Systems Engineering Approach to Building the Future


In thinking about grand plans for the economic development of the solar system, it is easy to get caught up in the fact that you are thinking about building grand plans and so you get, grand.  In many many conversations, papers, and even here, people who poke holes (and they are good to have by the way), like to poke at the fact that you are designing grand plans without the path to get there.  I realize this but I have always not wanted to talk too much about the near term steps as they are too close to being a business plan for what I want to do.  However, it seems that what we need is to get the ideas out there and look for those who believe in what we are attempting and support it financially.  So, instead of talking about the grand plan, lets begin at the beginning.

I am doing it this way because so many times we get bogged down in the development of the grand plan and people get confused and there is legitimate criticism that has to be answered regarding elements of the grand plan, so, starting at the beginning, walking through the steps, gives everyone an idea of how we can get there from today without any big miracles and without so many of the things that some think that we absolutely must have.  There is also a revolution brewing in terrestrial technology that is going to make reaching the two goals above much much easier to reach as well.

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In the EE world when you do a new design, you think up what your design should be and then see how many of the parts that you need are off the shelf, existing, and inexpensive.   The more the better and the cheaper your product the better for competition and market creation.  After exhausting the easy stuff you see what you have to do that is unique to your design that you have to design/build in order to make the whole work.  If the iPad had cost $5,000 rather than a few hundred, it would not have broken the new ground in market creation that it did.  Steve Jobs had the vision of something like the pad a long time ago with the Newton but the technology and the infrastructure was not there.  Now that it is, the iPad is a huge success.  We need to bring the EE and Silicon valley thought process into the space world and these steps we will mirror in developing the ideas for reaching the big goals.

First is the design. It does not have to be specified to the detail, just the goal.  The goal for the iPad was probably no more than a few bullet points.  For a bridge or interstate the first goals, or in NASA speak, the level 0 requirements need to be stated.  This is the easy part.

First Goals for The Economic Development of the Solar System.

1. A self sustaining (as opposed to self sufficient) lunar industrial outpost that creates more value in dollars returned to the investor over time than the cost of the enterprise.

2. A transportation infrastructure that allows for ubiquitous transportation of humans and cargo anywhere in cislunar space (defined as any altitude above the earth less than 500,000 kilometers)

These are stupendous goals or requirements that make us want to start talking grand plans again, but lets begin with the next step of the silicon valley world when designing a new product, what is out there that I can use today to get my design accomplished?

First there are rockets.  There is the PSLV from India, the Long March in China, the Proton, Soyuz, Dnepr from Russia, the Ariane V from Europe, the H2A from Japan,  the Atlas, Delta, Taurus I/II, the Minataur from the U.S, and the Zenit and Falcon 1E/9 from quasi commercial providers.  A pretty good stable of rockets with capabilities between 1 and 25 metric tons to orbit.   A couple of these are off limits in the west but the rest are readily available in prices around $2000-5000 dollar/kg to orbit.

Then there is the International Space Station.  It has six crewpersons, with only two required to keep the station operational.  It has the Russian modules, it has the U.S. Destiny lab along with the Columbus from Europe and Kibo from Japan.  These are amazing facilities that are dramatically underutilized.  It is in a 51.6 degree orbit that is considered by some hole pokers as bad, except that it is there, the mass penalty for getting there rather than the lower Florida 28.5 degrees is 6.5% of the payload.  Did I mention that it was there, in orbit today, whereas the mythical better one at 28.5 degrees is yet to exist.  I hope that Bigelow changes that but if I am designing something today, I have to look at what is available today, that station is not there yet.  I can and do acknowledge that it is coming and that it will have a positive effect on lowering the cost of human presence in space for everyone.

