Thursday, March 27, 2008

Space Access 2008 - Jess Sponable, on The History And Future Of Spaceplanes

Jess Sponable talked about the history of spaceplanes, the present state of spaceplanes and the hope for the future of spaceplanes. He uses the term spaceplane to talk about frequent flights to space.

The Germans pioneered some of the early work. Jess reviewed some of the history of NASA's research into spaceplanes.

Jess said one of the lessons learned is it is important to build something, don't just spend time designing. Jess had a chart showing that it was cheaper to build something now and learn from that experience.

Jess says there is some good news, several people investing serious money. He listed several companies.

Before making any predictions about the future, Jess listed some pronouncements people said in history about the development of technology.

Based on the cost of the energy of putting people into orbit it "should" cost about $76. Well, there is all the packaging of putting people into space. The cost drops as the frequency of flight climbs. The more often a spaceplane flies, the cheaper, because the development cost and overhead can be spread across several flights.

Jess says things are changing fast, and the rate of change is increasing. Around the 1800s knowledge was doubling every 150 years. By 2020 the amount of knowledge will double about every 73 days, yes days.

The full agenda

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