28 thoughts on “Alan Boyle’s Golden Spike Report

    1. Edward Wright

      John Pike is to space policy what Mark Whittington is to space policy.

      Space policy suffers from a surplus of people who proclaim themselves to be “experts” without having any understanding of the technology whatsoever.

  1. m puckett

    Ed,I know you and Mark don’t get along but that’s just dirty. You owe him an apology for a low blow like that!

      1. Karl Hallowell

        Everyone ought to be careful here because you’ll be measuring this quantity by how many brain cells die per minute.

  2. M Puckett

    You are the one asserting Mark is as bad as Pike. It is encumbent upon you to show proof.

    Mark is far more supportive of Commercial Space than Pike for starters. Pike is completely hostile.

    1. Edward Wright

      You are the one asserting Mark is as bad as Pike. It is encumbent upon you to show proof.

      It’s encumbent on me to show that Mark lacks technical knowledge??? I hope you’re not a corporate recruiter.

      I can’t “prove” that Mark is not an expert on human spaceflight, anymore than I can prove he is not Mr. Mxyzptlk. All I can do is point out the lack of evidence for such things.

      Mark is far more supportive of Commercial Space than Pike for starters.

      Being “supportive of commercial space” (whatever that means) is not evidence of any knowledge. Mark could say he likes cars. That would not he’s an expert on auto mechanics.

    1. Edward Wright

      Is that all you have, Mike? You believe Mark is an expert on spaceflight because he reminds you of a 19th Century novel?

      1. M Puckett

        Actually, it was you that remided me of that. Mark wasn’t even a party to this discussion at all and you had to go and pull hm in so you could make a cheap shot at his expense. Comparing him to ath soulless minion of orthodoxy Pike is just a little over the top.

        Part of being an adult is just knowing when to not stir the shit-pot.

        1. Edward Wright

          Whatever, Mike. Despite your literary histrionics, the fact remains that that neither Pike nor Whittington have demonstrated any technical understanding of the subject. They are “experts” only because they proclaim themselves to be, frequently and loudly.

          That you hate John and like Mark is quite irrelevant. They both turn in the same quality of work.

          You need to look up the definition of “objectivity.”

      2. Mark R. Whittington

        What an odd thing to say. But which novel? “War and Peace?” Or maybe “From the Earth to the Moon?” Or maybe something by Poe?

        1. Edward Wright

          No, Mark, Captain Ahab was not from any of those books.

          It appears your knowledge of literature is as solid as your study of space. :-)

  3. Mark R. Whittington

    Ed is wide of the mark. Pike is kind of a has been. I’m just getting into my prime. In any case, Ed should look in the mirror when he complains of an overabundance of space policy ranters.

  4. Brock

    I’m not feeling it. It just doesn’t feel like the kind of bottom-up, sustainable program that will really help make humanity multiplanetary. Seems like, at best, another Apollo. Selling flags & footprints to the second-tier space powers.

  5. George Turner

    Strange as it seems, NASA could turn out to be a customer for a lunar polar ice expedition, but there is a hundred thousand miles of bureaucracy between here and the destination.

  6. ken anthony

    [Golden Spike] aims to send paying passengers to the moon and back at an estimated price of $1.4 billion or more for two.

    Of course we wish them well. They are targeting nations that want to be part of the lunar club without doing the work themselves at a lower cost than they could do themselves.

    Of the 12 that have gone, how many have slept on the moon? It would be good for our species to increase that number.

    How does this compare to other plans? Mars One plans to send four for $6b but that’s a one way trip compared to a round trip. So I’d say the cost for both plans are in line. Getting to orbit really is halfway to anywhere. But one gets you a new colony while the other doesn’t directly do that.

    A colony requires many thing (not all just tech.) but mainly it requires enough people and a means of independence. I think that requires at least four dozen people (and the ability to birth more) so if this were a colony plan its cost for 48 would be… $34B.

    Is Golden Spike too ambitious? In my opinion, they are not nearly ambitious enough. For $34b, I’d give you a good start on settlements throughout the solar system. The one on mars would be self sufficient the soonest, but with an annual budget of $1.7b (5% of $34b) I could fully supply 5 to 10 colonies from mercury to the asteroid belt.

    1. Brock

      Golden Spike isn’t interested in settlement. They’re a bunch of ex-NASA guys and politicians (Gingrich, Richardson). Government types. They’re just selling flags and footprints to the also-ran nations who can’t muster up the technical competence to do it themselves.

      If Golden Spike has offered one word about ISRU, water mining, habitat building, or anything like that, I have not heard about it. And it could be great science too, seeing how crops might grow on lunar soil. But nope, no interest.

      1. Thomas Matula

        Brock,

        I agree. That is why I also think the prime nation they are targeting with this is the U.S.A. as a backdoor way to push for a lunar COTS.

        But for any sustainable lunar architecture you need to start with the robots first, to prepare a site, process the fuel needed to refuel the lander (ISRU) and have a habitat ready so you may minimize the human lander.

        Actually if you are smart the lander that delivers the robots and humans are one and the same with only different detachable modules placed on them, one to carry rovers, one for supplies and one for humans. Then you get to build up a track record landing the rovers and supplies before a human ever rides one.

      2. Michael Kent

        “If Golden Spike has offered one word about ISRU, water mining, habitat building, or anything like that, I have not heard about it.”

        Golden Spike appears to be setting itself up as a transportation company. These things are what their customers will do, not Golden Spike itself.

    2. Thomas Matula

      Ken,

      [[[Of the 12 that have gone, how many have slept on the moon? It would be good for our species to increase that number.]]]

      Every one, since each mission had one or more sleep periods :-)

      1. ken anthony

        You are assuming they actually slept during sleep periods. Regardless, it is shameful that after fifty years, only 12 have done so. I want to hear dreams dammit.

  7. DougSpace

    > That is why I also think the prime nation they are targeting with this is the U.S.A. as a backdoor way to push for a lunar COTS.

    I don’t see it that way. At least not in the way that I’m defining COTS. You have to deliver enough equipment to the lunar surface to mine ice. Their lander is just too small. Still, even they just got NASA to purchase a number of manned science missions to the lunar surface, it might create interest in what else those astronauts could do besides picking up yet more rocks. That might be fine for the national prestige of other countries, but for the United States, I’m thinking that they would only purchase manned flights if it was part of establishing a permanent base.

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