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

Ricky Ng-Adam rngadam at gmail.com
Mon Jan 2 08:41:29 CET 2012

Lots of good discussions here! I agree with both Jerry assertion that a
permanent space station is better than a lunar base (I never understood the
fascination with jumping from one gravity well to the other) and Luke
assertion that we should shoot for something that's realistic in the

My personal 2 cents (that I've shared this with Alex and is part of the
proposal too), is that although we can get a lots of sexy mid-term (space
station), long-term (solar system space bases) and very long-term
(starship) goals the next step is to thrive to getting a self-sustainable
commercial operation in space that can feed other projects.

So logically the focus on generating the needed resources (materials, food)
in space instead of shipping stuff from earth at a prohibitive cost. Ian
idea of demo'ing oxygen generation in space is excellent. What I'd add is
focusing on getting material. This means space mining or more realistically
in the short-term space recycling, so we can build things in space.

An ambitious but achievable goal could be to collect one chunk of space
garbage and turn it into a usable pieces of parts for building. Space
recycling seems like a sexy enough goal to me and it folds nicely into the
trendy "green" movement.

We can also copy off DARPA's Phoenix project (
http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/TTO/Programs/Phoenix.aspx) and make it our

On Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM, Jerry Isdale <jerry at mauimakers.com> wrote:

> A lunar lander/colony may not be the best goal.  I forgot the source but I
> recall arguments that a permanent space station is a better first step.
>  Something more than the current station that doesnt need constant altitude
> boosts (L point located?)
> Getting there and back avoids the gravity well on the other end - you only
> have to worry about earth's well and re-entry.
> And a station has lots of the same issues to solve as a ground habitat...
> with lack of gravity to make things more complicated.
> Jerry Isdale
> http://MauiMakers.com
> http://www.mauimakers.com/blog/thursday-public-meeting/
> On Jan 1, 2012, at 6:00 PM, Luke Weston wrote:
> >> 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.
> >
> > Cheers,
> >  Luke
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伍思力 | Ricky Ng-Adam | http://xinchejian.com | (+86) 186-2126-2521
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