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Re: starship-design: What is safest?

> From: TLG.van.der.Linden@tip.nl (Timothy van der Linden)
> It is almost a fact that every two-way mission needs to get its fuel for 
> the return-trip from the target system. That is, if you want to decrease 
> cost (and thus effort).
> If a design allows to do without resources from the target system, it means
> that fuel supplies square, which usually makes bad numbers worst.
> However most of our designs can't do without resources from the target
> system anyway, so we have to face that we'll need some form of industry at
> the target system. This does not necessarily mean that we need complete
> rocket building factories, but instead specialized fuel or other bulk ore
> collectors.
> The question is how much effort would a one-way mission save? It likely 
> does need less bulk resources, but more specialized resources. There's 
> a big chance that both kinds of mission will cost as much.
> There is however a big advantage of staying in the target system, rather
> than "floating" through space another 10 year. In the target system you 
> have all the resources you want (including energy), but in space you've 
> nothing. Also in the target system you won't need your most critical 
> (and likely most deteriorating) part of the ship: The engines.
> Kelly continously tells us, that to stay at the target system we need to be
> selfsufficient. But don't we need to be selfsufficient if we stay from home
> 20 years (which is the minimum time for a two-way mission)?
> In short, I'm not so much wondering what is cheaper, but more about what is
> saver. Or to put is less subjective: What has a bigger chance 
> of succeeding?
Yes, I do agree with the above.
My talking about costs has been prompted mostly by Kelly's
latest arguments concerning costs.
In one of the previous periods of this one-way discussion,
I used mostly just the safety argument -
in my opinion strongly in favor for the one-way mission
(provided the target system has enough accessible resources). 

Generally, though, I am not some single-minded enthusiast
of just the one-way missions. I want only to consider
this mission type as one of the viable options to discuss
calmly its pros and cons. What prompted my sometimes
heated argument with Kelly on this issue was Kelly's
constant labelling of one-way missions as "suicide" missions
(which I think is simply wrong) and dismissing them
as outright unacceptable on this ground.

-- Zenon