What would it require to kickstart space exploration?

Status
Not open for further replies.
H

HorseSpace

Guest
Back in the days USA spend 4-5% of the GDP for Nasa. Now 40 years later, a bunch of more technology available that figure is a shadow of its former self. No doubt that the US vs USSR pride played a mayor role. Today everything is about the economy, so the mayor question is, what would kick start a venture in the same scale again in our 2010 world?

Since almost absolutely nothing has happened propulsion wise since then, we still such as hard as we did back then in getting cargo "up" and "about". So are we just waiting for the next big thing in propulsion? Are we lazy? Where is the problem and the solution? Do we need China to send 10 people to space at once before the whole world scrambles in a new space race?

My personal thoughts lies in propulsion. The day someone comes up with a cheap and easy way to fire up a rocket or spaceship space will be a whole lot less empty.
 
D

DarkenedOne

Guest
HorseSpace as far as unmanned exploration goes nothing. It will be slowing down a bit as budgets have flat lined, but you can expect them to continue to make progress,

As far as manned spaceflight the problem is simple it costs to much in its present form. Especially all the problem we have with the national debt and the economy do not expect any of the traditional big government human space projects. As far as what the Senate has just appropriated there is no way that NASA is going to be able to deliver. They have essentially asked NASA to build a rocket similar to the Ares V with less money and in less time that they had before. There is just no way it is going to happen.

Essentially the only real hope manned spaceflight has at a future in the near time term lies with private human spaceflight. In the next decade we are going to see the emergence of multiple private human spaceflight launchers like SpaceX's Falcon 9 or the Boeing CST-100, and they will provide us with human spaceflight at a fraction what it costs NASA to both private and government customers.
 
A

AsimovFan

Guest
HorseSpace":3s1dt7zj said:
Where is the problem and the solution?
HorseSpace":3s1dt7zj said:
The day someone comes up with a cheap and easy way to
fire up a rocket or spaceship space will be a whole lot less empty.
The problem is gravity, the solution is rotovators, Lofstrom launch loops
and probably the best would be space tethers.
There are very many ideas out there, old ideas making a comeback.
Check here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-rocket_spacelaunch
 
A

AsimovFan

Guest
My favorite idea is to create a upper atmosphere platform out of
weather balloons, then you could use a space tether to pluck out
cargo and fling it to the target.

You get the momentum in the tether by exploiting the gravity between
the moon and the earth.
Simply set the tether on a spinning orbit, and calculate each pick up and
relaunch.

You could use it to pluck stuff all the way from the earth if you wanted.
Incorporate solar sails into it and you can make it more like a ship.

Like a giant manta ray in space its tail hauling cargo off the earth and slinging it into space on its way to Mars.
 
K

kelvinzero

Guest
My own to favorite wacky ideas are (1) beam powered launchers and (2) an orbital loop (minus the elevator.. you still need a suborbital flight to hook on)

However the problem with all of these ideas is that they only become cost effective if they get a lot of use. there is just no promising way of making a return on this investment right now.

Even rockets really are not too bad. The reason that reusable rockets are not making things cheaper right now is the same. You need a much higher flight rate (I have heard >60/year) before reusable starts to become cost effective.

It is true our launch technology has not improved greatly over the last 30 or so years but I think that is largely because the US has not been putting any real money into trying to solve this. A huge amount of money has gone into reusable launchers, but this money went to just running the shuttle, not figuring out how to do better.

If you want a next generation launcher, first thing to check is that any money is actually being spent in this area. If it isn't, dont be surprised if after decades technology has not moved on.

Commercially serviced Fuel Depots are a promising idea. The government simply creates a market by buying fuel that is delivered to a fuel depot in orbit, for use in BEO missions. Different companies can try their own tacks and bringing the costs of their launchers down, and because the cargo is just fuel which can fit into any shape, and failure of a fuel delivery is not the same tragedy that the failure of a HSF mission is, they have much less constrains in their designs and can take more risks, allowing faster development.
 
