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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    Posted on: Sun Jun 27, 2004 11:38 pm
Please comment on my "Crazy Idea" thread in the technology Forum


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Post Thanks for the responses!   Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:17 am
Thanks for everyone's feedback on my timeline! I agree that it is probably too optimistic, and it is anyways more of an excercise in cheap specularion than anything else. I'd put some money on my predictions up to 2007, but not beyond.

Having said that, I should comment on how I came up with this timeline. I didn't ask myself "what will be happening in space 10 years from now?". Rather, I looked at things on a year-by-year basis, pondering the same question at each point: "given such-and-such events in the previous year, what will be happening in *this* year?". This will obviously have the effect of magnifying any errors in my predictions, but I hope that it will have the somewhat counter-balancing effect of negating current expectations.

For example, if I were to make predictions about the Chinese space program, based on what I know of it today, I would predict that they will be true to their stated intentions, but somewhat slower. In this case, I'd predict that they'll have a space station in 10 years and a permanent presence on the moon in 25. That sounds fairly reasonable, based on where we're at today.

However, a few years from now, when there are thousands of Americans (and other nationalities) taking sub-orbital joy-rides, and when "Survivor to Space" reality TV shows are at the forefront of global pop culture -- is it realistic to say that the Chinese plans will remain so turgid? I don't think so. I think they'll need a way to one-up us, and a lunar fly-by will be a relatively easy way for them to do so. And if they do *that*, will the US MM&B plans remain so timid? And will other nations be content to stand on the sidelines? My gues is, probably not.

In other words, I think that the sub-orbital boom is going to ignite a second space race, although I would avoid drawing too many comparisons to the first. For one, there will certainly be a large and diverse private component to this space race, perhaps somewhat akin to the dot-com boom of the '90s (and with similar pittfalls, I predict). However on the governmental level, this will be fundamentally different. It will not be driven by a top-down process: the need to sell the public on the virtues of spending massive amounts of money on ICBM technology (which the reason for both Kruschev's and Kennedy's support of their space programs); rather, it will be driven by the bottom-up desire of public and commercial interest.

If this actually comes to pass, then I believe that my very optimistic should be somewhere close to the mark. Or, I could be completely wrong. I'll re-visit my predictions in coming years, and will let everyone know how I did.


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Space Walker
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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:22 am
Yea. And on my timeline: 2006 would be very early for an orbital launch.


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Space Walker
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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 6:52 pm
How feasible would a "triple decker" orbital vehicle be?

First a large aeroplane takes it all to 10 miles, than the second stage takes it to 60 miles, than the third stage takes the cargo or passangers to orbit.

How much would something like that cost?


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Post My prediction   Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:11 pm
2080: First baby born extraterrestrial. :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:26 pm
I think that will be before 2060


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:14 pm
Texan wrote:
I think that will be before 2060

From the moment a woman and a man.. are on the moon or mars.. without the posibility to return directly to earth.. this will hapen.. so yes before 2060 would be possible. (in my opinion)

Humm.. can we call people outside our earth.. aliens ?(outsiders) :lol: ( :shock: I've seen aliens......... in the International Space Station 8) )
HUmm, "abducted by aliens".. will become possible :p

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:40 pm
Space Exploration Timetable?

X Prize won -- August to November 2004

First Private Orbital Launch -- 2005 (Tier 3, I just want to see them match the 9 months it took NASA to go from sub-orbital to orbital :twisted: )

First Private Space Station -- 2010 to 2015

First Private moon Landing -- Armadillo 2012-2014

Any (government or private, governments will be able to do it earlier) Moonbase or Colony -- 2016 to 2020

Any Mars Mission -- 2020 to 2025

Any Marsbase or Colony -- 2030

Space Elevator -- 2020 for the first small one and 2025 for a second larger one

JP Aerospace will become the major bulk carrier to orbit as far as materials and supplies go with their 3 stage airship to orbit concept by 2020. While they will not be doing much manned flights with it due to the long flight times. The space elevator may have the same problem.

Something that I would call 'gateway station' would be built by a partnership of businesses that would include most if not all of the sucessful space tourism companies sometime between 2015 and 2020. They would pool their resources for such a station that would become a major transfer point from LEO to everywhere else. Imagine JP Aerospace Airship to Orbit ships hauling fuel and most everything else other than people to the station where they and others would start jumping across the solar system. While people like the serious X-Prize teams zip people up. IF something like that happens all bets on any time line past the opening of such a station would be off. You'll see massive quantities of materials shipped all over the place, a lot of machine tools and within 100 years of the start of that there will be people on or orbiting every planet between Mercury and Saturn with expeditions to the far outer solar system.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:45 pm
LOL that is a bit fast...

