May 18 2015

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Northrop Grumman sets up committee for VAMP

NGC Establishes Science Advisory Board for Venus Mission. VAMP = Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform, and here’s what it looks like (conceptually, anyways):

VAMP is a large and light, inflatable/deployable vehicle that would cruise through Venus’s clouds at altitudes ranging from 52 kilometers to 68 kilometers, using solar-powered propellers to maneuver on Venus and while gathering science data. It is being designed to be inflated and deployed on orbit and “float” like a leaf into Venus’s atmosphere, where it could operate for more than year.

Hmmmm…I assume it would be neutrally buoyant so that if it suffered mechanical or solar issues it could still proceed with its mission long enough to recover. Moving faster than the night-time terminus so that it’s constantly in sunlight means that it needs to average about 4 mph in the direction of Venus’ retrograde rotation throughout its mission lifetime. Which, of course, means that it needs to have a top speed much higher than that.

The article says that it could be used for Mars as well, but I’m skeptical of that because the atmosphere is so thin. I’d be much more interested in a Jupiter or Saturn mission for a VAMP concept, though of course Solar likely wouldn’t be an option for power.

Editor’s note:
Strange…the weekend’s posts (one each for Saturday and Sunday) did not actually post. Not sure why. I won’t bother trying to recreate the posts, but at least you know I tried to post content over the weekend. :-)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/05/18/northrop-grumman-sets-up-committee-for-vamp/

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