[FPSPACE] FW: Centauri Dreams - NanoSail-D: Duplicate Exists, Needs to Fly
ljk4 at msn.com
Wed Aug 20 22:41:50 EDT 2008
>From: Centauri Dreams <gilster at mindspring.com>
>Reply-To: Centauri Dreams <gilster at mindspring.com>
>To: ljk4 at msn.com
>Subject: Centauri Dreams
>Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 14:03:13 -0500 (CDT)
>NanoSail-D: Duplicate Exists, Needs to Fly
>Posted: 19 Aug 2008 07:43 AM CDT
>Remember the great scene in Contact, when the fabulously rich S. R. Hadden
>(John Hurt), who funded the stargate device that has been destroyed by
>sabotage, says Why build one when you can build two for twice the price? He
>then reveals the existence of a second facility off the coast of Japan,
>which is what Ellie Arroway uses on her interstellar trip. So is solar sail
>expert Greg Matloff a ringer for S. R. Hadden? Read on.
>Gregs recent phone call may not have been as dramatic as that scene in
>Contact, but he was able to tell me that although NanoSail-D did perish in
>the SpaceX Falcon explosion, there is a second sail. Marshall Space Flight
>Center built two. So now were in the energizing position of having a second
>chance at a sail deployment in space, and it could be done soon via the
>next Falcon launch, if SpaceX will cooperate in the enterprise.
>And heres why they should: Launching a payload on the Space Shuttle costs
>approximately $10,000 per pound. Thats pricey, and the whole premise behind
>the Falcon is that it can cut launch costs to as little as a tenth of this.
>Now the NanoSail-D package is a scant ten pounds (it can be carried around
>in a suitcase!). If you were working with full Space Shuttle prices (and
>remember to factor in the fact that the sail has to be delivered to
>Kwajalein for launch), that still works out to something not terribly far
>over $100,000 dollars. Call it $150,000 to be safe.
>But SpaceX aims to achieve a tenth of that cost. So lets be extravagant and
>build in some margins, and we still arrive at no more than $15,000 to put
>NanoSail-D into space on the next Falcon.
>Will SpaceX be willing to help out the doughty team of solar sail
>researchers at Marshall and elsewhere, especially in light of the $20
>million infusion it has recently received from the Founders Fund? This is a
>chance for the commercial space business to contribute hugely to our solar
>sail effort, one that has stalled not because of technology far from it
>but because of funding issues. We need to get a sail into space for
>deployment tests and NanoSail-D is our best shot. A Shuttle launch may not
>be in the cards, but a new Falcon is going to be flying soon. Lets hope
>SpaceX and NASA can get NanoSail-Ds twin aboard that rocket.
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