There are also the vehicles such as the European ATV, the Russian Progress, the Russian Soyuz, the Proton for heavy payloads to the station as well.  There is also the Japanese HTV that is flying now.  In the near future we hope that both the Dragon and the Orbital Sciences CRS vehicle (Orbital you HAVE to change that lame name) carrying payloads to the station.  Eventually NASA will have a new vehicle going to the station but it is an even bet that Musk with the Dragon, Boeing with the CTV, or Lockheed with a commercial version of Orion will make it to the station with people first.  That is a good thing for all of us. This makes several vehicles that are currently flying or will fly in the near term for the station.  Together these vehicles are an amazing resource for flying payloads to the ISS.

We also have a large ground infrastructure.  We can buy communications from Priordia net or Universal Space Network.  We can buy some components from the existing U.S. aerospace industrial base but they are generally incredibly expensive, though some of it is for good reason.  Elon Musk is showing that it takes a vertically integrated operation to cut the costs of a large system.  This is what the large aerospace companies did decades ago but they are for the most part assembly houses now and this has led to unnecessary cost increases due to the way that government contracting works with multiple levels of overhead and G&A tacked on, like a VAT tax on aerospace contracts.

Building a vertically integrated operation is probably the first difficult thing to be done in the process, build a technical team that has a wide ranging technical talent, along with the latest productivity enhancements that the computer age brings to the table.  There are a lot of really smart people out there in the U.S. aerospace and NASA worlds who want to do things the right way, getting them together into a team is the most important thing that is the foundation of everything else that is done.  Instead of large teams of process dependent cogs, you have to have a small, very smart, very well paid group of top tier engineers.  Couple them with young new blood from college that can be mentored in real time and who can do the late night work.  As much as money, more than anything else, is the importance of the organization and composition of the engineering team.

Other resources such as the far better CAD/CAM of today, 3D printing, and other simulation software helps to dramatically increase productivity are very important as well and the people that know how to run the equipment to its best potential.

There is a large body of literature, scientific papers, and the work done by others to build upon as well, and all of these are important as we have to understand what people have built before so that we can take that knowledge and leverage it in our own work.  These are the assets that we have available today to help build aerospace systems and these provide the basis for doing designs.

That comes next.

 

 

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About denniswingo

I am here now on wordpress to further discuss the ways and means for the economic development of the solar system, to the benefit of the Earth.
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43 Responses to Systems Engineering Approach to Building the Future

  1. Wodun says:

    1. A self sustaining (as opposed to self sufficient) lunar industrial outpost that creates more value in dollars returned to the investor over time than the cost of the enterprise.

    Is there any interaction between the new space community and terrestrial mining companies? There is lots of commentary about lunar mining but I haven’t seen anything from the mining industry.

    What other industries do you think would take advantage of a lunar outpost and what advantages would the Moon have over the ISS or some other space station?

    • denniswingo says:

      Catapillar was one of the contractors under the H&RT contracts in 2005. I heard something interesting in that 10 years ago no one was interested in mining automation on the Earth. Today, automation is a major new inroad for improving productivity and safety. This was from a presentation that CAT did at the Justap conference in Hawaii last week.

      When we get the level of automation that already is on the horizon here on the Earth, it will be far easier to adapt that to the Moon rather than doing all the design work from scratch as has been the case with lunar mining efforts so far. The march of terrestrial technology is beginning to have a major impact on our ability to implement these systems off planet.

      As for other industries. There are a LOT of high tech aerospace alloys that have to be manufactured in-vacuo here on the Earth. Eventually some of this will migrate to orbit or the Moon. That is several steps down the road though. I do think that communications is a near term (laser comms) possibility on the Moon, then at the lunar libration points as you don’t need to fight with the ITU for your orbital slots. People underestimate what that process costs in money and time.

      • Thomas Matula says:

        Dennis,

        Currently I am teaching at Great Basin College in Elko and I have many students that work for Newmont and Barrick. Both firms are exploring robotic systems for mining due to a labor shortage in the mining industry and its a topic we discuss in the Operations Management class I teach.

