Think the NRC’s Human Spaceflight Committee is Lame? Suggest Some Changes

Altair on the moon

There’s a conspicuous absence of “NewSpace” representatives on the National Research Council’s new space committee, which has been charged by those geniuses in Congress* with examining how to develop a sustainable human spaceflight program in the decades ahead.

Fortunately, the membership list that was published the other day is provision. And the NRC will be taking comments from the public over the next 16 days before finalizing the committee’s roster.

That gives you (YES, YOU!) a chance to weigh in. Follow the instructions at the bottom of this page and click on the feedback button to make your voice heard.

* Technically speaking, Congress — which lacks the ability to formulate a coherent space vision on its own — gave $1 million for the review to NASA’s Office of Inspector General, which lacks the expertise for such a wide ranging study. The IG’s office then hired NRC, which has appointed a provisional membership that lacks a sufficient breadth of experience to conduct a proper review. And since neither NASA nor the President asked for the review, there’s little change they will take the resulting report seriously.

So, what was the point of all this, again? What exactly are they trying to accomplish here?

  • Space has to pay for itself and stop relying on government money. We at USS believes that space development will not only pay for itself but actually turn a profit…a really big profit. There are capabilities in space that can not be achieved here on Earth, we just need to think of it as a resource to exploit. The least expensive resource from space to send back to Earth is energy in the form of environmentally friendly microwaves which is then converted in to standard AC power. For a world in need of clean energy, space contains many times more than will ever be needed and will last for billions of years. Energy from space can provide a start for a space economy, an economy that will one day be larger than Earth’s economy.

  • For one thing, with the first flights of the 53 metric ton(mT) Falcon Heavy in 2014 and the 70 mT SLS in 2017, we will have the capability to mount manned LANDING missions to the Moon, not just circumlunar flights.
    The reason is because of the “Early Lunar Access” architecture for return to the Moon proposed in 1993:

    Encyclopedia Astronautica.
    Early Lunar Access.

    This only required 52 mT to LEO by using a lightweight 2-man capsule and all cryogenic in-space propulsion. So it could be launched either by the Falcon Heavy or by the SLS, even in its first, interim configuration.
    Moreover, the two required cryogenic stages already exist in the Centaur upper stages. All that would be required is integrating the two Centaurs into a single vehicle and adding lander legs for the lander stage.

    Bob Clark

  • G. Bryan Dobbs

    Bill “To Infinity and Beyond!” Nice Buzz Lightyear profile pic on LinkedIn.