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starship-design: Fwd: Now they think of it!!
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NASA officials are considering proposing a set of incentives,
ranging from promises to purchase launch services to loan
guarantees, to support the private development of reusable
launch vehicles (RLVs), Space News reported last week.
William Claybaugh, business advisor to the deputy associate
administrator for space transportation technology at NASA,
told Space News that the agency is considering a number of
incentives to support RLVs that would require government
backing but "may not necessarily cost the government
anything," he said.
Among Claybaugh's proposals include promises by NASA to
purchase a specific number of RLV flights, tax credits, and
underwriting commercial loans or subsidizing the interest
rates on those loans.
Those proposals would reduce the perceived risk in the
project and lower the interest rates, making more capital
available, according to Gary Payton, NASA's deputy associate
administrator for space transportation technology.
A study last year by the Aerospace Corporation showed that
commercial RLV builders could expect to invest no more than
about $1 billion in a new project, requiring either outside
investment or government funding. The finding raised concerns
about the future of VentureStar, the full-scale follow-on to
the X-33, which has an expected development cost of about $5-6
While NASA's proposals of loan guarantees and other
incentives appear targeted specifically at Lockheed Martin,
developer of the VentureStar, Claybaugh said any incentives
would be available to other companies developing RLVs.
Claybaugh was skeptical that any company could develop an RLV
that provided low-cost access to space solely on commercial
funding. "If a company has to pay back all the development
costs on a commercial basis, [it is] not going to be able to
hit the $1,000 per pound cost target," he told Space News.
This is the deal Lockheed offered them 2 years ago instead of the X-33
program and they turned it down!! They agreed to spend an extra billion
On the plus side, this kind of idea has been considered the most
way to greatly accelerate the development of these low cost launchers.