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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: Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:43 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Consequently most of the thread is about suborbital numbers.
This thread started by talking about lunar flight. I probably caused a misunderstanding by posting Virgin's projections for suborbital costs. I meant it as the starting point of an as yet undefined progression from suborbital to orbital to lunar flights. I intended only to imply that lunar flight would be far more expensive than suborbital and that even the much cheaper suborbital flights were still projected to cost over $20,000 when all economies of scale that Virgin expected were realized.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:56 pm
My initial post was

Quote:
Today I randomly detected an article I haven't archived digitally yet. It has been published in the german journal "Wirtschaftswoche" 8th of June this year.

According to that article "Mond statt Mallorca" ("Moon instead of Mallorca") Patrick Collins, Professor of Economics at the japan Azabu-University, is expecting five million tourists per year travelling to the moon beginning in 2030 - if the private space travel industry is growing well.

One ticket to the moon in this case he estimates to cost 20.000$ only - short trips he is estimating to cost less than 10.000$ then.

The question "Utopia?" he is reported to have answered by quoting the quick breakthrough of civil airtravels.

Collins is claiming for private efforts f exploring space since years as the article says.

The article is two pages long and refers to Rutan, Rocketplane, XCOR as well as to Blue Origin, John Carmack and Elon Musk.

Autor of this typical Wirtschaftswoche-article is Matthias Hohensee - he has been reporting from Silicon Valley.



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Note the bold portion - that's NOT lunar. And the post is NOT concentrated on "lunar". In the later posts of mine I interpreted "short trips" as "suborbital" which might be a weak point. But the onyl orbital tourists Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth spent a week in orbit - a week I never would call "short". So currently my own personal interpretation of "short trip" as "suborbital" seems to be justified.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:10 pm
Hi Ekkehard,

I think we are in agreement. Suborbital for $10,000 by 2030 is a reasonable estimate.

What does not seem reasonable to me is that lunar flight can be done for only twice the cost of suborbital.

It seems that all the spinning out of control has been due to the fact that you were defending $10,000 suborbital and I was disputing $20,000 lunar.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:28 pm
Except that I wasn't defending nor the number nor anything else - as I already said in the Off-Topic thread about images behind posts: that is your image and interpretation.

I only was expaling a method because you several times asked how the number(s) are calculated. "How?" is a question for a method. Additionaly you asked for how numbers have been calculated that have been estimated by others than Collins.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:41 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Additionaly you asked for how numbers have been calculated that have been estimated by others than Collins.
I did? I didn't intend to.

Anyway, let us stop the spinning out of control now and agree that suborbital could be $10,000 or even less in 2030 and limit our future discussion in this thread of the question of how much LUNAR flight might cost in 2030. Can we agree on that?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:50 pm
Without using any technological or math... a wild guess for lunar travel in the year 2030 in my opinion would cost about 500k to 1 million us$ for 1 person. (to the moon, staying on the moon for a relative short moment, and returning back).

It will take several years before SS2 is ready, Tier 2 (Orbital) will take about 10 years from now, before it's ready to fly passengers (maybe there will be a test vehicle similar as SS1 before the real vehicles to fly passengers). (2015), and the moon I think will be +- 2025, with possible more passengers as SS2 (it would make it relative cheaper), but the cost will be (I think) +- 1 million us$ per person in the beginning or even more.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:59 pm
Hi Sigurd,

That sounds reasonable to me. Per person flight costs for Apollo were about 1000 times more than X-15 flights so I find it reasonable that future lunar flights will cost 1000 times more than future suborbital flights.
(EDIT) Ooops, that would be 10 million for lunar, if suborbital were 10 thousand. Well close enough. Between 100 and 1000 times more then.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:54 pm
Once I have posted Collins' e-mail or quoted it and perhaps included into the table of quoted numbers the discussion can and should go on based on these completed and improved informations. Once I had found time I will include the document Andy Hill has linked to too.

I am thinking about starting a new thread because I already have started a new thread about how costs are examined/analysed and because the improved base of information should be visible to all the people here

I will provide links here to the new thread(s).

Collins' e-mail is very interesting as I said - but it tends to extend horizon as well as change "guesses" and images.

