Don Davis, “the artist most responsible for making space colonies look like a good place to live,” has a great essay this week in Ad Astra online.
In the middle decades of the last century, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, or NACA, developed a large body of engineering data that was crucial to the development of aeronautics in United States during that period. Indeed, that engineering data is used even today by aerospace engineers. After NACA was absorbed into NASA, the functions it performed were gradually lost.
Today, we find that our ability to use the vast energy and materials resources in space is stymied by the lack of cheap space transportation. To develop cheap transportation, basic engineering data need to be developed and disseminated to the entrepreneurial space transportation community. This paper outlines a way for government to effectively assist this new industry whose success is essential to our national security and economic prosperity.