A Call For Papers

Sort of. I’ve set up a new section of Competitive Space for HSF myth busting, but I haven’t had time to flesh out the pages, so I’m calling for suggestions, or drafts, that can be improved over time. Ideally, it would be as a wiki, but I don’t have time to figure out how to set one up right now. Instead, I’ll incorporate comments into the pages as they come in. Credit will be provided to contributors.

[Update on Wednesday morning]

For those wondering about the 404, I’ve taken the page down, because it wasn’t getting enough input to clean things up. I’ll just have to work on it myself and then inaugurate it again.

6 thoughts on “A Call For Papers”

  1. Ther first myth to bust is the one about how the cost of launch will remain high becasue of the rocket equation and the inherent limitation of chemical rockets and that oh so expensive rocket fuel!

    No one is better qualified to tackle that one than you Rand.

  2. The “Heavy Lift is crucial” one.

    Second Puckett’s request for cost breakdown of a rocket.

    I know you aren’t fond of DIRECT, but they had a couple pretty good sets of charts depicting “Number of launches” vs “Cost per Launch” for various launcher types. Something similar would be useful.

    Discussion of “Cost-plus” versus “Bid contracts” versus “Flat-rate charging.”

  3. Destinations are required
    Mars/Moon/… is the only destination worth pursuing
    The best way to get to Mars is to skip all easier targets
    Human exploration is inherently expensive
    Space travel should be safe
    Reusability is required for low cost (nope–20 tons of aluminum costs less than $80,000; my guess is it’s about flight rate, manufacturing and testing)
    Elevators/nuclear/launch towers/____ are required for low cost
    Manned and unmanned are substitutes
    The Moon Treaty is in the way
    China will do ___ if we don’t
    Only the government can do big space
    NASA jobs are good jobs to create for the country regardless of what NASA does
    Missions to Mars should be round trip
    NASA research and spinoffs are good value for the money
    International projects help keep missile experts from proliferating
    International projects reduce unilateral costs (are they more likely binding mechanisms for space ministries to force legislators to commit money?)
    Astronauts are authoritative experts on ___
    We should solve ___ on Earth first
    We can’t afford settling space/exploring Mars/…
    He3 is the future of energy
    We are running out of resources on Earth
    Keeping the ISS running is a good investment

  4. > Reusability is required for low cost
    There is no way airlines could get anywhere near the low cost or safety they have now if they used airliners that wore out and were thrown away after 1 flight. Our ideal target is to emulate the operation and cost structure aircraft can deliver today. That said, there is a great deal of room for reducing cost while still using expendable launchers. Also we won’t have all the answers to build a practical reusable launcher until we try a few times. One failure of the NASA space shuttle is thinking they could engineer a practical reusable vehicle on the first try. Look at how many aircraft failed before the runaway success of the DC3.

    > He3 is the future of energy
    Following discussions on http://www.talk-polywell.org/bb/ , boron might be the future of energy.

  5. Good list of myths, Sam. To those I would add:

    – people cannot “own” natural objects in space
    – there is nothing of value that can be acquired in space that isn’t cheaper on Earth
    – people won’t live permanently in space in our lifetimes or our grandchildrens’ lifetimes
    – money spent on space is wasted almost by definition
    – people have to live on the surface of a planet, so we’d have to terraform Mars to live there
    – we need One Grand Vision To Rule Them All or nothing will get done in space
    – to go into space you have to be a great athlete and super smart, the Right Stuff test-pilot type
    – …or a billionaire
    – “most complicated machine in the world” means that it is better than something simpler
    – manned space flight requires the concerted effort of thousands of people on the ground
    – everything done in space is a “mission” in a “program”
    – everything required for a mission has to be launched all at once, all together.

    Also, I get a 404 error on your link

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