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subject: I'd rather talk about facts, and not about fiction, although these facts sound like their origin is from somebody's wild imagination. Also, I wouldn't talk a lot about science, not in the narrow way of Es Ti I(a) eM, but wider, projected to society. And if you allow me, I'll talk about impact of recent trends to all mankind. For this kind of things — I presume, you are the most susceptible audience I could wish. :-) Today more then 25% of US citizens do not believe Neil Armstrong and following 11 people have ever stood on the Moon surface. They rather believe that more then 40 years ago it was a great hoax. They are certainly wrong, talking about facts. But in a weird way — they are right. The cultural impact Apollo success had on human kind can be summarised in three points:
• A win in Cold War, an advertising war about which of two political systems is more feasible • A boost in understanding of Solar Systems's evolution • A set of iconic pictures with emphasis on American flag stabbed in Moon soil And nothing more. And there are opinions that progress afterwards was a failure. At least, this success fooled our hopes that the progress will continue the same pace. We, the orphans of Apollo… we have certainly been sure the breathtaking progress can't be stopped. And we, the common people, amazed by the idea when looking at the full Moon, knowing somebody was right now walking there, were not the only who were fooled. Wernher von Braun was fooled too, because he believed man will - sometime early in 21st century routinely walk on Mars. And Arthur C. Clarke thought 2001. is safely distant future to comfortably put the travel to Jupiter and the plot of his, and Stanley Kubrick's Space Odyssey in that year.
Honestly, I don't blame poor Moon landing deniers. There are certainly more stupid things people believe in a lot bigger percentage. What went wrong? How could a great visionaries fail such a big time? It's economy, stupid! - That was a winning slogan in Bill Clinton's presidential campaign. And it is the eternal truth. The business plan which ends with raising the flag was extremely stupid. It was just the war effort with war expenses, and, luckily, not the war casualties. And nothing more. After "Eagle has landed" the next step was Space Shuttle. And more the 40 years after that there is't even Space Shuttle. The only American that can fly on American hardware is Buzz Lightyear. Russian workhorse Soyuz also didn't change a lot in last 40 years. And watch this:
41 year after Charles Lindbergh won the Orteig Prize in 1927. are flying Boeing 747 and Concorde! What a difference! If the civilian aeronautics were left in state's exclusive domain even today would a very few people would fly in a wooden planes. So, the cultural impact of Apollo is similar to discovery of America by Vikings. They were first on new continent. So what? The point of Space 2.0, of the Space Reloaded is to achieve the Christopher Columbus effect: a flotilla of different sized, different equipped boats standing tense on the shore of the ocean waiting for the start for the race to a El Dorado. State funded, privately funded, doesn't matter. This is the different type of race then former one between states. It is fuelled with plurality of ideas and concepts to sail to the other shore hoping to find a treasure, happiness or a freedom in a new world. What is stopping us to reach and explore the new worlds?
Well, we have almost everything to make this happen. The navigation computer that lead Apollo to the Moon weighed almost 60 kilos and it's processing power was just a fraction of devices you all have in your pockets. Most of common modern materials available in do-it-yourself and Radio Shack type of stores have it's origin in technologies developed for Apollo. All the physics, propulsion, navigation and environment knowledge to reach the Moon is available to everybody. So, why don't we go there? But we do! And that is what I am telling you, from a first person's experience. There is a under-publicised different space movement which people involved label among themselves a "commercial space", and sometimes a Space 2.0. The Space thing - reloaded. I would like to present it to you, so you can by yourselves estimate it's magnitude, meaning, current importance and future.
And here is the world exclusive from the prehistory of this movement: The earliest commercial attempt to commercially exploit cosmos was a plan under the name "Harvesting the Moon". I was told about it's existence by a friend i am honoured to have. His name is Mike Vucelich, and he was one of the core people in the Apollo program's Mission control. Mike was the man in charge. it was his shift as on-duty chief of Mission control when Jim Lovell reported from Apollo XIII: "Houston, we have a problem!" He was the man who had only 4 hours time-frame to calculate never exercised routine what to do if oxygen tank explodes on the trans-lunar path - to save the crew. The Apollo program was cut to seventeen missions of 20 originally planned. There was a question what to do with surplus hardware. He was one among others asked to propose the elaborated idea how to spend existing Saturn Vs and Moon landing hardware, and perhaps somehow to compensate huge expense of launches.
