Who builds the space ships/satelittles/telescopes?

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nexius

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Who builds this stuff? Is it just NASA and JPL? or are their any private companies that build them? <br /><br />Ben
 
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willpittenger

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Both. Lockheed and other companies build many satellites for private industry. JPL builds most of NASAs unmanned craft. The main exceptions to that were the Pioneer 10/11 (built by Ames) and Hubble (built by Perkins-Elmers). Most other telescopes were built by various private companies. Most probably specialize in some size range (from handheld to Keck). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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nexius

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Oh I see so Nasa subs out alot of their work to other companies to build their stuff
 
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tfwthom

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Remember John Glenn's famous quote when he was asked what it felt like sitting atop the rocket, ready to launch? "I felt about as good as anybody would, sitting in a capsule on top of a rocket that were both built by the lowest bidder."<br /><br />Not true that he said it but it fits. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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nexius

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LOL now thats funny government always seeking it out to the lowest bidder (lame)
 
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qso1

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The vast majority of NASA hardware and probably software is subbed out, just some of the majors:<br /><br />Shuttle orbiter by Rockwell International.<br /><br />Shuttle solid rockets by Morton Thiokol.<br /><br />Shuttle external tank by Martin Marrietta or now Lockheed Martin.<br /><br />Titan rockets by Martin Marrietta or now Lockheed Martin and as some call it...lockmart.<br /><br />Atlas rockets by General Dynamics now Lockheed Martin.<br /><br />Delta rockets by McDonnell Douglas now Boeing.<br /><br />Just a few I can recall offhand. Basically NASA puts out the requirements of what they need, then usually a request for proposals which results in several contractors preparing bids. The best of...or lowest bidder, usually a combination of both, wins the production contract. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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nexius

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I see so if you wanted to actually build the space craft you would work for probably a private company.
 
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qso1

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Exactly. Except for JPL, I don't know of any NASA entity that actually builds craft. Even at KSC where mostly final assembly and checkout takes place. Contractors are largely responsible for that. ISS components for example are built by various contractors and processed athe the ISS facility by Boeing for the most part. That is, Boeing engineers, technicians, quality assurance personnel and a few others do the hands on work (QA would do eyes on). NASA has engineers, quality auditors or inspectors who sign off after overseeing and approving contractor work.<br /><br />To put it another way, if you want to work as an engineer, tech, QA, logistics or other funtion at KSC...your chances are better applying with a contractor. If you were to be employed by one, you can switch over to NASA later as NASA job opportunities permit. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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trailrider

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"I see so if you wanted to actually build the space craft you would work for probably a private company."<br /><br />The short answer is, "Yes!" A customer, whether a U.S. Government agency (NASA, USAF, Navy, Army, etc.) or a private satellite T.V. company, etc., usually places a Request For Proposal out to one or more prime contractors (due to mergers and such, it is to the point where there IS only ONE prime contractor in this country!). A proposal is prepared, and if there are more than one company bidding, a bidder is selected. The contract that is signed may be for the complete package, including building the spacecraft, launching, and possibly subsequent support and operation. Some commercial satellite companies contract the actual operation of the orbiting spacecraft. In other instances, such as spy satellites and the like, the agency buying the "bird" will do the operating...especially if classified operations are involved.<br /><br />In the case of the Constellation programs, the overall program including basic design is being handled by NASA, with the actual design and build of the spacecraft, boosters, etc., being done by the large contractors. They in turn will subcontract many components to specialized outfits.<br /><br />As an (old, but typical) example, take the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters...please! (Oh, that Henny Youngman! <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /> ) United Space Boosters, Inc. (USBI) was the prime contractor for the boosters during the Design, Development, Test & Evaluation (DDT&E) phase, up through STS-4, and for quite awhile later. They were located in Huntsville, AL, and reported directly to the NASA office at Marshall SFC. But USBI didn't build the boosters. That was contracted to (then) Morton-Thiokol (now ATK Space Launch Systems or some corporate name). USBI was in charge of booster integration and management...EXCEPT for the SRB Decelerator Subsystem (parachute recovery system). That was contracted with (the
 
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CalliArcale

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>LOL now thats funny government always seeking it out to the lowest bidder (lame) <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Well, they do have a limited budget to work with. It's a big budget, but they've got a lot of things to do with it. I always used to scoff at going with the lowest bidder; then I started taking bids for renovation projects around the house and realized the appeal.<br /><br />It's not strictly true, either. Ideally, bids are decided based on several factors, including schedule, cost, and the likelihood that the contractor can actually deliver what they promise. But realistically, other factors come into play as well, unfortuantely including politics. This is especially common if a senator or representative gets personally involved, and of course lots of government contractors make a point of stationing lobbyists to try to encourage this. It's not always fair, and it doesn't always result in the lowest cost or best product, but it's the reality at present. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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bpfeifer

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"I see so if you wanted to actually build the space craft you would work for probably a private company."<br /><br />And if you're good at what you do, and feeling adventurous, you might look into working for one of the small aerospace startups. Blue Origin, Scaled Composits, SpaceX, and others are all seeking talented and driven individuals. <br /><br />There are other, smaller, but still well established companies that build components or small vehicles. A friend of mine works for Ball Aerospace and designed parts of the attitude control system for Deep Impact. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Brian J. Pfeifer http://sabletower.wordpress.com<br /> The Dogsoldier Codex http://www.lulu.com/sabletower<br /> </div>
 
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comga

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Between the Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and Northrup-Grumman behemoths, and the SpaceDev, Spectrum Astro, Surrey Satellite Systems, etc. very small satellite companies, there is a middle tier. <br /><br />Ball Aerospace built NASA's second scientific satellite, the Orbiting Solar Observatory OSO-1, and continues to build satellites and spacecraft including Deep Impact. They have also built dozens of instruments, including most of the Hubble instruments and the HiRISE camera now at Mars.<br /><br />Orbital Sciences Corp, in addition to building the winged Pegasus and traditional Minotaur rockets, builds satellites from the small but capable Orbcoms to small geosynchronous birds. <br /><br />On a similar tier in academia is the Applied Physics Lab of Johns Hopkins University. They built the New Horizons spacecraft enroute to Pluto, Charon and the Kuiper belt. They also built MESSENGER, which is enroute to Mercury.
 
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