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Race To Space: Exploration, Commercial or Tourist Driven?


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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2010 7:40:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2010 7:42:00 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
Sailor,

The cheapest solution would be to use an elevator to lift cargo (engineered prefabricated parts for powersats, space stations or lunar bases) and return resources (lunar, asteroid or powersat) and use faster systems such as spaceplanes for humans. It's possible to envisage a system where people ride the cable up to about 90 km in a spacecraft carried by the elevator which then detaches to lift to reach higher altitudes; they'd be protected by the atmosphere and Earth's magnetic field for the slow portion of the trip and then boost at much higher velocity to dock at a shielded space station.

Posted on Feb 21, 2010 10:08:20 AM PST
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/top10_imaginationsatwork.html

This is Space.com's "Top 10 List" of the most imaginative and effective minds currently working on space (or space oriented) subjects. From NASA to SETI, X-Prizes to educators and private space enterprises, these are the people on the cutting edge of space exploration and education.

Posted on Feb 21, 2010 11:17:36 AM PST
http://spacegrant.nmsu.edu/ispcs

The "2010 International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight" will be held October 20-21, 2010, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

If you open the left-bar topic link to their 2009 Symposium, you'll see last year's conference topics, including: "Suborbital Future Beyond Tourism" and "Launch Vehicle Options ... In Sub-Orbital Environment"

http://www.hobbyspace.com/Links/LaunchPropulsion1.html
This is a great overview of "New or Proposed, Launch and Propulsion Systems". You can follow the page down for links to relevant articles, books, and so on.

http://nonneutral.pppl.gov/
Interesting site for current research on "Non-neutral Plasmas", from Accelerator Physics to Heavy Ion Fusion.

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 9:31:37 AM PST
(I found this article by accident, while researching something else. I erroneously posted it in "Next Star Wars", intending to put it in this discussion. Good call, MH.)

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/webaccess/CommSpaceTrans/SpaceCommTransSec39/CommSpacTransSec39.html

The above is a NASA doc about how to achieve commercial success in space. I'm posting it here, instead of the NASA discussion, since they've basically handed off all manned-flight programs to private enterprise.

Posted on Mar 3, 2010 9:04:33 AM PST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hdmkYtekT4&feature=player_embedded
"Storming the Suborbital Frontier" with ex-NASA scientists Alan Stern and Dan Durda

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4347267.html
"Sub-Orbital Safety: Will Commercial Spaceflight Ramp Up The Risk?"

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4346578.html
"New Space Engines May Trade Fuel For Photons" (The latest on the Solar Sail, Ion Engines and Antimatter Engines.)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2010 11:09:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2010 12:04:54 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
""New Space Engines May Trade Fuel For Photons" (The latest on the Solar Sail, Ion Engines and Antimatter Engines.)"

There are some significant flaws in that article: the top velocities seem to have been worked out at random, and the representation of a light sail is silly: in comparison with its cargo pod the sail is far too small to function.

Light-sails also have a problem manoeuvring; tacking takes time and photonic pressure from the Sun is very very small, whilst the solar wind is much more powerful but unpredictable; both decrease with the inverse square distance from the Sun. Same goes for one relying on a laser for propulsion. A light sail is a cheap but very slow and unpredictable way of travelling around the inner Solar System.

The article doesn't report that a light sail, of sorts, was in flight towards the Sun. The NASA MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) probe used light pressure angled on its solar panels to delicately adjust its trajectory, saving on thruster propellant. It was, of course, very near the Sun.

Antimatter rockets could reach an appreciable fraction of c, with sufficient fuel, but at present and in the medium future, we simply don't have access to any significant amounts of antimatter.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2010 12:14:53 PM PST
MM:
What is the purpose of all of these links?
Do you spend everyday just looking up stuff to post?
Why not pick a subject you would like to discuss and present your opinion and allow others to respond.
Constantly posting one item after another is pointless.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2010 10:57:46 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
Glenn, she's a bit too busy flirting over in the Psychology forums to put much thought into posts elsewhere at the moment.

