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NewSpace 2010: Cheap, Reliable Access to Space

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
July 26, 2010

Falcon 9 takes off on its first flight. (Credit: Chris Thompson SpaceX)

NASA Roundtable: Low Cost, Reliable Access to Space

Synopsis: A panel discussion between NASA officials and industry leaders concerning LCRATS – low-cost, reliable access to space. Conclusion: Progress has been made in getting NASA to buy in a market fashion, but much remains undone.


James A. Muncy (moderator) – Space Frontier Foundation, President, PoliSpace
Michael Beavin – Senior Program Analyst, Department of Commerce Office of Space Commercialization
Doug Comstock – NASA Innovative Partnership Program
Gary Hudson – HMX, Inc.
Michael Mealling – Masten Space Systems
Charles Miller – NASA Commercial Space
Michelle Murray – FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation
Tim Pickens – Dynetics, Inc.

— Elon Musk built SpaceX in most expensive state in US, and still the cheapest!
— Wallops Island is a good place to launch
— money solves all the problems
— Congress – not talking rocket science, talking political science
— NASA is a public jobs program
— Gary Martin thinks NASA is a good customer, but still charges double so if milestone not reached, they are still in the black. However, investor not in the black.
— Gary Martin thinks commercial orbital is very much NASA driven
— NASA is now buying in a market-like fashion for ISS supplies
— NASA needs to respect for private intellectual property
— Charles Miller: NASA would love providers to have other customers
— How serious is FCC/ITU barrier to putting up spacecraft? It is a barrier, with cost and licence processing
— Biggest barrier to launch is low volume solved by:

  • space tourism
  • space solar power

— US competitiveness and barriers to compete – ITAR, process, risk issues, overbearing safety issues, overheads
— US lost most of competitiveness
— No. 1 thing NASA should do is get out of the business of being a competitor
— Let entrepreneurs generate the economy

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