An alternative definition of industrial space exploration

24.05.2012

Independent analyst suggested alternative trend of industrial development space. In contrast to the well-known promising concepts, such as the space elevator, mining helium — 3 on the moon or the development of space tourism industry, "space industry development scenario" proposed by the inventor Nicholas Agapovs, designed for enabling technologies and economics of the present time and is able to bring quick financial returns. Which allows to realize it at the expense of private investors.


The accepted term projects designed to usual methods of organization and the use of innovative, not achievable to date technology, which is a stumbling block for them. Cost-effectiveness of the proposed scenario is achieved not so much by new technologies, but rather because of new approaches.

Scenario development involves the creation of "Industrial space group," whose mission is to service commercial satellite constellation. The global satellite industry, currently the only segment of the space, successfully developing in line with the commercial development of space. The turnover of the satellite industry has already exceeded all put together budgets space agencies and continues to grow rapidly. Service satellite fleet currently the only area of commercial space activities can ensure the financing of large infrastructure projects.

Transport infrastructure and technological base, created in orbit for satellite service, may later serve as a means of industrial space colonization.
The basis of the industrial groupings are several promising projects space transportation systems, commercial space station, which serves transport terminal and a base for technological and industrial activities. And the resource base on the moon, providing a constellation of relatively cheap lunar resources.
The primary means of delivering cargo into orbit should be set from a specialized light carrier — "Pony" and the space station — the "Space Port" which serves as a transport terminal and the mounting platform.


Pony carrier has a low starting weight due to failure of the turbine for supplying the fuel in favor displacement of the compressed air tanks. And no autonomy in flight, due to the failure of autonomous control systems for the benefit of remote control with a focus on terrestrial and orbital beacons. But these defects are compensated by the advantages of this medium, low cost and ease of production, allowing it to become the main "workhorse" of the satellite industry.


Payload carrier pony is not high enough to remove a majority of satellite launch, so the Pony must take satellites in part, in the form of standardized modular units designed for the assembly of finished spacecraft in orbit.


The system of breeding "Pony — Spaceport" allows to reduce the cost of removal, up to $ 1,000 per kilogram, compared to 3, 5, thousand $, typical of most of the traditional media and creates a trend of commercialization of manned space flight. Unlike the controversial space tourism, maintenance of traffic gives a confident niche for commercial industry with a turnover of up to several billion dollars a year. The "Pony — Spaceport" is calculated on the available technology and infrastructure costs are relatively small, at high load it will surely pay off in a few years.


Apart from the function of removing part of the "Spaceport" should serve as a transshipment base which is used to transport the relationship of launch from surface to orbit and orbital transportation systems.


Now for the movement in space using disposable orbital stages in the chemical fuel similar to rocket stages and the same "Ravenous". But in order to reduce fuel consumption, the company is actively developing new electric propulsion, less powerful but much more economical. Cost-effectiveness of electro-motors can replace disposable — "The upper stage," reusable transport ships, working as a permanent orbital fleet, able to reduce considerably the costs excretion into high orbit, carrying satellites into space stations to service and install permanent traffic bridge to the moon and other planets.


To work space tug needs a base in orbit, which functions in the same take on "Spaceport".


The main source of fuel for orbital tugs to serve crushed into fine dust lunar soil. Details of the "electro-jet engines Plasma" powder can consume fuel, as well as any available liquid substance, these potentially multifuel engines.


Production of powder from the lunar soil, does not require a technologically sophisticated processing of raw materials and high energy costs, which can significantly reduce the financial cost of the equipment for "Powder" resource bases on the moon. Derivation of "mineral dust" into orbit from the surface of the moon, it is assumed by mechanical catapult — "Moonlight sling", similar to a helicopter rotor with carbon-fiber or Kevlar belts kilometer long instead of the blades. The low gravity and lack of atmosphere on the moon, can be derived for mechanical devices. In contrast to the electromagnetic guns, mechanical "Sling" relatively easy and cheap device. And unlike the jet launch vehicles is downright cheap fuel, allowing the orbit lunar resources on an industrial scale, with purely symbolic cost.


