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Private sectors role in colonisation

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:12 pm
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Private sectors role in colonisation 
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Post Private sectors role in colonisation   Posted on: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:12 pm
I was thinking about the role the private sector will have in colonising the moon for example!

will nasa get there first then build a giant base of which the private sector will help build and maintain

Will the private sector get there, build a base then allow nasa to share it and help maintain it

Will the private sector get there, build a base then not allow nasa to share it and help maintain it

Will the priavte groups help each other to build a base. shipping parts together and helping build different sections like the ISS is run? maybe having different firms doing different tasks?

Will the private sector have a huge rivalry in which the minerals are fought for extraction, like a red-alert command and conquer secene!

Any ideas?
Robbie

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 27, 2005 2:18 pm
Actually NASA seems to be in the lead because a NASA-team developed a technology already in test to install a lunar energy source. This technology is a robot producing solar cells out of lunar siliciumdioxyde by gathering it, melting it, making solar cells of it and installing the solar cells at the lunar surface while rolling along.

Another NASA-team is working on a special radiation shielding technology

And up to now there is no private team that has a vehicle able to carry men to the moon. The ony team that has nearly ready a private vehicle able to achieve escape velocity is SpaceX.

But NASA is not able to construct and maintain a lunar space station of theri own I suppose. This is a negotiation quite different to send an Apoolo mission there. The situation of a lunar station is quite different to the situation of the ISS where a sudden quick escape return to the earthian surfce is possible. For a lunar station experiences and concepts are required that up to now only private entrepreneurs do have.



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Post Re: Private sectors role in colonisation   Posted on: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:58 pm
robiwan wrote:
Will the private sector have a huge rivalry in which the minerals are fought for extraction, like a red-alert command and conquer secene!
Robbie


You must be thinking about some other private sector, because companies in the space industry dont like taking risks on their own they much prefer ganging up together. Just look at the latest gang formed for the CEV of Boeing with Northrop. I bet Lockheed are desperate to find members for their gang to. This is one of the reasons prices are so high no competition between the companies.

Also none of the above will do anything without NASA or someone else footing the bill so whoever gets NASA as a gang member will get there first.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:09 pm
cant completely agree with you there andy, i dont think nasa will always be the ones that everyone ants to work with. Infact i would bet that a lot of people would be happy to get one over on them. if the money is there

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:49 pm
As I said as long as someone else foots the bill they will work with them. As for getting one over on NASA, I think they would be careful not to embarrase the people handing a lot of contracts out. Rubbing someones nose in it is not good for future possible work.

I wonder if the T-Space gang might put a CEV group together, that might raise a few eyebrows, they did a good job Lunar exploration architecture they prepared for NASA perhaps they will put something forward.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:26 am
SpaceX's vehicles possibly may be are basis for companies that want to leave NASA aside because the vehicles can give escape velocity to a payload and - more - because these vehicles have significant less launch costs than all the other estaplished vehicles.

Elon Musk said that he wants to reduce the costs per kilogramm further. This may be enabling lunar idustrial work and stations without NASA.

Currently the problem is the lack of a market I think.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:00 am
The market for a CEV is provided by NASA, who wants the craft. If the T-Space members put forward a proposal to fulfil that contract it would put Boeing-Northrop and others under a lot of pressure because T-Space would almost certainly be significantly cheaper. Then Boeing-Northrop would either have to drop their price to compete or make sure they deliver something that is far superior, which I dont think they are in a position to do.

Faced with a proposal costing a fraction of anyone else's NASA would find it hard to justify selecting anyone but T-Space. This might force companies to reconsider what prices they charge for building a future lunar base. If the big companies dont get the CEV contract then it might be a wake up call that they do not own the monopoly on space, besides NASA might actually get a vehicle rather than a feasibility study followed by a cancelled project.

There is also the possibility that if T-space is cheap enough, NASA might decide to have a 3 way fly-off instead of the 2 it is talking about now.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:14 am
Alright - I was speaking about a market SpaceX could get several customers at.

Seen from Economics I have problems a little bit to see NASA as a market. NASA is a customer being nearly a demand-side-monopolist - concerning a lunar station NASA IS a demand-side-monopolist. But a market? A market is a permanent existing institution defined by a product being traded permanently and following a life cycle.

