Author Topic: Jeff Bezos believes in space as an industrial park, but not as a backup  (Read 33512 times)

Online meekGee

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[...] Strictly speaking, all the technology needed to actually run a Mars colony once you get there could be built with nineteenth-century or early twentieth-century industry--nitrogen-fixing for fertilizer, the Fischer-Tropsch process, steelworking, turbines, electric motors, none of these require computers.  [...] I'm honestly drawing a blank as to which bare necessities for continued metabolism on Mars can't be made with the tools available to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.   
The big missing piece is the energy supply.   The Austro-Hungarian empire had fuels (wood, coal, oil) they could burn for power and heat.  Nothing on Mars, as far as I know, can burn in the Martian atmosphere.   You might be able to build big solar collecting mirrors that concentrate heat, to heat stuff for chemistry or metallurgy, or to boil water to turn engines.  However, sunlight is not a very dense form of energy, and not available at night.  Everything else could be managed, *if* you have enough energy, but getting the energy seems the limiting problem.

Can't emphasize this enough.  Mars has the upper hand in anything related to availability of physical resources, but power is the limiting factor, and solar power on Mars is weak. 

So either they can make solar panels, on Mars, at a very low energy cost (this has proven a tough trick on Earth, and required very large scale manufacturing) or they'll end up with nuclear.

For a polar moon base, it's exactly the opposite. Everything is incredibly hard - except for power.  Reminds me of Clarke's concept of Mercury being the most powerful planet in the Solar System since they have the most power.

I think at the end of the day, power on Mars will be easier to solve than everything-else on the moon, but it remains to be seen. 

I might actually get to see it, too!
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Online meekGee

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On second thought, the Austro-Hungarian empire could have built a nuclear reactor, if they knew what to do.   To make and maintain one of these, you need the ability to mine and purify carbon and uranium, and the rest is pretty simple mechanical engineering.   
The Germans tried and failed to build a reactor with Graphite in WWII. Their Graphite was contaminated with Boron and the either did not not have, or did not know they needed a process to remove enough of it to let the reaction go critical.

And then you're going to need a coal mine on Mars for the source of the Graphite.
There is likely no coal on Mars (it's from old biology), so I was assuming that they would get the graphite from CO2 in the atmosphere.  This should also have no appreciable boron or other contamination.  I'm more worried about the uranium supply.

For both Mars and Moon, and industrial chemical ecosystem based on ISRU is exactly the reverse of the one that exists on Earth.

Here, we extract complex, unpure materials from the ground, and spend a lot of time and energy distilling and purifying them.

In an ISRU system, we start from the most basic of feedstock material, and very methodically react them downward, to create what we need.

The Graphite was a perfect example, but you can also look at the petro-chemical industry for the same effect.

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Offline savuporo

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There are many items that have fixed costs no matter the LV size.
.. such as? Which fixed costs are similar between Pegasus, Dnepr and Atlas V?
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Quote
Jeff Bezos: reusable rockets will let a trillion people colonise the solar system
By Jamie Carter 11 hours ago World of tech 

Apollo 11 Gala sees Amazon & Blue Origin chief present his vision of space exploration

http://www.techradar.com/news/jeff-bezos-reusable-rockets-will-let-a-trillion-people-colonising-the-solar-system

Online guckyfan

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There are many items that have fixed costs no matter the LV size.
.. such as? Which fixed costs are similar between Pegasus, Dnepr and Atlas V?

That's not my interpretation. Two methane architecture launch vehicles by SpaceX may have quite similar cost per launch. Even if one of them throws 3 or 5 times the mass of the other.

Edit: since this is a BO thread, the same may be true for New Glenn and New Armstrong, unless new Armstrong is a major development thread which would make it cheaper to operate even with higher capacity.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 07:28 AM by guckyfan »

Offline blasphemer

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Quote
http://www.techradar.com/news/jeff-bezos-reusable-rockets-will-let-a-trillion-people-colonising-the-solar-system

We should build permanent settlements on the Moon's poles where we can get water and solar power.

