Thursday, April 12, 2012
Bruce Pittman, NASA Ames, "Barriers And Opportunities For Reusable Launch Vehicles"
Over the last twenty five years there have been lots of attempts to develop business markets in space. A reusable rocket would save money. But developing a reusable rocket also costs money. It costs money to retrieve the parts. The whole process would take more time. Bruce showed an economic return on investment equation.
Even just ten flights a year makes a huge difference in the price. Elon Musk is looking at daily flights. A reusable Falcon 9 flying each day could take five million pounds a year into space. Who will be the customer for all this capability? In the 1800s railroads worked on building the transportation infrastructure, but they also worked on building the demand side by encouraging people from Europe to move to the United States and growing crops which would need railroads to move their crops.
Bruce reviewed several potential markets. Once a there is an ability to move a large volume into space there will be a lot of markets which could develop and grow.
NASA is hosting a business plan competition with a prize of $100,000, and there is a New Space conference this July.