Affordable to the Private Individual Space Flight has been the dream of just about everyone who has ever wanted to travel into space. Its existence has been one of the basic assumptions of almost every major science fiction novel and movie ever produced.
The movie 2001 had a horizontal take-off horizontal landing single stage spaceplane with Pan Am markings flying into Earth orbit and docking with a large wheeled space station.
The television show Star Trek has transporters 'beaming people up' and automobile sized shuttlecraft that fly into space with the ease of driving to the local shopping center.
The Star Wars series of movies has both shuttlecraft and starships taking off from planetary surfaces with the ease and frequency of light planes from a local airport.
Babylon V also had many types of spacecraft built by many different species that all made that first step of getting off planet into a very common event.
Yet here we are, 35 years after the first manned landing on the Moon, struggling to launch the Space Shuttle 6 times a year at $500 to $600 million per flight, and no one talks about making the development of Affordable to the Private Individual Space Flight a primary goal of NASA.
Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, once said,
"Without a clear vision of the future we flounder in the present."
Based on the popularity of science fiction novels and movies, it is obvious that we have the dream but that we lack the vision to make it happen.
The solution to the problem appears to be twofold. As citizens of this planet, we need to make the development of Affordable to the Private Individual Space Flight a primary goal of our space program. In addition, we need a technically and economically believable concept that will give us Affordable to the Private Individual Space Flight once it is built.
This website is about one vision, based on today's technology, on how we can make Affordable to the Private Individual Space Flight a reality. It is a vision that has 10+ years of effort invested in it to determine if it is technically and economically feasible.
To date everything shows that it is.
It works due to a new concept in space transportation that makes use of a low cost reusable sub-orbital launch vehicle and an Earth Orbiting Elevator that can be built with today's materials. It is an evolutionary system that starts with a reusable first stage and expendable upper stage launch vehicle that launches satellites and astronauts into low Earth orbit. This is followed by the addition of the Earth Orbiting Elevator, which eliminates the small expendable upper stage from the system, making the launch vehicle into a Single Stage to Orbit vehicle when it flies to the bottom of the Earth Orbiting Elevator. The Earth Orbiting Elevator is the most important part of this concept. It is the heart and soul of the vision that makes all the other parts come together both technically and economically and makes space flight affordable to the private individual. Quite literally, it is our bridge to the rest of the Solar System and eventually the stars. Once it is built, the next step is how it will allow us to return to the Moon to stay and how this will further reduce the cost of living, working, and traveling in space by allowing us to start making use of Lunar resources. Once the Lunar base is in place the next step will be the building of an L-5 shipyard where Satellite Solar Power Stations, Space Colonies, and Mars Exploration/Colony ships will be built.
NASA representatives have described this concept as, "The first idea we have seen that offers a believable path to $100 per pound to low Earth orbit."
Step One - consists of developing and placing into commercial service a small fleet of low cost stage-and-a-half-to-orbit Spaceplanes for launching satellites into Earth orbit. Design studies have shown that the best way to achieve the lowest possible user cost, based on the current size of the launch market and existing or near term technology, is with a combination air-breathing and rocket powered reusable first stage launch vehicle and a rocket powered expendable upper stage. The Spaceplane shown in this picture uses a combination propulsion system consisting of turbine engines, a ramjet, a Mach 8 scramjet and ducted rocket motors. This propulsion system accelerates the Spaceplane to approximately 70 percent of orbital velocity at which time the expendable upper stage with payload is deployed. It is this high staging velocity that lead to the term "stage-and-a-half-to-orbit".
Step Two - adds a manned spacecraft to the system for carrying Astronauts to the International Space Station and back. In addition to serving a need, the addition of this ability serves a second purpose in that it increases the demand for flights on the Spaceplane, which further decreases launch costs.
