Request Paid Contractor Wanted - Solar Power Satellite Module

William Maness

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Hello,

I have a need for an Orbiter version of a Solar Power Satellite module that I will specify for an orbiter developer. I have a budget allocated for this work, and am looking for a skilled orbiter add-on developer to take on the project as a paid contractor. If you are interested, please contact me at [email protected] with your relevant experience, and links to any of your prior projects. This is for experienced Orbiter developers only.

Best regards,
William Maness
President

PowerSat Corporation
3311 109th St SW #203, Everett, WA 98204
877.797.7281 | f: 425.609.1938 | [email protected]
 
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Woo482

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what is this "Solar Power Satellite module" ?
 
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TSPenguin

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Of course you can pay someone to make an addon for orbiter.
As long as the current Orbiter license is respected of course.
 

William Maness

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Sorry if I'm being unclear. I am working on a solar power satellite project. Orbiter is a pretty good 'first approximation' simulation for visualization and sketching out mission parameters. This is a real world project in its very early stages, so Orbiter is our 'simulator on the cheap.' However, we aren't programmers, and certainly aren't skilled at creating Orbiter addons. We want an orbiter developer to work with us to create a spacecraft in orbiter that acts like our satellite modules will. We're willing to pay said developer for his time and effort. I hope that's a bit clearer. Sorry if my initial request didn't make sense.

Best,

William
 

Woo482

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can you show us some images of it ?
 

TSPenguin

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Are you planning to release the addon to the public?
This is something many developers will want to know before considering your offer.
 

William Maness

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Pictures

Hello,

For some pictures... sure. These aren't exactly what we'll be looking for (they were done in 2002) but they're pretty close. A satellite core, inflatable structure, thin film solar cell array. We are NOT expecting to model the deployment from stowed to inflated in Orbiter.

Core.jpg


SPSPMStowed.jpg


CoreDeployed.jpg

SPSPMUW.jpg
 

T.Neo

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Those models look impressive.
In terms of the operation of the satillite, what do you intend to simulate?
 

Seb

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Looks good :) Can we have a general idea of what you want the developer to accomplish?
 

William Maness

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Are you planning to release the addon to the public?
This is something many developers will want to know before considering your offer.

Not initially. However, once we've used it to do our analysis and generate a few videos, we will release the addon, but that will likely be a few months after its completion.

Best,

William

---------- Post added at 06:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:54 PM ----------

Those models look impressive.
In terms of the operation of the satillite, what do you intend to simulate?

In our actual satellite, we are using solar-electric propulsion to shift our orbit from LEO out to GEO so the addon will need to know how to vector its thrust for a gradual spiral ascent (prograde burn) and know when it is in sunshine (because we don't get any thrust in the shadow) The farther out we get from earth, the more sunshine we get, etc. The models in the picture have an error, in that the actual production system has a de-spin coupling between the array and the satellite core so thrust can be generated off-normal to the plane of the array. This allows the solar cells to always point at the sun (something the model needs to do) The model needs an 'autopilot' to take it out to GEO (an input to the autopilot would be the desired longitude of the GEO orbit) Then, as it orbits, it should thrust while it's in the sunshine (prograde burns) quit when its not in the sunshine (no power for the thrusters), gradually spiraling out from LEO to GEO. Once at GEO altitude, it will need to do a circularization set of burns to finish the job. It's not trivial, but having such a 'toy' will let us play with different inclinations from different launch sites and see what that does to our time-to-GEO and fuel consumption. We have real-world ISP data, xenon tankage, etc to provide to the Orbiter addon designer.

Best,

William
 

tblaxland

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In our actual satellite...[snip interesting info]
All sounds do-able.

Further to TSPenguin's comments about the license, this is FYI:
http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/disclaimer.html
ORBITER is free software in the sense that you are free to download, copy and redistribute it for personal and non-commerical purposes...
...You are not allowed to use Orbiter or parts of it in a commercial product without the author's consent.
My opinion is that you will be using Orbiter for commercial purposes but you will probably want a more informed legal opinion than mine :p
 

William Maness

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All sounds do-able.

Further to TSPenguin's comments about the license, this is FYI:
http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/disclaimer.html
My opinion is that you will be using Orbiter for commercial purposes but you will probably want a more informed legal opinion than mine :p

Hmm. We're not selling Orbiter, or the add-on we want developed, and will release the add-on to the public domain once we're done with it. The "what-ifs" we want to play with in no way infringe on Dr. Schweiger's intellectual property. Nor are we incorporating Orbiter or any part of it in a product we intend to sell. Would you suggest that because one used Excel to do some modeling that the resulting model somehow infringes on MicroSoft's intellectual property? It sounds a bit extreme here. If Dr. Schweiger holds a differing view, we will of course abide by his wishes. In my estimation however, our intended use is properly aligned with the license agreement.

Best,

William
 

Omhra

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contact Martin because "using" does not equal "selling"... Language is; do not "use" for commercial purpose... if you get that using is... using it.
I could (but I don't) sell a ton of prints created from snapshots in orbiter... is that using orbiter for commercial purposes?... I would ask Martin.
Other than that... eh.. that technology is pretty good forward thinking.
 

William Maness

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I have sent the following message to Dr. Schweiger, just to err on the side of caution.

Hello Dr. Schweiger,

I am working on a commercial solar power satellite venture. We are in the very early stages, and are using Orbiter to do a few what-if analysis and playing with orbit elements for our solar-electric propulsion satellites.

It has been brought to my attention that it is possible that we may be infringing on your use agreement, since we are a for-profit company. Let me be clear, we are not selling your software, or using any part of it in anything we will ever sell. We are using it as a tool to test out different launch and orbit scenarios, to determine which approaches merit more rigorous analysis. This seems to me to be within the intent of your licensing agreement, but other members in Orbiter Forum suggested that I contact you to make sure.

My email address is [email protected]. The thread in the Orbiter Forum is at http://www.orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?t=8463 Please let me know if you have any objections to us using your software in such a fashion.

Best regards,

William Maness
 

Kaito

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Looks like a good letter.
Wow, I can't believe that someone is actually using orbiter for something like this. If this proves to be successful...I see a BRIGHT future for Orbiter (and a bunch of noobs saying "omg I can't fly like in starwars HALP!"
 

William Maness

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...
Wow, I can't believe that someone is actually using orbiter for something like this. ...

To be frank, we're not using it for anything just yet. It seems like a good, easy to use tool for us to experiment with. Of course, it doesn't do us much good without an 'addon' that mimics our satellites behavior. We certainly won't be using the simulations from Orbiter to base any hardware on. It's a great simulator for trying out different scenarios though.

Best,

William
 

Urwumpe

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Of course, the question is, how many physical properties do you need to be modeled?

If you don't mind about the deployment, it is possible to implement it in Orbiter by using text files and the generic vessel module spacecraft3.dll. This is usually good enough for visualization.

This one for example was done without any custom DLL module:

If you need electric attitude control, like reaction wheels or CMGs, you are likely better served with a simple custom vessel module (DLL), but that is still no large programming project.

Of course, you can always add more features, the orbiter API is very versatile and allows even detailed subsystem simulations, in this case, you are really on the safe side by employing a (semi-)professional C++ programmer (If you are lucky, a computer science student can do this - but the capabilities of them span from abyssmal bad to too good to be affordable). Add-on development in Orbiter itself is a pretty easy task, which you can deliberately make complex.

And the more complex you want to make it, the harder it gets to find programmers who are able of the task. And the more time you need to invest into the orbiter model.
 

William Maness

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Of course, the question is, how many physical properties do you need to be modeled?

...

Of course, you can always add more features, the orbiter API is very versatile and allows even detailed subsystem simulations, in this case, you are really on the safe side by employing a (semi-)professional C++ programmer (If you are lucky, a computer science student can do this - but the capabilities of them span from abyssmal bad to too good to be affordable). Add-on development in Orbiter itself is a pretty easy task, which you can deliberately make complex.

And the more complex you want to make it, the harder it gets to find programmers who are able of the task. And the more time you need to invest into the orbiter model.


That's what we're looking for in a developer, and why we are offering to compensate him (or her) for his time. We know that there will be multiple iterations of the satellite model, the control system, auto-pilot, fuel / ISP / Engine technology, etc. We also have specific requirements that aren't usual for Orbiter spacecraft, including counting orbits, pointing arrays not only at the sun, but transmitters at the earth. When we get through the basics, we're going to want to set up station-keeping / formation flying of multiple instances of our spacecraft in GEO. We might even model a power receiver to go on the ground, and have it interact with transmitting satellites to generate an end-to-end simulation. It's an exciting project to be sure, and whoever gets the contract will have much to play with.

Best,

William
 
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