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Re: Silly Question

Sam Burnes wrote:

> This all got me to thinking...
> 1st     Let's form a company to "deal" with space debris...(I was thinking
> in terms of some sort of robot craft, ion drive (?))

The modeling... no... calculations (I can't dignify such simple calculations
as models) I made were
banking on Ion drive and LEO targets.  It would seem to be the only cost
effective way of getting the most efficient thrust up into orbit for the mass
used.  The down side is that the amount of power is very low with Ion drive.
The bonus is that the thing can stay up there for a long time (months or
years) doing work before it runs out of fuel.  We are talking many
(10<many<100) hours of burn time.  The idea here is to spread the launch cost
over as many successful hazard deorbits as possible.

Fortunately we don't have to use much power to get many of these ballistic
hazards out of the way.  My strategy was to change the orbits of these
hazards just enough so that their orbits would then decay and object itself
would re-enter the atmosphere and burn up in a reasonable period of time,
depending on the needs of the client.  This way the spacecraft uses as little
fuel as possible per disposal operation.  The robotic spacecraft I envisioned
could carry 450 some odd useful burns for deorbiting hazards much less than
its assumed mass of less than 100kg.  Unfortunately some of those 450 burns
would be consumed in maneuvering and would not be used for revenue per se.

If all of those burns could go toward successful deorbits and presuming it
cost $1million to launch the thing, each deorbit would cost about $2.23k.  No
development costs here, no work force, no ground stations, no ground control,
nothing but the launch cost.  Even so if the thing managed only half that
many deorbits that is still less than $5k.  Suppose you charged 5 times that
for a cost of $25k to the client per deorbit.  Might that not be worth it to
the client?  I would say it would be a bargain since they would be ensured a
hazard free orbit for their $100k or more satellite which would reduce their
insurance costs and give them something like 10 years of operation.

Speaking of insurance, perhaps satellite underwriters would be interested in
such a device since it would lower their risk.

> 2nd     If there is "stuff" of value, then we could contract with the
> shuttle coming down for delivery (after all, most of the time they are
> just coming home empty).
> Sounds like SF, but so did space flight not too many years ago.
> Sam Burnes
> Copperas Cove, Texas

Bronson Crothers
17 Charles St.
Orono  ME  04473

Phone: 207 866 0405
Fax:.....207 866 0405

Radio Call: N1ZAQ

--... ...--

Email: bronson@eece.maine.edu

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