Friday, October 23, 2009

The Final Augustine Report

The Augustine Report is out. Reading it makes me wonder is this the best way to spent $100 billion? Will any of there plans get us any closer to space development?

Sure we should fly out the shuttle payloads, and Ares I has become pointless but what about the rest of it. Is continuing Space Station operations until 2020 going to help space development or has the Space Station just been an expensive detour on the road to space development like the shuttle. Although extending the Station does give good opportunities and money for commercial launch services. This may be the silver lining of a very dark cloud.

The plan calls for heavy lift but all options are reconfigurations of existing technology. Don't you think 40 years after the Saturn 5 technology may have changed enough to consider a blank slate start? Maybe using existed parts maybe not, but starting from scratch, applying the newest technology from all fields. On the subject of heavy lift the report doesn't mention space solar power which is an excellent reason to build a heavy lift vehicle.

The report suggests that Mars is the best planetary surface for settlement. Why are they only looking at planets not moons, why are they only thinking in terms of surface rather than subsurface or orbit. The Moon has a more greater potential for economic development than Mars does.

When is NASA going to look at actual settlement and what it would require rather than just exploration. Do we need a different agency to do space development? NASA and the aerospace community certainly don't seem to be interested.

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