General N-Prize feasability discussion

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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby SANEAlex » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:46 pm

Jay wrote:The “View active topics” link appears to be broken again. I put this here only because this is the only topic the link seems to recognize as active.


This seems to be true for me as well to as I normally just check a tab with “View active topics” on it I seem to have missed posts this year by Jay, Rick m, Monroe and sujaysreedhar in various sub fora
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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby LSAteam » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:45 am

For me the question is if Government and Launch site fees apply.

In the UK unless you can get it wavered, a £6,500 fee applies for a Outer Space Act License. There's also insurance but I'm not fully versed on how this works yet. Finally Launch sites if one is used will charge a fee, the only site I've managed to get such information out of a few years ago was £4,000.

So before even touching the Launch Vehicle and Satellite design, or looking at if Insurance applies, expenses have hit £10,500.

unfortunately rule 13)i)c) appears to suggest the expense for hiring a launch site would apply:
Code: Select all
The cost that would be incurred for refurbishing, refilling, re-testing or otherwise preparing any launch equipment [b]or any aspect of the launch site, if a second identical mission were to be carried out[/b]


This would only otherwise leave creating a to purpose launch site or portable launch platform and finding a host that will let you set it up.

Aside from that there's plenty of other regulations that competitors should be aware of, such as explosives regulations or anything on the storage of fuels or gases which may apply to their designs and workshops.

I'm certainly interested in hoping I can make something that meets the criteria for the N-Prize, but ultimately I hope to build technologies and hopefully an orbital capable launcher some day, inspired by the competition, regardless of it becomes an entry for it. (I certainly have no illusions that it'll ever make my money back if I did win once all the prototypes and tooling are paid for!)
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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby SANEAlex » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:53 pm

LSAteam wrote:For me the question is if Government and Launch site fees apply.

In the UK unless you can get it wavered, a £6,500 fee applies for a Outer Space Act License. There's also insurance but I'm not fully versed on how this works yet. Finally Launch sites if one is used will charge a fee, the only site I've managed to get such information out of a few years ago was £4,000.

So before even touching the Launch Vehicle and Satellite design, or looking at if Insurance applies, expenses have hit £10,500.

unfortunately rule 13)i)c) appears to suggest the expense for hiring a launch site would apply:
Code: Select all
The cost that would be incurred for refurbishing, refilling, re-testing or otherwise preparing any launch equipment [b]or any aspect of the launch site, if a second identical mission were to be carried out[/b]


This would only otherwise leave creating a to purpose launch site or portable launch platform and finding a host that will let you set it up.

Aside from that there's plenty of other regulations that competitors should be aware of, such as explosives regulations or anything on the storage of fuels or gases which may apply to their designs and workshops.

I'm certainly interested in hoping I can make something that meets the criteria for the N-Prize, but ultimately I hope to build technologies and hopefully an orbital capable launcher some day, inspired by the competition, regardless of it becomes an entry for it. (I certainly have no illusions that it'll ever make my money back if I did win once all the prototypes and tooling are paid for!)


If you can find a way to take advantage of the educational clause in the Guidance_for_applicants_-_October_2015.pdf it should be possible to get that fee waived but IIRC Paul has previously stated that fees and insurance & ground based equipment that is not used up, damaged needing replacement etc does not count towards the cost launch but in the case of the reusable system anything that needs to be replaced to launch again does count.

So for instance if you had a expensive railgun that needed less than £1000 to run its electric & build the satellite that would be OK, but if you had to replace expensive capacitors on the railgun after each launch that took you over the £1000 then that would be a fail. Paul has been quite generous with the way he has said he will interpret the rules in his previous answers to specific questions but I've not seen him post for a while.

Anyway it's nice to see someone else who still thinks the problem is solvable but agree it is likely to cost more than the prize is worth to solve it which was also true of the X-Prize but it's still worth doing.

The document I referred to above

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... r_2015.pdf

Which contains

"Note: Recognised educational institutions carrying on an activity to which the Act applies for the
purpose of scientific research or teaching are not required to pay the fee."
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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby Jay » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:27 pm

The quotation offered by LSAteam comes from Rule 13. "Budget." If you read on just a bit more you'll find this identical wording in the last paragraphs of both 13. i) d. and 13. ii) d.

Items which need not be covered by the budget include prototyping costs; launch equipment or the launch site (except for costs which would be incurred for a repeat mission, as stated above); licence fees, permissions etc; charges made for attendance by safety personnel (provided that such personnel play no direct role in the mission); legal costs; medical costs; insurance costs; fines, penalties or loss of earnings arising from any cause whether prior to, during or after the mission; travel costs of people associated with the mission.


When the N-Prize was first suggested at Halfbakery.com, no one, certainly not Paul, had any idea what legal entanglements might be involved in N-type spaceflight. Many of the laws now governing such launches had yet to be enacted. Indeed, as first proposed, success likely would not have been materially possible without even considering the legal obstacles.

The "organisers" of the competition have pragmatically adapted the rules as the realities of private small-scale space transportation have become better understood. The Chief Optimist has clearly been very generous with his interpretation of launch costs. He has focused on the material cost of the launch itself rather than the developmental or legal or bureaucratic cost.

His standard has always been inescapably simple, "What would the total material cost be to do it again?"

SANEAlex wrote:Anyway it's nice to see someone else who still thinks the problem is solvable but agree it is likely to cost more than the prize is worth...


