We believe there is a great benefit to our Nation in the opening of the space frontier. Space is about more than science or exploration. Frontiers are about creating prosperity and realizing potential. The contribution of American space efforts to our national economy and to human welfare has barely begun. We face many challenges: ensuring a permanent supply of clean, low-cost energy, strategic metals and, providing robust protection against asteroid impact. Affordable space transportation is necessary to enable all of these benefits.
The present House bill will delay the time when space can make a greater contribution to our national welfare. The most useful thing this Congress can do to lower the cost of launch is to create a market for space transportation services. The Kelly Act of 1925, which contracted for private air mail delivery, is a successful example. A consequence of the Kelly Act was the development of the DC-3. As students of history note, the commercial DC-3 ( re-designated the C-47) was an important element in winning WWII.
American industry — rather than Russian — will soon be able to supply commercial transportation to the ISS and to commercial space stations. NASA purchase of commercial crew services would accelerate the maturation of this industry.
Continue reading Space Studies Institute urges the Congress to defeat H.R. 5781
Space Manufacturing 14: Critical Technologies for Space Settlement will be held at NASA Ames Conference Center in Mountain View, CA, October 30 and 31, 2010.
Attendance will be limited to 200 participants, due to meeting room capacity. Registration and hotel reservation information are here.
First, thank you for your support of the Space Studies Institute. SSI was founded on the principle that the technology we develop to industrialize and settle space is our best hope for the future. SSI’s mission is to help complete the missing technical steps to open the High Frontier. SSI does this by supporting research and holding conferences to:
1. Determine the critical path to space settlement
2. Identify missing technology
3. Fund the development of that technology
Over the past three decades, your contributions have laid the groundwork for Burt Rutan’s X Prize winning SpaceShipOne, XCOR’s suborbital spacecraft Lynx, and the first production of engineering materials from lunar resources. You have also helped propel discovery of hydrogen at the lunar poles, a workable design for a closed all biological life-support system, three generations of mass driver engines, and the discovery of the Near Earth Object population.
It seemed to Professor Dyson and me that the key technology to make SSI’s research worthwhile was a mature space transportation system. Without affordable space access, any additional time, money and talent SSI would spend developing technologies for use in space would be premature and not cost-effective.
Accordingly, SSI’s most recent hardware project was an investment in XCOR Aerospace to support rocket engine pump development. DARPA matched SSI’s investment four to one. The cryogenic and propellant pump systems made possible by that SSI investment are an integral part of the propulsion system developed by the company for its fully reusable suborbital launch vehicle, the Lynx. The pumps not only boost the performance of its long-lasting 5K18 liquid oxygen-kerosene engines, they also permit XCOR to improve performance through use of lighter tanks that conform to the spacecraft’s aerodynamic shape.
These kinds of technical advances move us closer to affordable space access and are proof that SSI can make a difference through targeted investment in research and technological development.
Continue reading SSI Update December 2009