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The Reason

Posted by: spacecowboy - Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:21 am
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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:53 pm
That is a good link.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:09 am
Here's something like what I was originally getting at when I started this thread:
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-05zn.html

Any thoughts on a good plan for motivating the public?

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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 01, 2005 3:09 pm
Interesting article spacecowboy. Here are some quotes from it I would like to speak to.

Quote:
people have solved their pet problems, by rolling up their sleeves and developing real workable Earthly solutions.
That is exactly what Burt Rutan and others have done.

Quote:
Ask 10 of your friends to name the Green Party and Libertarian Party candidates for President in the November 2004 election
I say, "ask not who ran for president, ask if you want to go to the Moon."

Quote:
Space activists need to develop a new message that will appeal to normal 21st-century voters
This is the OLD message. The old message is directed at voters. The new message is directed at consumers, private citizens and adventurers. The idea that only government can take us to space is out of date.

So my plan would be the X-prize. I wasn't smart enough to think of it but luckily someone else was!


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:39 am
I agree completely. The US Government has never paid for a mountaineering expedition, but PRIVATE American teams have accomplished notable things on Mt. Everest, and elsewhere. If you apply the cost ratio between SpaceShipOne and the X-33 to rational human spaceflight plans, private funding (even from anticipated sales of returned samples) becomes possible!

Remember that the $1,300 Million ($1.3 Billion) cost TO CANCELLATION of the X-33 project was to produce an unmanned, radio control model of a shuttle replacement, never intended to fly higher than the MANNED SpaceShipOne actually did! Many people were seduced into imagining that VentureStar – a shuttle replacement – was actually being developed, but this was never the case. The X-33 was planned (after design compromises) to reach 7000 feet per second speed at altitudes approaching 100 km, about 70% faster than the SS1 peak speed. But with less than one tenth of orbital energy this is still almost insignificant for “proving” that reentry heat shielding has been developed.

Assuming that the X-33 was not fatally flawed, but continued to accumulate normal cost overruns, it would have cost 100 times as much as SS1 (with $25 Million costs), before it could log similar (but UNMANNED) accomplishments.

NASA minimizes the accomplishments of Rutan’s plastic spaceship, but the PLASTIC X-33 was promised to be a big step forward in technology, demonstrating advanced composites in spaceflight. Composite construction, rapid reusability and on schedule flights were all promised for the failed X-33 and delivered by SS1. The later was also the first MANNED spaceflight system developed in the US in 24 years!

There is no question that orbital LAUNCH is more difficult than suborbital, but in fact the SS1 is a proven spacecraft and would remain fully functional in orbit! Orbital reentry was not accomplished. But in fact the Apollo style reentry NASA now plans to use has a history of zero failures, and normally uses a composite plastic heat shield, which Rutan knows how to build. NASA does not intend to develop a new orbital launch vehicle for manned flight, and an entrepreneurial group could similarly elect to use an existing launch vehicle. (My own preference is the Falcon 1 or 5, with “Man Rating” promised for the later). If Rutan were to take the wings off the SS1, and fit a heat shield where the fuel tank was, he would already have a practical “Crew Exploration Vehicle”. Looking at this “rational” approach, Rutan could equal the 3 man Soyez capability for orbital flight at a cost more than 1000 times lower than NASA’s current efforts (and be done in a few months)!

You don’t need, AND PROBABLY DON’T WANT, government money when you can knock costs down by a factor of 1000 or more by developing “a better idea”.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:33 am
Hello, rpspeck,

Thank You Very Much for that post. I am thinking so myself since long - and perhaps Rutan will make that step and approach - he and Virgin Galactic already said that they will develop an orbital SS3 if SS2 is a success. They only didn't list the criteria and scales by which they will measure if SS2 is a success or not.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post Upper Limit for "GOOD" spacecraft costs   Posted on: Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:28 pm
Ekkehard, as an economist, you know how important it is to develop an accurate model for costs, if you are trying to understand an interesting or important business. Disruptive technological “breakthroughs” change things so much that it is a struggle to get a handle on the resulting business fundamentals. IBM misunderstood the developing PC based computer business in the mid 1990s, and suffered a very low stock price for a time.