        BTW here is a great story of the Rio Tinto robotic iron mine in Australia. The cost of supporting a workforce in the outback is so high Rio Tinto decided to use robotic systems so they could keep the bulk of the workforce in Perth, 1300 km away, running many of the operations from a control center via a Satellite link. Their goal is to eventually have the entire workforce in Perth except for a small rotating force of security and maintenance workers.

        http://www.miningtechnologyaustralia.com.au/robotic-wonders

        BTW one of my Newmont students talked manager at the mine at a conference. The manager indicated that despite some fatalities resulting from problems of human/robotic interactions they are still moving forward as they see robotics as the only hope for keeping their costs competitive. They view the fatalities as an unfortunate part of the learning curve for the mine. He also noted the over fatality rate was lower then for convention mines.

  2. ken anthony says:

    A transportation infrastructure that allows for ubiquitous transportation of humans and cargo anywhere in cislunar space

    I would reverse the order and put this in front of lunar mining. First because it would seem to be a natural prerequisite and second because it leads to other activities. By infrastructure I assume we are talking about a general use spaceship and a means of refueling it. We can put the spaceship in orbit now with existing components for under a billion dollars. Doing that drives the rest of the infrastructure making the next steps much more obvious as well as producing a new competitive market.

    Lunar mining would then follow close behind. A SSTO reusable lunar lander then becomes the obvious next requirement. It becomes the workhorse for getting equipment and material for bases to the lunar surface.

    • denniswingo says:

      Ken

      The goals are equal in order. I agree on your pricing and infrastructure. That will be developed as we go forward here.

      The SSTO reusable lunar lander is absolutely near the top of the list. However, I think that there will be separate human and cargo systems. Since you don’t have an atmosphere to worry about, the cargo landers will look remarkably different from what you are constrained to do when you have to fit everything into an Earth launched fairing.

  3. Joe says:

    Dennis,
    You said:
    “It is in a 51.6 degree orbit that is considered by some hole pokers as bad, except that it is there, the mass penalty for getting there rather than the lower Florida 28.5 degrees is 6.5% of the payload. “
    I seem to remember you saying (on some website post, I apologize for not being able to be more specific) that the higher inclination of the ISS orbit might not pose a penalty to the lunar payload delivery if the lunar surface site was at a higher inclination (like near the lunar north pole, a likely site to want to establish a mining base).
    Could you either:
    (1) Tell me I am hallucinating (no insult will be taken, like I said the “memory” is vague).
    (2) Expound on this point.
    Thanks,
    Joe

    • denniswingo says:

      Joe

      51.6 degrees is much better than 28.5 degrees for solar electric propulsion. The reason is that the solar beta angle is better as there is more sunlight per orbit, especially near the soltices.

      Also, if you are going into a lunar polar orbit, which is for the most part the desired orbit, it results in about 100 m/s less delta v than going into an equatorial orbit.

  4. Mike Puckett says:

    Since the CRS has no downmass, it will be forever know as the “Can’t Return S%^t” unless they find a better one.

  5. Mike Puckett says:

    Name that is.

  6. Pete says:

    Is this a technological problem or an economic problem? I would question at the outset whether we should focus on one off technological demonstrations (with a hope that industry will follow) or high volume low cost products. Do we want to build mainframes or PCs? Should we not try to create an industry directly? A protectionist monopolistic design shop of high paid experts is not going to achieve anything beyond perhaps a technological demonstration (Apollo-esk) that likely leads no where.

    I agree with your objectives, but I think it is necessary to focus on developing a competitive multiple player industry around those objectives. In part that probably means adopting design formats from the outset that enable competition, and actively avoid those that do not. Small scale mass produced infrastructure is one approach – need to amortize development costs over many units yet not overwhelm the initial market with excess capacity. This also enables multiple customers and suppliers (small design teams plural). It is imperative to avoid a one off design mentality with long prototyping cycles – need a high paced open competitive culture of continual improvement.

  7. denniswingo says:

    A protectionist monopolistic design shop of high paid experts is not going to achieve anything beyond perhaps a technological demonstration (Apollo-esk) that likely leads no where.

