Re: lunar shuttles
21 Jul 1999 14:57:59 -0700
Yes. Although the only point I was making is that the shuttle
would not have to be *entirely* re-designed for it make it to lunar
orbit. An ideal lunar transport it is not!
Now a more reasonable cis-lunar transport infrastructure would
consist of the following modular components:
- A cheap (meaning fast turn around) and reliable fleet of SSTO fully
re-useable Earth-LEO vehicles. This means costs below $500/lb.
- A fleet of inter-orbital transfer vehicles. Ideally, we would
have several vehicles of varying payload capacity. Small and fast
vehicles for crew and emergency supplies. Large and slow tugs
for more massive payloads. These would never land on a
planetary surface, so their design constraints would be quite lax.
These vehicles could be used to go from LEO, GEO, lunar orbit and
- A small fleet of re-useable lunar-landing vehicles. These would only
go from lunar surface to lunar orbit. With no atmospheric drag and
a small escape velocity - these vehicles would be substantially easier to
design and build than those of #1.
- And finally some small space stations for parking, refueling and maintaining
the above fleet.
One of the first priorities of this new infrastructure would be the development
of space-based resources. If rocket fuel can be produced from raw lunar
soil, then this would substantially reduce the cost of maintaining
this transport infrastructure considerably.