Author Topic: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2  (Read 27679 times)

Offline su27k

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The first thread is: NASA aims for quick start to 2024 Moon landing via newly named Artemis Program

The first thread was locked due to political infighting, let's try to do better this time around.

Offline su27k

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #1 on: 07/13/2019 03:11 am »
Starting a 2nd thread since there seems to be some pivoting going on in Artemis program, first reported by @nasawatch: Is There Another NASA Destination Pivot Ahead?

Quote
There is a pervasive rumor circulating in the space sector that the President will make a statement associated w/the #Apollo11 anniversary. It would supposedly have more to do w/Mars than #moon2024. Sources talk about a 24 Jul event at @NASA - maybe JSC. #rumor #hearsay #gossip pic.twitter.com/g5q4s75dnu

Of course it would be a typical Trump tactic to pivot to a #Mars destination for @NASA - and not #Moon2024 - right after @JimBridenstine fires (promotes) Bill Gerstenmaier and his staff for not getting to the Moon fast enough per orders from @VP Pence. #Artemis #whiplash

NASA Administrator to Talk Moon Landing Anniversary, Moon to Mars Plans https://t.co/w1nKn42cKY #Artemis #Mars #Moon #Apollo50

#NASA sources now talking about 19 Jul event w/President to talk about @NASA plans/destinations. Since White House usually only confirms events shortly before they happen official word likely next week - perhaps at 15 Jul press event with @JimBridenstine #artemis #moon2024 #Mars

I believe Bridenstine hinted at this in the Loren Grush interview: https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/12/20691740/nasa-administrator-jim-bridenstine-bill-gerstenmaier-reassignment

Quote
But there’s been a lot of talk of sustainability on the Moon. Do we want to create a sustainable outpost on the Moon, or is it not going to be a long-term thing?

Gateway will be an orbit around the Moon for 15 years, and the lander will be able to go back and forth to the Moon from the Gateway over and over again, and we will have access to any part of the Moon any time we want. That’s the goal. And in fact, if we want to have people on the surface of the Moon for long periods of time, we could do that as well. And we’ll probably have to do that to prove the technologies and capabilities for Mars.

But the goal is to get to Mars, and we need to know what we need to do on the Moon for the Mars mission. It is also true that because we have international partners and commercial partners, they might want to build out on the surface of the Moon. We would love that.

But what we’re focused on and what we are going to do is build the capabilities to get to Mars and partner with commercial to do so. And if they want to do things on the Moon that maybe are in commercial interest but not necessarily in NASA’s interest, we welcome that.

“THE MOON IS THE PROVING GROUND. MARS IS THE DESTINATION.”

It’s important to remember that if we build out in one spot on the surface of the Moon, we’re going to know a whole lot of information about that one spot where we landed. That’s what we did in Apollo. We landed on the Moon six times, and we know a lot about the Moon in the six locations where we landed. What we missed for 40 years was the fact that there are hundreds of millions of tons of water ice on the south pole of the Moon. So what we don’t want to do is limit our ability to have access to the entirety of the Moon. We want to not only go sustainably to the Moon, but go sustainably and have access to any part of the Moon at any time we want, utilizing technology that will get us to Mars.

And if there is an industry partner or an international partner that wants to build out a certain part of the Moon, partnering with us on the architecture, we welcome that.

I see, but for NASA specifically, building out an outpost on the surface of the Moon is not the priority right now?

It depends on what you mean by outpost. We could have numerous missions on the surface of the Moon, all at the same time. But are we looking to build a base on the Moon? That’s not necessarily the agenda. I’m not saying it can’t be done or it shouldn’t be done or that our commercial partners wouldn’t want to do it. All I’m saying is, our focus is using the Moon for the technology capabilities to go on to Mars. But you know when you talk about an outpost or a lunar base, that means 100 different things to 100 different people. It’s very difficult for me to say, “No, that’s not what we’re doing” or “Yes, that’s what we are doing.”

But the goal is to have access to any part of the Moon anytime we want and to enable commercial and international partners to join us in that effort. And if some of them want to build up more capability on the surface of the Moon, that’s great for NASA, it’s great for science, it’s great for our country.

But what we’re going to continue to focus on is the capabilities and the technology that we need to go on to Mars.

