver (something) to the Hubble, and (somehow) remove the old (???) and replace it with the new one?

That may be a good idea.  I have no way of knowing.

The original builders/designers should be able to evaluate your idea.

NewMars is set up to bring them in for consultation.

(th)

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#12 2021-07-10 12:13:37

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

Here's a thought that ** should ** generate some reflection ....

The Space Shuttle and Hubble were designed for each other .... I'm not sure which came first, but in the end, the Shuttle was perfect for maintenance of Hubble, and Hubble was perfect for maintenance from the Shuttle.

We still ** have ** three shuttles on the ground.  If one of them were selected as a permanent service station for Hubble, it would not need repair of the tiles, since it would never be returning to Earth.  It ** would ** need refurbishment so it can serve in this new/old role far into the future.

I'm guessing it would not need to operate at 1 bar, since the recommendation of RobertDyck is to design for .5 bar. 

An alternative is to simply build another frame from the Shuttle design, but omit the heat tiles and any other encumbrances that are needed for landing. That would eliminate landing wheels, for example.

Fuel for second stage flight to orbit from a SpaceX Starship first stage could be carried in tanks in the wings.

The cost of building a new system from original prints/drawings/designs should be dramatically less expensive than designing something from scratch.

(th)

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#13 2021-07-10 16:19:55

GW Johnson
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

Well,  what I originally came up with was a more cost-effective way than space shuttle,  to recreate the on-orbit satellite repair and upgrade capability that space shuttle provided.  During the shuttle era it was only used to repair and upgrade Hubble,  which confuses the issue.  It could have been used for many satellites. It just wasn't.

What was important to that capability was:   

(1) Rigidly tying satellite to spacecraft so that forces exerted transferring astronauts and equipment would not cause them to collide or to separate apart.  Either the cargo bay mount or the shuttle's arm provided this.

(2) Providing a rigid place for an astronaut to brace while applying forces during his activities.  The shuttle's arm provided this. 

(3) Providing a shirtsleeve work environment with lots of visibility for the operators of the arm.

(4) Providing an airlock so that astronauts going outside to work does not require everyone to suit up in pressure suits. 

(5) Providing the on-orbit propulsion capability to actually reach the job site.

Shuttle provided all 5 of those things,  but you do not have to launch everything anew for every mission,  the way we did shuttle.  You station on-orbit an equivalent to the cargo bay,  with an arm or two,  an operating cabin,  an EVA airlock,  a spacecraft docking port,  an on-orbit propulsion system,  and propellant refill connections.  Then you need only send up a crew and refill propellant in a small spacecraft,  when you have a mission to perform.

This could do everything that shuttle ever did and more,  more cost-effectively.  You station one in low mostly eastward orbit,  one in a high-inclination eastward orbit (at the ISS),  and one in a modestly-low polar orbit.  That allows you to repair and upgrade most of the satellites up there now,  and maybe to capture some of the defunct ones for disposal,  before they break up into debris.

Yeah,  it could be used to repair Hubble.  But it could do very,  very much more.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2021-07-10 16:20:57)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#14 2021-07-10 16:27:12

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

For GW Johnson re #13

Thank you for considering the suggestion of using the existing Shuttle's for the service station.

Thank you too, for considering building the new facility using the original Shuttle drawings.

There is no need to re-invent the Shuttle.

The drawings are ** right there **, ready for re-use for this new special purpose.

There is no need for heat shield tiles on the underbody.  There is no need for heat resistant cloth on the leading edge of the wings.

What ** is ** needed is the physical structure, and the cabin with life support systems.

Those can be recreated with modern equipment.

The cost should be dramatically less than any new design/construction ...

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#15 2021-07-10 20:53:17

GW Johnson
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

Tom:

What I had in mind was to substitute a simple truss for the shuttle cargo bay,  sized about the same size.  I was going to use either the shuttle arm,  or the ISS arm,  mounted to that truss cargo bay substitute.  Maybe two arms.  Both versions were/are built by the same company in Canada.  You could fit it with the same mount that shuttle carried,  too. 

One could use any convenient vessel as the basic hull to be outfitted with the shuttle or ISS-type arm controls,  multiple big windows,  an EVA airlock,  and a universal docking port for visiting spacecraft.  A Cygnus hull was just one possibility,  so as not to have to design and build it from scratch.  A Bigelow module might serve,  as long as the core has structure to it.  Or a design from scratch.  I dunno.  That's not the biggest cost driver,  regardless.

