NASA’s One Billion Dollars For Commercial Space

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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The purpose of this copyrighted proprietary Transformations, LLC document is two fold: (a) provision technical advisory services to the three (3) contractors on the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) contract and (b) provide government relations services to the contractors. It is also being submitted as an unsolicited proposal to NASA AMES Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory  (JPL).

As reported by Forbes, lobbying the space community, United States Congress and The White House (by Transformations and Common Era) for creating a viable commercial space sector by the United States has worked.

Barack Obama and the United States Congress, after a successful unmanned docking of a private SpaceX capsule with the chronically overdue International Space Station (ISS), are willing to privatize near-earth orbit for commercial space flight at a cost of $1 billion to US tax payers.

At issue, is if the money will be well spent.

The White House and Congress do not care much about the technicalities of space flight as long as it works, when everything around is falling apart from the less esoteric bridges and roads to Detroit’s auto manufacturing business which hires the most number of Americans.

NASA’s $1 billion cannot create more than 2000 high-wage jobs between 3 corporations, Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation which, on average, pay about $200,000 including benefits per worker with typically with highly specialized or advanced degrees, such as my own credentials, in engineering and/or the social sciences to fulfill the terms of their NASA contracts.

These three competing and collaborating companies have to raise about an additional $4 billion (80%) in the financial markets to augment the taxpayer’s $1 billion (assuming 20% government’s take) to be successful in creating a working commercial space market.

Boeing has been regressing, preferring to revert to previous generation designs to save money, by working with NASA on Atlas. SpaceX has taken a similar approach in its unmanned docking. Sierra Nevada Corporation is betting on the shuttle technology. The international space station is unfinished.

Neither the market nor the government has any vision for space for all the various near-earth elements to come together as a coherent whole and in turn to fit with the interplanetary and interstellar exploratory objectives of NASA which have been lingering since the Apollo program, from earthrise to the now marsrise.

Having enabled their market and supported the decision making processes of the United States government in Washington, D.C, we at Transformations suggest the following to achieve coherence to give the most bang (a total commercial space industry jobs potential of 25,000) for the $5 billion bucks for the United States and ask Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation join Common Era as paying members:

First, these corporations must understand that they are a part of a rapidly evolving landscape in US government to architect their corporate strategies accordingly to achieve their complex technical objectives cost-efficiently.

Second, regressing to previous generation technologies such as Atlas for both Boeing and SpaceX to save money is a fool’s errand. Sierra Nevada Corporation is on the right track.

Third, the strategy of private sector coordination with NASA must be circumscribed by, at the present time, a NASA-led (and this may change in terms of space leadership within government as government reform takes shape over time) public vision that connects near-earth space to interplanetary space to ensure that both the public and private funds are used efficiently. For example, the following picture is self-evident of our suggested vision:

Biosphere Robotics: A New Field Of Engineering

Lunar/Martian Habitats

(Copyrighted, All Rights Reserved For Corporation Robotics Biospheres, CRB 
www.futurespace.meTransformations, LLC)

The above picture shows near-earth orbiting space stations.

The innovation in this document is to build the space stations in near-earth space as biospheres to overcome the Robert Zubrin-as-yet-unsolved problem of in situ resource utilization on planets such as Mars. On the moon there are no atmospheric resources to rely on besides the riskier and the more expensive early and inexperienced operations of using surface and sub-surface resources in situ.

Building space stations as biospheres in near-earth space and transiting them to the targets, Moon and Mars, lowers operational risk and increases safety, two important considerations for any space program, manned and unmanned. Moreover, it is a wieldy operation with mostly known and tested technologies since Apollo and Viking missions.

At speeds substantially faster than any speed attained thus far, traveling biospheres as space stations are typically manned missions which can both orbit and land on/leave from Lunar and Martian surfaces easily – to enable quick location of habitable surface bases. Returning or orbiting modules can detach in orbit before the landing of the space station as biosphere on Lunar and Martian surfaces.

Examples of some existing technologies for adaptation and experimentation on a near-earth space station are inflatable habitats by Paragon Space Development Corporation and other known biological components of any recycling biosphere which, however, tend to work well in artificial gravity rather than microgravity – meaning, artificial gravity on a convertible space station/biosphere is both a necessary and sufficient condition.

The purpose of manned space flights to the Moon and Mars and surface habitats is to sequentially have more than one habitat over time, as in a campground. All such habitats cannot be fully pre-fabricated space stations traveling back and forth. It is more efficient for the first habitat to typically be a space station/biosphere with artificial gravity (the anthropocene bubble).

Biospheres, therefore, must be able to carried as payload on future crafts. These should either be able to be delivered to existing habitats or delivered for autonomous deployment on the surface.

Such compact folded structures, typically inflatable geodesic domes of various sizes loaded with supplies, should be able to deploy autonomously both with and without prior habitats in place – meaning, imagine a Martian rover as a biosphere – it lands, opens into a structure at a pre-assigned location and begins to function using a sequence of small, programmed, remotely controllable steps awaiting human habitation.

The technology of the vehicles per se is not new. That the payload is a compact convertible orbiting vehicle/biosphere is new.

Terrestrial test locations

The test locations on earth, before authorized space missions, for both the space station/biospheres and compact orbiting vehicles/biospheres are Death Valley in Arizona and the Sahara desert in North Africa – for landing from near-earth space at the selected locations after entering Earth’s atmosphere for (autonomous) deployment and full functionality awaiting human occupation upto one month at a time.

The vision of the Lunar/Martian habitat is our logo of the crab above in physical design as the blue crab shell structure happens in nature – in flight, and once on location it is expected to inflate into a full size geodesic dome. Space stations orbiting near-earth can also be launched and deployed similarly instead of assembling in space.

