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A scientific economic estimation

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Sun Dec 05, 2004 6:15 pm
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A scientific economic estimation 
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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:31 am
Just this moment I sent an e-mail to Patrick Collins to ask him for the way he did his estimation. The website of the Azabu University seems to exist written in Japanese only and so I can't search for anything there.

I don't know if Collins will answer but I recognized that he has responded to others. May be that Collins' answer reveals that I was in error or/and that we all were in error. Me e-mail tells him that I am discussing his estimation at this message board.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:02 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
To understand what Collins has done you should read the .jpgs urgently.

I did read all the .jpegs. But they don’t tell me what Collins did. It is just background information that MAY be related to what he MAY have done.
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Just this moment I sent an e-mail to Patrick Collins to ask him for the way he did his estimation.

Excellent Ekkehard! That should tell us what Collins really did.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 7:31 am
Peter,

you wrote

Quote:
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Quote:
To understand what Collins has done you should read the .jpgs urgently.


I did read all the .jpegs. But they don’t tell me what Collins did. It is just background information that MAY be related to what he MAY have done.


Please note consciously that I am a Political Economist - that's the english translation of "Diplom-Volkswirt" - and that Collins is an Economist too. "Diplom-Volkswirt" means that I have a scientific education and Collins has that education too. So I am educated in the same filed as Collins and we have something essential in common. The difference between Collins and me myself is that he is a researcher and I am not plus he is a professor and I am no Doktor rer. pol. at least.

But what Collins and me myself in common means that I really have insight into what he will have done - simply because the informations available already exclude a lot of alternatives.

One possibility already excluded is that Collins used the document Andy Hill posted a link to -

1. that document didn't exist yet in 8th of June 2004 when "Wirtschaftswoche" quoted Collins.
2. Next Collins hasn't done that study - he isn't listed as an author.
3. Collins wasn't talking about vehicles but about tickets - and four tickets make up one flight by one of Virgin Galactic's vehicles
4. Collins is talking about the year 2030 - an there can't be any study about vehicles made in that year and/or based on informations valid in that year yet.
5. Flights are done by vehicles already complete and tested
6. ...

So by logic Collins can't have done what has been done by the authors of the document Andy Hill linked to.

What's left then is what the .jpgs are speaking of, some other things I explained to you publically and some things the explanation of which would lead too far of the topic of this thread.

I told Collins in very short what I have been saying here - especially that I am supposing that he based his estimation on economies of scale, economies of scope and crossfinancing. I refered to "Wirtschaftswoche" and 8th of June 2004.

I have no answer from Collins yet - but this wasn't to be expected after that short time.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:34 am
I think the penny just dropped Ekkehard, please correct me if I have misunderstood the difference between the two estimates.

The link I provided talks about cost in terms of what it takes to launch a vehicle and not really what the cost of launching an individual to orbit would be. Essentially this cost is not going to reduce to much over the next couple of decades.

What Collins is saying is that the cost per individual will come down significantly not that the cost of launching a vehicle.

Now obviously there is a relationship between the 2 things but since the first considers total weight while the other only considers the human weight if spacecraft mass comes down considerably and they are large enough to carry more than a few people then Collins estimate may not conflict with the other one. So while Collins' estimate is not based on any specific vehicle it will be reliant on physically larger light weight craft that are more efficient than todays (we are not talking about the U.S.S. Enterprise but a much more modest improvement).

If it is, I agree that the 2 estimates may not be in opposition but I still think that Collins is over optimistic of costs but would accept it is not impossible. Given that if you improve a rocket engine's ISP by a few points on a large booster you can make a huge weight saving that could be converted to a larger payload (or more passengers sharing launch costs), it could be a possibility.

Is this a correct summation or have I missed the point entirely?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:46 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

yes you understand it correct by far.

Collins is estimating 10,000 dollars or less per individual in 2030 but it menas "around 10,000 dollars".

May be I should add the german text of the article - and so I will do.

To repeat it - your summation is correct.

Are you interested in the mathematical description? Would be a little mor exact than the verbal explanations and the .jpgs I sent to Peter and quoted.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 9:01 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Are you interested in the mathematical description? Would be a little mor exact than the verbal explanations and the .jpgs I sent to Peter and quoted.


