Spaceflight in 25 years: your predictions.

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PistolPete

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There has been a lot of talk as of late as to who will be doing what in the near future. Some are predicting rainbows and sunshine while others are talking doom and gloom and I think that it is time that we all put down our predictions so that we are all clear as to where everyone stands. These are not necessarily best case or worst case scenarios but realistic predictions of where you think we (as in the human race) will be by the year 2032.<br /><br />What about me, you ask? Well, I put out the question, I should be prepared to have my own answers (I will add more as I think of them):<br /><br /><br />NLT 2009: The first operational SS2 makes its first passenger carrying flight for Virgin Galactic.<br /><br />NLT 2010: SpaceX Dragon capsule makes successful first flight.<br /><br />NLT 2012: Bigelow launches Sundancer.<br /><br />Between 2010-2020: More companies join Virgin Galactic. Trip prices slowly drop to around $50k per seat by 2020.<br /><br />NLT 2015: Ares I flies.<br /><br />Between 2015-2020: Bigelow completes Nautilus space station.<br /><br />NLT 2020: Orion capsule finally flies. First private circumlunar flight.<br /><br />NLT 2028: ISS deorbited.<br /><br />Between 2025-2030: NASA returns to the Moon, begins setting up Moon base.<br /><br />NLT 2030: Commercial suborbital transoceanic space travel begins.<br /><br />SITREP 2032: While suborbital space tourism and suborbital transportation have become accessible to the masses, orbital space tourism is still exclusively for millionaires. By this time there are a few commercial space stations that have facilities for tourists, however, industrial applications are the main money makers for commercial stations. There are between 3 to 6 separate space stations in orbit, most privately funded, and none of them as grandiose as the one depicted in <i>2001: A Space Odyssey</i>. NASA, in cooperation with international partners, is in the process of setting up a permanently manned station on the Moon. However, bec <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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bpfeifer

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I like your outline, and merely want to add a few things.<br /><br />If LEO is accessible to the very rich, it is also accessible to University projects. Occasionally departments will gather sufficient funds to send a couple of grad students up on a commercial launcher like the Dragon/Falcon. They will spend a month or two at a commercial station like the nautilus. They will conduct a whole raft of experiments for their department, University, and possibly other institutions in the same field. What will be new, is that these projects will be driven by grad students working on PHDs, instead of having lead scientists that already have tenure. <br /><br />Also, LEO will be accessible to the same kind of guys who make nature/science films in Antarctica, or other remote places. We may even see the first permanent soundstage in LEO for entertainment film production. Hollywood film budgets are already large enough to cover the cost of sending a small crew into orbit to shoot for a week. Think of what they could do in microgravity in that time... <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> Brian J. Pfeifer http://sabletower.wordpress.com<br /> The Dogsoldier Codex http://www.lulu.com/sabletower<br /> </div>
 
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thermionic

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<br />It'd be nice if someone lofted a nice telepresence system into LEO, so those of us without the $$$ could get a taste of the new frontier...
 
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j05h

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In 2009, the incoming President cancels the VSE, ESAS and attendant programs. He or she descopes NASA to ISS completion, environmental monitoring and viewgraph production. The reasoning is either to protect the children or fund the war in whatever country.<br /><br />In 2012, US involvement in ISS is descoped again. Mission Control JSC is spun off as a quasi-government institute and continues to function until ISS and ShenZhou 15 collide in a tragic accident in 2015. <br /><br />2012 sees the first circumlunar Soyuz flight, with Bill Gates as passenger. Dragon finishes flight qualification, begins operation on Falcon 9 rocket. <br /><br />In 2014 the first Bigelow complex is completed. The Demonstration Station consists of 2 SunDancers, 4 BA-330s and a big Node. Russian Oligarchs, US media conglomerates and a Japanese keiretsu all order separate stations. Dragon requalified on Atlas and Ariane.<br /><br />By 2020, Bigelow is building station components as fast as he can hire technicians. SpaceX is a raging success, taking a significant chunk of the comsat market while launching Bigelow modules and Dragon capsules. Several operators have sprung up to use these vehicles, offering stations, a small Moon base. <br /><br />2022 sees the first robotic water return to LEO from an Earth-crossing comet. Mostly used as shielding and drinking water in various commercial habs.<br /><br />The first Mars landing occurs in 2026 as a private-financed media extravaganza (with a little science on the side). Richard Branson's boots are first on the ground. He retires at 80 to the new Elysium Township and directs his Earthly empire from there. Nike, CNN, Toyota and Caterpillar support the early missions and first base. Elysium Township is run as cooperative among several companies and institutions, fueling the Solar expansion.<br /><br />2027 - first bamboo grown in Elysium greenhouses. Immediately escapes and mutates enough to thrive on surface. Rumors fly about rogue breeding experiments using Mar <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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alokmohan

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Mars is inevitable next station as we could not keep on waiting for future destination.
 
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PistolPete

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In light of recent events:<br /><br />NLT 2015: A privately operated rover lands on the Moon.<br /><br />Until more time passes and I can more accurately determine the likelihood of this event, I'll have to give it 50/50 odds of it actually occurring. However, if it doesn't happen by 2015 (a few years after the first deadline of the prize) it's never going to happen. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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Huntster

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>>However, if it doesn't happen by 2015 (a few years after the first deadline of the prize) it's never going to happen.<br /><br />I rather disagree with this. Short term, yes, if it doesn't happen by 2015 it won't happen for several years beyond. But long term, there are too many resources just begging to be exploited on the lunar surface and beyond for private rovers to not be dispatched at some point.<br /><br />Of course, as with everything, it depends on what kind of advances are realised over the next decade. Personally, I hope all this will simply be skipped in favour of teleportation!<br /><br />I'm not a fan of blanket statements <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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themanwithoutapast

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"In light of recent events: <br /><br />NLT 2015: A privately operated rover lands on the Moon. "<br /><br />That might be the only point where I am much more optimistic in the timeframe than others. Due to the structure of the Lunar XPrize (that is, only the winner would be able to recoup its investment), this is a formidable race between university teams. I feel that either we see a privately constructed over on the Moon within the next 2-3 years or never.
 
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astrowikizhang

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Michael Griffin just place his prediction on NASATV: "I believe China will go back to the moon before we can do, and American people won't like that."
 
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docm

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What would be a real b*tch is if both China and Bigelow's lunar hab were landed before NASA got there. Of course that's what you get when you opt for a jobs program over using existing ELV's for a KISS crew ship and starting Ares V out of the box.<br /><br />Question: why not just use a shuttle C configuration for the lander/TLI lift? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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