8 thoughts on “A New Way Of Doing Business”

  1. It seems like a army of them.
    I want even bigger army of them.
    –How long it will remain open is not clear. The Biden administration supports CLPS. But its focus is not guaranteed to stay on science; among the landers now vying for CLPS contracts are SpaceX’s enormous Starship, a spacecraft that NASA has selected to serve as its lander for astronauts and that might also be used to ferry supplies. Astrobotic also sees a future in providing services for humans on the Moon—delivering permanent solar stations or other equipment. Expanding beyond small science payloads and developing landers that can survive the frigid lunar night will be essential to keeping these companies viable, Neal says. “If you keep CLPS just as small payloads surviving only one [lunar] day, it’s a dead end. It’s going to get cut.”–

    I think need lot robotic mission for crew mission. plus a lot robotic
    mission to enhanced crewed mission. And I include “just PR” type things, or we should have the crew land as a live event- robot at site, before crew arrive.
    As far survive only one day, I agreed when read it. but my question is what site on Lunar polar region has the longest day, and how long is it? Within the time period of next few years.
    I not sure I have much of a clue- is somewhere around a Earth month?

    1. That quote is a little strange because the author is implying that it is a bad thing that these companies do more than science while also quoting Neal saying that the program will only survive it if moves beyond these types of experiments. The article also quotes other scientists who think this way of doing things will lead to bad results for their projects.

      I’m sure they aren’t giving people like Neal money to light on fire with no expectation of return but the main function of these missions right now is to develop the capability to do them. The payloads are a tertiary concern.

      Of course as we learn more collectively and as industry learns new skills, what is asked for will change. Payloads will become increasingly important but there should always be these lower cost lower expectation payloads that can be produced and flown on shorter timelines.

      Also, there is nothing preventing groups that are making these payloads from exceeding the bare minimum of expectations.

      It looks like the way to game the system is design your device as something that has to be dropped off by the rover and then you have the autonomy to operate your project as long as it will survive.

  2. Ending the NASA monopoly of spaceflight — good.
    Opening up contracting to “fly by night” companies that have the ear of this or that lobbyist — not so good. (I am referring to people having “cost-plus contracts” that they may or not actually produce on)

  3. What’s needed is more people like Musk who have space ambitions (but don’t have their head stuck up their descending colon like Bezos). If I had 10 billion dollars to spend, I’d build something like NautilusX, with solar electric propulsion (and some auxiliary chemical), name it SS Prospector and head out with a crew young enough to survive a 10 year mission (I’d likely croak along the way, and be left in a spacesuit on some asteroid we were visiting). Where to prospect? NEOs, en-route main belt, Jovian Trojans. Maybe a landing on Callisto if we could get that SkyRanger lander I’ve talked about? (Also useful as a space-boat and for some of the larger asteroids.) Sigh. Lost dream for my life. I have notes for a short story called “Flight of the Nautilus” I never wrote. They had a cat, and a few tons of kitty litter in storage.

  4. Striking that SpaceX is launching all but one of them.

    (The exception is Astrobotics Peregrine, which ULA landed on Vulcan’s first test flight by deeply discounting the price.)

    1. Richard M –
      You’re right. Striking.
      I hope that ULA gets Vulcan ready in time, and goes on to fulfill many contracts with it.
      This also means I hope Blue Origin fixes whatever issues remain with the BE-4 engines, and goes on to sell lots of them. This means New Glenn has a chance of coming online as well.
      If not, there is SpaceX.

  5. Oh no! Landing hundreds of tons of scientific equipment on the Moon might endanger our ability to land a few kilograms of scientific equipment on the Moon!

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