Frequently Asked Questions:
- What’s the value in further developing spaceflight?
- Why is a non-profit corporation the answer?
- Isn’t space flight too expensive for a non-profit to address?
- Why try to develop reusable systems when expendable are more economical?
- How can I get involved?
This question has two answers:
1. We believe that just as some Europeans once looked across the sea and left their own established societies to find lands that were new and different to them, humanity will one day leave Earth and even our solar system in search of mystery and possibility. We work on this now because there is a segment of our society that wants to see the first steps of this process in their lifetime. At Mach 30 we want those who are passionate about this to have the chance to spend their time, money and labor to make this dream a reality.
2. Spaceflight development has historically led to other advancements that helped and improved society. Many things we take for granted today are either space related or were developed in conjunction with spaceflight. Among these things are: GPS, satellite radio and television, expanded internet and cell phone coverage, velcro and of course Tang.
The public sector won’t:
NASA and other public governmental programs are stuck in a paradigm of bigger, faster, farther. Our assertion is that steps in the process were skipped in this pursuit. In order for manned spaceflight to become a sustained endeavor, time and money need to be applied to go back and fill in the gaps. Reusable launch technology is the answer to optimize the cost per flight and thus cost per pound to a reasonable level. These are not included in whole or in part in any organization that we have found.
The private sector is not ready:
While there have been successes in the private sector, there is a huge financial barrier to entry into this market. While we think there must be economic opportunities in space, we recognize that they are likely not the opportunities we think they will be. No one yet has achieved the necessary experience in the geography of space to reliably predict the economic risk versus reward. Investors will turn away until we can get to space and find solid well researched opportunities for them.
This is where we step in; to buy down the risk and to demonstrate the potential rewards of sustained, manned spaceflight becoming feasible for everyone. Mach 30 operations will be conducted in such a way that all individuals and teams working in this area will be able to leverage each other’s work and collectively capitalize on successes and vicariously learn from each other’s failures. Using open process will foster collaborative efforts and progress us towards our goals. This community of like-minded individuals will all be working towards safe, routine, reliable access to space.
While it is true that developing space systems is an expensive undertaking, so is developing a modern operating system and aiding victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. And in both instances, non-profits have excelled, not because of the amount of money they can raise, but because of the commitment of volunteers to spend their own time on a cause. We firmly believe that safe, routine, and reliable space flight is a vision shared by enough trained and talented people that Mach 30 can make significant contributions to the field with substantially less capital.
Part of making access to space routine is bringing the associated costs down and using vehicles with very quick turnaround time between missions. While developing reusable systems will be expensive and time consuming, using these systems will be more economical as one vehicle will be used and reused with the only added cost between missions being maintenance and refueling. NASA’s shuttle program was supposed to be more economical than previous expendable programs but failed because the shuttles were not capable of being flown often enough. We believe this was a design flaw and not a flaw in the idea of reusable vehicles.
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