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View Full Version : These Cubesats Could Use Plasma Thrusters to Leave Our Solar System



Fraser
2013-Jul-12, 10:10 PM
Cubesats are all the rage these days: they’re usually inexpensive and quick to build and they can tag along on launches already scheduled for other things. We think of cubesats as being almost “disposable” satellites – tiny spacecraft that go into Earth orbit for a short time, do their science and then burn up harmlessly [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/103458/these-cubesats-could-use-plasma-thrusters-to-leave-our-solar-system/)

neilzero
2013-Jul-12, 10:55 PM
I hope they can develop the miniature plasma thrusters, as they will have many uses, but I'm skeptical that a 5 kilogram transmitter system can return data to Earth from even 100 AU. How about a few hundred data relay "satellites" beyond Neptune's orbit? Neil

publiusr
2013-Jul-13, 06:53 PM
This Dan Goldin "smaller cheaper faster" mentality won't die.

Optics demands large light-buckets:
http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385&plckPostId=Blog%3A04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3Aa7cb6aee-1c4e-406a-a022-7b7fb65dee07

In one of my earlier posts over at the Space exploration section I posted a quote in terms of how tight folding structures can be folded in standard shrouds--and the diameter was something like three-to-one IIRC. Larger shrouds allows for simpler monolithic structures and a lot of extra room so that--if something must be folded--it doesn't have to be folded as tight and as complicated as Webb, say.

But people keep advocating small sats, even though they will be harder to track and add to space junk hazards.