10 thoughts on “NASA’s Choice Of Starship”

  1. Presumably, they passed it by Nelson before making this decision, but if that didn’t happen, we may see back peddling in the future.

    1. Based on his confirmation hearing this morning it doesn’t appear Nelson is likely to be part of any attempted backpedaling. I think he will be part of a concerted effort to get enough supplemental appropriations to allow bringing on National Team as an HLS second source.

  2. I suspect this is another case of “space isn’t important enough” to impose the “blessings” of socialism.

  3. NASA accepted capitalism in space with COTS. They have just been on a dual track approach. Who can say how long SLS will last? Not forever but…

    The real test for NASA and capitalism is what comes next. Who owns and operates lunar bases and NTR ships?

    1. “Who owns and operates lunar bases and NTR ships?”
      It seems bases and NTR ship would be done by governmental entities.
      But I don’t think governments do hotels.

      I would happy if we get government nuclear Orions.
      I don’t know if any advantage to nuclear thermal rockets.
      I think chemical rockets will work fine, but have sell rocket fuel in space, and make cheap rocket fuel.
      It seems if there is minable lunar water, then LOX will start out cheap {$1000 per kg} and get cheaper over time. You start with getting oxygen from water, but in order mine lunar metals you going get oxygen as “waste product”. Or 40% of lunar surface mass is oxygen. Or anything one call large scale lunar mining will cause LOX to become really cheap- like, $1 per kg. And same goes for mining anywhere in space.
      And unless mining gas giants it seems LH2 is going tend to be more expensive. Or on Earth LOX is about 10 cent per kg, and hydrogen about $5 per kg, and in space maybe ratio will be 1 to 4 cost per kg. But Oxygen could become so cheap than it’s more like 1 to 20 or more.
      As long as shipping rocket fuel from Earth and as long as any rocket fuel is much cheaper on Earth, then LH2 and LOX are about the same price.

    2. Nobody is going to own and operate any NTR ships. The Moon is far too close for those to be useful. The same will prove true for Mars.

      As for “bases,” NASA will have a wee lab tucked away somewhere in Elonopolis, but it will mostly be a mining and factory town with a big spaceport and at least one fancy resort dug into a crater wall near the top with a big panoramic view of the regolith diggers and haulers bustling around below and the Starships arriving and departing.

      1. With chemical rockets, I can see getting from Earth to Mars in 2 to 3 months. {and from Venus to Mars in 1 to 2 months}
        But from Earth to mars in a month {or less} it seems chemical rocket get rather costly. Whereas NTR could cost less to go that fast.
        Now, government is not in hurry to get anywhere in space. But governments in general like to burn thru tax dollars. And if private sector mining the Moon and settling Mars. Government funding related to space could be up there near what they spent on national defense or at least as much spend paying off debt.
        Or government will want to travel fast getting to places in space.

        1. I see the future of space as being largely commercial rather than government-funded. And whatever marginal advantage there may be for NTR rockets in terms of total trip time will be more than offset by expense and political difficulties for any commercial outfit seeking to go that route. The private sector will stick to chemical propulsion for a very long time.

          That is not to say that the USSF won’t find some justification for NTR “cruisers” at some point in its future history, but I don’t see that happening anytime very soon either.

          1. “I see the future of space as being largely commercial rather than government-funded.”
            If there not this potential, then there is no reason the fund NASA.
            But if NASA had explored the Moon 20 year ago, I think NASA budget, would now be twice as much.
            Or NASA’s failure, is it’s not made beyond Earth’s commercial orbits {Global satellite Market}, important. And if satellite market was not as important, NASA would ceased to exist, decades ago. And if NASA doesn’t explore the Moon and then Mars {or some other kind of entity doesn’t do it} it will prove to everyone that NASA shouldn’t funded anymore.
            But if moon explored and lunar water is mined, the Canadian space agency could then get bigger budget than NASA’s current budget.

    3. “NASA accepted capitalism in space with COTS.”

      Exactly so. Mike Griffin may have had a love affair with “a national capability,” i.e. big government rocket as in Constellation or SLS. However, he will be remembered for his support of COTS as the most important thing he did at NASA.

Comments are closed.