    What language you use! Do you consider that the core engineering team at Apple or other silicon valley company by definition would have that as its defining mode of operation? Why? Why not? If you are saying that any group of highly paid engineers inevitably makes the kind of decision that you state, I would have to strongly disagree.

    Enabling an industry is a by product of the activity, not the purpose. Remember the two goals in the beginning. I agree that standardization and modularity are keys in system design and that is part of the discussion regarding reducing costs. I would further state, as I have since 1989 at least, that derivations of IEE standards for electronics/avionics would do more to lower costs than just about any thing that could be done. However, it can’t be the goal as you are back to pushing the string.

    The goal of the highly paid and productive design team is to develop designs that actually make economic sense in the space market utilizing the assets that we have just inventoried in the article. This is what we did in Orbital Recovery, which is also a cautionary tale.

    It does not matter at the end of the day whether or not the idea is technically feasible, it matters whether or not it is financially feasible. Finance and technology go hand in hand in silicon valley as the iPad example shows, and it has to as well in space. Orbital Recovery met both of these criterion but it was and is investment capital that turns ideas into reality. Orbital Recovery was well on the way to working when Walt Anderson was imprisoned, where he remains to this day.

    The difference between Walt, Elon Musk, Robert Bigelow, Jeff Bezos, John Carmack, and others is that they invest because the believe. The timing is right in our society that space investments can work, but they cannot be investments of the type that are amenable to comparison with most existing cold business calculation investments. Its all about perceived risk vs real risk, and this will probably be the title of my next post.

    • Pete says:

      I am all for apple as long as they are not the only game in town.

      The last few years I have actually come around to Charles Pooley’s point of view somewhat. Scale down physically until the market can support significant production numbers – then build designs up in scale as the market grows. Although I would also be looking at LEO and lunar applications of such small payloads.

      The investment money derived from the internet revolution which has been applied to space development is impressive. If a general culture/architecture could be established in which multiple ~$10m dollar startups could make significant progress then I think practical funding might become possible. What space development startups could be established for $10m? What problems/markets/developments could be tackled (assuming specialization)?

      One such startup I might consider if I had a spare $10m would be to become a supplier of basic inflatable habitat modules only, assembled from standardized 100kg payloads. Let other startups develop tugs, propellant depots, life support, power systems, etc. Realistically though, the market probably needs to start out at around 10kg standardized payload modules or less – to achieve the necessary production volumes within the near term likely market size. Use orbital assembly from there.

      • Problem with inflatable modules is what Bigelow has overlooked:
        means to get there. This is absolutely fatal. If no one goes to his “hotels” how will they do any more than what they are doing right now?

        For space startup, launch means if vital. Whoever develops that is in the space business.

        • Pete says:

          That is actually part of the point of ~100kg modules for inflatable habitats – it also helps create a market for launch vehicles at a minimum size that might also carry a person. Market is half the problem for low cost launch vehicles so it would be a waste not to size space development payloads to help create that market. As you have no doubt noticed there are far more new space startups developing launch vehicles than developing payloads for them. One of the best ways of encouraging the development of low cost launch vehicles is to develop a market for them.

          • denniswingo says:

            I have to disagree about Bigelow. I worked there for a stint in 2004 and what I respect most about his work is the diligence in testing of the inflatable systems.

            Markets are created by customers. What are your customers for these small vehicles. I ask this because I have been working with small satellites since 1989 and still to this day have not seen the market materialize that proponents have claimed.

            • Pete says:

              Indeed I think this is much of the engineering challenge, finding near term ways to high production numbers and the high developmental rates they enable. This is where I suspect disruptive technologies can arise.

              For example, one such enabling technology I have been considering is a scaled up electric quadrotor for air launching small rockets (10-15km, very fast turnaround, easy and cheap OTS components). This solves a number of problems, most significantly it greatly reduces aero loses so that micro launch vehicles are no longer seriously disadvantaged in terms of performance as compared to larger vehicles. New RLV designs could be iterated quickly at small scale and reentry design could be thoroughly explored.