The problem is definitely solvable. The numbers favor success, but only just barely! As generous as Paul's challenge is, however, entrants have always understood (one hopes) that the cost of developing even a teeny tiny spaceflight launch system would far exceed the winnings. Anyone hoping to realize a profit from the prize money alone is greatly in need of an accountant.

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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby LSAteam » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:37 pm

It would be fantastic to see Paul post again sometime and confirm his thoughts regarding the rules of launch sites and outer space act. Though given I am not exactly expecting to win the prize and doing this mostly for fun :D

Glad to see some quick replies - It doesn't look like much posting has been happening here in recent times. Are there still people researching this problem?

I'm hoping to start having the first engine prototype together this summer/autumn, main issue being the laws of physics doing their best to smite my designs the more I look into them each time :lol: I thought I'd be making it a year ago till I realised the thermal design I had at the time was not up to scratch :oops:
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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby Jay » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:49 pm

Paul has repeated his expectations regarding the constraints of the flight budget many times.

His response to your question has always been this simple, "What would the material cost be to do it again?"

Consider everything that is consumed or lost in a single flight. If you were to deliver a satellite successfully to orbit and then replace all the irretrievable components and materials lost during the flight so you could use your prize-winning satellite delivery system to do it again, the flight budget is simply the material expense (including the cost for essential personnel) necessary to reproduce your success. External intangible costs are irrelevant.

"Keep It Tangible." What is the K.I.T. cost to do it again?


LSAteam wrote:It doesn't look like much posting has been happening here in recent times. Are there still people researching this problem?

Yes. The quiet is the sound of incubation.


LSAteam wrote:I'm hoping to start having the first engine prototype together this summer/autumn...

Your description of your propellant sounds somewhat similar to that being developed by the SugarShot to Space team. If you are not familiar with SugarShot you would be wise to learn more about their work. Although SugarShot is not an official entrant for the N-Prize (yet!), rick m (for Maschek), who is central to the SugarShot to Space project, has contributed often to discussions here at n-prize.com and has provided excellent documentary videos, photographs and reports on the progress of the SugarShot team.

You can follow SugarShot to Space on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/Sugarshottospace

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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby Jay » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:04 pm

I just noticed I attributed the work of Alchemy Team to LSAteam. How blog-hopping careless of me. Good thing this discussion doesn't involve any thing dangerous like rocket fuel or something. Oh, wait... fooom!

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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby LSAteam » Thu May 04, 2017 7:08 am

Jay wrote:I just noticed I attributed the work of Alchemy Team to LSAteam. How blog-hopping careless of me. Good thing this discussion doesn't involve any thing dangerous like rocket fuel or something. Oh, wait... fooom!

Jay


I was a bit confused where you got comparisons to Sugarshot to space and LSAteam from :lol: currently looking at liquid propulsion with nitrous oxide at the moment. Hybrids have too many problems in developing a good hybrid engine in my opinion (making one that'll burn isn't complicated, making one that'll burn efficiently and stable is an entirely different problem) and being a UK team the issues around developing solid motors (explosive regulations!) I do not believe make it worthwhile to pursue that technology. Ultimately this just leaves Liquid engines, but I think its entirely possible I could break the cost target on one engine! :P
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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby rick m » Fri May 05, 2017 6:59 am

LSAteam wrote: Glad to see some quick replies - It doesn't look like much posting has been happening here in recent times. Are there still people researching this problem?


I am still actively working on this in addition to Sugar Shot, some APCP solid motors, hybrids and liquid bi-propellants (LOX and different fuels).
I also mentor several university teams and help others world wide (for example the FAR-Mars prize, ESRA IREC, etc)...two test launches this Saturday.

I've seen so many 'start up' space companies with grand ideas fail to make any space launches. Besides the technical problems their is also the always present funding issues. Will someone win the N-Prize competition? Maybe. If someone does they will surely be reward with people knocking on their door to fly on the next launch.

Rick

ps Hi Jay
Hard work is good for you, try it.
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Re: General N-Prize feasability discussion

Postby Jay » Fri May 05, 2017 8:06 pm

LSAteam,

I happened to reread what I had written and became a bit confused myself! Friends don't let friends blog-hop and post!

Sorry to hear about British restrictions on solid fuels. In 2009 American rocket enthusiasts led by the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and Tripoli Rocket Association (TRA) scored a rare victory against excessive regulation when a federal court sided with hobbyists by ruling that ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP) must no longer be regulated as an explosive. The regulators chose not to appeal the ruling.

With respect to liquid-fuel rockets, I'm convinced a simple system can be built within the budget and win the prize. I'm inspired by the principles of Minimum Cost Design (MCD) promoted by Arthur Schnitt and Lt. Col. John R. London III (U.S. Air Force) as well as many others.

The concept of MCD is often erroneously reduced to "Big Dumb Rocket" or "Big Dumb Booster," but these were phrases circulated by vested interests to disparage the idea. They opposed MCD because the status quo was so much more profitable to them. Schnitt and London demonstrated that by making cost rather than performance the governing design criterion and reducing the cost of every element of a launch system, not just the engine, to the minimum the total cost of placing satellites in orbit could be reduced to a fraction of conventional spaceflight budgets.

The central question at every stage of design for every element of the system must be, "How might it be done for less?"

As for the N-Prize competition, remember that only the cost per flight counts. For development you're allowed to spend as much as you can persuade supporters to donate!

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