The fuel most consumed Consumables for on-orbit, removing the fuel from the ground expensive lunar powder fuel is much cheaper bude earth. What creates the popular trend of use of lunar resources in orbit and the further commercial development of the moon, and in the future and asteroids.


Lunar materials can serve not only as a source of fuel, but also the raw material for the production of liquid oxygen, ceramics, metals and products from them, on the orbital production centers. That can serve as a sought-after area of the development of industrial activities in space.


Cosmic production, beginning with the development of industrial facilities for recycling plastic bins disposable rockets into organic fuel, production of load-bearing structures and parts of metallic parts of rockets or old satellites. And other useful gratuitous recycling and garbage in Earth orbit will eventually be able to develop into an independent branch of the space industry.


The entire space industrial group, consisting of the transport system, the raw moon base and support bases in Earth orbit, should serve as a means of service and the development of commercial satellite constellation, returning the investment in the form of lower cost of commercial satellite services and creating new opportunities for expansion.


New opportunities for the development of the satellite industry can provide multiple reduction of transport services, installation and maintenance of spacecraft in orbit.


So the place of traditional communications satellites in low orbit can be mounted platforms with large areas of mesh antennas capable of receiving cell phone calls are mass-produced and broadcast signals to phones, modems, televisions, radios, and other "personal terminals."
The system "Cellular satellite communications", will make it more affordable communication services, broadband, multi-channel broadcasting, and significantly increase investment in space.


Reducing the cost of transport and the appearance of editing options that will give the same opportunity to develop space solar power. Cosmic vacuum and weightlessness can build ultra-light reflecting mirror of a thin film km in length, giving the energy flows of industrial capacity. Through the activities of "Orbital transport operating system," the cost of orbiting solar power plants in terms of power can be reduced to $ 1,000 per kilowatt or less, which is comparable to the cost efficiency of terrestrial nuclear power plants, with the difference that the orbital to consume pure gratuitous energy and natural fusion reactor galaxy — the Sun.


The development of energy projects will make space exploration one of the leading industries of the world economy and will attract hundreds of billions of dollars in additional investment. Thus providing a new range of activities and new development potential, since the growth of industry and the economy associated primarily with available sources of energy, and solar energy space is almost inexhaustible.


The presence of space transport makes other planets reachable for people, but in practice, in spite of decades of space development, mankind has not one alien base, and the establishment of permanent settlements on other planets do not even supposed to be. Adopted the concept of space development involve only the new one-time research mission.


The high cost of space transport, contrary to popular belief, is not an insurmountable barrier to space exploration, a clear example of this is the satellite industry. Commercial development of space prevents not only the price, but the absence of a cost-effective strategy. Since the inception of space its main objective was to strengthen the national and political prestige, space missions financed by the state budget, and performed demonstration and scientific problems since then, little has changed. But due to the colonization of budgetary programs do not exist, the desire to learn, some new space may be used only practicality.


In addition, for permanent and humans in space needs large infrastructure projects that require high investments, but they are not needed for advocacy and research missions. The emergence of commercial space resources development projects may change the situation. If the space program will be profitable, and not to spend budgets, private investors will provide the necessary funding and gradual integration into outer space will become an integral part of world economic activity.


Projects related to the industrial development of other planets have the same fundamental contradiction, alien industrial bases require large infrastructure costs, but their efficiency is not high. This creates a gap between investment and time and provide practical benefits, practically avoidable through private investment. Since the private traders will not invest tens of billions of years into a new industry, waiting until she is old enough to work and begin to generate income, private owners want guaranteed profits in the short term.


The concept of the space industry service-oriented satellites can serve demand at present, the industrial area of space activities, serving as a bridge between the already operating satellite industry and large-scale industrial development on other planets in the distant future. The high cost of the satellites and the relative availability of the Moon makes the proposed scenario implemented in the short term direction of industrial space expansion.


Sergei Trofimov.

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