[FPSPACE] Re: Private company plans $100 million moon trip
Robert G Kennedy III
robot at ultimax.com
Wed Aug 10 13:53:47 EDT 2005
Boy, there's a quote for the ages ... and somewhat more information than I
DwayneDay <zirconic1 at earthlink.net>
>But Mr. Kraft, who was the flight director for that mission, recalled that
>Mr. Lovell and Mr. Borman were miserable. They complained bitterly that
>the trip was like "14 days in a men's room," and Mr. Kraft said that he
>had to talk them out of ending the mission early.
>"They wanted to get out of there," he said.
Seriously, sanitation (personal cleanliness, not just waste disposal and
air scrubbing) is a major constraint, even for a single crewperson.
Bedsores, for instance, in extreme cases can kill (think of Christopher
Reeve). To the degree that uncleanliness creates psychological stress, that
is a threat, mission too.
>A roundtrip ticket will cost $100 million.
>The Soyuz vehicle to be used does not have the power to reach the Moon on
>its own, so the Russians have devised a plan to send up a booster. The
>Soyuz would dock with the booster, either in low Earth orbit or at the
>International Space Station.
>The booster would take the passengers the rest of the way. The price of the
>two tickets, Mr. Anderson said, would pay for the costs of the Moon shot.
>His company's demographic research, he said, suggests that 500 to 1,000
>people in the world can afford to do this.
>The trip seems feasible, said Dr. John M. Logsdon, director of the Space
>Policy Institute at George Washington University. "As a nontechnical person,
>I don't see any technical showstoppers," Dr. Logsdon said, "if people are
>crazy enough to do it."
>And, he added, it would make "a lot of money for the Russians."
Indeed it would. Assuming the escape stage is simply a modified Proton 4th
stage, ~20 tonnes, which can be orbited for ~US$75M, and that the modified
Soyuz costs ~US$35M, then the gross profit margin is 45% :
(2 x $100M) - ($35M + $75M) / (2 x $100M) = 90/200 = 45%
However, I haven't been following launch prices too closely lately, so I
don't know what the effect of the spike in oil prices over the last 2-3
years has had on the Russian space launch industry. High energy costs are
inflationary for consumers, and producers too, if their economies are
sufficiently ill-postured. However the Russian state derives virtually its
entire wherewithal from crude oil sales, which would tend to subsidize
quasi-governmental economic activity.
Robert Kennedy, PE
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