The transition described here is far larger, since the computer industry IBM dominated already involved rational and profitable businesses. PC based computer systems were about 1/10 the cost of the systems they were replacing.

Space launch has never been a “rational and profitable” business since it has been dominated by governments and the military. We are literally looking at cost reductions of at least 100. All recent cost projections modeled on adaptations of NASA hardware, for example, will turn out to be meaningless.

A large part of the reduction lies in “radical”, but actually proven designs, which build on the BEST of demonstrated technology (in terms of low weight and high cost effectiveness). It is not necessary to keep jumping back to 1955 for overcautious and overweight flight hardware concepts. The 140 kg “MMU” demonstrated all that an astronaut needed when he reached orbit. A few tens of kg of heat shield and parachute would give him the option of going home.

The NASA “Space Shuttle” approaches 10,000 kg per astronaut. The 1200 kg empty weight SpaceShipOne was demonstrated to hold three astronauts, almost half the crew on the shuttle (assuming that they were going somewhere, like the ISS, and wouldn’t have to spend more than a few hours cramped in “economy airline” seating). But very practical orbital transfer could eliminate the wings, landing gear, big rocket motor and fuel tank (empty at the listed weight). This should reduce the structural weight to no more than 600 kg, 200 kg per occupant. The astronaut in his space suit would bring this to 300 kg. An increase in payload (human beings) by more than a factor of 30, FOR THE SAME LAUNCH SYSTEMS, is a large economic factor in anyone’s book. This factor is hard to erase even with reusable space launch systems.

With a well designed (and lightweight) space capsule, EXPENDABLE SpaceX “Falcon” rockets promise well below $1 Million ORBITAL ticket prices! Any reusability would bring this price down further. But hundreds of people would go for the $1 Million orbital vacation.

Any rational space access plan should start by focusing on the lowest practical payload weight, and flight testing even lighter hardware if it seems promising. This has certainly been done with communication’s satellites (which are in fact more fragile than human astronauts). These satellites take off with only a fiberglass wind shield – which is soon discarded.

SpaceShipOne has not done anything that others cannot copy. Just as Glenn Curtiss wasted no time in adopting, and improving on the Wright Brothers technology, others will be hot on Rutan’s heels. But SpaceShipOne sets an UPPER LIMIT on spacecraft weights and costs in this new space age!


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:45 am
Again I agree. I don't know if you read my approaches to find out the structure of the flight costs of SS2 or the structure of the flight costs of t/Space's CXV. But I am going to start at least one additional thread about such costs. It's all meant to find out more about the target the costs may be going to and about lunar flight costs - by economical apporaches.

The results got by economical - or semi-economical where economical was impoaaible - are assiting you and each one who thinks that thcosts can be borught down radically compared to the costs of governmental managed flights, launches etc.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) nAugustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:24 pm
Hmm.. I think I started off quite well, fairly on topic, but suspect I sound like a crazy person by the end of this rant. Never mind. Mostly harmless.

spacecowboy wrote:
We can say we need to go to save humanity, but that doesn't carry much weight: we've survived for the past few thousand years, why worry about it? Our society works on much too short of an attention-span cycle to care about indefinite possibilities.


I would say the human race will become extinct or imortal in the next fifty years or so, and it all depends on if we get self sustaining comunities off this planet.

You could say we have been around for the last thousand years, or the last billion, depending where you draw the line. But we have only had the technology to destroy the world in the last 50 or so, and the first thing we did was contribute a sizable proportion of our economies to making it not only possible, but possible in any giving 15 minute interval.

That technology is getting sort of old now. Maybe genetics will be the new thing. Genetic weapons could make nuclear weapons look like a wet match. Nature doesnt try to make lethal plagues. A disease that kills all it's carriers doent to itself any favors. For this reason a manmade disease could be far more lethal that one of nature's 'oopsy's. And you dont need massive cyclotrons to experiment with diseases.

