Design Project II: Boeing Future of Space
ED&G 100: Introduction to Engineering Design
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802
Spring 2003 


F.A.Q.
Direct your specific questions on this project to Prof. Sven G. BilÚn (sbilen@psu.edu) who will relay your question, if appropriate, to our contacts on this project. It is important that we respect the communication channel that they provide to us. Prof. BilÚn will attempt to have answers to questions within 24 hours, when possible. Note: asking a question via this method is not a replacement for doing your own research. A lot of questions can be answered by doing your own library research, web search, etc.  Thanks for your cooperation.

Under no circumstances are you to contact Boeing directly.  All information requests are to be made only through Prof. BilÚn  (sbilen@psu.edu). If it is determined that a student or team has circumvented this process, their name(s) will be forwarded to their instructor who will deal with the infraction appropriately.

In addition, please go through Prof. BilÚn before contacting Penn State Aerospace Engineering professors.


Q: Are there any limits on the cost of our system?

A: No, however they must be reasonable for the mission proposed.  The preferred method for determining reasonableness is to benchmark to the costs of other comparable missions.  A commonly quoted figure for current launch costs is $10,000 per pound to orbit (yikes!).  If you are proposing a service (e.g., DishNetwork) or business venture of some sort, then the costs of the mission must make sound business sense.  You must "find your customer", whether that be NASA, the military, private enterprise, rich moguls, etc.
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Q: I see the moon's orbit is an upper distance limit, is there a lower distance limit?

A: You are not required to attain orbit, as such suborbital flights are ok.  However, this is to be a space project, so aeronautical only systems such as airplanes are not acceptable.
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Q: May we use the existing International Space Station (ISS) as a jump off point

A: Yes.
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Q: What do you mean by the phrase "minor modifications" to existing hardware?

A: The point here is to keep the basic premise of the design and not change it considerably.  For example, if you decide to use the external tank of the Space Shuttle, then you should keep its diameter and height, but could add more or different mounting points or remove the ogive nose-cone portion.
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Q: I have a great idea for a new system, what might kill the idea immediately?

A: You need to make sure that you can launch it, so make sure it will fit in an existing launch system!
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Q: Are we allowed to use launch vehicles from other countries, such as Russia, to launch our mission? They are much cheaper in cost than American rockets and would bring the price down greatly.

A: Yes, any rocket currently available on the market is ok to use.  If not using an American company, however, you need to realize that certain satellites may not be able to be exported from the country (due to ITAR restrictions), or you may find it impossible to get insurance for your mission.
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Q: 

A: 
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Q: TBD

A: TBD
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Q: TBD

A: TBD
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More questions and answers will be added soon...

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Project inquiries: Sven G. BilÚn, sbilen@psu.edu
Last revised on 16 April 2003.