[FPSPACE] Golder Spike - affordable manned flights to the Moon

Christopher Gorski cpgorski at gmail.com
Fri Dec 14 11:01:08 EST 2012

On Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 8:41 PM, Robert Reeves <reeves10 at satx.rr.com> wrote:

> The lander vehicle, shown sitting on the Moon seems a little too small
> to be feasible, but I could be wrong:
> http://www.slate.com/content/**dam/slate/blogs/bad_astronomy/**
> 2012/12/06/goldenspike_lander.**jpg/_jcr_content/renditions/**original<http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/blogs/bad_astronomy/2012/12/06/goldenspike_lander.jpg/_jcr_content/renditions/original>
> Perhaps the fine print says it a one-way trip....
> I wish Golden Spike well, but have the nagging feeling it will go the way
> of the number of starup rocket companies that came and went with the "space
> tourist" push a decade ago.
> Without deep pockets up front, I fear no hardware will evolve to suport
> this.

It was pointed out to me recently (I don't remember by whom, though I don't
think it was on this list) that although it's an exciting time to be a
billionaire (with private spacecraft companies, private submersibles...),
not many actual private individuals are likely to have $1.5 Bn burning a
hole in their pockets for even the most exotic of getaways... It seems much
more likely to be within the price range of a national government to decide
they want to conduct lunar operations and to buy a ride rather than build
the infrastructure from scratch domestically.

What particular national interest would be served by a purchased two-man
hop to the Moon remains unclear--it's not like you'd get the national
prestige or the missile-building experience that drove Apollo, and it's not
like they're talking about a program for sustained operations or returning
materials (even if you could come up with a material that was worth more
than the $Bn flight--helium-3 snake oil, anyone?).  But if a single one of
these flights ever happens, that seems a lot more likely scenario than the
hypothetical infinitely-deep-pocketed tourist, who, after all, hasn't been
buying LEO flights either--with a couple of exceptions that are nearly two
orders of magnitude cheaper.

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