Sounds to me there's a lot more emphasis on a flag & footprint Moon mission, instead of a surface base & resource extraction.
« Last Edit: 07/13/2019 03:12 am by su27k »

Offline Scylla

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #2 on: 07/13/2019 03:33 am »
Newsmakers With Jim Bridenstine
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discussed the Apollo 11 moon landing 50 years ago this month, looks ahead to U.S. plans to return to the moon and to go to Mars, and talks about U.S. space policy overall, including President Trump’s goal to develop a Space Force.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?462496-1/newsmakers-jim-bridenstine
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Offline su27k

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #3 on: 07/13/2019 03:36 am »
Here's the article based on the C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” interview: https://spacenews.com/bridenstine-says-leadership-changes-linked-to-urgency-in-nasas-exploration-programs/

A lot of stuff in it, what interests me is the funding for Artemis:

Quote
He acknowledged the $20–30 billion cost estimate, but suggested international and commercial partnerships could help reduce those costs. “What we’re learning is that there are other people that want to contribute to this,” he said. “They want to invest their own money. Why? Because they want customers that are not NASA. If they have customers that are not NASA, it drives down our costs.”

“It’s very realistic that it could come in well under the $20 billion when I gave that original range,” he said, which he said assumed NASA alone would pay for the cost of the program.

Quote
One area of concern, though, is that the 2020 fiscal year is likely to start on a continuing resolution (CR), as has been the case throughout recent history. Continuing resolutions, which fund agencies at levels of the previous fiscal year, restrict the ability to start new programs unless they’re formally authorized through an “anomaly” to the CR.

“If that happens,” Bridenstine said, “we need to look at how NASA can move forward in some kind of anomaly.”

Offline freddo411

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #4 on: 07/13/2019 06:08 am »
The current Artemis effort has some glaring problems:

* it is not funded
* it lacks a lander
* it lacks space suits
* it's architecture is politically contrived, causing serious operational and scheduling difficulties.  (insert your favorite SLS/Orion/Gateway lashing here).

If there would be a "pivot" coming from the WH that would direct manned spaceflight toward Mars, while still keeping all the current constraints, then any manned Mars effort is wildly unrealistic technically, politically and financially.    Will we see this WH trying to sell the Potemkin space program like #JourneyToMars?

Online TheRadicalModerate

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #5 on: 07/13/2019 04:31 pm »
Let's do a little back-of-napkin on how much money would be freed up if commercial launch got Orion to TLI instead of SLS Block 1.  I'm going to use a nine-year baseline (2020-2028) for this, because that's the slate of erstwhile SLS-based missions (8 of them, IIRC) we know about:

SLS: $2.1B/year right now.  Let's get really optimistic and say that that drops to $1.7B/year in 2026.
EGS: $575M, $505M, $443M, $442M, then let's guess an average of $250M for the out years 2024-2028.

Total stuff we plan to kill: $15.8B

Note that I'm leaving the Orion out of all of these, since it's the same cost for all architectures.  If you'd like to do the same exercise where you substitute a sup'ed-up D2 or CST-100 for Orion, feel free, but it's beyond the scope here.

Some architectures:

1) D4H just barely launches uncrewed Orion to LEO (you need a mass-reduced LAS that only jettisons the ogive), CCP launch boards crew on orbit, FH2R launches ICPS, crew/Orion rendezvous with ICPS and go to TLI.
R&D:  $2B
Per-Mission: $500M D4H, $170M FH2R, $80M ICPS/DCSS, $150M CCP = $900M
R&D + 8 missions = $9.2B total
$6.6B freed up for other Artemis goodies

2) Crewed Frankenrocket:  FHE + ICPS + Orion + LAS + crew.
R&D: $4B (if it's even possible--that's one really long payload for an F9 S2).  Includes crew-rate for FH.
Per-Mission:  $200 FHE, $80M ICPS/DCSS = $280M
R&D + 8 missions: $6.2B
$9.6B freed up for other Artemis goodies

3) Crewed FH3R to launch Orion/crew, no-payload New Glenn S2 to do TLI with remaining prop.  Note that a BE-3U should be able to throttle below the 300 kN limit for Orion's NASA Docking System.  But also note that, by my figuring, the NG S2 will come up 200-400 m/s short of TLI.  I'm assuming that that's within the acceptable range of delta-v that could be made up by the Orion and still allow it to complete an NRHO mission.
R&D: $1B to crew-rate FH, $1B to crew-rate NG S2 = $2B
Per-Mission: $130M FH3R, $100M NG = $230M
R&D + 8 missons: $3.8B
$12.0B freed up for other Artemis goodies

4) Uncrewed Orion/FH3R launch, Orion stays in LEO for a while, then CCP launch to board crew, followed by no-payload FHE launch, with a deep-throttlable F9 S2 using the remaing prop to take the Orion to TLI.  Note that the big deal here is getting the MVac to throttle down to 32% to get to the 300 kN limit for the NDS.
R&D: $1.5B
Per-Mission: $100M FH3R, $150M CCP, $180M FHE = $430M
R&D + 8 missions: $4.9B
$10.9B freed up for other Artemis goodies.

