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comment by orbat
orbat  ·  1470 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Meet Yusaku Maezawa, SpaceX’s First Moon Voyage Customer

It says a lot about the world today that the next astronauts are going to be people who are obscenely rich and/or famous. Gilded Age of space exploration…

kleinbl00  ·  1469 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Gilded age of fuckin' everything.

Someone asked me why I was becoming a watchmaker. I said "I've been studying the economic data for three years, probably sixty books in and who knows how many articles and newsletters. I decided that if you have to live in a gilded age, it's best to be a goldsmith."

orbat  ·  1469 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh yeah, my point was more that it's obvious in space exploration as well

kleinbl00  ·  1468 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah, I know. Sad thing is it's been seventeen years since Dennis Tito first went up, and nearly seventy years since Heinlein wrote "The Man who Sold the Moon" so in a way it isn't exactly new. Especially as Musk has called out two Heinlein books by name as inspirations.

Here's the thing. Musk started SpaceX because Roscosmos saw him as a rube and a tourist. He in turn took Roscosmos as a model - SpaceX isn't trying to be the United Launch Alliance, it's trying to be the Korolev Design Bureau. The watchword is cheap. Even "cheap" it's around $5k/kilo to LEO.

Call a human and their life support for a short voyage 100 kilos. That's a half million to LEO, cost. The Saturn V was 140,000 kilos to LEO, 48,000 kilos to TLI. You're at $1.5m to TLI, then, assuming Musk does everything as cheap as possible. The Apollo CSM, on the other hand, was 15,000 kilos with three dudes in it so it's not unreasonable to say it's more like $7.5m.

You could knock that down by a factor of ten and it's out of reach of anybody reasonable. Knock it down by a hundred and it's still more than going around the world on a cruise ship first class. And even then it's loosy-goosy moot shit; our $750k to LEO is a hundredth what NASA paid Roscosmos. And the ISS isn't even in LEO, not really; it's virtually skimming the clouds. When you take that cost-per-kilo and apply it to robots, humans start looking like expensive tourists anyway, the only question left is who foots the bill.

demure  ·  1469 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's not strictly the case.

As an aside, the dude is investing a not insignificant sum into the development of BFR.

It's not exactly easy (or cheap) to design and fly a rocket that big.

OftenBen  ·  1470 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do you see anyone else making the attempt?

orbat  ·  1469 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do you see me disparaging the attempt? Your comment has literally nothing to do with mine. The private sector and obscenely rich people are now at the forefront at least in the US due to their ridiculous fear of the government doing anything. My comment was related to this, not to the attempt itself as such