I have even more faith in this guy than Musk because of how realistic his near-term goals are. ITS and a Mars colony are cool to think about but often seem like a sci-fi in foreseeable future, with possible unknown unknowns that may complicate things. On the other hand, we know New Glenn and polar Moon settlements can be done and done for a reasonable price, it is only a matter of solid engineering and throwing enough money at it.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 07:44 AM by blasphemer »

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Bezos is a slow and steady guy. He also has seemingly sufficient funds at least for the next decade, to keep funding development at the rate of $1B/yr. That is a total of development funds of $10B. SpaceX development spending so far over 15 years is a lot less.

Offline QuantumG

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Bezos is a slow and steady guy.

We're not getting any younger here.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Lars-J

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Bezos is a slow and steady guy. He also has seemingly sufficient funds at least for the next decade, to keep funding development at the rate of $1B/yr.

There is an interesting phenomenon going around space enthusiast circles, where there is a strong belief that: Bezos has a plan and everything is proceeding according to that plan. Thanks to his net worth, not only is failure unlikely, it is frankly inconceivable.
(Now oldAtlas_Eguy, I'm not saying you are one of them, I just used your statement as a launching point)

But is this faith grounded in any real evidence? Do people just assume that things are going smoothly just because there is no news? The last six months should at least disprove the part of unlimited finding and no setbacks... Lack of NS flights proves that they are resource constrained (most charitable interpretation of the flight gap), and then we have the BE-4 test setback and resulting delay.

That is a total of development funds of $10B. SpaceX development spending so far over 15 years is a lot less.
...yet they have achieved so much more (so far).

I really do root for Blue Origin to become a competitive alternative to SpaceX, but even getting to the SpaceX current status and capabilities is not a sure thing. Even for a man with the wealth of Bezos.

Offline Robotbeat

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I believe the italics part. Kind of.

Also not sure if it's really the best plan. But I'm not the second richest man in the world, so not my call.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 02:59 AM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Consider another alternative.

We know that Musk almost went bankrupt with Falcon 1.

Private space has been known to make big millionaires into little ones. Many examples.

What if Bezos has a similar experience? Could you imagine what that might mean for the colossal cost that might be?

I also think Jeff Bezos is being more gradual in his choice of goals than Elon Musk. Starting with suborbital was no guarantee of success but I think it pretty much guaranteed that he would not run out of money. Blue might have failed and given up but hard to imagine many billions being lost (at least given a sound choice of architecture).

To bring it back more to this thread, I also think focussing on CISLunar & industry - while still very ambitious - is more likely than Mars and colonisation. Not least because there a number of others looking to work in that space (such as ULA and Bigelow). Also I think more likely, in time, to secure federal funding.

Offline woods170

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Bezos is a slow and steady guy.

We're not getting any younger here.

Bezos doesn't care. He doesn't have the craving to retire on Mars so he can go-slow down here on Earth for another couple of decades.

Offline high road

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Consider another alternative.

We know that Musk almost went bankrupt with Falcon 1.

Private space has been known to make big millionaires into little ones. Many examples.

What if Bezos has a similar experience? Could you imagine what that might mean for the colossal cost that might be?

I also think Jeff Bezos is being more gradual in his choice of goals than Elon Musk. Starting with suborbital was no guarantee of success but I think it pretty much guaranteed that he would not run out of money. Blue might have failed and given up but hard to imagine many billions being lost (at least given a sound choice of architecture).

To bring it back more to this thread, I also think focussing on CISLunar & industry - while still very ambitious - is more likely than Mars and colonisation. Not least because there a number of others looking to work in that space (such as ULA and Bigelow). Also I think more likely, in time, to secure federal funding.

If there's money to be made on the moon, anyone who can supply launch services is going to profit from it, Profit that will be direly needed for Mars as well. So while I agree Bezos has the more realistic goals, Musk might be the one realizing them, regardless whether he's succeeds in his Mars goals.

That's why I would be quite disappointed if BO would decide to drop NS and go straight for NG. Considering they are careful and yet in no risk to run out of money, they are unlikely to be able to keep up with SpaceX in terms of development speed. So rather than continuously developing the next thing that will revolutionize access to space and changing direction whenever a competitor corners the market, I hope they go after the niches not supplied by SpaceX as soon as possible. Whether that be suborbital, lunar surface equipment, or whatever. If they manage to compete with SpaceX on price as well, that's an added bonus.

