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RE: starship-design: YES, we might do it.

> ----------
> From: 	AJ Crowl[SMTP:ajcrowlx2@ozemail.com.au]
> Sent: 	Thursday, October 08, 1998 8:45 AM
> Subject: 	starship-design: YES, we might do it.
> Possible, yes. Happening, probably not. I seriously doubt we'll be
> launching
> Outer Planet missions by then, let alone interstellar flights. Some
> Orbital
> Cities might be up and running, while Mars colonisation might be
> starting to
> pick up leading to terraforming tests. I'm being pessimistic, but
> given the
> current state of space who can blame me?
Actually, I'm gathering optimism about the state of the space industry -
not because of NASA, but because of private companies.  The X Prize is
just one of things that is giving me confidence for the future of space

Sometimes people give timelines of where they think space travel will be
over the next fifty years, and it normally involves the government and
NASA (i.e. by this year we will return to the moon, by that year we will
be at Mars, etc.).  Instead, I'd like to offer a timeline for commercial
space endeavors:

2005: Private companies offering sub-orbital space tourism.
2010: Private companies offering orbital space tourism.
2025: Private space stations, for tourism and experimental research into
materials and pharmeceuticals manufacturing.
2040: Light private industry in orbit, first tourism on the moon,
experimental private industry research into asteroid mining.
2050: Medium private industry in orbit, early lunar tourism, first
asteroid mining.

Private companies will lead the way to a permanent presence in space, as
long as there is money there.  And we all know there is.  However,
asteroid mining and the like will be easier if there is an existing
launch infrastructure, and I think this will be facilitated by space
tourism.  Yes, this tourism will mainly be for the rich in the
beginning, but it doesn't matter if it helps jump start everything and
eventually we all get to go.

I may never get to another star, and I may never go to Mars or even the
moon... but I'm pretty confident that before my life is over I will have
gotten the chance to see the Earth from space.

Call your senator today and tell them to vote YES on H. Res. 572.  This
bill (recently passed by the House) allows private U.S. companies to
send reusable launch vehicles into space.  The D.O.T. will license such
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