NASA is an invaluable source of information - they launched the LRO, after all - but I don't think that government dollars will fund the next moon landing, whether manned or unmanned.
You may be right. But then again you might be wrong. Consider that NASA has been acting as though they continue to have a fair interest in the Moon. There's really quite a lot of examples.
- Regolith excavation prize (obviously with the Moon in mind),
- Northrop Grummen lunar lander challenge - included NASA funding (I believe) for something designed to deliver a science package to the Moon,
- Willing to pay for data from private lunar landings,
- Statements from Bolden (and I think Obama) that the Moon remains part of the Path,
- Project M
Previously (as part of Constellation) there were other clearly lunar-related projects:
- ISRU (using lunar simulant),
- iPhone lunar base app,
- 6-wheeled rover (first for the Moon but also compatible with Mars),
- ATHLETE (definitely for the Moon and maybe Mars),
My sense is that the Flexible Path is not set in stone -- there is a lot of dissatisfaction with it. Also, what Congress has done sure makes me think that we'll be coming to a time (due to cost overruns and delays) when the whole thing will be re-examined once again. When that happens, I think that a Moon First architecture could look pretty appealing. Spudis/Lavoie's argument for cumulative small steps looks like a strong argument to me for a stable NASA program that is going somewhere.
To me, a Lunar COTS makes so much sense and would have a good chance of success as, I believe and is widely recognized, the COTS/CRS/CCDev has and is being successful.
I wouldn't rule out NASA funding just yet.
It may be that a unique philanthropic "investor" could be found or that a strictly business model could be found in which risk of failure is sufficiently small. But while we continue working towards that, I think that we should keep working the angle to see if a Lunar COTS could be established. Lunar COTS isn't that wild an idea given how successful the COTS program has been so far. And if a Lunar COTS can be set up, that would provide many billions of dollars which may otherwise be hard to come by from investors or philanthropists.
I wouldn't rule out NASA funding just yet.
It may be that a unique philanthropic "investor" could be found or that a strictly business model could be found in which risk of failure is sufficiently small. But while we continue working towards that, I think that we should keep working the angle to see if a Lunar COTS could be established. Lunar COTS isn't that wild an idea given how successful the COTS program has been so far. And if a Lunar COTS can be set up, that would provide many billions of dollars which may otherwise be hard to come by from investors or philanthropists.[/quote]
Oh, I think that we could get some help from NASA, if nothing more than access to test facilites or something similar. After all, SpaceX wouldn't be where they are without quite a lot of NASA money. But, they had to bootstrap themselves to get that NASA money. We have to have enough backing to command NASA's attention. How much funding would we need? I don't know, but I'm trying very hard to put us in a position to seek that funding.
I personally think that whoever thought up the COTS/CRS idea was brilliant. Here you've the co-interests of government and private enterprise represented. NASA doesn't have to put up the whole amount for development -- the private companies put up a fair amount of their own. NASA get to pay a set price (quite a remarkable change). It pays set amounts for milestones achieved only AFTER they have been achieved. The commercial companies get development money and a guaranteed purchase of a certain amount of services at a set price. So their ability to raise more money from investors goes way up because there are guaranteed rewards. Tehnical assistance from NASA and access to facilities. The companies end up owning the technology which has value in the non-NASA market. And in the end, NASA ends up probably paying a pretty low price for the commercial services having set up two competing providers.We have to have enough backing to command NASA's attention.
Lunar COTS...same song, second verse. Low fixed prices for milestones achieved. Technical assitance. Guaranteed NASA purchase of water in LEO. Water (i.e. rocket fuel) in LEO has commercial value beyond NASA.
I'm guessing that each component of a LITL sytem would not be as hard to develop as a Falcon 9 which has to undergo the extreme vibrations and dynamic stresses of launch. Some of the components might even be easy enough to demonstrate in an X-Prize manner. What is more difficult, developing a working Armadillo or Masten lander or developing a working cryogenic cracking and storage craft? Yet X-Prize got two working models for something like less than $2 million.
I'm telling you, the US could get a full LITL system, still develop the Orion capsule for long-distance missions, and still remain within their current overall funding. And once you get routine, reliable, robotic landers on the Moon, and bringing back water to LEO, then preparing a lunar base for humans, landing humans using the robotic landers, and filling up LEO fuel depots for an asteroid, Deimos, or Mars mission is that much more doable.
Yes, from NASA as well as the Air Force:
http://www.space.com/3740-air-force-spa ... nches.html
http://www.space.com/1757-spacex-sets-l ... ocket.html
And NASA is now making more facilities available to private entities:
If you need a place to launch a rocket or put together a spaceship, you may be in luck: NASA is looking to rent out many of the facilities at its Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
http://www.space.com/10690-nasa-renting ... enter.html
So, let's nice to NASA despite its occasional disappointments and lethargic progress. We need them more than they need us!
Take me out, to the black, tell em I ain't coming back..... Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.
http://www.nasa.gov/about/highlights/wh ... sa_do.html
If they're renting out facilities, it could mean good things...
Reason: wrong link
I watched the spudis video, glad to know that even though i'm a real lunatic. When I'm trying to be serious I'm not too far off.My posts have been moved to the off topic area, and i'm Ok about that ,because i'm functionally illiterate,and tend to ramble and babble.
The lowest common denominator seems to be power/energy.
The business model should be about utilizing a solar power source.
I posted on my off topic thread about a particular piece of heavy equipment.
A boat lift. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=Qsakgira7A0 creating places to plant parabolic solar furnace. as well as travel with the mirror.
I' meen to say the solar furnace and boat lift can be joined or seperate depending on the task.
It fits the requirements of the pre human remotly controlled function on the moon.
The objective is to establish power.
To use mylar to create the three mirror shapes as needed. flat, parabolic, Trough.
A recent video about solar sintered glass adds to the moon materials, but the silver coated mylar is the ticket. Silver is the most refelective so it will.
I'm not selling my idea it is too crude, and i find work arounds as I dwell on it.
By using a mobile Boat launch in combination with creating the first three ventures on the moon power market, tranportation market, resource market.
Only 1 launch would need to be required. With ingenuity and no risk of loss of life. Building more boat launches from moon materials will result in creating rentable work horses on the moon.
the idea is to use the frame of a boat launch to create 20 foot in diameter or larger parabolic mirrors so that electricity or heat in excess of 1100 degress is not centrally located. that it can rove.
When not being employed .The boat lifts continue thier primary mission, of
being the workhorse as a literal frame truss to build more of it self or other permanent structures . untill posts are created so that there is always at least 1 solar post in the sunlight and they are all linked.
What I find intriguing is if a parabolic mirror is employed to smelt metals from the regolith.
Relected sunlight from near by could multiply the heat. then after the products are fused the mylar can simply be refolded and taken to another site.
After that improvements on the posts create better ...
rambling good night