Now:  The odds of this happening in FY20 are basically nil, with FY21-22 being low probability.  So let's assume that we get through Artemis-2 on SLS, then decide to cut over to one of the alternatives starting with A-3.  That means we spend $7.8B on SLS in addition to the R&D for the various alternatives, and now the alternatives run for 6 missions instead of 8.  Then the savings we get are:

$0.6B in savings for the D4H/Orion+FHE/ICPS+CCP option
$2.3B in savings for the Frankenrocket option
$4.6B in savings for the FH3R/Orion + NG/no payload option.
$3.9B in savings for the FH3R/Orion + FHE/no payload + CCP option

The moral of the story here is that killing SLS at almost any time is probably worth it, but it's much, much more worth it if it's done soon.  If the goal is to free up cash for Artemis landers and suits and surface equipment for a run at actually making the 2024 date, then it needs to be killed right away.

I'm not holding my breath.
« Last Edit: 07/13/2019 09:37 pm by TheRadicalModerate »

Offline butters

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #6 on: 07/13/2019 09:38 pm »
This is so backwards. Bridenstine is saying that NASA's objective is to develop a transportation system with the capability to access any part of the lunar surface, and that he hopes that somebody else is interested in funding missions which might utilize this capability.

How about we try reversing those roles? Wouldn't it make more sense to have government-funded missions to the lunar surface so that "somebody else" can invest in the transportation system?
« Last Edit: 07/13/2019 09:38 pm by butters »

Offline jadebenn

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #7 on: 07/13/2019 10:28 pm »
Per-Mission: $500M D4H, $170M FH2R, $80M ICPS/DCSS, $150M CCP = $900M
The per-mission cost of SLS is $876M (slide 18). Your commercial alternative is not cheaper in absolute terms, and imposes additional costs in the form of increased mission risk.

You can argue about ground support infrastructure costs as well, of course, but then you also need to quantify the increased risk of failure inherent in doing so many launches and dockings while fuel slowly boils off in the LEO thermal environment.

Online TheRadicalModerate

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #8 on: 07/13/2019 11:13 pm »
Per-Mission: $500M D4H, $170M FH2R, $80M ICPS/DCSS, $150M CCP = $900M
The per-mission cost of SLS is $876M (slide 18). Your commercial alternative is not cheaper in absolute terms, and imposes additional costs in the form of increased mission risk.

You can argue about ground support infrastructure costs as well, of course, but then you also need to quantify the increased risk of failure inherent in doing so many launches and dockings while fuel slowly boils off in the LEO thermal environment.

The $876M is a marginal cost, and has nothing to do with the program costs needed to keep SLS staffed and operational.

The best way to compute a per-launch cost is to take the amount of money spent in the budget for SLS and EGS, which I computed (fairly optimistically [1]) at $15.8B for the next nine years, and divide that by the number of missions over that period, which is eight.  That gives you $2.0B per launch.

It's a completely fair criticism to argue that the complexity of distributed launch is much higher than an SLS launch--it is.  But even if the complexity increases the chances of an abort, the costs are so much lower that you'd likely come out ahead even if a mission aborted.

As for boil-off:  Also a fair criticism, but a couple of things to note:

1) You'd obviously launch the cryo stage last, after the crew is buttoned up on orbit in the Orion.  If there's a hitch in getting things ready, the cryo launch can be delayed so the tanks are topped off.

2) The Delta IV User Guide lists DCSS mission lifetime as 8 hours.  The F9 S2 used in the Falcon Heavy test flight did a restart after 6 hours.  I don't know what the New Glenn S2 will do for mission life, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't at least 6 hours.  That's four orbits.  The Russians have been doing two-and-a-half-orbit rendezvous to the ISS since last year.  Assuming you have good orbital elements on the Orion before doing the cryo launch, I don't see any reason why it should be any different.

3) You would have to have an expedited checkout before TLI, but that's what automation is for.