"First Private moon Landing -- Armadillo 2012-2014"

Btw how hard is it to go from low earth orbit to the moon?
Not that hard-right?

Why did Nasa send apollo straight to the moon?

Would it have been cheaper to send them into orbit with one rockett, then supply them with what they needed for the moon trib on the other?

Btw the gateway station thing is right on--we will need something like that.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:08 pm
Space elevator by 2020? Carbon Nanotubes or steel? (N-mind it won't matter) I do not think either will be possible befor 2150 if at all. The limiting factor is the scale of a Space elevator.

Also you have the problem of weight with a steel tower and with Carbon Nanotubes you have the double whammie of a new prosses and the fact that I don't belive that you could find enough free carbon to build such a thing.

Also, how would you build a small one? (as far as I know) you have to anchor the top of the tower in geo orbit.

Now for moveing cargo I like the idea of a space cannon, like the one that Saddam insane tried to build. The upside is your cargo will make orbit much faster than is possible be elevator (and the startup will cost less). Now that will be possible well befor 2010, if one is not allready in the works.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:38 pm
I was simply adding a year to the projected timeline for a working space elevator that ISR is claiming. They seem to have all their ducks in a row and I don't see any real barrier to what they're claiming. The first elevator would be small in that the ribbon used would have to be launched into orbit and then un-rolled. It would be physically smaller and only be able to handle a small number of climbers but once up and running climbers could add additional layers to the ribbon making it stronger but at the very least a second one would be needed to make going back down easier.

http://www.isr.us/research_es_se.asp

Interestingly enough the Russians are claiming that they'll have the first elevator http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/379/12372_elevator.html

In addition to So-Damn-Insanes cannon for orbital cargo I think Laser launch vehicles are going to develop orbital capability within the next twenty years. I do suspect a lot of work has already been done on the concept but it will ruffle some other countries feathers.

I really do think that it will go close that fast. Once the costs of getting to orbit come down you will see an explosion of space development that will make the computer industry seem a bit smaller.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:58 pm
A space elevator will be possible way before 2150--why would it take that long just to get the ABILITY to do it????

Btw go to my poll in the "Cafe"


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:10 am
Its not the tech, its the scale. A space elevator is a tower that will streech from ground level into Geo orbit.

Now I've not looked into the numbers involved, but the sheer forces that an elevator would endure would be mind bending (from the jet stream stratosphere ext.).

Also, I think we've all seen the demo for artificial gravity where you swing a ball in an open sack around your head. The ball does not fall out because of the centrifugal? force. In geo the force pulling the elevator would be great enough to be a real problem. So at one end your tower has to be solid enough to fight gravity, and at the other end be unyielding to the force pulling it into space.

There is the risk from an engineering standpoint because the popular material used in the construction of proposed elevators is carbon nanotubes.
Right now there is no large-scale manufacture of this material and it’s never been tested in construction as a result. It may simply not work, like Bucky-Balls (Carbon30) being a perfect lube.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:08 am
Quote:
Its not the tech, its the scale. A space elevator is a tower that will streech from ground level into Geo orbit.
Actually - longer, much longer. A counter weight will be needed, otherwise the whole thing will fall down. A space elevater needs to have its center of mass roughtly at geostationary orbit altidude - 36000km(!!!) - and then stretch beyond. So we are talking a structure with a minimum length of 50000+ km, plus the counterweight on the other. (depending on how far away one puts the far end)

A space elevator 'aint gonna happen.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:11 am
well if you think of it as a steel tower or elevator shaft it will never work. If you think outside the box of 'elevator cable' and think instead paper thin ribbon the concept goes from the realm of science fiction to near the realm of possible engineering. I've been reading a lot about elevators and despite the incredible forces involved, the raw strength of the carbon nanotubes is greater than what is needed to build a space elevator by anywhere from 50% greater to 3 times greater. While bulk carbon nanotube manufacture is not yet ready, large steps have been made in that area and if a proper binding agent can be found, there already exist carbon nanotubes that are long enough that they can be bonded together. Which means any length you need is currently possible, just too expensive to seriously consider.

ISR has a good summary here http://www.isr.us/Downloads/niac_pdf/chapter1.html

Edited for a couple of typos


Last edited by TJ on Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.



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