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Why the private sector won't cut it in space

Posted by: Cadet - Mon Aug 09, 2004 10:25 pm
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Why the private sector won't cut it in space 
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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 17, 2004 4:11 pm
the problem of that is that you'd have to put the fabrication machinery on the thing, the idea of mass driver-mass catcher is that all you need is machinery in two places: on the asteroid and in space where you catch the stuff you shoot out and refine it.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:49 am
Well, where to refine the asteroid matter is mostly a question of whether it's cheaper to move the refinery to the asteroid, or the asteroid piece (including impurities etc.) to the refinery. This, in turn, depends on the quality of the asteroid, and what's being mined for. Moving a 50kg block of palladium is a lot easier (and can thus be done at higher speed) than shifting the 50 ton block of stone it was refined from. Here, moving the refinery out to the asteroid would be feasible, since you only need to do that once. But if we're talking about mining iron from a 'black' asteroid, then yield degrees would be higher (on the order of 10-50% useful iron ore), making it more feasible (at least to begin with) to just move whole chunks of asteroid matter and refine them in the Earth subsystem. It all depends on how much material you need to sift through to get what you want.

Ekkehard, I answered both you and in general. The asteroid mining idea as well as the MDMC concept of moving things around quickly have been researched quite thoroughly, so they should be quite feasible for interplanetary busniess.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:37 pm
Thank you for the answer.

Perhaps a should clarify the aspect a little bit I have in mind.

The center of your thoughts, Autochton and TerraMrs, is the material the asteroid is made of and because of this the costs of mining and/or transporting this material. You are right concerning the results I suppose.

Mining and Transportation of asteroids will take place within a whole solar system-wide economy and sometimes there are situations in an economy where costs are the relevant point. In such situations thoughts have be centered at the costs and especially at their causes and the chances to reduce them. In this situations your thoughts are the only relevant valid aspects.

Seen from today extending economy to space these situations will be the first this solar system-wide economy is faced to.

But the situations will be changing to others revenues or finance are the relevant points in. Then the material of the asteroids and the costs of mining and transportation mustn't be the center of thoughts no longer - it has to be changed to the markets: Short delivery times, production of things out of the asteroid-material as quick as possible etc.. That was the center of my thoughts.

As a consequence flexibility is required concerning the material of asteroids.

Might it be that the consequence of our thoughts together are modular fabrics?

In space fabrics are moving while at earth they are immobile. In cost-centered situations only transportation- and/or mining-equiment is to be provided at the asteroid or at pieces of it whereas in market-centered situations production-equipment has to docked additionaly.

what technical ways may such fabrics be constructed?



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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:34 pm
Nothing personal, Cadet, but we have way too many people who think like you do as it is. We need less people naysaying and more people finding effective ways to prove the naysayers wrong. It's much easier to sit around and think of ways to fail than it is to think of ways to succeed.

Can ya tell that I'm more than a little tired of all the self-proclaimed "realists" at this point?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 06, 2004 9:20 pm
There's a difference between being a naysayer and being realistic. Realists are enthusiasts without the fanaticism that marks so many of the posters here.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:59 pm
Hello, Cadet,

that's a difficult sub-topic.

Goals are required and goals only can be something that

1. isn't achieved yet and is part of the future and
2. is considered to worth to work, compete and struggle for.

The list might to be completed.

Next people to look for ways to reach the goals are required - and these people have to look for ways to the goals first and to the obstacles and risks etc. second. Without them no goal will be achieved never.

Third there have to be people who in practice try to achieve the goals - these people are entrepreneurs, political leaders, pioneers and the like. They will loose very much if they don't follow the way to a goal that they trust in and they go.

But, Strategery,

fourth there have to be people who look at the risks, obstacles and so on. And here is the first problem. These people are doing good jobs and work if they look at these risks etc. to find a way to remove them or to handle them securely - this really can be additional goals that are assisting the main-goal. But there are kinds of these people not looking for ways to remove or overcome risks and obstacles but considering them as irremovable and a reason no longer to look for ways to achieve the main-goal.

