U.S. Army Wants Nanomissiles to Launch Small Satellites

Olá leitor!

Segue abaixo uma notícia em inglês postada dia (09/08) no site “www.space.com”, destacando que o exército americano planeja usar nanomísseis para lançar nanosatélites (algo em torno de 20 quilos).

Duda Falcão


U.S. Army Wants Nanomissiles to Launch Small Satellites


By Turner Brinton

Space News Staff Writer

posted: 09 August 2010

05:05 pm ET


An artist's illustration of the Multipurpose Nanomissile

under development by the U.S. Army to launch

small satellites into orbit. Credit: U.S. Army


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army's desire to deploy swarms of tiny satellites for various tactical missions is one of the reasons it began development two years ago of what would be the United States' smallest orbital launch vehicle, designed to put payloads of about 20 kilograms into space, government and industry officials said.

The Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) in Huntsville, Ala., conceived the Multipurpose Nanomissile system as a liquid-fueled core booster augmented by various strap-on solid-rocket motors. [Army nanomissile concept photo.]

Standing just a little taller than a basketball hoop, the rocket's modularity could make it useful not only as a launch vehicle but potentially a missile defense target, sounding rocket and hypersonic test vehicle as well, John London, SMDC's manager for nanosatellite technology programs, said. It will also be a good way to make use of aging tactical solid-rocket motors that would otherwise be decommissioned, London said in a recent interview.

The Army had not built a satellite in nearly 50 years until recently starting a handful of experimental satellite programs. Rather than building a small number of very expensive satellites as the Air Force does, the Army is interested in large, cheap constellations of spacecraft that can be easily replaced.

"The interest we have in the orbital part is that these nanosatellites we're building have price points that are between $300,000 and $1 million per satellite," London said. "One of the reasons we like satellites of this class is we can afford to put a lot of them up there to where the entire constellation is still relatively inexpensive. If one satellite up there fails, and I need to replace it with a $300,000 satellite in a very specific orbit, and the lowest cost launch vehicle out there is at least 30 to 50 times the cost of that spacecraft, that won't work."

To develop the Multipurpose Nanomissile System's core booster, the Army in 2008 contracted with Colsa Corp. and Dynetics Corp., both based in Huntsville. The Army has spend about $7 million to date on the Multipurpose Nanomissile System and needs about $17 million more to complete development, London said.

The booster is almost 12 feet (3.6 meters) tall and nearly 24 inches (60 cm) in diameter. Dynetics is mainly responsible for the booster's propulsion system, which uses a nitrous oxide-ethane blend to produce 3,000 pounds of thrust, Steve Cook, Dynetics' director of space technologies, said in an Aug. 4 interview. If completed, it will be the smallest launch vehicle available in the United States, he said.

The team recently completed its sixth static fire test of the propulsion system, which lasted 60 seconds, about half of a full burn, Cook said. The companies are in negotiations with the Army to extend the companies' work and conduct a first unguided suborbital booster flight test about in about a year, he said.

In its most basic configurations, Multipurpose Nanomissiles could be purchased for as little as $150,000 apiece if they are being produced in quantity, London said.

In a launch vehicle configuration, the liquid core booster alone could carry payloads of about 10 kilograms to low Earth orbit, and if fully outfitted with solid-rocket motors for additional thrust, the payload capacity is around 23 kilograms, London said. The estimated production cost for the launch vehicle configuration is around $1 million, not including range and payload integration costs, he said.

The Army's approach to the Multipurpose Nanomissile program is unlike that of traditional government rocket programs, said Cook, a former NASA official who led the development of the U.S. space agency's Ares family of rockets before resigning last summer.

Whereas mission assurance is the ultimate goal of other rockets, a low price point is the driving force for this program. That dictates not only that the rocket be very small in size, but also the use of inexpensive components such as stainless steel fuel tanks instead composite or aluminum ones, Cook said.


Source: Website www.space.com

Comentário: Acorda Brasil. Chega de simpósios, de encontros, workshops, reuniões intermináveis que se perpetuam há décadas. O que o Programa Espacial Brasileiro precisa é de pouca conversa e efetiva ação. Todos conhecem os problemas do PEB, pois eles continuam sendo os mesmos desde que o programa foi instituído. Não há razão para se continuar discutindo os problemas e sim aplicando as soluções de forma efetiva e sem demora. Veja o caso desse nicho de mercado que foi identificado pela AEB e pelo MCT, ou seja, o de lançamento de picos, nanos e microsátelites que como o leitor pode notar pela matéria, começa a ser também visado por outros organismos internacionais. É verdade que o IAE tem o projeto do Veículo Lançador de Microsatélites (VLM) em desenvolvimento para atender inicialmente o experimento SHEFEX III do DLR alemão (previsto para ser lançado em 2015), e que esse projeto também visa explorar esse nicho, no entanto, também é verdade que se o PEB fosse prioridade do governo, esse e outros projetos que remontam de décadas já seriam realidade. Além do mais, é bem provável que o projeto do VLM ainda não passe de um sonho com possibilidade de ser realizado, mas sem um prazo definido. Também é valoroso lembrar que o grupo “Edge Of Space” coordenado pelo engenheiro José Miraglia trabalha com apoio da FAPESP no desenvolvimento do seu motor verde de 1000N a propulsão líquida, visando o desenvolvimento do lançador de picosatélites “PI”. Sonho esse que muito provavelmente está mais próximo de acontecer que o projeto do VLM do IAE. Aliás, chamo a atenção da comunidade científica brasileira (que tenha interesse de lançar picosatélites em órbita) para esse projeto do foguete “PI” da “Edge Of Space”, que acreditamos estará disponível no mercado por volta de 2012, isto é, caso o apoio da FAPESP continue adequado.

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