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Using mass production for space exploration

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posted on Jan, 1 2006 @ 11:23 AM
Past year the year 2005 several great discoveries where made. planetiods / planets beyond pluto , a planetiod in an orbit around the kuiperbeld and rings and moons around uranus and jupiter..

why doens't nasa, esa ect or a privat company produce stockpile of satelites with the same construction and configuration. so it would be possible to take preliminar scientific studies to find out the composition and if there is a form on or aboard the found object. ect
so if there is something found you can then send an satelite/probe with specialist equipment to probe the specific destination which you have scientificly tested with the probe you send first.

these basic test probes are when made in large numbers and with the help of nano tech easy to make and send if using the smaller types of commercial rockets or the new vega missle of esa.

posted on Jan, 1 2006 @ 11:36 AM
Well the problem with mass production is that it requires some sort of an assembly line. There are a few problems with this...

Satellites are not cars, they need to be put together delicately and meticulously. So that rules out the chance of using robots to put them together. Sure, there are some elements of precision, but really not enough just quite yet.

Also, if you wanted to have a manned production line like aircraft production uses, you still run into some problems. Those production lines are in giant warehouses. What's the problem with that? Well, satellites need to be built in a "clean enviroment" (free of dust, dirt, and just about everything else) due to the sensitivity of their nature. It would be a bit hard to accomplish this "clean enviroment" in a building with such an immense volume.

Another problem is that nano technology really isn't at that level yet. Maybe this will be possible in 20 years, but even then I would still bank on the idea of satellites being hand made.

posted on Jan, 1 2006 @ 02:34 PM
Actually the problem is money. The operation has to be attractive profit wise.

The clean room environment is not a factor. I work in a facility that would dwarf a modern casino as far as the cleanroom is concerned. And thats a class 1 cleanroom. Class 1 means, 1 particle per cubic foot of air.
And that particle is .5 microns in size. Thats more stringent than what is necessary to build a spacecraft. But this would be a major expense just to keep the air handling system running smoothly. Not a problem when building profitable semiconductor chips.

Another problem is standardization. Not all satellite solutions are addressable with a handful of designs. And you don't want to have too many designs, or you'll lose the efficiency of the production line.

So the factory isn't a problem as long as you have enough business to support the infrastructure and production.

Now if every country in the world could buy space shuttles like they do airplanes and there was money to be made, sure you would see something like that today.

The tech is there, but the money and demand isn't.

posted on Jan, 3 2006 @ 05:57 AM
Actually, I just remembered something about mass production for space exploration.

I agree with the fact that it'll be hard to mass produce robotic explorers, for as has been said, each mission is pretty much unique, and so requires differing instruments etc.

But lets say we can mass produce robotic explorers - the launch costs are still massive, in the tens of millions of dollars per launch.

Anyway, what I remembered was this. The Soviet Union actually mass produced their manned Soyuz craft. They also set up an assembly line for their lunar module, that never flew.

And this is perhaps where we could learn from the Soviet program. Sure, it wasn't the prettiest, or most technologically advanced stuff ever. But it worked, reliably, for decades. Soyuz is still flying today.

I've been thinking for a while that maybe NASA should retire the Shuttle for once & for all, and go back to earlier non-reusable capsules for manned flight, while the new CEV is designed & built. This might seem like a backward step, but the "old stuff" has been flight tested, and works. I heard NASA were looking at bringing the J-2 engine used in the Saturn V back - its still the most powerful flight tested engine, and could be improved with modern materials & manufacturing.

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