The British Interplanetary Society

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the BIS forums.
Jast added - Project KickSat

Author Topic: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study  (Read 4053 times)

RobinTucker

  • Approved member
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« on: May 19, 2016, 09:30:14 AM »

This sounds a great new project, addressing a real current need! 
I have two early thoughts.

One is that the spec should be built around cubesats.  But it is worth considering both regular 1U cubes (1-2kg) and bigger (3U) and smaller (Quarter-U as per the Q-Cube project).

Two is that with small size, air resistance will play a larger role than normal.  Also cost will be important, but the overall launcher should not be very big.

Thus it may make sense for the initial stage to be by balloon.  A cheap and possibly reusable way to rise above the thickest part of the atmosphere. 

I haven’t done the sums, but would an existing weather balloon be able to carry a launcher capable of taking a cubesat into orbit?  Or how big would it need to be?

Robin T
Logged

JennyScottThompson

  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 48
  • BIS member and forum moderator
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2016, 05:19:24 PM »

Cambridge University Spaceflight looked into this a few years ago. Up to the edge of space is theoretically feasible, and the hard part was getting the rocket to launch in the right direction when you have a swaying platform dangling from a balloon. Orbit will be a bit harder, though. There are designs for a launcher carried up by multiple balloons, but I haven't yet heard of anyone getting it working for a really big rockoon.
Logged

Robin Brand

  • Approved member
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 10:14:53 PM »

Some early US sounding rockets using this technique (‘rockoons’) were launched from naval ships travelling with the wind to help avoid problems launching the large balloons required. (For an illustration of a rockoon see Boyd & Seaton (1954), “Rocket Exploration of the Upper Atmosphere”, p.61). In the late 1950s the UK and Australia abandoned the use of rockoons in Australia because of the difficulty of launching balloons in windy conditions.
Logged

Stephen Gamble

  • Approved member
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2018, 11:34:58 PM »

This thread seems to have been quiet for sometime.

Are people still looking into this? Or is there an official project running?

It would seem to me that a number of projects mentioned here would slot together to form what I would call a programme.  For example if we are able to launch sprites by piggy-backing somebody's launch that would give a chance to build our (BIS) expertise in tracking.  I think Mark Hempsell was running a project on building a cube-sat like platform.  Being able to piggy back something like that on another mission would be perhaps the next step up from sprites.  The next step would be the ability to launch our own sprites then cube sats.
Logged

LesShoulder

  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 188
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2018, 11:35:42 AM »

Project still live I believe, go to the members area for a link to a video of the talk given by the project leader Robin Brand from June 2017.
Logged

Stephen Gamble

  • Approved member
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 10:35:24 PM »

Thanks for the reply Les.  I will check out the talk
Logged

Aus_JohnC

  • Approved member
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 05:47:02 AM »

Hi All,

Interesting posts so far and challenge as always is cheap, easy access to launch for potential nanosat.

One option I would like to suggest and not new is carrier launch from aircraft. But the aircraft I am thinking of is White Knight two (Virgin Galactic carrier aircraft). It is already designed to carrier device for launch to high elevation. with potential modification to carrier mechanism and depending on size of rocket required for nanosat could provide cheap, reusable launch for these type of launches. Also, depending on size of rocket required and altitude nanosat required to reach, potential single flight could support multiply rockets and launches.

From commercial side this could be addition use for aircraft and income to company, in conjunction to potential tourist flights. It would also provide valuable experience to crews in launch profiles for both tourist flight with SpaceShipTwo, as well as nanosat launches. I am not an engineer, so how easy or hard would be configure carrier aircraft different style of launch craft (or multiply craft) I can not comment on. But believe could be merit in examining options.

Please feel free to comment on what I have suggested.

JohnC
Logged

PatrickMahon

  • Approved member
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 02:00:31 AM »

Was anyone on these Forums able to attend Robin Brand's talk about this project at HQ on 17 May? I was hoping to go, having heard Robin speak about this at the Open Forum conference at Westcott on 14 April, but work commitments got in the way.

My understanding is that phase 1 of the project is complete, and a report is available from Robin if you're interested. Phase 2 is to follow over the coming year.
Logged

LesShoulder

  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 188
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2018, 02:30:47 PM »

Yes Robin Brand gave a detailed overview of the work carried out in phase 1, this was mainly centered around the economics of the proposal and I believe a pdf of the report is available,if you would like one I will see what I can do. The project now enters phase 2 which I understand to be more technical in nature.

Logged

PatrickMahon

  • Approved member
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Nanosat Launch Vehicle Feasibility Study
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2018, 02:25:40 PM »

Thanks Les. I've got the phase 1 report - I saw Robin at the recent conference at Westcott and got it there - but I wanted to make sure that others knew that it was available. Cheers.
Logged