Bottom line:  there is definitely more risk, and likely some mission-smithing to do to minimize that risk and get the rendezvous stuff clean.  But it's soooooo much cheaper.

------------------
[1] If you just extend out the SLS and EGS budgets straight into the out-years using the 2023 numbers, you actually get something closer to $2.9B per launch.
« Last Edit: 07/14/2019 05:53 pm by TheRadicalModerate »

Offline Lar

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #9 on: 07/14/2019 03:20 am »
This is so backwards. Bridenstine is saying that NASA's objective is to develop a transportation system with the capability to access any part of the lunar surface, and that he hopes that somebody else is interested in funding missions which might utilize this capability.

How about we try reversing those roles? Wouldn't it make more sense to have government-funded missions to the lunar surface so that "somebody else" can invest in the transportation system?
That's just crazy talk. Too sensible. 
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online JohnFornaro

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #10 on: 07/14/2019 12:39 pm »
We should have a lunar base which can sustain itself for twenty two months.  Then we can be reasonably sure that the Mars base could sustain itself for the same amount of time.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline freddo411

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #11 on: 07/14/2019 03:20 pm »
We should have a lunar base which can sustain itself for twenty two months.  Then we can be reasonably sure that the Mars base could sustain itself for the same amount of time.

Good idea.   I thought it would be a great idea to actually construct a habitat module that would be used on the trip to Mars, attach it to ISS, and run it for 9 months to see how well it worked.   

Thankfully, SS now breaks that paradigm.   

Offline su27k

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #12 on: 07/15/2019 01:53 am »
Transcript: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on "Face the Nation," July 14, 2019, some further clarification of the Mars goal.

Quote
MARGARET BRENNAN: Tell me, though, about your plans for Artemis, the plan to put humans back on the Moon just five years from now.

BRIDENSTINE: That's right. So we want to go back to the Moon sustainably, in other words, to stay, but we also want to keep our eye on what is President Trump's goal? What is his vision? He wants to put an American flag on Mars. So we go to the Moon so that we can learn how to live and work on another world and ultimately have more access to the solar system than ever before. So that we can get- no kidding- to Mars.

Quote
MARGARET BRENNAN: But then the president tweeted "NASA should not be talking about going to the Moon. We did that 50 years ago. We should be focused on much bigger things." Is he fully onboard with what you just laid out?

BRIDENSTINE: A hundred percent. I talked to him after that tweet. I wanted to make sure we were in alignment, we absolutely are. He understands, and in fact he said to me, "I know we've got to go to the Moon to get to Mars." But he said, "What is that generational achievement that will inspire all of Americans?" It's putting an American flag on Mars. He said, "Make sure you're committed to the- to the flag on Mars."


Offline jadebenn

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #13 on: 07/15/2019 04:04 am »
Quote
MARGARET BRENNAN: But then the president tweeted "NASA should not be talking about going to the Moon. We did that 50 years ago. We should be focused on much bigger things." Is he fully onboard with what you just laid out?

BRIDENSTINE: A hundred percent. I talked to him after that tweet. I wanted to make sure we were in alignment, we absolutely are. He understands, and in fact he said to me, "I know we've got to go to the Moon to get to Mars." But he said, "What is that generational achievement that will inspire all of Americans?" It's putting an American flag on Mars. He said, "Make sure you're committed to the- to the flag on Mars."
Translation: "After that tweet, we all panicked because we weren't sure if the President was on the same page as us. Thankfully, after talking to him, it seems like he just wanted us to emphasize how this leads to Mars, which is why we're going to make an announcement to that end pretty soon."

It's pretty much what everyone eventually decided Trump's tweet actually meant, once we got over the collective heart attack it caused.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #14 on: 07/15/2019 05:08 am »
Translation: "After that tweet, we all panicked because we weren't sure if the President was on the same page as us. Thankfully, after talking to him, it seems like he just wanted us to emphasize how this leads to Mars, which is why we're going to make an announcement to that end pretty soon."

It's pretty much what everyone eventually decided Trump's tweet actually meant, once we got over the collective heart attack it caused.

That is Bridenstine's version of what happened. And maybe it's the true version, but this is still a situation where no one knows what the heck Trump means when he tweets something, and then all we know is what is reported back by a third person.

I think we should all long for the day where our leaders proclamations don't constantly need interpreting by 3rd parties...  ::)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline jadebenn

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #15 on: 07/15/2019 05:27 am »
I think we should all long for the day where our leaders proclamations don't constantly need interpreting by 3rd parties...  ::)
Agreed. It would indeed be nice not to need interpreters to figure out what our Commander in-Chief means whenever he opens his mouth, especially since his tweets apparently count as official government communication.