The propulsion would use the shuttle's OMS engines,  with more-or-less custom tankage,  using redundant tanks for both oxidizer and for fuel.  Could be NTO and Aerozine-50,  could be NTO and MMH,  whatever.  Just storable.  It would have some sort of refill connections,  so that if nothing else,  a Progress tanker could dock automatically and refill it.  Or a Starship.  Or whatever.

By and large,  I'm not really using very much of shuttle's drawings,  more of this is just using anything convenient,  to recreate a shuttle capability that we can leave in-readiness on-orbit,  rather than re-launch it for every new mission,  the way we had to do with shuttle (whose price tag worked out to about $1B per launch).

Compare that price to a Falcon-9/Dragon for crew (~$60-80M) and a Falcon-Heavy/some-sort-of-tank-set for several tons of propellant resupply (~$80-100M).  That puts you somewhere in the range of $150-200M per mission,  instead of $1B.   How many more missions could you fly,  before you spent that same $B?  5?  6?  7?  Doesn't matter,  it's just a whole lot more feasible.  See what I mean?

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2021-07-10 20:58:30)


GW Johnson
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"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#16 2021-07-11 05:51:36

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

For GW Johnson re #15

Bravo! Thanks for developing your ideas further.  Thanks for the demonstration of achievable economy.

How can we (forum members with posting privileges) help to move this excellent idea forward as rapidly as possible, to catch the current generosity toward infrastructure that is available in the public arena right now. 

I'd like to see something suitable for members who want to support your initiative to send to their Representatives/Senators within the month.

For SpaceNut ... by any chance, could you find out where the retired Shuttles are located and what there condition might be?  For use as a Hubble Service Platform, they would need to be brought back to flight ready condition.  The entities (and communities) where they reside would need to be persuaded to release one of them.  The original Enterprise might be a candidate.  It has the air frame and might be capable of space flight, with extensive work.

For GW Johnson ... Your truss idea for a build-it-from-scratch idea certainly makes sense.

Do you need help with drawings?  If we do not currently have someone in the group with the needed skills, can we (try to) recruit someone?

Edit: Elon was willing to try to help rescue the kids trapped by water in a cave by asking his team to design a small submarine.  He might be willing to tackle this much larger and certainly more visible problem, if funding can be secured for the purpose.

Meanwhile, NASA engineers are (reported to be) preparing to try to bring some old hardware back online.  If they succeed, they may have bought a year or two more, but if they fail, Hubble is (apparently) dead in the ? water ? (expression doesn't quite fit).

For all ... is $200 (USD) million a realistic estimate for cost of this venture? 

Design, build, ship, launch, test in orbit, deploy, test on station, perform task, safe for future use, return crew.

$200 million seems like a tight squeeze to me, but it might be possible.

Reminder ... the Russians are (reported to be) planning to discard a module from the ISS when the replacement arrives.

(th)

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#17 2021-07-11 06:48:53

SpaceNut
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

The shuttles were retired to US museums with many parts removed. They can not be returned to flight as they were in need of a recertification. When they got retired was as of the last accident a board had labeled them as to experimental for continued use. Which lead to last flights taking place to finish the ISS before they entered the moth balls.

The design of the cargo hold could be modified with what we know of the cygnus design to make a new means to get the job done but its going to cost if given to the old guard as they will want a hefty fee for doing it....

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#18 2021-07-11 10:28:00

GW Johnson
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

Spacenut is right.  None of the shuttles will ever fly again.  They are now inert museum pieces with dummy engines and dummy avionics,  and fake tiles.  None of the systems are still aboard those hulls.

Those airframes were rather worn-out "tired" when they were retired.  But the real problem was the totally-obsolete avionics:  based on 1970's-vintage 8086 chips.  NASA had been reduced to buying used chips off ebay to keep the avionics working. 

The space shuttles were never anything more than sometimes-useful experimental flight test birds.  That's inherent in being the first example flying.  Because they were experimental,  they were quite risky to fly,  throughout the program.  I am surprised but very pleased we only lost two. 

That record is actually similar to the record of the experimental rocket plane X-15:  1 fatal crash and a couple of nonfatal accidents out of 199 flights.  Experimental is as experimental does,  to misquote Forrest Gump.

