Entry: Price to Orbit III Wednesday, August 04, 2004

John London's report on cheap access to LEO is 10 years old and I re-read with interest his conclusions. Important points...

  • Make a cheap orbital booster a national goal
  • Streamlined management of development
  • Loosening of Gov't regulation compliance - best practice NOT exacting compliance
  • Single location
  • Small team
  • Small development budget
  • Pressure-fed or simple pump-fed LOX-hydrocrabon boosters - preferably RP-1 (refined kerosine)
  • Retire the Space Shuttle's solid boosters - simple liquid propellant boosters are safer, better and tie in to the above point
  • better yet... retire the Shuttle - its multi-billion budget, even without launching a Shuttle is a terrible drain. Redeploy the resources for something cheaper, better and more frequent
  • Build a Space Station by the end of the 1990s... oh well, almost there... so manned, on-orbit operations aren't tied to the Shuttle
  • Build a simple, dedicated crew transporter - perhaps based on *gasp* Soyuz
  • So as you can see there's a lot missed by Gov't, but taken up by Musk and his kin in the private Space Access movement. And will quasi-private efforts get a Soyuz around the Moon before Big Gov't by 2008? Imagine that...


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