              What other such large production number enabling technologies are possible? I especially liked the idea of wafer sized PV/light sail/antenna/computer mesh network arrays – can not currently find that paper. Satellite cell phone internet would be a huge market if the price was low enough. But as always, the ultimate market for space settlement is space settlement, we just need to get the cost low enough so that people can afford it – which probably means starting out small.

              • denniswingo says:

                If there are customers, high production is not that big of a deal. Lockheed, when they built the first generation Iridium spacecraft got the bus cost down to about $20M each. While that is still a lot of money, that was for a 1400 kg spacecraft. That is impressive.

                If you have customers for your technology, then you will have a market. I have yet to see the case made for the customers of these small systems. I understand what swarms of satellites can do but I also understand the technical difficulty of getting swarms to operate as a single entity.

                The market for space settlement is not just going to emerge from the primoridial ooze of space development. There has to be a pull as well as a push. Customers and markets come first. We proved in Orbital Recovery that if you have a product at the right price, the market and the customers are there. I would much rather see arguments related to this rather than gee whiz tech. I will get to this in the next post.

      • denniswingo says:

        Again, who are the customers? What are the applications that are going to drive the numbers that you talk about? I love small satellites but I have been playing with them since the 1980′s and still have not seen the customers come in the numbers that small sat proponents have claimed.

        I have been working lately on some work that will allow clusters of birds to work together and things do look promising there. Maybe that is a path forward for sparse apertures.

  8. Joe says:

    Dennis,

    Thanks for the information. You said:

    “51.6 degrees is much better than 28.5 degrees for solar electric propulsion. The reason is that the solar beta angle is better as there is more sunlight per orbit, especially near the soltices.
    Also, if you are going into a lunar polar orbit, which is for the most part the desired orbit, it results in about 100 m/s less delta v than going into an equatorial orbit.”

    That would seem to make the ISS 51.6 degree orbit a feature rather than a bug. 

    Another question. The ISS (then Space Station Freedom) originally had a design that included provisions to support on orbit assembly, but these were removed for budgetary reasons (even the “scarring” to allow their addition later was eliminated). Is anyone looking at what modifications/additions to the current ISS configuration would be required to support the kind of on orbit assembly we are discussing?
    Thanks,
    Joe

    • denniswingo says:

      Joe

      I cleaned up your post a bit, hope you don’t mind, just wanted to make it more readable.

      There is a lot of myth about the ability of ISS to support on orbit assembly. It is odd that this is so because if ISS could not support on orbit assembly today, how did it get on orbit assembled in the first place? Now the Shuttle and it’s arm was there but the station arm has been used for a heck of a lot of the assembly as well in concert with the shuttle arm.

      I spoke once with some of the people that put those features in the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) era and they said that those were added because they were asked to add them. There is nothing that actually requires the hanger that would preclude us from doing so.

      • Joe says:

        Dennis,

        “I cleaned up your post a bit, hope you don’t mind, just wanted to make it more readable.”
        Not a problem (I will take all the help I can get). Actually what is posted looks like what (I at least thought) I wrote.
        “There is a lot of myth about the ability of ISS to support on orbit assembly. It is odd that this is so because if ISS could not support on orbit assembly today, how did it get on orbit assembled in the first place? Now the Shuttle and it’s arm was there but the station arm has been used for a heck of a lot of the assembly as well in concert with the shuttle arm.
        I spoke once with some of the people that put those features in the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) era and they said that those were added because they were asked to add them. There is nothing that actually requires the hanger that would preclude us from doing so.”
        I actually worked on the EVA operations portion of Space Station Freedom for McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Division (now Boeing). I agree about the unpressurised hangers themselves, but was thinking about attach points on the truss structure to secure one part being assembled while another is being attached. The shuttle basically serves this purpose at the moment, but will not for much longer.