GW


GW Johnson
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#19 2021-07-11 12:16:14

SpaceNut
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

Shuttle's cargo bay.

The bay, 18.3 m long and 4.6 m wide (60 ft by 15 ft), has payload attachment points along its full length, and is adaptable enough to accommodate as many as five unmanned spacecraft of various sizes and shapes in one mission. The cargo bay is equipped also with a 15 m (50 ft) robot arm for lifting and releasing, or grasping and retrieving satellites in space.

https://history.nasa.gov/diagrams/shuttle.htm

https://esahubble.org/images/s103e5162/

s103e5162.jpg

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#20 2021-07-16 13:57:41

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

https://www.yahoo.com/news/nasa-finally … 30919.html

Morgan McFall-Johnsen
Fri, July 16, 2021, 2:19 PM
hubble space telescope orbiting earth
The Hubble Space Telescope in orbit above Earth. NASA
NASA finally fixed the Hubble Space Telescope after nearly five weeks without science operations.

Hubble switched to backup hardware to correct the mysterious glitch that took it offline.

Hubble's age likely caused the problem. NASA hopes it still has a few more years.

See more stories on Insider's business page.

NASA has finally fixed its Hubble Space Telescope after weeks of troubleshooting a mysterious glitch.

On Friday, the agency announced that Hubble had successfully turned on backups to the faulty hardware that shut down its operations more than a month ago. Now NASA engineers are slowly returning the telescope to full operations. The process could take a few days.
<snip>
There's still a mystery to solve: Why did the telescope stop working in the first place?

Whatever the faulty hardware is, Hubble no longer has a backup for it. If it fails again, that could spell the end of Hubble.

"Whatever that component is, it's in lots of other satellites," Hertz said. "We always want to understand what works and what doesn't work in space."

Read the original article on Business Insider

For GW Johnson ... the pressure is off ... there is now an opportunity for ** someone ** to design and present a well-reasoned plan for a permanent Hubble Service Facility.

It would be easy to just lay back and trust that ** someone ** will deal with the problem.

If there is anything I can do to help please let me know.

(th)

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#21 2021-07-17 19:38:05

SpaceNut
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

th

A new initiative is in early discussion, to write a proposal to create, launch and operate a maintenance facility for Hubble.  While service of the Hubble was carried out by (very talented and well-trained) humans in the past, it is no longer necessary for humans to visit Hubble to extend it's life.  With modern equipment, teleoperation is perfectly capable of installing an new hardware that may be needed in decades ahead.

While the pressure is off for GW there is still a need to find a way to communicate to those which still want a Hubble to exit not only today but years from now...in light of the computer being up once more the need for a zero contamination approach to the telescope is not needed as it can close the doors to the lenses.


I remember years back when shuttle was grounded such a tiger team was created to solve for this problem.

I had put together a thought for how to send a shuttle with a back up Soyuz in the cargo bay less parts not needed to orbit for that task of giving shuttle if damaged a means for the crew to get back home.

These days that can be a version of a Dragon and a modified Cygnus (simular shuttle bay equipped) to give the abilities for a crew to have the room to do what a shuttle bay could do.

So the big question is whom would we communicate to; that would want to hear from us and what would we want to present for ideas?

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#22 2021-07-18 09:22:46

GW Johnson
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

I reiterate the point I tried to make earlier:  we need a general satellite repair and refurbishment capability,  not one restricted to just Hubble (or some future clone). 

There's the ISS orbit.  Not a lot of satellites share similar orbits,  but the unmanned cargo vessels to-and-from ISS, that might have trouble, would benefit from an ISS-based capability.

Significant plane change is enormously expensive in terms of delta-vee.  Different perigee or apogee,  and minor plane changes,  not so much.  There are a lot satellites in lower orbits that are mostly eastward.  We would definitely benefit from a repair/refurb capability in that family of orbits. 

There are a lot of satellites in fairly-low near-polar orbits.  We might benefit from a repair/refurb capability based in that family of orbits. 

Any of these capabilities could also retrieve dead satellites for proper de-orbiting,  as long as they haven't already broken up. 

It just makes more sense to launch the hardware once into each orbit family.  That's a big launch or launches.  Then just send up crews and propellant refills when you have a mission to perform,  again and again.  Those are small launches.