And among the entrepreneurs, politicians etc. are people too that a problems - entrepreneurs and politicians who don't like people looking at the risks etc. These entrepreneurs and politicians might have experiences withpeople who consider risks as a reason not to struggle for a goal.

The ideal and best entrepreneur, engineer, politician is a person who looks for a way to a main-goal, tries to go that way and achieve that goal, finds risk-handlers that try to remove obstacles and risks etc. and accepts their assistance.

This means that enthusiasts are required and good - as mentioned too by an american marketing consultant I mentioned much earlier - realists look at risks etc. to remove them and naysayers shouldn't be listened to.

What about trying to use all this as an INCOMPLETE list of criteria to detect the right people and the real naysayers?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 07, 2004 3:52 pm
Cadet wrote:
There's a difference between being a naysayer and being realistic. Realists are enthusiasts without the fanaticism that marks so many of the posters here.


Given your post, I'd still say you appear to be firmly in the naysayer category.

You give the casual observer zero reason to think that you even have any interest in the topic beyond putting it down. In fact, I was beginning to wonder why you even came here if you were so negative about the prospects. I'd be interested to hear the answer to that one.

A little optimism isn't a bad thing right now, especially considering how twisted everything else is becoming. A bit of actual realism, realizing that it'll be a challenge, also isn't bad. But you seem intent on shooting things down before they even launch.

Again, nothing personal here.. not saying any of this with any malice.. just making observations. Much of the time I'm a pretty negative person, so I tend to know it when I see it. :D

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:11 pm
Quote:
Given your post, I'd still say you appear to be firmly in the naysayer category.

You give the casual observer zero reason to think that you even have any interest in the topic beyond putting it down.


I'm not interested in the casual observer. I'm interested in getting the people here to be realistic and acknowledge that, no, things aren't going to be the way you want them, many of your dreams won't work. Going for the pie in the sky idea means that you are going to burn cash and resources for no gain other than an ego trip.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:22 pm
Cadet wrote:
Quote:
Given your post, I'd still say you appear to be firmly in the naysayer category.

You give the casual observer zero reason to think that you even have any interest in the topic beyond putting it down.


I'm not interested in the casual observer. I'm interested in getting the people here to be realistic and acknowledge that, no, things aren't going to be the way you want them, many of your dreams won't work. Going for the pie in the sky idea means that you are going to burn cash and resources for no gain other than an ego trip.


Troll much..?

I tried being as nice as possible about it.. but honestly, you're coming off as a forum-troll. If you were honestly interested in being realistic, you could've worded things much differently from the start. But judging from your responses, it would seem that you're here to cause trouble more than anything.

I'm still curious for that answer: If you have such negative attitudes about the chances of civilian spaceflight succeeding, why are you here?

(my prediction: The response will be hostile, condescending, or both)

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Last edited by Strategery71 on Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:31 pm
Quote:
I'm still curious for that answer: If you have such negative attitudes about the chances of civilian spaceflight succeeding, why are you here?


I don't have negative attitudes about the chance of civilian spaceflight succeeding. I have negative attitudes about it being some sort of utopia or idealistic thing or succeeding on a grandiose scale.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:40 pm
Cadet wrote:
Quote:
I'm still curious for that answer: If you have such negative attitudes about the chances of civilian spaceflight succeeding, why are you here?


I don't have negative attitudes about the chance of civilian spaceflight succeeding. I have negative attitudes about it being some sort of utopia or idealistic thing or succeeding on a grandiose scale.


So what does it matter if a bunch of people in a forum dare to dream a little bit, after decades of waiting for this stuff to get moving? Why do you feel the need to be such a killjoy? Reality will pan out on its own, without much (if any) input from the average forum user. If you were honestly interested in being a realist, I'd think that would be obvious to you.

This is a rather low point in time, with so many bad things happening in the world. Even if I don't agree with all the dreams, I think it's good to see that people are still managing to dream through all this.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 10, 2004 2:12 am
Strategery71 wrote:
So what does it matter if a bunch of people in a forum dare to dream a little bit, after decades of waiting for this stuff to get moving? Why do you feel the need to be such a killjoy? Reality will pan out on its own, without much (if any) input from the average forum user. If you were honestly interested in being a realist, I'd think that would be obvious to you.

