December 06, 2007

Interesting articles at Space Review on space logistics for space solar

Mike Snead talks about aerospaceplanes and space based solar power I agree some of the things in the article but Mike Snead had said:

While some argue that SBSP construction and operations can be undertaken with little or no direct human involvement—using robotic and self-assembly technologies—I [Mike Snead] do not share the optimism that these technologies will develop to the level of maturity to enable this to be undertaken in the early phases of SBSP construction and operation.

I believe that absent a cheap launch system then we have to develop and design with robotics and self assembly and simple assembly (inflated systems) in space to keep costs reasonable. Rushing to do more with people because the robotics and simply assembly designs are not ready will continue to waste money and accomplish relatively little.

Mike Snead has a lengthy (45 page) pdf about how we could spend 100-150 billion dollars over 25 years to achieve what is basically the space shuttle as originally promised. A high frequency and safe vehicle. However, I think developing a better chemically powered vehicle is a waste of time and money.

Mike breaks out the cost for the program to develop airplane like operations.

Mike Snead has a blog on making america space faring.


Tom Craver said...

The key disadvantage of ELV over RLV is, according to Snead, that its only "test" is it's first mission.

But suppose every ELV were a precise copy - right down to the atoms and bonds. That disadvantage goes away - except to the extent that one could tweak the design by small increments over many generations to get the most efficient design.

The cost of the ELV has to be paid for every flight, as opposed to split over many flights for the RLV. But if that cost were primarily the cost of the energy needed to make it, the ELV may come out ahead again, as the RLV may be more massive, and so require more fuel.

So if we're still making chemical rockets by the time we get nanofactories, ELVs may make more sense than RLVs.