We have finally reached the end of a long journey (yet the beginning of new journey that lies ahead):
When we started this project, we had in mind where we were going with our ideas; and like any endeavor, projects become a process, and that means constantly tinkering with the results. We have reached our goals some time ago and think it warrants saying, though without boasting, that we believe we have built a complete and innovative aerospace model from the ground up, at least on paper as it were, and our modality for missions amounts to basically having a better mouse trap.
The Skylon spacecraft from Reaction Engines, Ltd., denotes that better mouse trap. Using this mode of transportation that may be radical in nature, but with a realistic chance of success, we can deliver more payload for less money, less hassle, less implementation (i.e., no need for launch gantries and the like). More importantly, we envision a 100% reusable resource built on a sustainable rocketry program in all its facets.
Hence, no waste.
We also believe that we have an innovative way to attract investors. They will not only be able to purchase a ticket to stay a week in space, but will also get their investment fully refunded once they have returned from space!
More over, our space tourism concept, which delineates one facet of our multifaceted aerospace program, has a potential for creating thousands of jobs. The delivery package for our passengers also costs far less than any industry currently considering space tourism as an option or its main product.
We deal with how we clean up our own mess (i.e., space debris), we discuss ways of recovering spent satellites, we talk about the problems associated with generating in-situ propellant, etc. etc. We've even created S.T.E.M. projects for high school students! (that is a topic for future DKos posts) We can truly claim to have designed an all-encompassing, complete, robust, and reusable space program.
What proof have we that such a program is cost effective? Well, they do say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So how about two thousand words?
The image above is a cost comparison chart between the Space Shuttle and the shuttle that NASA had salivated over in 1970. It was actually a Space Shuttle-Space Tug combination (image below), where the Shuttle would, for example, lift a satellite attached to a Space Tug up to Low Earth Orbit in its Payload Bay. The Tug would then separate from the Shuttle and place the satellite into Geosynchronous Earth Orbit. The Tug would then return empty, where the Shuttle would recover it, and bring it back to Earth for refurbishing, refueling, and reuse.
What an excellent idea. So this became our business model.
True, we can continue limping along the way the space program has been since the start, thereby shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars to launch and recover vehicles which, of course, adds up to, ultimately, billions of dollars.
We believe that there is a smarter way to go about it. Namely, we can spend the money now, all at once (so to speak), and perfect an epic space program given all the touted features outlined above. Get it right and stay right, and always look for innovations that make space flight even more perfect in the future.
The alternative is limited space payload delivery, that is, missions flown per year, verses a year-round launch and recovery program that pays for itself in any number of ways, and embraces the once far-reaching ideals of the likes of Arthur C. Clark's space wheel, lunar bases, and beyond.
Of course, this all begins by having a much easier way to get into outer space and back down on the ground. Once that problem has been solved, the rest of the problems can be solved relatively quickly and cheaply.
A comment about what is coming next plus the complete diary series is below the fold...