        Joe

  9. Presently the first thing that should be developed is a culture–a community of involved (unmanned) space explorers with frequent low cost launches of small but functional spacecraft. By the thousands. Moon has been landed on 19 times. Make that 1900+
    NEOs have been photographed a few times. Make that thousands.

    Develop an analog to the advent of Altair and its kind. The hardware for this is now available. Google “microlaunchers”

    • denniswingo says:

      Charles

      Who is going to pay for that? What low cost launch are you talking about? Again, it is so easy to get caught up in the greatness of what eventually will be done and focus energies on that rather than focus on what we have to do today, now, to start the process of the economic development of the solar system.

      What would be your FIRST mission and how would you pay for it? To simply say that the government should do this is fine, but since we don’t control the decadal surveys or the exploration planning, we have to focus on what we can do without having to go begging to NASA.

      That is what I would like people to think about. There is too much valid criticism of the grand plans and grand visions. What do we do today, now, with the resources that we may be able to muster from private sources.

      The answer ends up far differently than for the government model.

      • denniswingo says:

        Develop an analog to the advent of Altair and its kind. The hardware for this is now available. Google “microlaunchers”

        I hear this premise a lot from people but it is difficult to apply to space. The Altair was built at a company that was dying due to the end of the Apollo program. They were looking for things to do that did not cost a lot of money to implement.

        The modularity and expandability of the S-100 bus was crucial to the early development of the computer industry but again the capital required to do this in general is a small fraction of the capital required for spacecraft. Sorry but I don’t buy microlaunchers for BEO missions.

      • Pay for it? Customers. Early income could be Cubesat launch service. The 1st flights would be related to N Prize or the Nanosatellite Challenge of next year ($2 million prize). The plan is for a production run of about 100 launchers at well under $10,000 each, and what does not get used in prize attempts becomes a product–at first, launch service. There are over 100 Cubesats waiting for launch.
        “grand plans/visions” will not materialize because of high cost, exclusivity–limited chance for participation.
        In comment below, mention of S-100 bus is carrying the analogy too far.
        Spacecraft can be inexpensive, simple, yet still do things that engage interest, ie flyby/photograph NEOs in large numbers.
        Then, later, develop 1 watt level colloid or FEEP propulsion for rendezvous. Still inexpensive for same reasons model airplanes are much cheaper than full size ones. Tech/parts to do this are now available.

        It will be done by those who get, like the idea, not by those who do not.

        • denniswingo says:

          Charles

          I don’t want to discount what you say as there is too much of that here in the world, especially when you are working to make it happen!

          I have not looked into the picospacecraft approach enough to make an engineering evaluation, may need to do so now.

          I wish you luck and will keep the popcorn warm!

  10. Martijn Meijering says:

    1. A self sustaining (as opposed to self sufficient) lunar industrial outpost that creates more value in dollars returned to the investor over time than the cost of the enterprise.

    Why a lunar outpost as opposed to a LEO outpost? Less exciting perhaps, but a less ambitious first step. Still very ambitious.

    • denniswingo says:

      Martijn

      We have a LEO outpost already, it is called ISS.
      When Bigelow flies we will have two.
      That problem is solved.

      • Martijn Meijering says:

        Well, it’s not self-sustaining yet. Once it is, the moon may be a good next target.

        • denniswingo says:

          Martijn

          ISS does not have to be self sustaining until the governments decide to quit subsidizing it. Since it is now slated to be around till 2020, it is safe to say that we can use it till then. Maybe Bigelow will be in orbit by the time ISS is retired.

          • Martijn Meijering says:

            Well, I would want a self-sustaining LEO presence for the same reason I would like to see a self-sufficient lunar base. A subsidised LEO presence is no substitute for that. Now, if there is enough money then I believe building a lunar base with a transport system based around propellant transfer and freely competing commercial launchers is one of the best ways to establish a self-sufficient presence in LEO. But there does not appear to be enough money, at least not money that doesn’t have strings attached in the form of pork. A self sustaining LEO presence may be all that is feasible in the short to medium term.

