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moonomaly

Thoughts on a civilian Moon programme

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A thread for thoughts on launching a cubesat or tubesat (micro-satellite) in low Earth orbit (LEO), and then sneaking off to the Moon instead of decaying back to Earth :

Launching the sat for $8K-$15K (£6k-£11.5K) :

http://www.interorbital.com/Cubesat Kits

http://www.interorbital.com/Tubesat Kits

First problem is leaving LEO, second problem is navigation.

 

 

 

 

Edited by moonomaly
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How quickly do you want to reach the Moon?

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4 minutes ago, DRT said:

How quickly do you want to reach the Moon?

Next week please! Seriously though, that's one of many questions yet to be explored, navigation, telemetry etc. Need to start off with formulating a propulsion system that will generate  enough force and fit into a cube or tubesat, so the first step is to prove that simple ion thrust devices generate more thrust than airflow alone would achieve. Baby steps.

Edited by moonomaly
sMelling

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Problem 1 - Propulsion, intro.

Having looked at available methods, none suffice - we can't take fuel on our microsat, we can't use electromagnets since they stop working once we are too far away from the Earth's magnetic field and we can't store enough water to use  microjets as a propellant.

What about electricity? One technology that i think is worth exploring is the so-called 'ion wind' effect, it comes from early experiments with asymmetrical capacitors and is a field with plenty of room left for exploration by domestic researchers.

Standard capacitors work by creating an electric field between two plates, storing energy there. It's been found by experiment that when one of the plates has a different form from the other (thin wire vs thick wire, or small surface area vs large) that a net thrust is generated in the direction of the smaller plate.

A simple model that shows this effect is the famous 'lifter' model, basically a trianglular (or square, or more sides) balsa wood frame, with an aluminum skirt and a very thin copper wire. Ths skirt is mounted on the lower part of the frame and the wire on the higher, here's a starter experiment (please rewind to start since i pasted video at near end) :

 

These are high-voltage (HV) devices, so to reach 30kv can typically cost you a few of amps of current (when we step up voltage output, current output goes down so we need lots to start with), and power sources that produce enough current are prohibitively large.

So, in order to develop a micro HV transformer we need to explore different materials and topologies to find the most efficient model.

Some apparent experimental behaviour i've collected about lifters from available data (the thin wire being the emitter and the aluminium skirt being the collector) :

1. smaller gap = larger force
2. more collectors = larger force
3. larger, single collector = more force than 2
4. more rigid aluminium sheet = larger force (smoother surface?)
5. smaller emitter diameter = larger force
6. effect works when emitter is in a vacuum
7. pulsed power improves by an order of magnitude at least (sawtooth wave seems best)
8. pulsed ac is apparently better
9. more current = larger force
10. increasing AC voltage results in a nonlinear increase in the force

I've been meaning to start experiments to prove the assertions in the above points 2,3,4,6,7,8 and 10 but i've only just got the test-bed near readiness after 8 months so progress will be slow.

 

 

Edited by moonomaly

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12 minutes ago, moonomaly said:

Problem 1 - Propulsion, intro.

Having looked at available methods, none suffice - we can't take fuel on our microsat, we can't use electromagnets since they stop working once we are too far away from the Earth's magnetic field and we can't store enough water to use as microjets as a propellant.

What about electricity? One technology that i think is worth exploring is the so-called 'ion wind' effect, it comes from early experiments with asymmetrical capacitors and is a field with plenty of room left for exploration by domestic researchers.

Standard capacitors work by creating an electric field between two plates, storing energy there. It's been found by experiment that when one of the plates has a different form from the other (thin wire vs thick wire, or small surface area vs large) that a net thrust is generated in the direction of the smaller plate.

A simple model that shows this effect is the famous 'lifter' model, basically a trianglular (or square, or more sides) balsa wood frame, with an aluminum skirt and a very thin copper wire. Ths skirt is mounted on the lower part of the frame and the wire on the higher, here's a starter experiment :

 

These are high-voltage (HV) devices, so to reach 30kv can typically cost you a few of amps of current (when we step up voltage output, current output goes down so we need lots to start with), and power sources that produce enough current are prohibitively large.

So, in order to develop a micro HV transformer we need to explore different materials and topologies to find the most efficient model.

Some apparent experimental behaviour i've collected about lifters from available data (the thin wire being the emitter and the aluminium skirt being the collector) :

1. smaller gap = larger force
2. more collectors = larger force
3. larger, single collector = more force than 2
4. more rigid aluminium sheet = larger force (smoother surface?)
5. smaller emitter diameter = larger force
6. effect works when emitter is in a vacuum
7. pulsed power improves by an order of magnitude at least (sawtooth wave seems best)
8. pulsed ac is apparently better
9. more current = larger force
10. increasing AC voltage results in a nonlinear increase in the force

I've been meaning to start experiments to prove the assertions in the above points 2,3,4,6,7,8 and 10 but i've only just got the test-bed near readiness after 8 months so progress will be slow.

 

 

I will have to give this a go using my Tesla coils, oddly enough I did notice a force when I had an experimental top load balanced on the coil and it fell off when I switched it on.

Alan

Edited by Alien 13

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1 minute ago, Alien 13 said:

I will have to give this a go using my Tesla coils, oddly enough I did notice a force when I had an experimental top load balanced on the coil and it fell off.

Alan

That's interesting, sounds like it may be the same effect at work. Was it a doughnut top ?

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Just now, moonomaly said:

That's interesting, sounds like it may be the same effect at work. Was it a doughnut top ?

It was a beer can details in this thread 

I was looking to add some extra capacitance to the tuned circuit at the time.

Alan

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7 minutes ago, Alien 13 said:

It was a beer can details in this thread 

I was looking to add some extra capacitance to the tuned circuit at the time.

Alan

Great thread, love that amazon unit, a larger version of what's inside plasma balls.

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This is why i'm so keen on investigating the ion-wind effect. Different groups in NASA have reported different results, there is a fair bit of disagreement about exactly what's going on, and non of the big boys (that i can find yet) have produced a paper detailing stringent tests comparing observed thrust with predicted aerodynamical results.

Eyeballing some net videos of previous experiments there's no way that such an imperfect aluminium 'wing' can produce the thrust required to lift the frame, here are some experimental calculations from other experimenters :

http://blazelabs.com/

http://jnaudin.free.fr/lifters/main.htm

 

 

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