Tuesday, 10 May 2016

From the archives 1: Nautilus and other Private spacecraft

One of the main reasons I took down my old blog was that I as I began by teaching career I  was uncomfortable with some of my old writings being not found by students/colleges/whoever and causing issues. However there were quite a few good, non controversial things that I was sad to see removed from the web. With that in mind this is the first in a series of filler posts look backs on my prior writing. This was originally published 03/04/2011. Since then I think a Biglow/SpaceX manned interplanetary mission is even more likely

Had been meaning to post this vid for a while, which I came across the other week on Hobbyspace. I have been pondering the possibility of craft like this, and the possibility of them being privately funded ever since reading this blog post at Samizdata.

Another kernel of inspiration came from a newsletter I picked up at the BIS the other week, one of which had a summary of this study done by Lockheed-Martin on using Orion capsules to visit a NEO (Near Earth Object). As Orion has been cancelled now this study joins the pile of could have beens proposed over the last 40+ years. It did remind me of a chapter in Bob Zubrin's book Entering space on asteroids missions. It struck me that something similar to this could be put together over the next few years very cheaply.

Using a Bigelow BA330 for the main habitat, Dragon for crew launch and return, F9 upper stages (modified for refueling in orbit and long term propellant storage) and F9/F9 heavy to launch it all an asteroid or Mars orbit mission (to Phobos and Deimos) could be put together for less than $2 billion.

Even cheaper and closer at hand could be a lunar landing, using 2 Falcon heavies to launch fuel pods, a Dragon and a lunar lander developed by Armadillo/Masten. At a guess this could cost less than half a billion all in all.

It would be really cool if this could be done to mark the Apollo 11 50th anniversary landing in 2019!

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