Author Topic: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?  (Read 5737 times)

Offline Oli

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #20 on: 10/07/2017 02:16 PM »
It has nothing to do with technologies.  It is the market place.  Other than making money off of communications, what other reasons to go into space that will make money.  Tourism is not it.
Why is tourism "not it"? This is a market that has never been truly tested because of a lack of supply. The only flights so far were on Soyuz but now both Boeing and SpaceX are developing manned spacecraft that will actually fly.

There was always Soyuz and the option to build a commercial station. It may have something to do with the numbers on the attached picture. Reliability is obviously also a concern for tourism.

But according to some BFR will be the highest-performing, cheapest and most reliable spacecraft ever and solve all those issues. ::)

Offline tdperk

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #21 on: 10/08/2017 02:26 PM »
It has nothing to do with technologies.  It is the market place.  Other than making money off of communications, what other reasons to go into space that will make money.  Tourism is not it.
Why is tourism "not it"? This is a market that has never been truly tested because of a lack of supply. The only flights so far were on Soyuz but now both Boeing and SpaceX are developing manned spacecraft that will actually fly.

There was always Soyuz and the option to build a commercial station. It may have something to do with the numbers on the attached picture. Reliability is obviously also a concern for tourism.

But according to some BFR will be the highest-performing, cheapest and most reliable spacecraft ever and solve all those issues. ::)

Which problems?  It probably won't solve the problem of how much NASA spends for hardware for political reasons.

But it lets people with other priorities build heavier, simpler, cheaper, faster--and they book the rockets.

Offline Oli

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #22 on: 10/08/2017 04:22 PM »
Which problems?  It probably won't solve the problem of how much NASA spends for hardware for political reasons.

Are you saying that NASA spends more on CST-100 and Dragon 2 for political reasons? After all those were competitive bids.

Online zhangmdev

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #23 on: 10/08/2017 05:54 PM »
For a few hundred million dollars, one can build an ocean-going cruise ship, a hundred thousand ton self-contained world carrying thousands of passengers and crew, visiting exotic islands around the world, with endless ways to entertain paying customers.

For same kind of money, what space tourism can possibly provide? A glorified tin can cramming with a handful of people?  A small window to look through, a self-serving minibar and toilet behind a curtain? Can that compete with air and sunshine of Bahamas? I think space tourism will limit to sub-orbital joyride, if that ever happens, in the foreseeable future. 

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #24 on: 10/08/2017 07:05 PM »
Big cruise ships are over a billion dollars, now. And they're glorified tin cans, too. :)

If BFR works out, you could have nearly cruise ship sized habs for about the same price.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #25 on: 10/08/2017 08:54 PM »
This chart is astounding -- and conveniently answers the OP:

Q: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?

A: Wasteful spending for political expediency
Quote
$980M Orion (crew to Cis-Lunar) Production Only. An estimate @ 1 unit a year. If @ 2 flights a year, $654M/unit. Scenario if Orion less than 1 flts/year thru 2046 = $1,672M/unit

Note: This is recurring price for the spacecraft, not including development costs, operations, etc. -- OR the launcher.
« Last Edit: 10/08/2017 09:12 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Oli

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #26 on: 10/08/2017 10:04 PM »
This chart is astounding -- and conveniently answers the OP:

Q: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?

A: Wasteful spending for political expediency

Hard to disagree on that.

The source by the way: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170008893.pdf

Offline mikelepage

Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #27 on: 10/09/2017 05:36 AM »
For same kind of money, what space tourism can possibly provide? A glorified tin can cramming with a handful of people?  A small window to look through, a self-serving minibar and toilet behind a curtain? Can that compete with air and sunshine of Bahamas? I think space tourism will limit to sub-orbital joyride, if that ever happens, in the foreseeable future.

The ability to fly. Zero g sports. The best views you'll ever see with your own eyes. Probably several new genres of pornography  ::) Achievement of childhood ambitions. Unique travel stories. The thrill rush of high g acceleration. And point to point cruises meaning less time on airplanes.

Offline matterbeam

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #28 on: 10/09/2017 12:31 PM »
If we can reduce space launch to $10/kg and extraterrestrial spaceflight is equally cheap, then mining space resources will be very profitable.

If we spend even $100/kg to mine platinum, we'd be adding 0.34% to the current price.
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Offline envy887

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #29 on: 10/10/2017 06:16 PM »
Which problems?  It probably won't solve the problem of how much NASA spends for hardware for political reasons.

