Friday, October 14, 2005


Looks like we still haven't learned much from the past 50 years of automobile manufacturing, and how the Japanese kicked our ass with QC controls and mass manufacturing.  You would think that we would learn that doing something repetitively leads to doing it better, and with fewer mistakes.  Limiting our launches to as few as possible to get something done would seem to be the exact opposite of what we should be doing in order to get affordable kick-started.
Small reusable vehicles can revolution access to space the way microcomputers revolutionized access to computing. NASA can help enable a vibrant future where thousands of people travel into space every year -- or it can cling to the super-boosters and mega-modules of the "mainframe" era, in which case the NASA manned space program will continue its slow downward spiral.
An even better idea would be to get a constructed as quickly as possible.  This would both reduce the cost of getting mass up into orbit by orders of magnitude over current methods, and over small RLV's as well, but would also eliminate the risk of the rocket exploding under you a la Challenger and Columbia (I wouldn't take a ride in one that's name started with a C either).  Once we are able to construct the ribbons with the necessary tensile strength, which may already be possible, the rest is cake, and all we have is a long elevator ride to get into orbit.  It is this event that will push mankind into space more than anything that NASA is currently working on.  From there we just need to develop ways of getting around the solar system a bit faster.

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