But now, with airtravel linking ever city within hours, we probably don't need to make a disease. Natures next oopsy is going to get a lot more air time. The point is all our powers are expanding exponentially and the world is getting smaller. Whatever risk you think we have endured over the last 50 years, the risk of the next 50 will probably be at least doubled, and the same for the 50 after that, and so on.

It is all about exponential growth.

nuclear war, diseases, nano-plagues, runaway greenhouse effects, revolting robots, danger Will Robinson! We don't have another thousand years on this planet.

Its not all doom and gloom though. Exponential growth works the other way too. suppose we could get a small outpost on the moon outfitted with enough experience and technology to not only be sustainable, but to build two more such comunities..

Although I am firmly athiest, I sometimes sit back and wonder at the luck that the earth's gravity did not happen to be a couple of orders of magnetude harder to escape, that all these planets are so provably in reach, and that I am sure even interstellar flight will not be hard at all once we have marshalled the resources of the solar system and mastered our own forms. And if you can travel to one star then you can travel to a billion. No anthropic principal can explain why the future is so hopeful.

Forgetting the future of the next billion years, I just don't think people get how interesting the colonisation of the solarsystem will be. Forget terraforming except as a hobby, Once we can sustain biospheres indefinitely on nothing but sunlight we can live practically anywhere and probably will consider planets as a last resort. Planets have very little livable surface area for their mass. If you hollow out an asteroid you are not talking about square kilometers anymore but cubic kilometers. power is pretty much there for the grabbing in the form of sunlight which can be collected with super lightweight reflective films. Why would anyone want to live on a planet when you can have thousands of connected football-stadium sized chambers in zero-g?

If you give up terraforming assumptions, then the solar system has hundreds of diverse worlds, each with its own personality and resources.

How about aliens? Im glad we haven't met any yet. They will probably be a billion years more advanced. I dont know why people are looking for radiowaves when a much more likely first evidence will be an expanding sphere of vanishing stars as they are converted into whatever passes for the 'burbs a billion years from now. Maybe we wont find the 90% of the missing mass in the universe until it turns around and notices us.

We will have better aliens though. Currently this earth is homogenising everything and diversity is being destroyed in many habitats and cultures. In the colonisation of the solar system, give or take a few of centuries, we will become our own aliens to fill our environments more efficiently, but we will still have something in common with each other. Your grandmother may be a 10k zeppelin shaped gasbag on jupiter but she will still send your kids $5 on their birthdays until they are 125 years old because she doesnt grasp inflation.

I might have got a bit carried away at the end there.


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Post Why space . . .   Posted on: Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:12 pm
It's coooooool, dude! 8) 8) 8) 8)

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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 24, 2005 2:20 am
Nearly everyone gave reasons related to passion etc etc.

I don't really care much about going anywhere is particular and neither do i have that sort of passion. So why am I here?

Because spaceflight involves high tech, expensive and exotic hardware.
I ain a Leif wannabe, I'm more in spirit to Leif's boat builder! That boat builder, unrecorded by history probably didnt give a damm about where Leif wanted to go. However, he is probably as pleased to be able to build a boat to go where no one has gone before.


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Post Why Should We Go To Other Worlds   Posted on: Sun Jul 30, 2006 8:52 pm
Has anyone ever thought that just maybe the minerals on other worlds could be so diff. than ours we could creat new life saving drugs and chemicals


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:17 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I don't know if you read my approaches to find out the structure of the flight costs of SS2 or the structure of the flight costs of t/Space's CXV.

Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) nAugustin (Political Economist)


That is a lot of work for two systems that will probably never fly. As far as the laughable Quickreach, it more than likely cannot fly-thus any economic assumptions are based on Pixie Dust. As I explained earlier from a very god website www.nasaspaceflight.com, a real rocket engineer at Boeing who I find credible despite some disagreements--also finds Quickreach as a human carrier underpowered.

Delta II and R-7 have track records long enough to make some economic sense out of. Same with the older Atlas LVs that came before the RD-180 powered Atlas V. The older Atlas is consigned to the history books and its numbers are not therefore going to change for the worse. With the engineering done--definitive economics can be had.

As far a economic models for Quick Reach--you might as well argue about who is stronger, Superman or the Hulk. Quick Reach is fantasy.


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