>>7638843 That chart has plans stretching from 1983 to 2100. It's really unrealistic to think you can plan 117 years into the future. Even if all the social and political stuff like the Soviet Union and NASA funding went as expected you can't just get speculative technology like rail gun satellite launcher done in 2013 because you put it on the chart. Other things like ion drives and telescope satellites came into existence earlier than the chart plans.
Back then they assumed that Shuttle and other reusable systems will lower the cost of launching stuff into space by orders of magnitude. Also they believed that there will be sustained investment into space by governments all around the world. Well, it turned out that economically things like space based solar power, microgravity manufacturing or lunar mining don't make sense.
>>7639019 >Back then they assumed that Shuttle and other reusable systems will lower the cost of launching stuff into space by orders of magnitude. Still going to happen. The shuttle, however, was not managed as an effort to lower the cost of launching stuff into space, nor was it managed as a technology development effort to enable private industry to lower the cost of launching stuff to space.
They initially forbade all private competition with the shuttle. There wasn't really any clear regulatory mandate in the USA to allow a private orbital launch industry to develop until the early 2000s, and there still isn't in most of the world.
The early, sane shuttle concepts were for a reasonable first attempt at a reusable launch vehicle. It would be small: two crewmen and a couple hundred pounds of cargo space. It would have a powerful booster, so the orbital stage would not need extreme performance, and would have the mass budget for a durable metal heat shield. It would go only to near-equatorial orbits. Emphasis would be kept on reliability and low cost of operation.
The jackasses running NASA wanted to turn this modest practical measure into some kind of crowning glory of the US space program, so they immediately scaled it up and asked for an Apollo-size budget. The jackasses in the military weren't interested in lower recurring costs, and wanted new capabilities and support for covert operations (the ability to snatch a polar satellite and land it back on Earth in one orbit). The jackasses in the White House and Congress wanted to hand large sums of money out to favored contractors no matter how badly shoehorning their inferior tech into the project hurt it (when the original evaluation of the offered booster options rated Thiokol's SRBs dead last by a large margin, the office of the president ordered a re-evaluation by a new board of their choosing, putting it first).
>>7639019 >>7639054 >Well, it turned out that economically things like space based solar power, microgravity manufacturing or lunar mining don't make sense. We still have no idea of what will be economical when the free-market launch systems, built with genuine concern for cost-effectiveness, start to reach a state of maturity.
>>7639087 Okay, you tell me what cheap ways there are on Earth to get 24/7 sunlight, long-term microgravity, huge volumes of hard vacuum, sites where leaking even nuclear waste wouldn't be an environmental or safety concern, tons of platinum-group metals, etc.
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