Are you saying that NASA spends more on CST-100 and Dragon 2 for political reasons? After all those were competitive bids.

It certainly doesn't make much sense that refurbishing a Starliner costs almost as much as refurbishing a Shuttle. And Dragon 2 projected costs are for all new vehicles. There is also a substantial markup just for the for USG acquisition process... commercial flights on a used Dragon 2 could be much less.

Offline Asteroza

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #30 on: 10/11/2017 08:11 AM »
Niche manufacturing may be non-trivial. Some here on NSF believe there may be a closing business case for a BA-330 commercial station serviced by 6 cargo Dragons a year right now, if manufacturing ZBLAN optical fiber for use in terrestrial telecomms. Upping the repeater spacing distance on long distance fiber is no joke in terms of costs.

Offline IRobot

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #31 on: 10/11/2017 09:25 AM »

What are then the next critical set of technologies/capabilities that need to be focused on, in order to make the Space Economy take off?

It has nothing to do with technologies.  It is the market place.  Other than making money off of communications, what other reasons to go into space that will make money.  Tourism is not it.

In space manufacturing might be important, but it's basically a hope on a gamble and isn't likely to be big.

Yeah, Jim's right: communications is where it's at. But that's a huge market.
Actually, I think in space manufacturing can be huge. There are a lot of applications on the automotive, medical, optic fields, etc where very high quality components cost 100x more than normal components and where a small improvement of quality is worth the price.

The advantage of in space manufacturing is not only microgravity, but also easiness of achieving near perfect vacuum. And the combination of both

Offline sanman

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #32 on: 10/11/2017 09:36 AM »
It's been a long time since Mount Everest was first climbed, but look how many people continue to go there to do it. Likewise, more than half-a-century after the Apollo moonlandings, a trip to the Moon can continue to be a pinnacle achievement that would draw in people from all over to pay for it.

Maybe lunar tourists would one day be able to come within a few miles of the original Apollo 11 landing site, and look at it from a telescope. Tourists would have their own separate site to be able to place their own flags and footprints, or even sprinkle the ashes of their loved ones. People would be able to photograph themselves with the Earth in the backdrop - the ultimate selfie.

Musk named a price of ~$500K for a person to be able to travel to Mars, but I'm sure that a trip to the Moon would be much lower than that, mainly because there would naturally be a much higher volume of people traveling to the Moon as compared to Mars, due to the closer proximity, shorter duration, and less strenuous nature of the trip.

Offline matterbeam

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #33 on: 10/11/2017 09:39 AM »
I think the next bottleneck after launch prices is long term habitability. We'd need to solve radiation protection, near-closed life support and microgravity sicknesses for humans to be able to stay in space for long periods without suffering, and do so with lightweight solutions.
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Offline sanman

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #34 on: 10/11/2017 09:47 AM »
I think the next bottleneck after launch prices is long term habitability. We'd need to solve radiation protection, near-closed life support and microgravity sicknesses for humans to be able to stay in space for long periods without suffering, and do so with lightweight solutions.

It seems like radiation is only a challenge when out in the open, like in space. But when on the surface of Moon, Mars, asteroid, you can just burrow into the regolith as a convenient shield from radiation.

Does anyone have any experiments planned for microgravity/artificial-spin-gravity out in space?

Online KelvinZero

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #35 on: 10/11/2017 11:01 AM »
Answering the OP:
I think really cheap rockets opens LEO tourism, at least in the sense of a "Las Vagas in space". A large scale space station for no reason apart from tourism. (It also opens LEO internet, but that only funds more and cheaper rockets. I don't think it really advances HSF in other ways unless it creates an in-orbit satellite repair career)

What this hasn't done is create a drive to master ISRU or in-space manufacture, or self sufficiency in general. In fact, the cheaper the rockets, the easier to just resupply from earth. Like ISS, you could run a Las Vagas in Space for years and still find you were not moving closer to lightweight reliable small life support you would trust for missions of years away from possible resupply. The bigger your tourism town, the more difficult it might be to extend your technology to self sufficiency, just as the size of earth teaches us all the wrong lessons for small scale self sufficiency.

Moon tourism would probably drive this technology somewhat, at some point.

If Elon creates a Mars base, absolutely this drive for maximum self sufficiency will be there. It is definitely a hurdle though. Mars colonisation does not happen automatically. Events on earth may also drive this technology.

Offline sanman

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #36 on: 10/11/2017 11:35 AM »
So if ISRU is the key factor for enabling larger-scale construction on the Moon once abundant launch capability is available, then what should the roadmap be to achieve this ISRU capability? So far we've seen dirt-scooping/carrying competitions from NASA, as well as tile-laying.

Could Google one day announce an X-Prize that reflects the looming realities of more big rockets appearing? Could we see a spate of university research projects on how to build heavier, more permanent structures on the Moon, beyond just mere transhab bubbles?

For robust infrastructure on the Moon, you really want to be able to pour some concrete. That's the only way you can build a lunar Las Vegas.

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep29659

I wonder if unmanned missions could be conducted on the Moon to test out lunar concrete production and construction methods.


Online zhangmdev

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #37 on: 10/11/2017 03:58 PM »
Zero g sports.

Those immensely popular spectator sports, football, soccer, basketball, ect, usually depends on certain section of the population being able to practice that sport. Generations of kids play after school, aspiring to be good enough to join the league, to be elite ahletes, to be heroes. They will watch their heroes play. When they grow older and fatter, unable to play, they will still watch because of heroism via proxy. Zero-g sports implies they are only made possible in Zero-g environment and hence excluding most people, on the ground, from practicing those sports.

Another kind of sport only a few people can play, like Motorsport, but can still be popular. I am not sure why. Maybe there is some connection between those expensive activities and the everyday life. Most people have no chance to drive a Formula One car, but they can aspire to own a McLaren, maybe that is so out-of-reach, at least they can buy a Toyota. That can be useful as means of advertising and making loads of money.

I think should any Zero-g sport materialized, it'd likely fall into the second kind. Solar sail yacht racing? However, suppose it is as big as NFL, so many players, games, stadiums, spectators, a tradition almost a century old, the most valuable sport league in the world? NFL's season revenue is about $14 billion USD, actually not that big comparing to its size. Does that justify the cost?

Offline sanman

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #38 on: 10/12/2017 02:29 PM »
Imagine if the Olympics were held on the Moon - eg. Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, Lunar Olympics.
Transportation costs would be paid for by a joint Olympic Fund, so that all nations could have an equal chance at participating. Advertising, broadcasting and sponsorship revenue would be put into that fund.

Athletes from around the world would then go to the Moon and train in its 1/6 G environment, to ultimately compete in various Olympic events. Perhaps some new Olympic sports events could be invented, which take advantage of the uniqueness of the lunar environment. I wonder what new sports events could be designed for the Moon?

As the price of lunar trips drop, tourists could also travel to the Moon to witness the events firsthand. Tourism is supposed to be a  particularly desirable industry because it brings in outside money to pay for facilities and infrastructure - in this case, the outside money would be from Earthlings.


If the once-every-4-years Lunar Olympics works out, then it could just be the start. The same idea could then be applied to all sorts of big professional sports competitions: World Cup Soccer, professional baseball, football, basketball, etc. The same teams that compete in professional sports leagues on Earth could win the additional chance to compete head-to-head on the Moon -- ie. Universal Cup Soccer, Commonwealth Cricket, etc.
They would get the chance to go to the Moon in advance for a training season, and learn to use their skills in the lunar gravity before competing in playoffs there.
Again, the same financing model of sponsorship, broadcast rights, and advertising revenue would apply.

This would help to build up infrastructure and facilities on the Moon, which could also be leveraged by scientific researchers, especially during off-seasons.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2017 02:38 PM by sanman »

Online zhangmdev

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Re: After Rockets, Next Bottlenecks?
« Reply #39 on: 10/12/2017 04:22 PM »
Hosting Olympic games is a kind of economic stimulus, a reason to spend a lot on building large scale infrastructures. But the return is not that good. Beijing spent over $40 billion USD on 2008 Summer Olympic, but the direct revenue from the games was only about $2 billion USD. Of course those billions are not wasted, because Beijing is a already a mega city of tens of millions of people, those roads, airports, stadiums, apartment towers etc are still there and in use.

Sports sounds important. It gets a lot of attention. Athletes are treated like gods. Advertisements of related products permeate the city landscape. But the number of direct revenue from the games, sponsorship, tickets, television, licensing, etc, is not that big. Those brands sponsoring the events are much bigger. The annual sales of Nike shoes alone is about enough to pay NASA's budget. Anyway, space flight seems import, to us enthusiasts at least, but it is not that big either. The number of people can go into space. The tonnage of infrastructure in space. The number of billions made via activities in space, comparing to the size of nations' economy. Those numbers are rather insignificant right now.

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