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Space Exploration Timetable?

Posted by: Texan - Sun Jun 27, 2004 1:16 am
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Space Walker
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Post Space Exploration Timetable?   Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 1:16 am
Space Exploration Timetable?

X Prize won -- July to October 2004

First Private Orbital Launch -- 2006 to 2014

First Private Space Station -- 2010 to 2035

Any (government or private, governments will be able to do it earlier) Moonbase or Colony -- 2016 to 2045

Any Mars Mission -- 2016 to 2045

Any Marsbase or Colony -- 2025 to 2080

Space Elevator -- 2035 to 2100

Any other ideas?


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Post Timeline predictions   Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 2:19 am
Every year, I try to speculate 10 years into the future. Here were this year's predictions:

===================================

2004: The X-Prize is won in the early fall, amid an appropriate media frenzy. Two other X-Prize teams also take to the air this year. The Falcon Explorer is finally launched near the end of the year.

2005 : A handful of additional suborbital companies begin doing test flights, while the X-Prize winner continues to refine their system, and begins offering rides to various celebrities and the like. Collectively, these suborbital outfits make a couple dozen flights over the course of the year (earning perhaps 30 people their astronaut wings). SpaceX launches four Falcon Explorers. China launches a multi-person Shenzhou mission, which lasts nearly a week. The Space Shuttle does *not* return to flight.

2006 : True commercial suborbital tourist operations begin, and well over 100 people earn their astronaut wings this year. The price initially begins at $100,000, but falls by 30% each year for the next 5 years. Suborbital companies also begin profiting from flying microgravity experiments and launching nanosats and microsats. The success of the Falcon Explorers -- about 10 flights occur this year -- gives birth to a whole new class of off-the-shelf smallsats, as LEO suddenly becomes affordable to universities, small businesses, and even consortia of non-profits and highschools. SpaceX and also launches their first Falcon V, carrying Bigelow Aerospace's 1/3rd scale space-station test article. Two more Shenzhou flights occur, practicing docking procedures with target vehicles. The Shuttle is officially mothballed (without having flown post-Columbia), and American officials are more vigorously casting about for another way to get to the ISS, in the meantime continuing to buy Soyuz flights from Russia.

2007 : The boom is now in full swing. Hundreds of suborbital flights take place, with around 1,000 people earning their astronaut wings. A competitor (perhaps Microcosm, or perhaps a re-invigorated Lockmart or Boeing) emerges to challenge SpaceX in providing cheap orbital launches. Both companies also begin collaborating with experienced suborbital operators to create orbital vehicles – which are now being demanded by both the tourist and governmental markets. China launches a small Salyut-class station, which is crewed on a part-time basis.

2008 : Over 2,000 people earn their astronaut wings in suborbital flights, although the novelty is beginning to fade slightly. Several new orbital spacecraft enter the market: one or two privately-developed US vehicles (with substantial governmental backing, per MM&B), as well as the Russian Klipper (which also has substantial private backing). The first private orbital spaceflight takes place, in a 4-person craft launched atop the a semi-reusable vehicle, which orbits the Earth several times. The ticket price is initially $5 million per person, but like the suborbital ventures, this falls by 30% per year for the next five years. Bigelow launches a small inflatable habitat, which serves as a temporarilly-inhabited destination for tourism flights. China conducts a manned circumlunar flight during the Beijing Olympics. This is done with a modified Shenzhou, and is more of a stunt than a sustainable advance in their program. Japan beings operation of a small, unmanned, suborbital VTVL.

2009 : Given the competitiveness, prestige, and strategic advantages which are increasingly associated with spaceflight, all the interested governments begin to dramatically accelerate their schedules. The US conducts its own stunt circumlunar flight; Europe and Japan intensify their domestic spacecraft development programs; India pragmatically looks towards purchasing some Russian or US commercial spacecraft. China expands its space station. Meanwhile, in the commercial sector, suborbital flights continue to slowly increase (to around 3,000 people per year), while over a hundred people make orbital flights, at increasingly reasonable prices. More companies enter the launch industry, and a new inexpensive medium-heavylift vehicle (45,000 – 100,000 lbs. To LEO) enters the market, its development largely spurred by the MM&B program.