Makes for fascinating reading, though. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2010 12:22:17 PM PST
Ron:
She needs a psychiatrist!
She's nuts!

Posted on Mar 6, 2010 7:23:46 AM PST
http://www.nextbigfuture.com/

Recent articles have been "Why China Does Not Join The International Space Station and Is Proceeding to Make Their Own Space Station"
And "China Plans to Launch Unmanned Space Module in 2011 In Step to Manned Space Station in 2013"

http://jdw.janes.com/public/jdw/index.shtml

According to a headline in Jane's Defense Weekly today, "No Explanation Given for China's Slowdown in Defense Spending"

Since NASA downsized, is China now stepping up their Space Program? Possibly by shifting funds from Defense Spending to their Space Program?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2010 7:36:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 6, 2010 7:37:29 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
Marilyn,

"Since NASA downsized, is China now stepping up their Space Program? Possibly by shifting funds from Defense Spending to their Space Program?"

The ambitions of the Chinese space program don't seem to have changed recently.

The Chinese defense budget is only down to 7.5% growth per year, and anyway many experts believe the actual amount spent by China on its armed forces is far higher than the published amount.

The Chinese themselves say: 'According to Major General Luo Yuan, a researcher with the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Military Science Academy, the double-digit defense budget growth in the past years was mainly aimed to make up for the inadequacy of the country's defense development. "This year's 7.5-percent increase signaled that China's defense development has entered a more mature, healthy and stable stage," said Luo, who is also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee. ..... His words were echoed by Wen Bing, a researcher with the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Military Science Academy. Wen said the slowdown in defense budget increase in the context of the lingering global financial crisis and the world's improving security environment "is appropriate, scientific, ... and is in line with China's needs for economic development and national security."'

http://eng.mod.gov.cn/Press/2010-03/05/content_4128735.htm

Posted on Mar 7, 2010 9:29:11 AM PST
http://rt.com/Sci_Tech/2010-02-03/geophysica-plane-space-tourism.html

According to Russia Today, Russian developers are working on a larger version of their Geophysica space-plane, that could carry large goups of space-tourists 100 kilometers above Earth.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2010 9:47:11 AM PST
M. Helsdon says:
Marilyn,

"According to Russia Today, Russian developers are working on a larger version of their Geophysica space-plane, that could carry large goups of space-tourists 100 kilometers above Earth."

The Geophysica isn't a space-plane but a variant of the Myasishchev M-55 and dates back to the late seventies, early eighties. The article talks about modifying the M-55 to act as per Scaled Composites' White Knight Two to carry a very small passenger spaceplane (two passengers).

It doesn't look like a valid concept as the M-55 Geophysica is similar in design to the American Lockheed U-2 spy plane, and the airframe and engines would have to be completely redeveloped to carry a parasite spaceplane. There are only a few Geophysica still flying.

$200 million looks to be too small a sum to redevelop the M-55 Geophysica and develop a 'three-seater spacecraft' carrying a 'crew [which] will consist of a pilot, who will sit in front, and two passengers in the back'.

The article discusses the Atlant, which transported the Buran shuttle, as carrying and launching a larger tourist spaceplane, and this looks more feasible, but still expensive.

