[ExI] new heavy lifter

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Apr 7 15:05:04 UTC 2011

... On Behalf Of Stefano Vaj
Subject: Re: [ExI] new heavy lifter

2011/4/6 spike <spike66 at att.net>:
>> Back in 1979... acquainted with many of these smart guys, including my
girlfriend’s father.
>> He had crystal foresight: ...  All this was well known by summer of 1979,
two years before first flight.

>So, what should they have done, in your opinion?--Stefano Vaj

With the advantage of hindsight, what should have been done in 1979? 

	* Cancel the shuttle program, forget returning payloads from space.
That was a bad idea all along.  Most of the time, the shuttles returned
nearly empty, which is why they didn't break up on re-entry from structural

	* Make a small re-entry vehicle, possibly even with wings and
wheels, but no cargo bay, with six seats, three rows of two, or possibly
five: one three one, with a heat shield and parachute landing.  Keep a
smaller two-seat re-entry body like the Gemini capsule (which is steerable
to some extent and has a ground landing option.)  Keep a single seat RB like
the Mercury capsule with sea-landing only capability.

	* Have a small man-lifter that doesn't do much other than haul
humans, four at a time, to orbit.  The acceptable risk per launch is about
1% for man-rated launch.

	* Make heavy-lift non-man rated.  This allows engineers to cut
margins closer.  Set acceptable risk to 10% loss per launch, for enormous
weight savings.  That isn't far off from what we ended up doing anyway, with
the Titan and Delta families heavy lifters.  The heavies could be more
Titaney and less Delta-ey, but that might be personal bias.  The Booeing
boys might disagree. 

	* Forget the space station.  We had one of those in 1975, and we
already knew in 1979 that humans can live a long time in weightlessness, and
that they have nothing to do up there but copulate.  (Well what you think
they are doing up there for months at a time?)

	* Use most of that NASA budget in figuring out how to build highly
capable autonomous robotics, to eventually assemble space stations and build
Mars habitats.  Have NASA study science, not humans in weightlessness for

	* Use NASA budgets to work out aggressive goals for miniaturization,
which has one hell of a lot of commercial spinoff.

	* Encourage space commercialization at every step.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list