Let's wait until I post it and then gon on.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:01 pm
Update regarding Collins' answer:

I already have worked out three tables of numbers from the e-mail to which I will add most of thenumbers of the Tabel of quoted numbers included in this thread. The resulting table will be added to the post pblishing Collins' answer or quoting him.



Update regarding the document andy Hill linked to:

I have reread it up to 25% and perhaps will include it into the tables of numbers too. The numbers included can't be compared to the numbers quoted previously in this thread without severe adjustments which I will explain later.

The document is a very essential contribution and perhaps I include into the post about Collins' answer or a new thread based on that answer.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 12, 2005 2:28 pm
In between I have reread the document Andy Hill linked to ( www.transterrestrial.com/uploads/PHYSIC ... ACCESS.doc ) as well as the Collins-paper ( www.spacefuture.com/archive/the_japanes ... arch.shtml ) from 1997 the authors are referring to. I have downloaded it and can make it available via e-mail as word-document or so.

So the contents of this post is

1. The document Andy Hill has found
2. The Collins-paper from 1997
3. Comparison

1. The document Andy Hill has found

I have read all the 28 pages completely and word by word except the list of references but including the infomrations about the authors.

Much can be said, explained, commended and so on but this moment I will try to concentrate on essentials to remark.

After reading all the Conclusions reveal that the document is an analysis of what has to be done, what's required, what's improper and which way humanity can become a space-faring society. And this fits into longe-run considerations of 20 years, 30 years and more decades.

The document seems to do a critical look to the complete alt.space industry – objectively but warning permanently. It looks as if the authors have the intenton in mind to keep all the companies and teams from doing what may be harmful and wrong for the industry and their goal.

Nearly all the considerations of current costs are a detailed look into the inner of the structure of costs which is very positive – I would like to get much more informations about cost structure as I repeatedly said although this one is a little bit too detailed – but tis deep look into the cost structure means too that they can’t try to estimate future costs etc.. The document would have grown to hundreds of pages then.

Very impostant remark – this document is no estimations and it doesn’t contain estimations. It contains calculations like those required in departments of companies to get budgets and agreements to do a project.

The document considers payloads but not explicitly passenger flights.

About what the authors say about the Collins-paper from 1997 I will say a little bit more after speaking about that paper itself – but what they say can and may be misunderstood. I could imagine that the authors want to keep the alt.space industry from getting unjustified optimism from that paper.

Two details should be criticised already here:

1. The authors seem to consider the Collins-paper to be speaking of rapid development of space-faring and so on – but the Collins-aper is speaking of 30 years.
2. The authors seem to suggest that the Collins-paper is speaking of a developent alredy going on – but the paper doesn’t speak about any date when the development would start.

All in all the document is a diagnosting study including severe warnings for the industry.

The document fits into the numbers etc. already discussed during this thread – the authors are speaking about economies of scale for example – but adjustments would be unpreventable:

1. the costs included into the structure are going far beyond the costs Rutan will ever have,
2. Branson seems to behave as recommended by the document,
3. SpaceX seems to behave as recommended by the document,
4. Scaled Composits and SpaceX are mentioned as examples and
5. except Rutan none of the three – Rutan, Branson, SpaceX – has an investor.

No numbers of SpaceX have been discussed during this thread, Rutan is doing right according to the document and Branson isn’t subject to it because he didn’t develop a vehicle and so is no part of the alt.space industry from my point of view.

Very few of the contents of this document can be integrated into the table of quoted numbers – I have to think about it.

More I only would say if I do comments on details.



2. The Collins-paper from 1997

This paper too I have read completely and word by word except the references.

First a quote regarding the intention of the paper:

Quote:
...a formal study program to determine how to
establish a commercial service providing visits to low Earth orbit for
fare-paying passengers. This subject was chosen because none of the
government space agencies was studying how to reduce the cost of
passenger travel to orbit...


This means that the paper isn’t meant to be a consultant paper, to encourage anyone or so – the authors etc. simply want to find out something: It’s science simply.

The paper designs a goal not studied yet (in 1997) and examines the requirements then. It explicitly sayy that further studies are required – so don’t read the paper as a stand-alone one. You aren’t required to read all the oter papers referred to but permanently be aware that this paper doesn’t say all the authors know – it doesn’t need to because it refers to other papers and lists all the references.