But that are just my internal thoughts in search for a working definition - please don't consider it to be worth to be discussed here.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:32 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Seen from Economics I have problems a little bit to see NASA as a market. NASA is a customer being nearly a demand-side-monopolist - concerning a lunar station NASA IS a demand-side-monopolist. But a market? A market is a permanent existing institution defined by a product being traded permanently and following a life cycle.Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


OK Ekkehard I'm not going to argue economics with you. :)

What about the astronomy community as another customer? I've seen the idea of puting a radio telescope on the moon mentioned, would they be willing to pay for something like that put on the lunar surface? It would have to be relatively small but if successful larger ones could be built or a series of small ones could be linked to form an array.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:02 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
What about the astronomy community as another customer? I've seen the idea of puting a radio telescope on the moon mentioned, would they be willing to pay for something like that put on the lunar surface? It would have to be relatively small but if successful larger ones could be built or a series of small ones could be linked to form an array.


if you can get the prices down enough so that individual (or even groups of) universities can afford at least a small telescope on the far side of the moon, i think you'd see a lot of people scrambling to be the first ones to start studying stuff from there. and also i'm sure the major research institutions or the government would be delighted to get a huge array like the one they're building in california (?) right now, as anything equivalent to an earth based telescope or array will be at least several times better overall. also hypothetically you could build a single telescope six times larger on the moon due to lower gravity. can anyone say an aimable arcebio (or bigger even)?

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:33 pm
TerraMrs wrote:
also hypothetically you could build a single telescope six times larger on the moon due to lower gravity. can anyone say an aimable arcebio (or bigger even)?


I like the array idea as it enables you to build something incrementally and it can be used almost at once whereas a single large dish would require a lot of assembly. Groups could have the option of using their dish separately or arrange clusters and share time, much more flexible.

The single launches could be handled fairly easily if each dish was limited to no more than a couple of 1000kg. A launch vehicle and radio telescope could be marketed as a fixed package at a fixed price.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:04 pm
Alright - this could be a market. But - as TerraMrs mentioned - the price will have to be made low to form this market.

Currently the launch costs of a Falcon 1 are 6 million $ and the launch costs of the Falcon 5 will be more than twice that amount. Will that be cheap enough for universities and institutions to build a sufficiently large telscope at the moon?

To achieve low prices a market is required - at the current prices the universities and inmstitute seem to be barred from the Falcons' service.

SpaceX needs a market they can sell the service at 6 million $ or twice that amount currently. Their timetable shows one luanch each quarter up to now. This rate is to low to achieve the economies of scale required for the reduction of prices I suppose.

So SpaceX should look for other customer interested in the colonization of the moon. Who could that be?



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:55 pm
What about power generation?

A solar power station beaming electricity down to Earth. A series of robots creating solar cells using mostly lunar regolith. might not be to much more expensive than a Nuclear power plant on Earth and definately not have any of the drawbacks like decomissioning and Nuclear waste.

The power companies could easily afford a pilot project to build a small complex on the moon using Falcon V rockets. They might even make a small profit from selling power from a small plant to future moon bases rather than exporting it back to earth. An initial proof of concept scheme could be used to supply power locally once it had been built and shown to work OK.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 30, 2005 4:36 pm
That may be realistic. But some problems still need to be resolved - there are fears that themicrowaves beming the energy down to Earth will hurt birds and other animals as well as humans, disturb the functionalities of airplanes. another problem is considered to be the weather - it may interrupt the beam or it may be changed by the microwave beams.

Perhaps that is a topic for a WTN XPRIZE? What do you think?

Might adiffers thoughts about floating ports provide another solution? Beaming the enrgy to a loating point to huge accumulators and huge condensators and then carrying them down to the surface? Or something like that?

Concerning SpaceX's market the most probable market may be launching nanosats - what about that?



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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:18 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
That may be realistic. But some problems still need to be resolved - there are fears that themicrowaves beming the energy down to Earth will hurt birds and other animals as well as humans, disturb the functionalities of airplanes. another problem is considered to be the weather - it may interrupt the beam or it may be changed by the microwave beams.


You could use a laser to transfer the energy, this would probably have less impact than microwaves. If you had a few goundstations on Earth then the weather would not be such an issue. Airplanes can be guilded around any beams , much as they are around radar and radio installations.

I'm not sure whether there would be a big enouth market for nanosatellites even at the reduced cost of a falcon launch, but SpaceX would grab most of the market if it was the cheapest.

I think tourism could give them a market but people need somewhere to go, a weeks stay on a bigelow inflatable would be ideal as it would require lots of launches to service continuingly changing people.

If they make their manned spacecraft for ASP then they could possibly sell rides to NASA to an orbiting CEV as well.

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