Friday, April 13, 2012

Panel: World Space Programs & Prospects - Jeff Foust, Clark Lindsey, Doug Messier, Dave Salt

Clark started off acknowledging that there was a lot of space progress happening outside of the United States. He listed several examples. It seems like there is good progress in general market potential and transportation. There is a need for more infrastructures like space tugs.

Dave talked about the current state of space development in Europe. Governments in Europe have several current orbital systems, plans for future orbital systems and current suborbital systems. There is one commercial orbital system and several suborbital companies. Because of funding issues many governments are looking for new alternatives. The suborbital companies are too immature to judge how viable they will be. There is a lot of interest in Europe. It will help to boast the demand side of New Space development. He expects that governments in Europe will pull back on their investment in

Doug will cover some developments in Russia, China, India and other countries. Recently Russia has a rocket blow up. They have gone four months without blowing up a rocket. Corruption is a big problem. It appears one out of every five rubles is lost to corruption. They are looking at developing a new rocket. There is an effort to build a Silicon Valley outside of Russia. Not clear a government lead effort will be successful. There are several ventures being considered. There is a proposal to sell tickets to the moon.

Japan is working a program. They have a long term plan. It is possible that the United States may have commercial systems developed in time to sell to Japan.

India was looking at 2015 to fly something into space. Now it has been delayed to mid 2020s. They still need improvements in their technology. Indian government has decided to try and develop all their technology on their own.

China seems to be following a similar pattern as Russia. They are looking at a trip to the moon.

The Middle East is largely funding Virgin Galactic. There is a lot of interest outside of the United States, and money.

If there is success in the United States it will probably spur more effort and development around the world.

Jeff thinks spaceflight will no longer be just a government venture. We have a set of plans for getting into space. But we have had plans before. NASA’s budget may get cut, and what affect does that have on the space program. Many other nations have leaned on the United States; if we pull back they may pull back. This could be compounded by the hard economic times. India would like to get to Mars before China, but they have challenges. China has said they plan to be in space. Jeff doesn’t believe space is a major priority for China. Overall expect a decline of government investment in space over the next couple decades.

Jeff asks how could we change this? How increase the benefits? How decrease the cost?

Dave said European and Russian are feeling threaten by SpaceX.


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