No thanks Ekkehard, I had enough problem reconciling the 2 estimates as it was. Like most engineers I have a distrust in statistical analysis which supports a particular financial position, statistics can say what anyone wants them to (you only have to look at political parties that draw different conclusions from the same figures by applying different statistical rules to them to see this). So while I can appreciate that there may be ways to look at a problem other than from an engineering viewpoint I dont have much faith in them. Sorry for being narrowminded but like I said previously I am a product of my training and background. :)

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 10:20 am
No problem - I only offer the mathematical functions because they describe the thinking and the phenomenons shorter, better and provide a much deeper insight into where there are chances of economies of scale in the whole thing/topic.

I myself use Collins' estimation only because it means that the financial barriers for the customer are going to be reduced significantly in the longer run. On the other hand the enterpreneural estimations by Rutan and Virgin Galactic go to the same direction.

It means that it is interesting for a lot potential customers to pay attention to ticket prices, costs and destinations.

And I will reread the document you posted at home if I find enough time. Will be worth to say something about it.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 2:46 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
One possibility already excluded is that Collins used the document Andy Hill posted a link to
You misunderstand me. I am not claiming that Collins used the document Andy Hill posted a link to. Quite the opposite. The document Andy Hill posted has quotes from Collins 1997 paper and a link to Collins 1997 paper. That link is broken, but I found it here:
http://www.spacefuture.com/archive/the_ ... arch.shtml


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 3:03 pm
I#ll look to that document too if I find the actual link or the link you listed proves to work when I try it - but it's an issue Collins made in 1997 - 7 years before the article of "Wirtschaftswoche" quoting him.

In Economics within 7 years scientific progress tends to go on dramatically faster than in science who need hardware like laboratories, oscilloscopes, sensors, detectors, nano-sacle equipment and so on. This valid especially if somethign real or concrete is researched - because there is so much and because it is impossible to get 100% knowledge about anything. In Economics simply its impossible to control nearly 100% of the variables as is possible in laboratories - that's one major reason why statistics is used. It is impossible to prove or to disprove anything - the only way is to develop theories and models and then to look if the theory or the model fits into the statistical data. If not then the theory or model is invalid.

So be cautious by arguing based on scientific economical issues that are several years old. As I said I will have a look to it but first I provide the german text of the article of "Wirtschaftswoche" and then I start rereading the document Andy Hill linked to.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 3:27 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
it's an issue Collins made in 1997 - 7 years before the article of "Wirtschaftswoche" quoting him.
Then Wirtschaftswoche was quoting 7 year old data in their article.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The article I quoted was an article of the last year - Collins is speaking of lunar flights. If someone is interested I will send it per e-mail or post it here.
Yes, please post it here!


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:25 pm
First - I repeated an error I already did and had to correct much earlier: The date of the article is 8th of July 2004 instead of 8th of June.

Second - Peter, there is no relation to anything from 1997. The article is quoting Professor Collins but doesn't refer to no other article he wrote. I'll try if I can get Hohensee's e-amil-adress.

But note urgently: Hohensee has at least one article in "Wirtschaftswoche" each week. So he has to do a lot of "Recherchen" (don't know if this is the correct term in English too) the whole week. The article quoting Collins is full of informations about all the XPRIZE-teams etc. he had to check too. So it may be that there never was any time left to search the internet for any issues of Collins.

More likely Hohensee called Collins by phone directly. May be that Collins referred to the document you are linking to then - but again all turns against you: in that case Collins himself would have declared that issue of 1997 still to be valid and actual. My own issue about economic research still would be valid - that a result is unchanged doesn't mean that there was no change: causes and reasons may be added, causes and reasons listed before will be researched and understood more detailed, errors are removed and so on. Other causes and errors may have been proved to be invalid and very much more.

Don't forget - Economics is a science full of very much words. If you don't read them and compare them then to another document of the same author about the same subject you can't argue as you are doing.

Third - you can't conclude by equality of issues etc. An explicit quote of a document is required - and the article doesn't include one

Fourth - Peter, you seem to struggle for being right and you seem to look for rescue by each thing how weak it may be ever.

Alright - here the article now:

1. the portion I am refrring to:

Quote:
Mit jährlich fünf Millionen Touristen,
die statt nach Mallorca Richtung Mond auf-
brechen, rechnet Ökonom Collins von 2030
an, wenn die private Weltraumreisebranche
richtig in Fahrt kommt. Kosten pro Ticket:
rund 20 000 Dollar. Kurzausflüge sollen
dann für weniger als 10 000 Dollar zu haben
sein - so viel wie früher ein Ticket für die
Concorde kostete.


