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Advice From Across The Pond

Rob Coppinger has some suggestions to the Obama administration for NASA policy. I agree that Ares I should be mercy killed ASAP, but I disagree that we need an Ares anything else. We need to stop focusing on heavy lift and start developing the capability to store propellant on orbit, which will allow us to launch escape missions of arbitrarily large mass.


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Cecil Trotter wrote:

Just curious Rand, what would you consider to be the payload capacity of an economically "optimal" launch vehicle?

Rand Simberg wrote:

In the near term, probably 5-10 tons, tops (assuming that it's not expendable). If the market expands sufficiently, you could justify developing a larger one.

kert wrote:

I hope Obama remembers

TBH, landing a modified Coupe de Ville on the moon might actually be a more realistic option than to follow through with ESAS at this point.

Jonathan Goff wrote:

To add to what Rand said, a lot also depends on what other services (like tugs and depots) are available. My personal guess is that the first profitable orbital RLV is going to have a payload under 2 tons, possibly as little as half a ton. So long as it's big enough to cram at least two seats into the thing (pilot plus passenger), you can probably find a market for it.

One advantage small RLVs will have early on is that you can get a lot more flight rate out of the same amount of demand...I was theoretically writing a series about this on Selenian Boondocks, but my bandwidth this past month or so has been particularly lousy.


Rick Boozer wrote:


Rob Coppinger responded to your depot comment by claiming that it would require the use of "unobtainium". You may want to see my response to this argument on his blog.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on November 18, 2008 7:51 AM.

In The Deep End Of The Gene Pool was the previous entry in this blog.

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