Posted on Mar 7, 2010 12:21:25 PM PST
SPACE MINING is considered the next big commercial step in "making space pay", after space-tourism. Below are links to some interesting articles on space-mining:

http://www.geology.wisc.edu/~pbrown/spacemine/spacemine.html
This is an undated overview, "Extraction Techniques For Minerals In Space". (Lunar soil alone contains 42% oxygen.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/helium3_000630.html
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/1283056.html?page=4
Helium-3 is considered the "second generation fusion fuel". It is extremely potent, non-polluting, and produces virtually no radioactive by-product. There's hardly any on Earth. But plenty on the moon.

http://www.utilisegold.com/uses_applications/
Despite the U.S. being on a "fiat standard" (instead of a "gold standard") since 1971, there are still skeptics who think space-mined gold could flood Earth markets and ruin the global economy. This site discusses all the new uses for gold, from cancer treatments to lining space vehicles, that could absorb any overabundance of available gold.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2010 2:24:53 PM PST
M. Helsdon says:
"Helium-3 is considered the "second generation fusion fuel". It is extremely potent, non-polluting, and produces virtually no radioactive by-product. There's hardly any on Earth. But plenty on the moon."

The first problem being that we don't yet have 'first generation fusion'. The second problem being that if you do have fusion, acquiring sufficient helium-3 from the Moon's surface requires a major strip-mining operation.

"there are still skeptics who think space-mined gold could flood Earth markets and ruin the global economy."

Given the economics of transporting material mined from asteroids, nickel, cobalt, platinum-group metals and other rarer metals would be more useful, as well as water ice. Gold, in comparison might almost be a waste product and retained as shielding.

Posted on Mar 10, 2010 9:18:10 AM PST
http://www.space.com/news/falcon9-static-fire-100310.html

SPACE X ABORTS TEST FIRING OF NEW ROCKET'S ENGINES (At Cape Canaveral, Space X'S engine test was aborted because of "an unspecified problem with the rocket's spin start system". When fully functional, NASA is counting on Space X delivering at least 20 tons of cargo to the ISS over the next five years.)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2010 4:26:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2010 4:26:57 PM PST
Ronald Craig says:
What, no personal commentary crowing over yet another problem at NASA?

Posted on Mar 14, 2010 11:23:48 AM PDT
http://rt.com/Sci_Tech/2010-02-26/mars-500.html

From Russia Today, MARS FLIGHT SIMULATION CREW STARTS TRAINING. Eleven volunteers from Russia, China and Europe have been selected to start astronaut training. Then six will be chosen for the biggest "test", a two-year isolation experiment in a model spaceship. The six crew members will be exposed to as many perils of an interplanetary flight as possible, including simulated emergencies.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2010 8:33:58 PM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
So does that weigh towards commercial- or tourist-driven space exploration?

What relevance does that have to the topic other than being about a Mars mission simulation?

Posted on Mar 19, 2010 10:08:17 PM PDT
I was fooled by this link in an e-mail from New Scientist Magazine. It said "Build your own spacestation!"
Well, yes, if you are 1/30th normal size!!

The images of the fairly large model are interesting, though. They are the Bigelow Aerospace modules. See-> http://www.newscientist.com/gallery/diyspacestation

Posted on Mar 21, 2010 3:32:41 PM PDT
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4349385.html

LATEST SPACE X FALCON 9 ENGINE TEST A SUCCESS (WITH VIDEO) - 3/15/2010

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2010 5:15:40 PM PDT
TO: Marilyn Martin

Thanks for the video link.

Posted on Mar 21, 2010 8:43:06 PM PDT
"Thanks for the video link."

In the words of Smokey Robinson: I second that emotion.

Posted on Mar 21, 2010 9:41:51 PM PDT
I triple it. :-)

Posted on Mar 23, 2010 9:05:19 AM PDT
Glad you all enjoyed the video! Here are some more interesting rocket sites or articles:

http://www.spacex.com/updates.php
This is Space X's website, with more photos and information. (You may want to check out their "Launch Manifest".)

http://www.braeunig.us/space/index.htm
An interesting and knowledgeable personal site titled ROCKET AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY

http://www.janes.com/news/security/jir/jir100316_1_n.shtml
From Jane's, IRANIAN ROCKET CAPABILITIES ADVANCE (with N. Korean assistance, judging by the similarity of design)
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  93
Total posts:  2795
Initial post:  Jun 2, 2009
Latest post:  Aug 31, 2013

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