2. The complete article except the photos - it was correct after scannin in but I will have to check it after posting. May require a while and I can't do it now.

Quote:
UNTERNEHMEN RAUMFAHRT

Weltraum-Unternehmer wollen den Markt für Privatreisen ins All erschließen.
Eric Anderson schickt Touristen in

den Weltraum. 10 000 Dollar Anzah-l-ung genügen. Der Mann ist kein
o- Trickbetrüger. Den US-Millionär Dennis Tito hat der Inhaber des Weltraum-reisebüros Space Adventures aus Arlington bei Washington DC bereits vor drei Jahren an Bord eines russischen Raumschiffs ins All gesandt. Kosten für die erste private Kreuzfahrt im Weltraum: Rund 20 Millio-nen Dollar für acht Tage Vollpension. Ihm folgte im April 2002 der Südafrikaner Mark Shuttleworth. Kurzreisen bietet Anderson schon ab 100 000 Dollar an. Mehr als 100 Hobbyastronauten haben sich bereits ange--
meldet.

IHRE CHANCE FÜR DEN GROSSEN SCHUSS stehen nicht schlecht. Momentan entseht eine ganze Flotte privater Raumschiffe. Seit das von Softwaremogul Paul Allen finanzierte und von US-Erfinder Burt Rutan gebaute Spaceship One im Juni die Grenze zum Weltraum überquerte (WirtschaftsWoche 27/2004), ist Reiseagent Anderson nicht mehr auf die Gnade der staatlichen Welt-raumagenturen angewiesen. Der historische Erfolg von Raumpionier Rutan hat eine
neue Sorte von Gründern über Nacht von Spinnern zu Visionären gemacht - die Welt-raum-Unternehmer.
„Endlich bekommen die staatlichen Raumfahrtagenturen Konkurrenz", froh-lockt Patrick Collins, Der Ökonomiepro-fessor, der an der japanischen Azabu-Uni-versität lehrt, fordert seit Jahren privates Engagement beim Erschließen des Alls. Mangelnder Wettbewerb, staatliche Kon-trolle und ausufernde Bürokratie, so klagt der Brite, verteuern Raumflüge unnötig. .._ .
Ein Kilo Gewicht in den Orbit zu schießen kostet rund 20 000 Dollar - und das seit 30 Jahren. Die US-Weltraumagentur Nasa gibt jedes Jahr 15 Milliarden Dollar aus. Al-lein eine Mission der Raumfähre Space Shuttle kostete mindestens eine Milliarde Dollar.
Nahezu lächerlich wirken dagegen die etwa, 20 Millionen Dollar, die Rutans Space-ship One gekostet hat - selbst wenn der Einmannflieger nur bis knapp über die Grenze der Erdatmosphäre kommt. Schon arbeitet Rutan an einem Gleiter, der bis zu zwölf Passagiere zu Kurzausflügen an den Rand des Alls befördert. „Weltraum-tourismus wird ein Massengeschäft", hofft der Erfinder.
Daran möchte auch Mitchell Burnside Clapp teilhaben. Der Chef von Rocketplane Limited aus Oklahoma City bereitet einen Shuttle-Service ins All vor. In knapp zwei Jahren soll es losgehen. 100 000 Dollar kos-tet die Reise in einem aufgerüsteten Learjet an die Grenzen der Erdatmosphäre in unge-fähr 100 Kilometer Höhe. Dort fühlen die Passagiere für ein paar Minuten die Schwe-relosigkeit, bevor es zurück zum privaten Raumbahnhof in Oklahoma geht.
i
In einem Flugzeughangar in der kalifor-nischen Mojave-Wüste werkelt auch Xcor-Aerospace-Chef Jeff Greason an einem Touristen-Weltraumflieger. Sein Xerus sieht aus wie eine Miniversion des Space Shuttle und soll noch in dieser Dekade Passagiere in den erdnahen Raum befördern. „Wir sind überzeugt, damit Profit machen zu können", sagt Greason. Die Passagiere wird ihm Andersons Raumreisebüro stellen, mit dem er kürzlich eine Kooperation verein-barte.
Viele der Weltraum-Unternehmer sind mit der Science-Fiction-Serie „Raumschiff Enterprise" sowie den Sternenkriegen des US-Regisseurs George Lucas groß und mit Software- oder Internet-Startups reich ge-worden. jetzt suchen sie die nächste He-rausforderung. Oder wollen sich einen Kindheitstraum erfüllen wie Internetmilli-ardär Jeff Bezos. Der Gründer von Ama-zon.com unterhielt einst seine Mitschüler von der Palmetto High School in Miami mit Fantasien über die Besiedlung des Mondes.
Beim nächsten Klassentreffen hat er et-was Greifbares vorzuzeigen. In einer Lager-halle in Seattle arbeiten seit drei Jahren die

