Bargain Base

Suddenly, with private space activity re-setting the cost calculus, all kinds of things become realistic:

… a new NASA-commission study has found that we can now afford to set up a permanent base on the moon, by mining for lunar resources and partnering with private companies. […] Returning humans to the moon could cost 90 percent less than expected, bringing estimated costs down from $100 billion to $10 billion. That’s something that NASA could afford on its current deep space human spaceflight budget. […] “A factor of ten reduction in cost changes everything,” said Mark Hopkins, executive committee chair of the National Space Society, in a press release. […] The study, released today, was conducted by the National Space Society and the Space Frontier Foundation — two non-profit organizations that advocate building human settlements beyond Earth — and it was reviewed by an independent team of former NASA executives, astronauts, and space policy experts.

To dramatically reduce costs, NASA would have to take advantage of private and international partnerships — perhaps one of which would be the European Space Agency, whose director recently announced that he wants to build a town on the moon. The new estimates also assume that Boeing and SpaceX, NASA’s commercial crew partners, will be involved and competing for contracts. SpaceX famously spent just $443 million developing its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon crew capsule, where NASA would have spent $4 billion. The authors of the new report are hoping that 89 percent discount will extend beyond low Earth orbit as well.

The most interesting reasons for wanting to do this stuff are politically edgy in the extreme, and if the whole process gets started, no one involved will want to discuss them. The helpful approach is to treat them as unmentionable in advance. Best to concentrate on the techno-economic practicalities, until the lunar neocameral splinter Human extraterrestrial foothold is safely in place.

ADDED: Plus one of these, please.

July 22, 2015admin 25 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism

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25 Responses to this entry

  • Bargain Base | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Bargain Base […]

    Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 4:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • neovictorian23 Says:

    The most interesting reasons for wanting to do this stuff are politically edgy in the extreme, and if the whole process gets started, no one involved will want to discuss them.

    Heinlein’s Red Planet scenario.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 6:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    As soon as NASA gets involved costs will balloon again. The smart private agencies will politely deflect most of their flirtations.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Smart, assuming they want to go to space. If they just want to suckle the taxpayer hog, then of course they’ll throw a welcome party for NASA, get it drunk and begin fucking at the earliest opportunity.

    “How are little agencies born, mommy?”
    “Well, when a public agency and a private agency hate their mission very much…”

    [Reply]

    neovictorian23 Reply:

    ^++1

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 7:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Thales Says:

    Luna is a little too close to get your NRx hopes up. She will always be politically tied to Terra for a variety of reasons. The Moon Treaty is patterned after the Antarctic Treaty. Moontown will likely look like the ISS from soup to nuts.

    What Moontown and attendant infrastructure does get you is a port to the solar system and the rest of the galaxy. The Outer Space Treaty (which excludes the moon) says that what you grab is yours, so there’s visibility with which to start allocating capital…

    [Reply]

    peter connor Reply:

    Heinlein dealt with this scenario in his Hugo winning The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress….Lunans fling big rocks at Earth after attempted invasion.

    [Reply]

    neovictorian23 Reply:

    Good of you to bring that book up as well, but those were rebellious prisoners, in essence. In Red Planet it is colonists declaring home rule.

    Anyway, I suggest that readers of this blog would probably both enjoy and have their thoughts provoked by both books.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    The Outer Space Treaty does NOT exclude the moon. The Moon Treaty is simply a further step down the road that the US refused to sign on to.

    Otherwise, you are correct about the significance of Luna.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 7:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    once upon a time Putin promised that Russians will be living on moon by 2008

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 7:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bargain Base | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 8:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150619-how-to-overthrow-a-martian-dictatorship
    Drats foiled again

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 9:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • peter connor Says:

    Mittens Romney said he would fire anyone who talked about a moon base…..

    [Reply]

    peter connor Reply:

    But what I want is the contract to write the Environmental Impact Statement for the mission….

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 11:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • R7 Rocket Says:

    May this come to pass… Onward to the Stars.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 23rd, 2015 at 2:39 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Thank You!

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 23rd, 2015 at 3:03 am Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    Uhh…save money by going into partnerships with multiple foreign governments? I’d talk to Norm Augustine before I did that.

    We’re still a *long* way from having a business plan that makes sense.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Retirement homes for rich people.

    1/6th the load on the heart! Instant face lift! Feel strong and healthy again! Bones don’t break when you slowly fall!

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 23rd, 2015 at 3:57 am Reply | Quote
  • bob sykes Says:

    It is almost certain that the era of manned space flight is coming to an end. The cause is merely economic: all the advanced economies are running very large government deficits because of the never ending growth of the welfare state. The US government deficits are the third worst in the world, right behind Greece, which is second to Japan. The deficits have already caused European disarmament. The UK has only one tank regiment of 56 MBT’s active with another 150 or so in storage. France and Germany combined field less than 400 to 500 MBT’s. The US lags, but we are about to undergo a very large reduction in our military forces, especially in the Army and Marines. The cost of the F35 means that only several hundred will be built, yielding a very small airforce.

    Manned space exploration is a luxury that will be eliminated in the coming econmic decline.,

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    As opposed to the present economic decline, which was marked by large amounts of manned space exploration.,

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    US$10 billion is well within the reach of a private program. Main reason for keeping the government involved at all is to keep it complicit rather than overtly obstructive for as long as possible.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    Precisely this. There are already plenty of rules for private spaceflight — but it could get a heck of a lot worse, especially if USG feels as though it is losing its grip on the aerospace industry.

    …I’ve seen industries suffer tremendous losses of productivity due to excessive regulation. (Pharma is the most obvious example.) Nothing could be easier for USG than to make an example out of the private spaceflight industry. So, for companies involved in private spaceflight, it is only rational to maintain cordial professional relations with the government and its regulators.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 23rd, 2015 at 12:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Hannon Says:

    Takes a while to get launched, but there’s a lot of interesting discussion around this topic in this 2014 Asimov Memorial Debate –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbmFeEIKBFI

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 23rd, 2015 at 5:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Excellent.

    Exit in place isn’t exit.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 24th, 2015 at 6:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2015/07/29 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] Colonizing the moon will be cheaper than previously thought. […]

    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 6:13 am Reply | Quote

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