Author Topic: Emerging Markets in Space  (Read 6981 times)

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #20 on: 01/20/2011 04:26 PM »
Hubble proved that it would have been cheaper to fly a new spacecraft vs a repair mission.  Each of the repair missions could have bought and launched a new spacecraft.

IFF the replacement spacecraft serving the same function had the same cost.  And only if.

There is no market in manned spaceflight. People need to wake up to that reality and stop dreaming.

There is a tourist market which will grow if trip costs can be reduced by a factor of ten certainly and probably, if reduced by a factor of two.  This is not the same thing as asserting that tourism will pay one hundred percent of launch costs.

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And if we ever were to strip-mine the moon ... it would certainly be cheaper, easier and less dangerous to use robots ... to do it rather than placing fragile, precious humans who need huge and expensive life-support in an extremely hostile place...

You err in offering only the either/or approach.  And you err in considering the precious metal market only.  If lunar mining is to happen it will most probably start with robots, and then grow to a point where there are people who must manage, repair, and service the robots.  The first product, it is generally agreed, would be propellant, not rare elements.

I do agree that it is a dream, but not that the dream can't in principle, be made a reality.  I'll put in yet another plug that NASA probably should have a space based chamber of commerce clause added to its charter.  I think the airmail subsidies analogy has a good match in the propellant subsidy idea.
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Offline Gregori

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #21 on: 01/20/2011 07:04 PM »
When I thought about the idea of sending crews up to repair and maintain stations, depots, SBSPs and satellites, I envisioned it as a single crew being sent up to repair one satellite, not groups of several ( I am guessing this what Jim means)

If I understand it correctly, satellites in GSO are further apart and and require higher energy to reach those orbits, so manned missions to repair several of these satellites would be much harder to do than for those in LEO. I will be the first to admit of I've only a cursory understanding of these things.

I doubt mining will be an emerging market for the simple fact that any resource that can be found on the Moon can be found somewhere else Earth easier and cheaper. Also, much of the growth in the economy has not been in acquiring new raw resources, but in what we actually do with those resources......hence the growth of services. Japan is the second largest economy in the world, but has very few natural resources of its own.

But tourism is different and despite what aquanaut says it is going to happen in the future. Over 400 people are going to pay $200 000+ just to get a few minutes in space. 7 people have went to orbit already as space tourists, and that was limited by space aboard soyuz and ISS, there was more demand. If the price per person fall below soyuz, through resusable vehicles, demand will go way up.

Without NASA creating a guaranteed market for manned flight to the ISS, I doubt many of these ideas will get off the ground. Very few would risk money in capital intensive industries like manned spaceflight. Every once a while you get someone odd like Bigelow, Carmack or Elon who are doing this for reasons other than money, but generally business people prefer easier ways to make mopney.

Once there is government demand, companies can basically sell their surplus to other organizations to do whatever they want in space, whether its tourism, repairing things, research, building things. Spreading the costs over several customers will be key to initially lowering the cost. Reuse of at least parts of vehicles will come second.

Operating in big bulky suits in space is very difficult. Mechanics and technicians will want an easier way to operate efficiently up there. I believe this will drive innovation in how suits are made, just out of the practical needs.



Offline Nate_Trost

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #22 on: 01/20/2011 09:57 PM »
Hint: Even Elon Musk doesn't think the economics of SBSP make any sense, and he's the one with idealistic visions of lower launch costs and owns a chunk of a solar company.

Offline Gregori

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #23 on: 01/21/2011 11:07 PM »
Space based solar power won't be used immediately, and won't commercialized for a good few decades but I imagine there will be experimental plants constructed before that, perhaps by DARPA, ARPA E or NASA or some combination of these.

I don't take "hints" that are just appeals to authority. There are variety of different opinions on this from different "authorities". Even so, the government funds many projects that are debatable like Shuttle, ISS, NIF, X37, HAARPS, "venture star", ITER.......I doubt appeals to authority will stop them from pursuing it either.

Regardless, if the government mandates constructing experimental solar power stations in space, there will need to be A LOT of construction work done and this will require that people are able to get up there and work efficiently. This will be huge boon for the commercial space flight and there will be surplus of equipment and workers to do other things in space.


Elon's backing of terrestrial solar power makes sense, as he has vested interest a near term enterprise. When the price of putting things in orbit comes down enough, and solar cells are cheaper or more efficient, the advantages of space solar power will win out. Constant power, vast amounts of space to put panels, no weather. Commercial use of this is 3 or more decades away at least.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #24 on: 01/22/2011 01:27 PM »
When I first noticed this thread, I thought about only the idea of a space based economy; that is, what is it that could be manufactured up there, and shipped to Earth.  But I just realized that there's also the terrestrial aspect of an emerging space economy; that is, what should be manufactured here for shipment to, say, the Moon.

The idea of improved space suits would be one of these things.  Same with rovers and habs and a large number other necessities.  The capital investment for all these things would come from governments initially, as has been mentioned here many times.