SPACESHIP ONE Eine neue Sorte von Gründern wird über Nacht von Spinnern zu Visionären - die Weltraum-Unternehmer

Mitarbeiter seines Jungunternehmens Blue Origin an einer Raumfähre. Sie bietet Platz für sieben Passagiere.
John Carmack, Schöpfer der Computer-Ballerspiele Doom und Quake, bastelt der-weil im texanischen Mesquite an einem dreisitzigen Raumgleiter. Mit dem Black Ar-
madillo will der Soft-wareunternehmer gegen starke internationale Konkurrenz den mit zehn Millionen Dollar dotierten Ansari X Prize für den ersten privaten Weltraumflug mit drei Passagieren gewinnen.
Nicht Menschen,
nur Material will Elon Musk, Mitgründer des für 1,5 Milliarden Dollar an Ebay verkauften On-line-Bezahlservice Pay-pal, transportieren. Die Falcon-Rakete seines Unternehmens Space Exploration Technolo-gies aus dem kalifor-nischen EI Segundo
wird Satelliten und Ersatzteile für Raumsta-tionen ins All befördern. Ein Markt, den die US-Regierung auf rund 100 Milliarden Dol-lar pro Jahr schätzt.
Mit seiner Rakete will Musk Transporte ins All wesentlich billiger anbieten als Boe-ing. Während die Delta-Raketen des Rüs-tungs- und Flugzeugkonzerns nicht unter 60 Millionen Dollar zu haben sind, wirbt Musk mit Schnäppchenpreisen ab sechs Millionen Dollar. Das US-Verteidigungs-ministerium hat den Jungfernflug der Fal-con-Rakete bereits gebucht.

BEMANNTE WELTRAUMFLÜGE sind noch
deutlich teuer, weil nach dem Absturz der Raumfähre Challenger im Januar 1986 die Sicherheitsvorschriften drastisch verschärft wurden. Dennoch explodierte im Februar
2003 die US-Raumfähre Columbia beim Lande-anflug auf Cape Cana-veral. Die sieben Besat-zungsmitglieder an Bord starben. „Raumflüge sind immer riskant", sagt Dana Rohrabacher.
Damit die private Raumfahrtindustrie nicht unter den Sicher-heitsauflagen in die Knie geht, hat der US-Kongressabgeordnete
ein Gesetz eingebracht, das die junge Branche vor ruinösen Prozessen schützen soll. Privat-Kosmonauten reisen dann auf eigene Gefahr, Angehörige können bei
Unfällen keine Millionenbeträge als Scha-
densersatz fordern.
Mit jährlich fünf Millionen Touristen,
die statt nach Mallorca Richtung Mond auf-
brechen, rechnet Ökonom Collins von 2030
an, wenn die private Weltraumreisebranche
richtig in Fahrt kommt. Kosten pro Ticket:
rund 20 000 Dollar. Kurzausflüge sollen
dann für weniger als 10 000 Dollar zu haben
sein - so viel wie früher ein Ticket für die
Concorde kostete.
Utopie? Collins kontert mit dem raschen
Durchbruch der zivilen Luftfahrt. Vor gut
100 Jahren holperten die amerikanischen
Wright Brothers mit ihrem Doppeldecker
über ein Feld in North Carolina und hoben
ab. Heute fliegen pro Tag drei Millionen Pas-
sagiere in Stahlröhren durch die Lüfte.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 09, 2005 7:26 pm
Thanks for posting the original source Ekkehard. As I suspected, the article merely states that Collins calculates $20,00 to the moon without saying how he calculated it or what assumptions he used or even what year he did the calculation. The article contains no concrete information.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
More likely Hohensee called Collins by phone directly. May be that Collins referred to the document you are linking to then
Maybe. But I prefer documented provable facts. If Collins has documented his assumptions, conditions and calculations in the same manner that Andy's posted document does, then I am very much interested.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:58 am
To clarify it (once more): I never said that the article quoted contains concrete informations about how he did that, what he had asumed and so on.