S

Space_pioneer

Guest
I'd say an elevator would really make it much easier. Not only would it be insanely cheap to ship parts between the elevator and the counterwieght, but you could make the counterwieght a repair station, so probes wouldn't need to drift after losing their gas, and could make multiple missions to the same planet, or another planet.
 
V

Valcan

Guest
I recall reading on a site a few weeks ago that scientist had managed to move a object a few inches with a beam of light. Like a tractorbeam but in reverse pushing.

Who knows maybe in around 20 years we can just push ships, sats, probes, station moduals etc into space.
 
A

AsimovFan

Guest
Valcan":150qyn7s said:
I recall reading on a site a few weeks ago that scientist had managed to move a object a few inches with a beam of light. Like a tractorbeam but in reverse pushing.

Who knows maybe in around 20 years we can just push ships, sats, probes, station moduals etc into space.
We could set up a laser charging station and beam energy propulsion anywhere.
 
H

HorseSpace

Guest
How about nuclear engines? Arent they supposed to be working and tested already, but only held back by political/environmental lunatics?

As far I understood a nuclear engine would be able to go for ages without any need of resupply, which in turn is the solution to go to Mars and back with thrust all the way. Please correct me if I am wrong.
 
F

frodo1008

Guest
Nuclear engines that would be only used in space itself are not generally opposed by anybody, including environmentalists. And your comments about lunatics are really not very helpful.

Now, if you are talking about very large and powerful nuclear engines being used to lift off from the Earth's surface, then those so called lunatics are actually correct in opposing such dangerous activities.

As long as the nuclear materials to be used for fuels for such engines can be launched on board non manned vehicles safely into orbit where they can then be used to fuel such nuclear engines, then I would think that would be relatively fine with most of the environmental community.

But the emphasis now needs to be on reducing the cost of placing a pound into LEO. And chemical rocketry is far more advanced along this road than any other type of methodology of getting to LEO at low cost. At least at this time anyway.
 
V

Valcan

Guest
frodo1008":32vwd1ng said:
As long as the nuclear materials to be used for fuels for such engines can be launched on board non manned vehicles safely into orbit where they can then be used to fuel such nuclear engines, then I would think that would be relatively fine with most of the environmental community.

.
You inderestimate the stupid some of these people have. You know those guys who protest military funerals? Yea imagine them as Enviromentalist. Yes some are that bad. And remember in politics its the loudest who get heard.
 
F

frodo1008

Guest
I used the word "relatively", as there is always a fringe element. Like the "NASA Moon Hoax" types, they too are loud (after all, the FOX network originally tried to give them respectability!), but does anybody of even reasonable intelligence even pay any credible attention to them?

No, the real problems with nuclear engines are simply:

(A) They are not ready yet for full deployment, perhaps in some ten to twenty years (if even pilot models can be made to work in space).

(B) Nuclear fuel is not only possibly dangerous, it is also quite heavy, and therefore until the problem of Cheap Access To Space (CATS) is solved it is highly unlikely that such engines can even be shipped to LEO, let alone made to work.

However, in the long run, who knows......
 
S

StarRider1701

Guest
We've done quite enough "Space Exploration" for the time being. What is needed now is practical work in space! Either in orbit or a lunar colony. For example, if we built a base on the moon, complete with a solar powered mass driver and space industries such as mining the moon for water, air and fuel; wouldn't that be a great way to "kickstart" space exploration? Since expidetions could be larger and better equipped because they cost less if launched from the lunar base, would that not kickstart space exploration?

I hate the fact that the words "Space" and "Exploration" seem to be inexorably connected. There are SOOO many other things to do in space besides explore and we NEED to start doing them!
 
Y

Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
A lunar base would be great. What we are discussing here is how to get the political and economic will to get something like that accomplished. I think we need to be doing both exploration on Mars and other worlds and permanent bases like we have on the ISS, but have an international base on the moon as well. The trouble is all of this is very expensive. I'm hoping that the commercial spaceflight companies can bring down this price and handle the work in LEO so NASA can focus on BEO missions, which are the ones we really want to see :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS