[SpaceProgram] DARPA-RA-11-70 100YSS Notification

Luke Weston reindeerflotilla at gmail.com
Mon Jan 2 05:00:46 CET 2012

> 2. Mini greenhouse on moon within 2 years - I think we could make this a subgoal/milestone of say 'lunar colony in 20 years' which to me is a sexy goal.

But what's the point of having a "sexy goal" if it's not realistic?
Marketing or "selling" something to the public (or governments, or the
media, or potential benefactors) if you don't have good confidence
that you can actually deliver it as promised on the timescale promised
really isn't a very good way to go.

Better to have goals that are challenging, optimistic, exciting, but
still actually within the realm of what you can actually practically
build, on schedule. You've got to crawl before you can walk.

It's worth noting that the only man-rated operational spacecraft
systems in the world at present are the Soyuz and the Long March 2F
(and arguably SpaceShipOne, for very brief suborbital ballistic hops
just barely above the Kármán line).

The only private non-government manned spacecraft capability that has
ever been demonstrated is a couple of brief suborbital ballistic hops,
just barely above the Kármán line, with SpaceShipOne, and no private
corporation or NGO has ever demonstrated manned spacecraft launch
capability to Earth orbit.

Small moves, Ellie.

Let's suppose you want a manned lunar colony. What milestones would
you have to hit?

Let's consider some plausible milestones:

a) Highly reliable unmanned suborbital ballistic rocket launch vehicle
capability designed and built and tested extensively and proven

b) Highly reliable unmanned launch vehicle capability to Earth orbit
designed and built and tested extensively and proven.

(Or, you can buy commercial "off the shelf" access to satellite launch
vehicles that do (b) and skip (a)).

c) Life support and crew support technology designed and built and
tested, spacecraft man-rated and certified for manned brief suborbital
ballistic spaceflight. (eg. SpaceShipOne)

d) As per (c) but extending that to Earth orbit insertion.

e) Trans-lunar injection and lunar orbit rendezvous, guidance and docking.

f) Lunar landing

g) Sustainable life support, energy, safety and habitability for a lunar colony.

h) Transport of a large enough mass of materials and equipment and
components to the moon to actually build a lunar colony.

It's more plausible to work primarily on (a)-(c), or technologies or
components of relevance to those milestones, or the other ones,
perhaps in parallel, patiently, over time, before the whole thing very
slowly starts to become viable.


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