The Advanced Study Group (ASG) is an interdisciplinary research group, functioning as a think tank. ASG collects various ideas, checks their innovative content and develops the ideas into sustainable concepts. The targeted space concepts are mostly characterised by a long term perspective, the visionary and innovative context as well as by the implementation of disruptive technologies. ASG stands out due to following characteristics:
The Advanced Study Group (ASG) is engaged with the brainstorming prior to common project development phases (phase-A until phase E/F) that a space projects runs through. The identification and development of breakthrough concepts need to go along with the establishment of a strategic overall focusing. Visionary concepts often stand out due to their long-term character, which has to be supported by a broad part of the society. Only when the social circumstances as well as the socio-economical specifics are taken into account, a visionary concept can be put into practice.
Projects of ASG
There is an increasing request for the transport of compact satellites into the lower orbit. At the moment, non-reusable rockets are used which involve high costs, risks and environmental stress. A new visionary long-term concept which shall be examined in a study is based on a pneumatic principle. The core of this possible future launch construction is a very long evacuated pipe called “Space Blast Pipe” (SBP). At the beginning the payload is positioned on a bulb-like platform at the lower end of the pipe. The space below this platform is then flooded with atmospheric or high pressure gas. Thereby it is accelerated with the payload against vacuum without fuel until the other side of the pipe.
First gas dynamic and mechanic analysis show, that terminal velocities up to orbital velocity (some km/s) are notionally possible dependent on the pipe’s length, the diameter of the platform, pressure and temperature.
Such a construction could at least replace the heavy main stage of a common transport system, which needs a huge part of propellant (cp. Paper IAC-08.D4.2.9).
The micro technique gains in importance in space flight. A future work area of micro-technical applications is the so-called Power-MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-System). Within the organisational unit SARA, the possibility of using a clausius-rankine-process for the production of energy for satellites is analysed on system analytical level as an alternative to solar cells.
Therefore, a micro-turbine-generator module (MTG-module) shall be operated by a concentration of the solar radiation with a Cassegrain-collector system. The single system elements such as receiver /steam generator, turbine, generator, condenser /radiator and pump shall be operated micro technically.
The accommodation happens together with the collector-system within one module. An electrical engine output of at least 10 watts per MTG-module can be assumed. These small steam power plant-modules are going to be integrated into a panel – similar to solar cells – to produce the necessary current for the satellite. Areas of use are in space flight (satellite accommodation) as well as in terrestrial applications (e.g. peripheral / regenerative production of energy and “micro”- waste heat utilization). For further information please also read Paper IAC-08-C3.2.6.