The Quest for Affordable Space Transporation

Robert Heinlein reportedly once observed that once one made it to Earth orbit, you were halfway to anywhere in the solar system. How unfortunate then, that in recent years, many within the American space establishment appear to have completely given up on lowering the cost of  reaching orbit. From the ever increasing costs of the heavily subsidized EELV program to the astronomical estimates for the Space Launch System, (each claiming they are “cost effect” by the way) current government space transportation systems, with one critical exception, are all headed in the wrong direction.

The exception of course, is the COTS program, which has helped to sponsor the development of two new launch vehicles, the Orbital Sciences Antares, and the SpaceX Falcon 9.  The former offers a modest return to the historical pricing level of the Delta II. The latter however, is revolutionary.


3 thoughts on “The Quest for Affordable Space Transporation

  1. At the International Space Station ISS repairs are often needed on the exterior, the problem is it is a lot of work to send out a manned space walk to do this. Astronauts need oxygen and they have the problems of human error. Yet if we use robots, well they do not complain, unless programmed too. Robots in fact could spend months to fix something, astronauts five day space walk missions are about all we can muster right now and if we cannot get it done in time, imagine the cost for another launch. What about Fatigue factors, which take a toll on the organic components of the human body? Costs to send up a space crew to do repairs can be millions if not billions of dollars.`

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  2. Please could you expand this into a full article? An article arguing the desperate need for a gamechanger like SpaceX to come along and shake up the industry, and also how this absolutely must happen if humans are ever to become a true spacefaring civilisation. That would be excellent.

    Also, it’s only a slight quibble, but you’re missing a t from transporTation.

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