Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Golden Spike, no longer 'Waiting for Godot'

Rather than continuing to wait on a traditional government space exploration program, Golden Spike believes it’s time to turn to commercial ventures to enable human space exploration. In their scenario, using the lunar orbit rendezvous and return method, a single stage lander would be launched separately from crews and remain in lunar orbit for future expeditions [Golden Spike].
S. Alan Stern and Homer Hickam
The Space Review

We’ve both had long careers in the space field. And almost all of that time, most people in our industry have been waiting for government space agencies to return humans to the Moon and to go on to Mars—boldly exploring new worlds, inspiring a new generation, and creating a robust future for space exploration.

It hasn’t happened.

 Why? The reasons are many, but after observing a long series of false starts and dashed attempts, we’ve concluded that relying on the 1950s and 1960s model of space exploration led primarily by central governments, is a little like Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot. In that story line, two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, endlessly wait in vain for the arrival of a character named Godot. Well, it’s not just in Beckett’s novel, because in space exploration the 1950s–1960s model, Godot isn’t coming either.

Fortunately, 21st century industry and entrepreneurs are stepping up to the plate, creating exciting new models for how human space explorations can be launched commercially.

Just read the papers, it sounds like science fiction—companies planning suborbital space lines, private space stations, and a private expedition to fly past Mars. In the case of our company, Golden Spike, privately mounted lunar surface expeditions to be sold primarily to foreign space and science agencies, but also to US and international corporations, and wealthy individuals.

And why not? Back in the heady days of Apollo’s Moon race, the hard part was the technologies that had to be invented to make it all possible. Today, those technologies are well in hand. The hard part of today’s Moon shots and other commercial space exploration is raising the capital for large ventures.

Read the full article, new this week at The Space Review, HERE

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