I continue in my opposition of SBSP when conceived as being beamed to Earth.  There are several threads around here on that; the current thought seems to me to be that there are major intrinsic obstacles:  Atmospheric and weather obstruction to the signal; enormous mass to orbit to obtain commercial rates; assembly difficulties; remote location of large rectenna; transmission difficulties from that remote location, and so forth.

Rather, I think that SBSP should be initially aimed at supporting lunar activities.  No atmospheric degradation; less of a demand; both of which lead to less mass in orbit and less assembly; nearby location of rectenna which reduces transmission difficulties.
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Offline go4mars

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #25 on: 01/22/2011 01:51 PM »
Rather, I think that SBSP should be initially aimed at supporting lunar activities.  No atmospheric degradation; less of a demand; both of which lead to less mass in orbit and less assembly; nearby location of rectenna which reduces transmission difficulties.

And no matter where it comes from, I suspect broadcast power will be the modus operandi on Mars.  Electrical transmission through rarified atmospheres appears to be much more efficient than what we have down by Earth's surface.  So on Mars, instead of battery packs, and individual power sources for rovers, suits, etc.  Just put a reciever on them from your nuclear, geothermal, solar, or whatever power source.

SBSP for the moon sounds like a pretty good idea. 
 
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Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #26 on: 01/22/2011 03:41 PM »
Rather, I think that SBSP should be initially aimed at supporting lunar activities.  No atmospheric degradation; less of a demand; both of which lead to less mass in orbit and less assembly; nearby location of rectenna which reduces transmission difficulties.

And no matter where it comes from, I suspect broadcast power will be the modus operandi on Mars.  Electrical transmission through rarified atmospheres appears to be much more efficient than what we have down by Earth's surface.  So on Mars, instead of battery packs, and individual power sources for rovers, suits, etc.  Just put a reciever on them from your nuclear, geothermal, solar, or whatever power source.
 

Bad idea, not feasible for suits and some mobile devices.

Offline go4mars

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #27 on: 01/22/2011 04:22 PM »
...broadcast power will be the modus operandi on Mars.... 

Bad idea, not feasible for suits and some mobile devices.

Is it a weight issue?  Do you know of any discussions elsewhere on this topic?  Its something I've been curious about for a long time.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #28 on: 01/22/2011 04:26 PM »
...broadcast power will be the modus operandi on Mars.... 

Bad idea, not feasible for suits and some mobile devices.

Is it a weight issue?  Do you know of any discussions elsewhere on this topic?  Its something I've been curious about for a long time.

Need a tracking antenna

Offline Joris

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #29 on: 01/22/2011 10:22 PM »
Rather, I think that SBSP should be initially aimed at supporting lunar activities.  No atmospheric degradation; less of a demand; both of which lead to less mass in orbit and less assembly; nearby location of rectenna which reduces transmission difficulties.

And no matter where it comes from, I suspect broadcast power will be the modus operandi on Mars.  Electrical transmission through rarified atmospheres appears to be much more efficient than what we have down by Earth's surface.  So on Mars, instead of battery packs, and individual power sources for rovers, suits, etc.  Just put a reciever on them from your nuclear, geothermal, solar, or whatever power source.
 

Bad idea, not feasible for suits and some mobile devices.

But it would be great for electrical propulsion, or are there heating issues or the like?
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Online KelvinZero

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #30 on: 01/23/2011 01:44 AM »
I have never really heard much discussion of small scale SBSP for moon or mars. Unlike earth where the launch cost is a massive disincentive in this case you are saving the cost of landing the thing.

How near to being practical is this? I know they were discussing small demonstrators to power out of the way spots on earth.

Offline khallow

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #31 on: 01/23/2011 03:44 AM »
I have never really heard much discussion of small scale SBSP for moon or mars. Unlike earth where the launch cost is a massive disincentive in this case you are saving the cost of landing the thing.

How near to being practical is this? I know they were discussing small demonstrators to power out of the way spots on earth.

One nice thing is that solar electric propulsion becomes a fairly obvious choice when the solar panels are the cargo. Beamed energy may remain unrealistic, but the SBSP system at least has a fairly straightforward solution for transport.
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #32 on: 01/23/2011 01:57 PM »
...broadcast power will be the modus operandi on Mars.... 

Bad idea, not feasible for suits and some mobile devices.

Is it a weight issue?  Do you know of any discussions elsewhere on this topic?  Its something I've been curious about for a long time.

Need a tracking antenna

Not only that, you'd need a tracking antenna for every man, woman, and child who has a space suit.  Then there's the issue of power dilution.  It wouldn't be practicable to have a focused M/W beam independently pointed at each of the "users", so you'd have to broadcast the power, increassing the inefficiency a lot and creating a weird, pervasive M/W environment whereever one might be on the surface.  More than I could calculate.

As to other discussions, search the forum; there have been several.  Hint: Search for the phrase "point that thing in the other direction".  Recently Paul Spudis proposed a comsat constellation to operate the lunar ice crater cracking plants.  My take on this was to add power generation to the constellation capability as well.  That is a fairly recent thread.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline gospacex

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Re: Emerging Markets in Space
« Reply #33 on: 01/23/2011 05:24 PM »
vast amounts of space to put panels, no weather.

Sounds like Sahara. ;)

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