What I really did was to provide my own knowledge of how something like that is done. As Dipl.-Volkswirt, as Political Economist I am educated and experienced in the same field as Collins. The vicinity between him and me is much closer than the vicinity between him and technicians, engineers, physicists. And so there is a significant probability that my explanations are closer to the truth about what he has done than explanations by non-economists.

You have asked how an estimation like Collins' is done - and I provided the explanations.
But I never tried to convince you about the numbers - as I already said - I only explained on what they wil be based and what methods are applied.

I already said too that I asked him for informations - I referred to the wrong date and should send him another e-mail perhaps.

Peter, you still seem to misunderstand what Collins' has done - while Andy Hill really has recognized what Collins has done in difference to the document you are referring to:

Collins has calculated tickets - he has calculated the costs of the single customer - the document you are referring to is calculating the costs of vehicle and flights.

Collins considers a situation 25 years in the future - the document you are referring to considers the situation now. Collins didn't use formulars about propellants, weights etc. - he used formulars describing probabilities, expected values, variances (square of standard-deviation), statistics, regressions and so on - by nothing of this propellants, weights and so on can be calculated. The propellenats and weights, the amounts valid in 2030 can't be known today and so nothing like that done in the document you are referring to can be done for 2030. Collins calculated shapes of economical curvatures like those included in the .jpgs I sent you.

In short - the assumptions, conditions and calculations Collins has done will look very different to those in the document you are referring too and you would find them strange.

Peter, in the .jpgs the term short-run and long-run are used. The document you are referring to is a short-run consideration but Collins does a long-run consideration - 25 years are long-run but not short-run. You seem to be short-run oriented only and try to argue by short-run against long-run - you never will have valid arguments against results of long-run considerations this way.

I will reread the document say something about it - and I will initiate a thread about cost considerations which is meant as background-information and to free this thread from further theoretical discussions.

To repeat it - the initial post of this thread was meant to point out how much in order of magnitude the financial affordability of space flights for the public is going to be increased during the next decades (but it was NOT menat as a discussion about the financial requirements of vehicles).



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:03 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
But I never tried to convince you about the numbers
Quite right. That is why I have not replied to your extremely long posts. My only disagreement is with Collins’ number of $20,000. That is why I have asked again and again how Collins justified that number. It is his number and not yours and he needs to justify it, not you. If you ever get an answer to your E-mail or find more detailed posts about how Collins justifies $20,000, then I will be interested.

Now let me reply directly to part of one of your posts.
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
you say that you don't belive the factor of 1,000 - where do you see that factor? I really want an answer.
OK, read on.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Currently I only can assume that you divided the 25,000,000 dollars invested into SSO by the 25,000$ Whitehorn has been speaking about - there really is factor of 1,000.

No, I divided the approximately $200,000,000 per person cost of Apollo to put a man on the Moon by Collins’ $20,000 to get a factor of 10,000. So all this time I should have been saying 10,000 instead of 1,000! Note that $200 million per person is only the direct flight costs and not the full $25,000,000,000 Apollo project cost.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:31 pm
Hello, Peter,

you wrote

Quote:
...My only disagreement is with Collins’ number of $20,000. ...


So you tried to discuss that number only that according to "Wirtschaftswoche" Collins has estimate for a lunar travel.

This wasn't clear because Collins has been quoted concerning the suborbital tickets too. As estimations by Rutan, Branson and Whitehorn have been published and so I added them.

Consequently most of the thread is about suborbital numbers.

When you have been speaking about the factor of 1,000 you have been quoting Whitehorn speaking about economies of scale, eight years of operations, nine years of operation etc. The context of that post of yours I understand as if your were speaking about a suborbital number - Whitehorn's business is suborbital currently.

Lunar has been out of consideration until then mostly.

I have an answer from Collins in between. It is very interesting, long and it didn't include an agreement to being published here - so I asked him for an agreement and hope to get it. I will wait for the agreement and publish the answer then or I will wait until next Wednesday and publish it then simply by quoting Collins' e-mail. To aks and wait for the agreement is urgently required because it is Collins' intellectual property or/and he may be going to publish it himself.

Please be patient

I will reread the answer too.



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