August 06, 2010
A New Ticket to Ride?
Posted by scott at August 06, 2010 06:45 AM
The guys over at SpaceX are proposing a whole slew of new heavy-lift vehicles for future production. One is roughly as powerful as the Space Shuttle, another actually exceeds the capabilities of the venerable Saturn V. Proposing is, of course, not the same as building, but at least these guys don't have to go hat-in-hand to Congress every time they think of something clever.
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All well and good, but "transition to flight development" not to begin until 2025?
As I'm reading it they're referring to the nuclear thermal propulsion by 2025 (and that's gov't led and funded). The stuff they're talking about building could be available in 3 years or so. Cool concept they've got. Put a Low Earth Orbiter out there and then use unmanned "tugs" to bring payloads to Mars. Once it's ready, then we send out humans in the nuclear thermal system so they get there relatively quickly. To get home, they use methane from Mars to get off the planet's surface.
Might be workable.