Yesterday’s post discussed an idea that would be a fairly significant shift from our current paradigm. Comparing shifting to tiered launches to this space settlement architecture is like comparing leaving the house five minutes early to getting a car when you previously bike commuted – orders of magnitude more change.
I have pretty polarized feelings about the idea.
On the one hand, it is a very attractive story. The concept of reviving the NASA of the 60’s – a young energetic agency driven by a single road mapped mission is incredibly appealing. Suborbital -> 1 man orbital missions (Mercury) -> 2 man orbital missions (Gemini) -> fly to the moon -> land on the moon (Apollo) analogizes well to LEO->L1->Moon->Phobos->Mars.
However, this whole house of cards requires a consistent base, and NASA’s direction, rather than being a nice solid floor, is more like the deck of a boat in a storm.
The idea of a government agency jointly controlled by the house, senate AND executive branch maintaining a single focused goal for 27 years pushes this idea over the tinfoil hat line. Twenty-seven years is longer than I’ve been alive: can you imagine an entire hotly contested government agency maintaining focus since the Regan Administration? I have a pretty strong imagination and I can’t.
However, the plan does provide a lot of food for thought – my additional responses need some mastication, so stay tuned!