If you could add radiation shielding for the crew,  and a larger delta-vee capability,  you could use the eastward orbit capability to reach geosynch.  That's out in the Van Allen radiation belts,  which is why the crew needs shielding.  Something like a thicker variation on the Bigelow B-330 module might serve.  But there's a lot of satellites in geosynch that need repair or deorbiting,  already.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2021-07-18 09:30:48)


GW Johnson
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"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#23 2021-07-18 10:49:00

tahanson43206
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

For GW Johnson re discussion of permanent service facility for Hubble...

Your point about the need for a generic service capability is certain important, but there is only ONE Hubble, and I believe it has EARNED it's own dedicated service facility.

It should be possible to build a clean Shuttle body from original (updated to last build) drawings, assuming they've been preserved.

The vision of larger capabilities is a good one and it deserves support.  However, a generic capibility will ** follow ** a dedicated example for Hubble. The loyalty of Americans (and probably others) to the Hubble should insure funding for a dedicated facility, which can then serve as a model for more ambitious generic systems.

I would like to try to focus whatever energies this group may possess on defining a system that can be explained to ordinary Americans (who must pay the bill) as well as to Congressional leaders who must pass legislation to authorize the project.

On top of all that, NASA itself (or at least Bill Nelson) needs to be convinced this is a worth while project.

Can someone (with posting privileges) find out if the Shuttle drawings are still available?

The heat shield is NOT needed.  The vehicle would ascend to orbit and remain there.

Anything not needed for repair missions can be omitted from the rebuild.

The interior of the wings can be used for fuel and liquid supplies.

Modern electronics can be fitted to the structure, as well as modern versions of the Canadian Arms (assuming Canada would be willing to provide them).

(th)

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#24 2021-07-18 12:28:53

SpaceNut
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

The remaining on orbit repair capability will need to have a service like module to station keep it in orbit much like a satelite would so that in future years you can reuse it for just Hubble.
The main issue is you still need the ability to bring the repair items up to orbit and that was done by the shuttle bay which we are not refilling as its not getting back to the ground.

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#25 2021-07-18 12:39:22

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
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Re: Hubble Space Telescope Permanent Maintenance Station

I don't think you need to build another shuttle to do this.  Just a hab module with an airlock and a docking port,  plus a truss for the shuttle bay function that has the shuttle-type mounts and maybe two arms instead of just one.  The OMS engines and tankage from the shuttle design could be adapted and mounted to the other end of the truss "bay" from the hab module. 

Hubble is in the eastward orbit at low inclination,  nowhere near the high inclination of ISS.  That is why no shuttle mission to Hubble could also go to the ISS,  not even to shelter the crew if the heat shield failed.  So,  put the first operational capability up into the Eastward orbit family.  Sell it to the public as "for Hubble",  and sell it to NASA management as a permanent and highly-adaptable capability of considerable scope. That one operational vehicle does both.

If you do your very first test vehicle at ISS,  then leave it there,  and you have the high inclination orbits covered.  Then proceed with the Hubble/eastward vehicle and capability.  Add polar last,  if we think we really need it. 

The "growth" project would be one adding geosynch capability.  Geosynch is 22,000 miles out,  dead east.  You just need enough delta-vee to reach that apogee and then circularize there,  plus enough to return to low eastward orbit.  Plus a radiation shield for the crew.

To be the vehicle I'm talking about,  you're looking at maybe 5-10 tons of crew hab module maybe 4-6 m dia,  something we can send up via Falcon-9 or Atlas-5.  You're looking at 1-2 tons of engines and tanks.  Maybe 1-2 tons for truss,  mounts,  and arms. 

Total at or under 15 tons,  no more than 4-6 m wide.  All that can be sent up via Falcon-9 or Atlas-5,  in a couple of launches.  Or send both up at once with a Falcon-Heavy.  We don't need to build another giant spaceplane to do that!

The ongoing supplies would be a Dragon on a Falcon-9 or a Starliner on an Atlas-5,  plus either rocket with a tanker tankage package for a payload.  Or,  again,  send up everything at once on a Falcon-Heavy.

If Musk gets his act together and gets his gigantic Starship/Superheavy actually operational,  the same job could be done by it.  But why would you use a Mack Truck when a VW Beetle will do?  Some jobs are just small.  Others are big.  Use the capability that fits the job,  that's just common sense.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2021-07-18 12:42:13)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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