This is a rather low point in time, with so many bad things happening in the world. Even if I don't agree with all the dreams, I think it's good to see that people are still managing to dream through all this.


Very well said, we all have dreams here, and its one of humanities most important, and dangerous traits, imagination. Sure, when you really think about it we have no idea when any of this will take off, when all these ideas could be put together, when we have galactic space ships and when will Star Trek become reality. These are all things so far down the line, technology, as fast as it grows has its limits. Its progress now continues, but not as fast as it was. Especially space technology, how is it we went from the moon to sitting around down here waiting for something to happen? Its only right we dare to dream because now there is POSSIBILITY of a private sector, WE have the chance to go to space, after waiting since sputnik launched in the 50's.

Its that notion that has people thinking, its that notion that gets us to want all these things. Utopia? no, a utopia is impossible to say the least, just we can make things better, better for humanity. Space is somewhere new to go, its somewhere where dreams CAN be possibilities. And just like the American dream, some get it, some do not. It can't be perfect, but lets be "real" and say its possible.
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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 10, 2004 10:51 pm
Well, I'd cetainly hope that the private sector will be the main driving force behind moving beyond Earth as a whole species, because the government certainly isn't going to do it. To paraphrase John Kerry, if you want to NASA's plan for our future in space the answer is more of the same. I don't buy any of this "vision for space exploration" they're floating around right now, four years ago everybody was positive that we'd be riding into space daily on SSTOs by next summer, but once the VentureStar program was cancelled, those plans just got left on the flooor. The same thing will happen to the current "vision," just give it time and some polititician's going to shoot it down.

The private sector is going to face very daunting obstacles in getting to space, but they have the means, the resources, and this is most important, the resolve. What might at first appear to be alt. space's greatest weakness, that the whole enterprise is kept afloat by a handful of Angel investors, is in a way its greatest boon. Richard Branson, assuming he's sane, knows that Virgin Galactic will be very successful as a business if it is just able to break even. None of these people, Branson, Allen, Musk, Ansari, etc, are doing this for the money, they're doing it because they're more interested in accomplishing something than being good business(wo)men. In a way it's ironic, most politicians could probably not care less about whether or not they ahve a positive impact on America, so long as they stay in power, while these Angel investors are exactly the opposite.

I'm not so pessimistic about a space elevator. Materials science is advancing at a blindingly fast rate and pragmatically speaking it's only a matter of time untill we're able to make carbon nanotubes, which are strong enough for the job, long enough for the job. Perhaps if Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin or someone else incorporated a small research company like Teathers Unlimited they could have one built by 2020 with a minimal investment, say $1 billion tops. Whoever builds a space elevator is going to be phenominally rich because they'll essentially have a monopoly on all traffic to and from space, and what do you know? Turns out that as a byproduct you have an instant propellantless way to get to anywhere in the solar system; that's how we'll make our exodus.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:10 am
Cadet ... no problem in being a realist ... but the word "never" is not a useful term in any realist's lexicon. It makes you come across as someone prepared to believe in something in the absence of any tangible evidence.

Which, judging by your current sig, you are.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:36 pm
Hmm.. I'm something of an optimist, so I'll go along with the people who say the financial barriers to space travel will be overcome. I agree with those that say that booting government agencies out of the loop will go a long way for this to happen. Aerospace companies will find that they can't make more profits simply by dragging out a program and charging everything :o

But why the launch rate would go up (and hopefully costs per launch down) is something I can't say. Building and maintaining a large orbital or lunar observatory? Mining the moon? Setting up a lunar monastery? Mining asteroids for volatiles? I don't know.

What I am fairly certain of is that some of the uses an innovation (cheap space transport in this case) will be put are ones we can't imagine (and maybe comprehend). As demonstration, think of the Douglas DC-3. The DC-3 was apparently conceived as a transcontinental passenger sleeper. It was mostly used as a shortrange cargo transport. The examples still flying are mostly used as tramp transports and touring (or museum) aircraft.

Cheers,
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