Step Three - is about an Earth Orbiting Elevator that can be built with today's materials that will significantly reduce the cost of getting into orbit. It is the Earth Orbiting Elevator that will allow us to remove the expendable upper stage from the Spaceplane when carrying payloads to the bottom of the Elevator, effectively making the Spaceplane into a Single Stage To Orbit vehicle. Elimination of the expendable upper stage has a twofold advantage in that it eliminates both the weight and cost of the upper stage and allows us to carry an equivalent mass as additional revenue payload. It is with this addition that the cost of getting into space becomes Affordable to the Private Individual.
Step Four - tells how the Earth Orbiting Elevator will allow us to return to the Moon to stay and how it will further reduce the cost of living, working and traveling in space by allowing us to start making use of Lunar resources.
How it Works - explains in basic terms how The Earth Orbiting Elevator works.
History - tells the story of the Earth Orbiting Elevator and the inspiration that led to it's creation in June of 1988.
NASA Presentation, Part 1 - The following presentation was given at a NASA sponsored conference at the University of Alabama in Huntsville during the week of February 23 1998. The presentation shown here was cleared for public release and was included in the published proceedings for that conference.
NASA Presentation, Part 2
Space Elevators, An Advanced Earth-Space Infrastructure for the New Millennium
This section is taken from a NASA publication that was compiled by David Smitherman at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville Alabama. It represents some of the findings from the Advanced Space Infrastructure Workshop on Space Elevator Concepts that was held in June of 1999. Unfortunately, due to the size of the document, it is too large to be included in-total in this web site. As a result, I have been forced to limit what is shown here to the sections on the Earth Orbiting Elevator, or LEO Space Elevator, as it is referrd to in this paper, to other space elevator concepts that have been proposed for both the Moon and Mars, and to the ground accelerator concepts that apply to the development of Affordable to the Private Individal Space Flight.
I would also like to say a Special Thanks to David Smitherman and John Cole of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center for seeing the value of the Earth Orbiting Elevator concept, for their ideas and suggestions regarding it, and for including it in this publication.
In my opinion, these are two exceptional people who have made significant contributions towards helping make Affordable to the Private Individual Space Flight a reality.
To get a copy of this great paper contact the NASA Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Program Office at Langley Research Center.
Access the NASA STI Program Home Page at http://www.sti.nasa.gov
E-mail your question via the Internet to email@example.com
Fax your question to the NASA Access Help Desk at (301) 621-0134
Telephone the NASA Access Help Desk at (301) 621-0390
NASA Access Help Desk
NASA Center for AeroSpace Information
7121 Standard Drive
Hanover, MD 21076-1320
A Gift For Earth, Part 1 - an unpublished magazine article that was originally written in 1990 and updated for this website in 1998.
A Gift For Earth, Part 2
A Gift For Earth, Part 3
How To Get Involved - suggestions and ideas for things you can do to help make this happen!
Help communicate the idea by wearing an
AFFORDABLE TO THE INDIVIDUAL SPACE FLIGHT
Click HERE for more information.
Quotes - I have collected the following quotes and poems over the last 15 to 20 years for no other reason than that I liked them. I have included them because I thought it would be fun to share them. If you have some favorite quotes that you would like to share please feel free to e-mail them to me, and I will include them here.
Links - It is my belief that we need more visions like the Spaceplane and Earth Orbiting Elevator concept that show how to make space flight affordable to the private individual. Ideas and concepts that can be studied and compared so that we, the people of planet Earth, can choose our future path into space with a degree of wisdom and certainty.
If you know of such an idea that is already on the World Wide Web, let me know so I can include a link to it on this site.
If you are currently working on an idea that you think could make a difference, let me know and I will add a link to your site.
We need answers to the problem of Affordable to the Individual Space Flight and it really doesn't matter which idea it is as long as it is the one with the lowest possible user cost.
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Recently two things have occured that have allowed me to reconsider this decision. The first was my email provider adding a spam filter to the service, and the second was a web site I found where the owner used this substitution method to bypass the web robots that search out email addresses for spam lists. According to him it works so I will give it a try. If it doesn't then I will just have to change my email address again.
The way the substitution method works is real simple. All you have to do is replace "this_is_not_my_email_address" with "inreach" (do not include the quotes) and your message will get to me.
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