I just finished presenting the Combination Launch System concept at the New Worlds Conference in Austin Texas. The conference was really fun with a lot of great presentations, some potentially world-changing ideas, and a lot of really wonderful people.
The Combination Launch System concept also received a tremendous amount of interest and questions as well as many very positive comments by some very important people as a result of that presentation. My thanks to all who were there for your interest, questions, and comments. It has been a lot of work to create and validate this concept, write the book and put together the presentations, so it is truly gratifying to see people understanding and getting the value of it. I hope all of you will share this idea with everyone you know so that we can get it built.
The Combination Launch System concept is the real deal. It can be affordably built with existing materials and technology, and it will open the high frontier for settlement and development to everyone who has the dream and desire to go there. All that is missing is communicating the idea to enough people so that we can get it built.
The need for a Compelling Economic Reason
One statement that was repeated many times by the business people and venture capitalists at the New Worlds Conference was the need for a compelling economic reason to invest the money for building a more affordable launch system for any space activity. No one is interested in financing a project of this magnitude without the ability to recoup that investment and make a profit. As Robert Heinlein once said, “There is no free lunch.”
Sending people to Mars to build a settlement is not enough of a reason to justify that investment. There needs to be something on Mars that will justify the risk and payback the cost. Something like the gold rush that drew people to California in the 1850s. The same applies to going to the Moon, the asteroids, or building a space colony. There needs to be a compelling reason that is worth all the effort that can’t be obtained for a lower cost on Earth.
The Outpost Space Station
One possible justification for such an investment is when that investment will reduce the cost of an already planned project by more than the cost of the addition. An example of this is the Outpost Space Station that NASA wants to assemble out near the Moon. The cost of launching all the pieces of the Outpost Space Station into orbit, boosting them to escape velocity, and then placing them in orbit at either L1, L2, or around the Moon will be extremely expensive. Sending crews, supplies, and spare parts to it will also be extremely expensive. Building a Combination Launch System to help launch the pieces of the Outpost Space Station into orbit and to escape velocity, as well as for sending crews and supplies to it once it is in position near the Moon, will reduce the cost of the Outpost Space Station program by more than it will cost to build the Combination Launch System. It is a win-win situation that justifies the investment to build the Combination Launch System and makes the Outpost Space Station much more affordable. Also, since the Combination Launch System will make money for its owners, it will also be possible to build every component of the Combination Launch System as a joint government/industry project. That will further reduce the cost of the program.
Think about that for a bit. The Outpost Space Station with Combination Launch System could become the modern-day equivalent of the transcontinental railroad that connected the East Coast with the West Coast and everything in between. Only, in this case, it will connect the Earth with low Earth orbit, lunar orbit, and the Earth-Moon Lagrange Points. It will also allow affordable access to the lunar surface and near-Earth asteroids on a regular basis once the spacecraft for those missions are built.
In addition, the Combination Launch System will make Earth to orbit transportation so affordable that it will allow the commercial development of low Earth orbit with orbiting hotels for space tourism as well as orbiting industries for zero gravity manufacturing and spacecraft assembly.
It will be the true birth of a real spacefaring civilization.
Once this is all in place it will only be a matter of time before spaceships will be going to Mars and the asteroids.
Those spacecraft will be followed by space colonies in cislunar space and in orbit around Mars
And it all starts with a Combination Launch System.
We are that close.
Index of Articles
- Opening the High Frontier
- Skyhook, a Journey to Orbit and Beyond
- In the Beginning . . .
- Why do Rockets Cost so Much?
- Combination Launch Systems
- It’s All About Speed!
- Visions of the Future
- The Call of an Unlimited Future
- Combination Launch Systems, part 2
- Outward Bound: Beyond Low Earth Orbit
- and someday . . . Starships!
- Mars: how to get there
- Outpost Space Stations
- Dreams of Space
- The Moon or Mars?
- Skyhooks and Space Elevators
- Stratolaunch and the X-15
- Starship Congress
- Making Spaceflight Affordable
- How a Combination Launch System Works
- Skyhooks, Space Elevators and Space Exploration
- Vertical Accelerator Launch Tower
- Combination launch system
- Opening the High Frontier