            • denniswingo says:

              Martin, I prefer to deal with what is, rather than what I want the universe to be. We will have ISS till 2020. It is a platform to use. If we do it right, we can make it self sustaining by then or have enough business to buy a Bigelow station.

              That is how I want to think about the subject. We continue to get lost by talking about what we want rather than deal with what is and use that to get us to where we want to be.

  11. Joe says:

    Dennis,

    The handholds would be difficult to use in reacting role/pitch/yaw loads (not that they would not take the loads, but it would be hard to secure a payload to them).

    I have to admit I am not familiar with the Express external attach points. The only Express payloads I have encountered were IVA and mounted in the ISPRs. Going to have to do a little “homework”.

    Now that I think of it, however, the ISS truss has a pretty extensive network of EVA foot restraint sockets strategically place around it. These are built to react role/pitch/yaw loads and to allow the EVA foot restraints to be installed by the station arm. That would probably be a god place to start.

    Joe

  12. denniswingo says:

    There are a lots of places to do things on the station. Looking forward to using them all!

  13. ken anthony says:

    the cargo landers will look remarkably different from what you are constrained to do when you have to fit everything into an Earth launched fairing

    I look forward to hearing more about this.

    I usually assume a lunar lander would be launched into earth orbit dry. Then I wonder, might it be it’s own final stage to orbit increasing it’s potential size?

  14. ken anthony says:

    I’ve got a blog post with an amazing robot hand video you might want to see.

    • denniswingo says:

      Ken

      The German Space Agency DLR has an amazing three fingered hand as well. Interesting stuff going on in robotics, and it is truly going to be a new tech revolution. It will do great things to help lower the cost of the economic development of the solar system.

  15. Bill White says:

    Dennis Wingo is spot on, here, with respect to market demand:

    There has to be a pull as well as a push. Customers and markets come first.

    The technology exists to develop the Moon; the real challenge is identifying and persuading potential customers to step forward.

  16. Rhyshaelkan says:

    Great to see your blog here Dennis Wingo. Had seen you in a few videos on youtube, and enjoyed them.

    In response to comments about LEO:

    LEO only has a few things going for it. Sterile, vacuum, micro-g, and unfiltered sunlight. Building here first was and is a waste of time. Everything must be carted in from Earth’s surface at great cost.

    To really capitalize on what LEO has to offer we have to get things there more cheaply. This might not mean lower launch costs, but actually industrializing space. However this will take resources. Happily there are resources to be found on Luna.

    Luna does cost more in d/v than NEAs and NEOs however travel time, accessibility, and repeat accessibility seem to make it the better choice for now. As studies continue Luna looks better and better all the time too. With Peaks of Eternal Light, cold-traps with useful amounts of water-ice, and useful volatiles.

    What we land there in the initial phases, is of great importance. I do not think we should instantly try to recreate Terran industry. That would mean multitudinous launches, all costing a pretty penny. By bootstrapping, landing tools, to build more advanced tools, to build more advanced tools, to build modern tools, etc, etc, we could reach Terran level industry without launching the whole kit-n-caboodle up there.

    I will not bore the audience with more details though. As many great minds have already posted many plans.

    Again, greetings to Dennis,
    Rhy.

  17. gbaikie says:

    You seem to want near term ways to make it happen and consider ISS as useful resource.
    Perhaps one should plan on securing this ISS resource. We know ISS will flying in a decade?
    Would possible for association/organization take over the operation of ISS at some point in the future.
    Could one build an international organization- or is there one already?
    I suppose you recall the save Mir project- could get early start in this direction by have an organization
    with years of experience and coordination ready to take over ISS?
    And in meantime such organization work with NASA and other govts help it’s members do projects on
    ISS ?

    • denniswingo says:

      G

      I apologize for taking so long to get back to this. Building my solar trailers has taken all my time. The thing that is needed now is money. We have the technology, we have the customers, the problem is convincing investors that the risks are manageable and the returns justify the risk. I am not worried about the structure of whoever is operating ISS.

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