The authors have done a market research to find out the feasable market price – 20,000$. But from this it can’t be concluded that this paper is the source of the price quod by „Wirtschaftswoche“ – simply because the paper says that further studies are required and because it announces some.

Involved into the study have been large japanese industrial companies – Kawasaki for example – and engineers.

The paper contributes very interesting thoughts, analyses, insights etc. for several other section of this message board – it mentions point-to-point suborbital passenger and cargo transport for example.

Sources of economies of scale of space tourism are explained and listed.

The paper is considering a wide variety of connected, linked or involved branches and industries. To understand this a look into the new thread about how costs are considered in Economics might help if needed.

The wide variety of other branches considered means that the paper is going beyond he document Andy Hill has linked to.

I am going to include numbers of this paer into the tabel of quoted numbers.

The paper is worth to be read but this should be done carefully and it should be read completely.

By the way – the paper mentions the XPRIZE.



3. Comparison

The first document is looking into the past and is diagnosting the current situation. It seems to have the intention to keep the alt.space industry on the right path and is concentrated on the costs within the industry only. The document does not recommend strategies, ways etc except the costs which should be worked on. As far as it looks into the future it does this from the presence and without concentration on aconcrete goal. It doesn’t ask after the requirements to achive a concrete goal and seems to have in mind the general future of the industry. The document seems to be meant practically and similar to a consultant study.

The second paper in difference to the first is looking back from a goal to the presence which is required to find out what has to be done earlier. This way earlier requirements are found and it can be researched if and when these requirements can be fulfilled. The result are – for example – criterions which could be used as benchmarks perhaps.

This way estimations are got the scientific way. This means the paper does NOT say „in 30 years the situation will be this“ but it says „this situation is required or desired, it can or must be caused this or that way“ and then say if or when the world is ready to go one or the other of these ways (May be that this requires a separate explanation).

The both documents are starting from opposite directions - may diametral – , are looking by different dimensions excpet a few and the first is practical while the other is scientific. Plus the one don’t estimate while the other necessarily is estimating but mustn’t be taken as prognostic or forecasting.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:32 am
Just a few moments ago Professor Collins sent me an e-amils that he agrees to posting his e-mail at this board.

I will do that by initiating a new thread I will link to from this post by EDIT.

I will initiate the new thread to seperate the debate about the numbers, their meaning, consequences, comparison, chances perhaps indiacted and so on from the already initiated thread about how costs are analysed in Economics as well as from a third new thread about how estimations are done in Economics.

There is no reason not to continues this thread too - I only want to remove the complexity a bit.

The EDIT will include links to the thread about costs as well as a link about estimations.



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EDIT:

Prof. Collins' answer and estimated numbers
Costs - space travel-oriented, examination etc.
Ticket costs and prices - how estimations are done


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:42 pm
Please note especially that Collins doesn't refer to the document from 1997 the document is referring to Andy Hill found.

Especially one of the documents is from autumn 2003 - that's the one I already read and that contains a number of 5 million passengers per year in 2030.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:02 am
In betwen I found both numbers quoted confused by "Wirtschaftswoche" in the first paper Collins is refrerring to in his answer to me.

That first paper is from February 2004. The paper includes a figure included into the 2003-paper too - this figure may be the source of ther quoted number of passengers. The 2004-paper includes also a table in which from the population of the rich countries the cumulative revenues of space tourism is calculated - and this calculations uses the number of 20,000$ per flight.

I suppose that the author of the article in "Wirtschaftswoche" may have read the 2004-paper only - regardless of having got the link from Collins, having found it himself or having got attention to it by other sources.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 16, 2005 3:02 pm
Just for completeness, Here is the final word (copied from another thread) on the $20,000 trip to the Moon mentioned in the first post of this thread.
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Collins' answer to me:

Quote:
there seems to be some confusion here, since I
have never estimated the price of a trip to the Moon at
$20,000 - though this figure has also been quoted in The
Futurist and Canadian Business magazines recently.




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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:22 pm
The authors of the paper I posted earlier in this thread have had a bit of critism on how they arrived at some of the figures they used and the assumptions they made. In this article they attempt to answer some of their critics and acknowledge some of the problems associated with their estimate. Perhaps this will help reconcile some of the differences with Collins.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/395/1

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