August 10, 2005

Then have a flyoff.....

Great rant by Jerry Pournelle:

NASA spends a billion and can't fix the problem of foam dropoff. Give me a billion and 3 years (and exemption from the Disabilities Act and some other imbecilic restrictions) and I'll have a 700,000 pound GLOW reusable that will put at least 5,000 pounds in orbit per trip, and be able to make 10 trips a year for marginal costs linearly related to the cost of fuel. Give me $3 billion and I'll have a fleet of the damn things. Once they're flying we can work on getting the payload weights up. Give me $5 billion and I'll have the fleet plus one that's set up to go Earth orbit to Lunar Surface and return to Earth orbit as often as we like (each trip costing about 10 flights Earth to Earth orbit to refuel it). Costing: 700,000 pounds of fuel at $2 per pound times 4 as a guess. Throw in other stuff and the marginal costs are maybe $10 million a flight Earth to Earth orbit, so about $100 million to go back to the Moon.

Now, as a backup in case single stage is the wrong way to go -- and I can be convinced that it is -- hand another $1 billion to Burt Rutan and let him try his air lift first stage approach. Then have a flyoff. Hell, go mad: give me a billion, give Burt a billion, hand a billion to each of the remaining big aerospace companies, and give a billion to NASA. That's $5 billion, less than the annual cost of the Shuttle program -- have you noticed that the program cost is independent of the number of Shuttle launches? NASA will waste its billion, the two aerospace companies will futz around with studies that end up requesting $20 billion each and produce nothing but paper, but you may be sure that Rutan and I will both have some flying hardware...(Thanks to

Read it entire.

Come to think, I could do more with a billion than NASA does! And my commission would only be a few tenths of one percent....

Posted by John Weidner at August 10, 2005 8:13 PM
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