Why Space?

This site proposes methodologies to reduce the cost of space travel, space tourism and space launch vehicles by 95%. The purpose of this site is not to raise money or form a company. The purpose is to start a discussion about what is possible and practical.

This site is about stimulating our economy with new Technology. Specifically I am referring to space travel and space-age technology because it was the race-to-space in the 1960s that started our technological evolution than still propels our economy today.

This site and its associated book, “What If We Made Space Travel Practical?”, is a review of the historical events and compromises that have shaped the U.S. space industry and which ultimately resulted in an incredibly e an incredibly expensive space program with limited utility. This book also asks questions and proposes solutions regarding more efficient techniques for its continued development. It suggests that space travel can become practical and economical if we choose a different path using other technologies that are available and eminently utilizable.

MY SPACE TRAVEL DREAMS

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s with technological changes occurring rapidly. The space-age future did indeed look bright. The manned space program, which had just started at the beginning of the 1960, had accomplished a manned moon landing by the end of the decade. How much more would we accomplish by the end of the century, 30 years later. After the moon landing, it was obvious to me and many others of my era, that we would have space colonies on the moon and be commonly traveling to Mars by the turn of the century.

Now in the second decade of the new century, I feel cheated that the space-age dreams of my youth are unfulfilled. I got bamboozled! All the dreamers of my era got cheated.

However, the heat from a new light shining on this subject may thaw out my frozen dreams. Now NASA and other satellite users are embracing private industry for launching their payloads into space. Now, my decades-long dream of an efficient, low-cost launch system has a better chance of getting implemented than during the bureaucratic government operated era. Perhaps the right people will notice this site and read “What If We Made Space Travel Practical?“, and take serious notice of the concepts presented within. Maybe the dreams of my youth will still come true.

HOW THE SPACE PROGRAM SPURRED OUR ECONOMY

Stimulating our economic growth is not as simple as legislating tax cuts, enacting job bills, or lowering interest rates. Setting visionary, ambitious goals is the key to restoring our economy. We dramatically stimulated our economy in 1961, by setting the goal to go to the moon by the end of the decade. Many people don’t realize that the technologies developed for the space program have dramatically changed our lives. They often minimize the space program’s accomplishments to only a few moon rocks that are now forgotten in some museum.

The technological advances that were spawned by the space program directly led to computers, cell phones, the Internet and the communication and information era that are the basic elements of our modern lives and economy.

Large eras in human history have been defined by the tools we used during that era, i.e. the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Industrial Age. The U.S. moon exploration program catapulted the human race into the Technology Age. Computers and technology are now our everyday tools.

The human race has transitioned from the Industrial Age into the Technology Age in an extraordinarily short period of time. However, few of us understand the pivotal role the space program had in propelling this transition. It is impossible to measure the improvements the space program made to our economy. That is because the space program is the root of our present day economy. The technologies in our work computers, our laptops and our smart phones were birthed in the space program.

With NASA ending the Shuttle Program, there is a great opportunity for commercial operators to take over space travel. Some of these commercial enterprises have already proven to be more efficient that NASA ever was. What new technologies will these companies develop that have terrestrial applications that will change our lives?

The book, “What If We Made Space Travel Practical?, endeavors to speculate how a new space effort would stimulate our economy.

Progress Regarding Space Travel, Space Tourism and SpaceX

There has recently been noteworthy progress regarding space tourism. Sir Richard Branson (of Virgin Atlantic fame) and others have formed Virgin Galactic, the first highly funded company to propose commercial space tourism. This company will make use of technology developed and proven by Burt Rutan’s company Scaled Composites. Sub-orbital space tourism flights should begin in 2013. Costs are scheduled to be $200,000 per person. Over 500 space tourists have already paid their deposit for their space flight.

There has also been significant progress regarding private company, orbital launch capability. SpaceX has already made several test flights and two actual un-manned re-supply flights (through 2012) to the international space station, ISS. The SpaceX Dragon space capsule will soon be transporting people to and from the ISS. Astronauts from the ISS have already gone inside the pressurized Space X Dragon capsule while it was docked with the ISS.

The dream of affordable space travel and space tourism is approaching reality. However, $200,000 per person flights is only within reach of the wealthy. What we need is a dramatic technology shift, a leapfrog jump, which would allow for a much less expensive flight … closer to the price of an international first class airline ticket. The book, “What If We Made Space Travel Practical?, details how a new effort using a different concept from rockets could provide for much lower cost space travel and space tourism.