2010 : Using the new medium-heavylift capability, Bigelow launches a cluster of several inflatable modules, forming the first true space hotel. Several hundred civilians make orbital spaceflights. Nobody bothers keeping track of the suborbital ones anymore. China performs another circumlunar flight, this time using hardware which is much more suited to the task. India launches its first astronauts, in a foreign spacecraft mounted atop a domestic ELV.

2011 : In the US, A fully-reusable space ferry commences operation, capable of shuttling a dozen people to and from orbit, and with theoretical turnaround times of a few hours. Bigelow's space hotel is expanded to accommodate them, and nearly a thousand people orbit the earth this year. A handful of commercial manufacturing facilities begin orbital operations, making exotic drugs and fiber optic materials. China and the US conduct brief lunar landings, and Russia does a circumlunar flight. Japan launches its first astronauts.

2012 : A true heavylift launch vehicle is developed, capable of launching over 100,000 lbs into LEO. Additional companies enter the space hotel & space manufacturing businesses. Thousands of people travel to and from LEO, and scores of people are orbiting the Earth at any given moment. Europe launches its first astronauts, while both Japan and India put up small space stations. China and the US both construct small, intermittently-occupied lunar bases.

2013 : Bigelow's "Lunar Cycler" is under construction. A suborbital joyride costs $3,000, while a basic ticket to orbit costs $150,000. Orbital stays range from $25,000 to $250,000 per day. The latest and greatest accommodations feature large picture windows, lunar-equivalent artificial gravity in the living areas, and sizable zero-gravity recreation rooms. LEO now has an average population of over 100 hundred people. The US and China expand their lunar bases, which can now accommodate a dozen people on a temporary basis. A commercial company lands an automated mining & manufacturing crawler on the moon, which tests the viability of constructing lunar photovoltaic farms. The law and politics of lunar real estate begins to become a rather hot topic.

2014: A long-range suborbital transport begins commercial operations. The Chinese and American lunar bases are now permanently occupied by about 20 people each, and a consortium of Russian, Indian, European, Japanese, and other interested parties begins construction of their own “non-aligned” lunar base. The US launches a Mars fly-by, while China lands on a near Earth asteroid, and officially claims it as Chinese territory. The Lunar Cycler begins commercial operations. The fracas over non-terrestrial real estate continues unabated, and is in danger of inhibiting commercial investment if it continues much longer.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 4:02 am
I think the spaceshuttle will fly again, even if it is gotten rid of in a few years.

I think the government space programs will move a little slower.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 4:03 am
but hey, it is possible they might move that fast

--dunno


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 4:40 am
Whoa, there. It's important not to be too optimistic, otherwise you'll end up pretty dissapointed. Some of the predictions I liked, such as the circumlunar Shenzhou flight to coincide with the Olympics, but others are just too out there for the near term. I think that it's highly unlikely that there will be Moon bases in ten years. Sure we can do it technologically, but is there enough of a will? I don't think anyone is going to launch a Martian flyby mission, wait nine months in transit just to zoom by? It's actually not as hard as you'd think to land and stay a while, so when we finally send someone that way, they'll be walking on the surface.

I planned on making my own predictions here, but it looks like I have to get off pretty soon. Tomorrow I'll post some ideas. :wink:

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 7:14 am
If you're talking about our technological ability to do such a thing... we could, but for, of course enourmous cost. If these bases were set up to mine helium 3, i suppose it could make money, but... I think your estimate might be a tad too... er... early. :shock: :D

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:50 am
That all looks very ambitious!

Shuttle, im sure it will fly again, nasa dont want to spend all that money on re developing it and then not bother, and the bad press would realy have an affect on the moon mars programme! and people would soon stop thinking about it.

Space elevator,

could happen but i don't think anyone will have the money!

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/ ... index.html


I agree that xprize attempts will increase in the next year but also that orbital is so different, you have to be going at 7 miles per second not 1!

Space stations
Everyone talks bout inflatable ones heres a great link
http://www.space.com/news/businessmonday_040524.html

Still dont think we will see any holding over 10 people for 30 40 years.

Seems to me when it comes to space everyone always gets excited and forgets that its expensive and dangerous!
Look how far we have come in 40 years for example!
Think nasa will furry people to the moon for the next 50 years while private teams do low orbits and satelites maybe an odd rover but nothing too much more.

I am sure though that there will be better co operation in space and atleast be one place peaceful for people!

Lets not forget the phoenix for esa either guys!

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 2:08 pm
I think there willl be a private moonbase within 50 years

if space becomes profitable (even though tourism) it will GREATLY increase interest in space, also space becomes less expensive the more interest there is in it, of course there are efficent technologies produced from increased private space travel, but once you get an industrial base in space, the cost goes down exponentially, most of the expense comes from GETTING things into space. Once in space you have cheep energy and free land. BTW how hard would it be to get from low earth orbit to the moon?

it would seem that once you have a space station in low earth orbit, you could send up the fuel for a moon mission, and then a relatively small moon lander, and then go to the moon, I mean once you are established in low earth orbit you are halfway to--anywhere. <--- ( I think I am quoting a jerry pournelle edited nonfiction book now)

Once in low earth orbit you can send your space ship up, then you can send it the fuel it needs to go... anywhere..............

Once on the moon and/or and an asteroid you can start to build alot of what you need in space, and escaping the moon's gravity well is nothing like escaping earth's. (my longest post yet)


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 5:10 pm
i think that skybum's timeline is reasonable up to about 2008, then the gaps between them should widen increasingly from 2-5 years. the only 2 i think really belong in different places are the private orbital timescale needs to be bumped back 4 or so years to be realistic, and the suborbital passenger vehicle will be operational before an orbital one, i wouldn't be suprised to see it in around 3-4 years, possibly less. remember scaled's tier 2 and 3 rumors at the launch, we may be going to orbit sooner than people thought. keep in mind though that 5 years is still "sooner".

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 7:10 pm
I had an email discussion with Jerry Pournelle about whether or not we needed government funded X Prizes, I thought private groups would be able to make it to orbit using the money they got from the suborbital tourism business, he thought we needed government prizes to get bigger corperations involved.

(of course Paul Allen IS involved right now)

How much would it take to make the first private orbital spaceship?

100 million?

More? Less?


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 7:18 pm
Texan wrote:
100 million?

More? Less?


Well, some people say it's 30 times more difficult and expensive, so current 30 million tier 1 (both ships) will cost (still costing money right now, latest flight is STILL a test flight).

if we do that 30 million * 30 times.. it makes orbit 900 Million US$...
But hey.. maybe they find a way to do it cheaper.. maybe 200 million or so... we can't always compare with the past. so let's hope for a better future ;)

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:06 pm
30 TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARRRRRRRRRRRRRG!!!!!!!!

I wonder how much money Paul Allen is willing to spend....

How do the smaller teams plain to get to orbit if it is that hard? Of course "some people" say space tourism will make 10 billion of the next ten years, so somebody should be able to scrape together the cash for an orbital flight.

Btw if you have to be going 7 times the speed why is it 30 times harder?

also is it REALLY 30 times harder?


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:07 pm
btw I thought spaceshipone was 20 million?


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:47 pm
Texan wrote:
btw I thought spaceshipone was 20 million?

Some sources say 20m other sources say 30m... because SpaceShipOne isn't ready yet and still in development.. I think the total cost in the end will be +- 30mil.. but if it was already 30 mil.. it can be more in the end.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:50 pm
Texan wrote:
30 TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARRRRRRRRRRRRRG!!!!!!!!

I wonder how much money Paul Allen is willing to spend....

How do the smaller teams plain to get to orbit if it is that hard? Of course "some people" say space tourism will make 10 billion of the next ten years, so somebody should be able to scrape together the cash for an orbital flight.

Btw if you have to be going 7 times the speed why is it 30 times harder?

also is it REALLY 30 times harder?


Well, is it really 30 times harder ? no.. it depends on how smart they are ;) and what type of vehicle/rocket they will develop...

>>>Btw if you have to be going 7 times the speed why is it 30 times harder?
- More fuel needed
- More fuel, so also larger vehicle needed
- Higher heights + Larger vehicle -> very difficult to return to earth...

And I'm sure a lot of people can add many things to this list.. that need to be changed or added for going into orbit.

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