Mike proposed one or two missions to Moon aimed only to collect glittering minerals spread all around the moon soil in privies mission. There were nice olivite and tranquillytite minerals find around basalt flows on the Moon surface. The speciality about them was they could be grown only within Moon geology, in vacuum and without any presence of humidity. Few hundred kilos sold to err… Tiffany's … for a half a price of diamond carat could almost compensate the price of mission expenses. And these gems could be a perfect Moon souvenir. As it happens, it was a too conservative estimation of price. Look just what happened with simple moon rock, and on black market! The plan was last minute dismissed after a publicised patriotic outburst from Florida governor. People sometimes prefer patriotic vanity over even economic gain… So NASA has spent the rest of Apollo hardware on orbital, reconciliation, Apollo-Soyuz mission in year 1975.
Mike told me that Russians for the certain time couldn't comprehend what was the reason behind this scientific insignificant offer for joint mission. Fast forward: 30 years later Mike was awarded in his State of Ohio with introduction to their entrepreneurial Hall of Fame for bringing almost bankrupt company Ideal Electric after he bought it and raised to the highest level of World recognition. *** The next commercial use of space was the flight of japanese TV journalist Toyohiro Akiyama from TBS, for seven day stay on Mir space station for the undisclosed amount of dollars in year 1990. At that time, it was in an awkward way funny, to see on Soyuz rocket's mantle mounted Sony's logo together with the sickle-and-hammer red flag. Nine years later, in year 1999 when six brave Americans decided, arranged and succeeded in venture to buy the abandoned Mir space station. In that case Russians understood Americans in a much better way.
The common language was money. What ruined MirCorp two years later, as the American company name was, wasn't infidelity of fraud of Russian side, but the paranoia in US Department of State and Pentagon. Every orbiting object under the full control of the US administration is even today presumed as possible enemy weapon. If you don't believe this, ask Iranians or North Koreans. Still, MirCorp achieved five "firsts" in private space: First commercial lease agreement for orbiting manned space station (December 1999) First privately funded manned expedition to a space station (Soyuz TM-30, launch April 4, 2000, return June 16, 2000) First privately funded cargo resupply mission in space (April 27, 2000) First privately funded spacewalk (May 12, 2000) First contract for space tourist (Dennis Tito, June 19, 2000) The revenge of US anger was fierce: The main investor Walt Anderson, who has pumped as much as 30 million dollars in MirCorp., is still serving sentence in Federal Correctional Institution at Fairton, New Jersey. He was, of course, convicted for "tax evasion" - what else? in the largest ever such case in US history.
The in-depth history of MirCorp venture is condensed in Michael Potter's 2008 documentary "Orphans of Apollo". But this couldn't stop the process which has already started. The virus of private space was in that time at large. And by private space I don't mean private giants like Boeing and Lockheed Martin! They alone by themselves at least two decades ago were already capable to send humans in Space by themselves. The only thing missing for them to do such a thing was: "Nobody ordered, and didn't pay for that incentive" You must understand: they are used for such arrangements with NASA and Pentagon. *** What I am talking about is a different kind of industry concentrated in a place called Mojave in the California desert of the same name. A company named Scaled Composites on October 4th 2004. has won Ansari X Prize. The X Prize foundation created in May 1996 the competition for the first human suborbital spaceflight in reusable space ship. The rest is history everybody knows.