Offline QuantumG

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Bezos is a slow and steady guy.

We're not getting any younger here.


Bezos doesn't care.


... and therefore I don't care. If I want a boring slowpoke program to watch I'll follow China... or NASA.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Online guckyfan

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Bezos doesn't care.


... and therefore I don't care. If I want a boring slowpoke program to watch I'll follow China... or NASA.

That's mean. But you have a point.  ;D

Offline spacenut

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Bezos has a lot of irons in the fire.  He is supposed to launch a new product to compete with Facebook and Snapchat.  He has Amazon, which is not always the cheapest products, we have found.  He may, therefore, at this time, may be concentrating on the BE-4 engine, and maybe a vacuum version of the BE-3 engine.  Both would be great engines for a large rocket.  He also needs to get the BE-4 working for the future Vulcan rocket.  To me sub-orbital joy rides will fall quickly to orbital or moon vicinity rides, so to catch up, he needs to concentrate on his engines, then New Glenn. 

Offline Jim

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Bezos is a slow and steady guy.

We're not getting any younger here.


Bezos doesn't care.


... and therefore I don't care. If I want a boring slowpoke program to watch I'll follow China... or NASA.


It isn't slowpoke


https://goo.gl/maps/mwF13q9Qitt
https://goo.gl/maps/HDiRrb8jsV92

Just not publicized

Offline RonM

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Bezos is a slow and steady guy.

We're not getting any younger here.


Bezos doesn't care.


... and therefore I don't care. If I want a boring slowpoke program to watch I'll follow China... or NASA.

... and Bezos, NASA, and China doesn't care that you don't care.

This is about developing industry in space, not entertaining the masses. If people want entertainment from Bezos, I suggest seeing what's available on Amazon.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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This thread states his basic intentions.

But what is being discussed is his methods in getting there and whether he will reach his intentions and when.

One of his methods is spending $1B/yr. Another is the development of a partially reusable SHLV >50mt to LEO. Along with that his own set of engines to power said LV. As with Musk's SpaceX, Bezos BO has been able to attract the talent to be able to produce a J2-X class hydrolox engine. Now he is on the final phase of a methalox large engine development.

Now as to his timeline. With NG, his first step into the orbital regime at NET 2019. That is like to take 3 years to get to full launch rate. I don't expect to see a NA for at least 3 years after that point. He needs experience for his teams to be able to design a better SHLV probably 2,3 even 5X in size of the NG that has very low $/kg and is nearly fully reusable. This next step going from partial to fully almost demands that the development teams are experience with actual launch operations and the problems involved down into the fine details. That put his second step in the reaching of his goals somewhere about NET 2025. The next step beyond that is the start of in-space infrastructure build up. In order to support the kind of goals Bezos believes in requires a lot of support for the money makers. Supply, transportation, propellant, minerals/metals/chemicals from ISRU sources, and habitation [stations and bases].

Bezos will likely not worry about a ROI but take any profits made by NG and NA and reinvest them increasing BO's development budget from $1B a year to growing it past $2B/yr. Now what does such development spending by a pure commercial company get you? Using the SpaceX factors of NASA to SpaceX spending for same accomplishment of 3X to 5X Bezos development spending of $30B in 20 years is equivalent to NASA spending $90B to $150B. That is an equivalent NASA average spending rate per year of $4.5B to $7.5B. But that is only BO's spending. If all spending on commercial space over the next 20 years is accounted for the equivelent to if NASA did the same development would be greater than NASA total yearly budget and possible several times that value just in pure development work on space. This is where Bezos and Musk wants the industry to go. And what it will take is a lot of up-front development work in the transportation area of ability to get things into LEO cheaply (<$100/kg).

Online AncientU

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His basic intentions are not incompatible with EM's.  Both see low cost access to space as the key and both are investing a sizeable chunk in it -- and by competing, they are upping each other's game.  Having two distinct realizations of reusable rocket technology will vastly improve on having just one.

Quote
Bezos outlines vision of colonizing the solar system

https://thespacereporter.com/2017/07/jeff-bezos-outlines-vision-colonizing-solar-system/
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

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