I'm just glad we're sticking to the Moon-first path for now. Mars-first was trying to run before we re-learnt how to walk (in this analogy, LEO is learning how to crawl). Knowing that Trump is at least begrudgingly accepting of the Moon-first approach is good news for BLEO exploration.
« Last Edit: 07/15/2019 05:29 am by jadebenn »

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #16 on: 07/15/2019 05:35 am »
Translation: "After that tweet, we all panicked because we weren't sure if the President was on the same page as us. Thankfully, after talking to him, it seems like he just wanted us to emphasize how this leads to Mars, which is why we're going to make an announcement to that end pretty soon."

It's pretty much what everyone eventually decided Trump's tweet actually meant, once we got over the collective heart attack it caused.

That is Bridenstine's version of what happened. And maybe it's the true version, but this is still a situation where no one knows what the heck Trump means when he tweets something, and then all we know is what is reported back by a third person.

I think we should all long for the day where our leaders proclamations don't constantly need interpreting by 3rd parties...  ::)
Where's the fun in keeping things calm and steady?  This will keep the team on their toes.  Hopefully it keeps people thinking and moving things forward and reduces the  complacency that always seems to settle into programs over time.  It's not like complacency hasn't been a regular in NASA's HSF programs.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #17 on: 07/15/2019 06:24 am »
Where's the fun in keeping things calm and steady?  This will keep the team on their toes.  Hopefully it keeps people thinking and moving things forward and reduces the  complacency that always seems to settle into programs over time.

When you're developing plans that cost ten's of $Billions, you need stable requirements. So when the President tweets something that seems to change the requirements it slows down progress until everyone can find out what the heck is the new plan, and then start anew.

I'm not sure how you see this as a good thing.

Quote
It's not like complacency hasn't been a regular in NASA's HSF programs.

NASA's HSF program hasn't been funded to do anything new, so why would you say they are complacent? I'm sure you know that NASA employees do not control their own destiny, they work for the NASA Administrator, who works for the President, who signs the funding bills Congress creates.

Where is NASA complacent in all of this?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #18 on: 07/15/2019 11:03 pm »
Where's the fun in keeping things calm and steady?  This will keep the team on their toes.  Hopefully it keeps people thinking and moving things forward and reduces the  complacency that always seems to settle into programs over time.

When you're developing plans that cost ten's of $Billions, you need stable requirements. So when the President tweets something that seems to change the requirements it slows down progress until everyone can find out what the heck is the new plan, and then start anew.

I'm not sure how you see this as a good thing.

Quote
It's not like complacency hasn't been a regular in NASA's HSF programs.

NASA's HSF program hasn't been funded to do anything new, so why would you say they are complacent? I'm sure you know that NASA employees do not control their own destiny, they work for the NASA Administrator, who works for the President, who signs the funding bills Congress creates.

Where is NASA complacent in all of this?
In my career developing software for engineering and manufacturing I have been in literally hundreds of engineering departments.  I have yet to run into one where complacency doesn't settle in to some level.  I don't expect NASA to be the one exception.  It's impossible to completely avoid.  I'm talking about a number of issues including not paying attention to how the rest of the world does things.  Best practices in management, tools, training all are issues that I'm referring to.  Also no organization is perfect when technical problems are discovered and how to handle them including bringing it up the chain to people who don't want to hear it.  I don't expect any organization to be perfect.  Having someone keeping people a little on edge helps keep people looking at how they can do their job better.  Without this complacency grows.

Offline RDoc

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Re: NASA's Artemis Program Updates and Discussion Thread 2
« Reply #19 on: 07/15/2019 11:12 pm »

Quote
He acknowledged the $20–30 billion cost estimate, but suggested international and commercial partnerships could help reduce those costs. “What we’re learning is that there are other people that want to contribute to this,” he said. “They want to invest their own money. Why? Because they want customers that are not NASA. If they have customers that are not NASA, it drives down our costs.”

“It’s very realistic that it could come in well under the $20 billion when I gave that original range,” he said, which he said assumed NASA alone would pay for the cost of the program.
Does anyone have any ideas as to what he's referring to here?

Personally, I find it exceptionally difficult to imagine any company investing a significant amount of money for Lunar access capability to sell to a customer base with commercial Lunar plans.

What possible customers would these be?

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