The thinking behind this idea traces back to Jules Verne (1865).

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About Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa

http://www.thecommonera.com/Common_Era/Me.html
This entry was posted in Biology, Computing and Communications, Economics, Energy and Natural Resources, Engineering, Finance, Foreign Policy, Government, Health, Industry, Infrastructure, Migration, Monetary Policy, National Security and Defense, North America and Caribbean, Transformations LLC and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to NASA’s One Billion Dollars For Commercial Space

  1. Sine Arrow says:

    OK, …some corrections about civilian US government space policy and spending.

    “The White House and Congress do not care much about the technicalities of space flight as long as it works,”

    It is not just that they don’t care about the technicalities, …they don’t care much about spaceflight at all. Excepting the members representing districts where contractors have people employed, there are usually about a dozen House members who will vote for spaceflight just because they think it’s a good thing. *Every* vote beyond that, outside of the NASA contractor’s districts, has to be got by being horse-traded for non-NASA spending projects in other member’s districts. In the Senate, the numbers are worse. *Inside* those districts, the members didn’t care at all that the “Constellation” program was sliding its schedule into the future *more*than*a*year*, for every year that $Billions were spent on Constellation in the members districts. That just meant their constituents would have secure employment that much longer!

    “when everything around is falling apart from the less esoteric bridges and roads to Detroit’s auto manufacturing business which hires the most number of Americans.”

    Everywhere union jobs are more politically important than competently managed companies and projects, the government, whether federal, state, or local, will only encourage companies that hire the most union people on projects, not the ones that produce salable cars, or bridges that stand up. Look at what the administration did to US Toyota factories, one of the most successful US auto makers. The government tried to claim runaway Toyota cars had killed people, and then hid the report that noted *every* recoverable recorder in those crashes showed the drivers foot on the accelerator was floored till the moment of impact. Why? Toyota is *not* a company that has UAW contracts.

    The auto industry is *not* employing more people than banking, or many other service sector industries. They used to do so, but automation and their lack of competitive competence has reduced their employment numbers.

    “Boeing has been regressing, preferring to revert to previous generation designs to save money, by working with NASA on Atlas. SpaceX has taken a similar approach in its unmanned docking.”

    Saving money, while getting a desired capability, is what competent management does! Many of the features on the new capsules represent advances on Apollo era technology. These companies are *not* just in the business of selling pretty powerpoint slides to Congress! They know that they must *sell* launches and deliveries to very conservative customers for comsats valued above $500 Million. They must sell launches to the customers of Bigelow Aerospace, who will be operating space stations requiring cargo and human flights to them. SpaceX must eventually sell human BEO flights on their launchers.

    “Neither the market nor the government has any vision for space for all the various near-earth elements to come together as a coherent whole and in turn to fit with the interplanetary and interstellar exploratory objectives of NASA which have been lingering since the Apollo program, from earthrise to the now marsrise.”

    That’s really not true. SpaceX has repeatedly stated its intention is to make Homo Sapiens Sapiens a multi-planet species. NASA is *certainly*not* the group to provide it, because Congress does not want that!

    If anything is needed from government policy, it is a recognition that human spaceflight is about settling the Solar System. For that, there is far less need of an over-arching vision about any specific set of goals than for multiple technology developments from NASA, such as In Situ Resource processing, propellant depots, reusable landers and other basic needs. This is resisted in Congress. Since small tech development projects have fewer components, their budgets can be distributed to fewer subcontractors, in fewer congressional districts, so votes by members from other districts have to be bought with other non-NASA funding compromises.

    “First, these corporations must understand that they are a part of a rapidly evolving landscape in US government to architect their corporate strategies accordingly to achieve their complex technical objectives cost-efficiently.”

    Why? There is *no* indication in the last 40 years that NASA or the US government is at all competent to “architect their corporate strategies”. Congress is not interested in efficiency, and these companies know that better than anyone else!

    “Second, regressing to previous generation technologies such as Atlas for both Boeing and SpaceX to save money is a fool’s errand. Sierra Nevada Corporation is on the right track.”

    And yet Sierra Nevada has designated Atlas5 as their primary launch vehicle. Atlas5 has the *name* of the original Atlas vehicle, and little else! SpaceX has not used old tech in developing its Falcon series of rockets, and are producing them and operating them at costs deeply lower than anyone else on Earth. Their prices reflect this, and will do so even more as competition begins to push them. They eill do so even more as their reusability tech development (Grasshopper) moves forwards.

    “Third, the strategy of private sector coordination with NASA must be circumscribed by, at the present time, a NASA-led (and this may change in terms of space leadership within government as government reform takes shape over time) public vision that connects near-earth space to interplanetary space to ensure that both the public and private funds are used efficiently.”

    For what sane reason should a should the actions of private citizens in spaceflight be circumscribed by a government that has shown itself interested in little more from NASA than jobs in as many political districts as possible, and some pretty space pictures and ISS videos to justify it? It is in the private sector that vision is being demonstrated, both in long-term goals, and in the short-term need for profitable operations.

    Tom Billings

  2. 4m Ali Weinberg ‏@AliNBCNews
    On Space Coast, Obama touting the Curiosity Mars rover, criticizes House Republicans for proposing R + D cuts
    Expand Reply Retweet Favorite

    1m 1776 @1_776
    @AliNBCNews They already have $1 billion for now. http://ctamirisa.com/2012/08/03/nasas-one-billion-dollars-for-commercial-space … , http://ctamirisa.com/2012/08/02/united-states-national-security-posture-and-defense-budget
    Hide conversation Reply Delete Favorite
    1:12 PM – 9 Sep 12 · Details

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