This concept of space ship is behind Richard Branson's company Virgin Galactic, aiming to fly paying tourists to suborbital spaceflights next year. Without of minute of public service, this company is now worth an estimated 1,5 billion dollars and space trips already sold a couple of years in forward. The idea for Ansari X Prize was "stolen" from Orteig's prize. The same one that gave humanity Charles Lindberg as winner, and the gift to humanity was commercial intercontinental aviation. In september of year 2007 at Wired Nextfest in Los Angeles Convention Center The X Prize Foundation Announced a new competition: Google Lunar X Prize. The goal of competition for private funded teams is to land a robotic vehicle on Moon surface which should travel at least 500 meters and send to Earth almost real-time HD video, images and other science data. No return ticket is expected… Google has put 30 millions dollars prize fund in X Prize foundation: ▪ 20 millions for winner who first completes the basic tasks ▪ 5 millions dollars for the team being second, and
▪ the rest is for different bonus tasks Today there are 26 international teams competing for that prize. I am the leader of the very international Team Synergy Moon. We are building Moon rovers in Croatia Moon lander designing in Australia, with propulsion from Ukraine, to be built in Chile Our rockets come from a company Interorbital Systems based in Mojave. Their concept of rockets is different then most of people involved with rocketry have in mind. It is based on Wernher von Braun's concept but, during years in NASA, he had never enough time to check. But after the retirement of the whole Apollo generation in 1975. he, his best man Kurt Debus and young engineer from Germany Kurt Debus started a private rocketry company OTRAG. The idea was to develop extremely cheap, but versatile system of propulsion. You know that Germany doesn't have overseas or equatorial territories so the OTRAG company for experiments had first
to lease a plateau in Zaïre, then in south Libya… It had all kinds of adventurous episodes because at one moment they had to escape from local ambition to takeover the project. Of course, Gadaffi couldn't start nothing with leftover hardware… After 18 test launches - the last was from spaceport Kiruna, Sweden the project was ordered to be closed by Hans Dietrich Genscher, personally. Nobody was from 1975 to 1983 happy to see Germans, even private company, could have a rocket capable to reach orbit. Russians were unhappy France was unhappy Even United States were suspicious, as they always do. If you don't believe this, ask Iranians or North Koreans. The simplest thing to close such operations is the lack of investors, which happened at the end. But today, the only survivor of OTRAG rockets Lutz Kaiser is the main adviser of Interorbital Systems.
*** The concept of these rockets is based on industrially produced rockets from available off-shelf materials. Even the oxidiser and fuel is available by mail order. It should be the the Ford-T, or Volkswagen of rockets. The base of concept is Common Propulsion Rocket. They are produced industrially in series. The carrier rocket is designed by bundling them for desired payload. Neptune 5, made of five CPMs, can take 50 kilos to Low Earth Orbit. Neptune 7, made of seven… you can count by yourselves! Neptune 36 is made of 36 CPMs capable to put 1000 kilos to LEO. This rocket can put our lander and rovers on Moon. *** But you have probably heard about the announcement made last Tuesday about launch of company named Planetary Resources. Their goal is to go directly mine the asteroids and Moon reshaping a complete world economy. They don't have their own rocket
but I am sure they count on at least two or three private carriers. One is Elon Musk's SpaceX and Falcon 9 rocket which happens these days - actually on May 7th have to launch the first private spaceship Dragon to dock on International Space Station. Planetary Resources also can count in future on other company, Stratolaunch Systems. Backed by Miscrosoft's co-founder Paul Allen Burt Rutan's Scaled composites are welding two fuselages of Boeing 747 which will be capable to carry SpaceX's rocket to anywhere over ocean, in any meteorological circumstances and - if needed - launch one rocket a week from an altitude of 15.000 meters from a common airport runway! You see the same people appearing in different projects… :-) Well, Planetary Resources, having a dream-team of space experts, backed by multibillionaire investors not afraid of failure, thinking of it as business-as-usual, have made a bold step forward. (You know some these faces!)
*** Our ultimate goal is too in exploitation of raw materials and energy on Moon and other celestial bodies. And at least two other teams competing for the Google Lunar X Prize have publicly expressed their ambitions to mine in the space. But we think the space tourism suits our development as ideal intermediate step. Something like computers games did in making a market to personal computer industry. Leisure sometimes motivates people easier spend money then to invest in something. And there is my personal role in that project to act as a test pilot for man-rating of the tourist spaceship. But this development is postponed to a period after the Moon mission. We have scheduled our efforts to reach the Moon with our 150 kilos hardware to the end of year 2013. *** But there is one more thing I find the most important. It is named TubeSat.
A personal satellite! It is sold as a kit with proven off-shelf components. Still it has a room for individually designed experiment. It is sold including a launch in polar decaying orbit to be burned in atmosphere after 30-50 days costing a total of 8000 dollars! I can only estimate what magnitude of imagination could drive hundreds of scientists having affordable option to check their hypothesis and thousands of young students and hobbyists infected again - like in sixties - but now with an opportunity to send their handmade satellites to Space! Nobody can predict the outcome of a such density of experiments. Like these two guys, selling a kit for a first personal computer never had in mind what we have today - Internet! *** But, let's come back to launch of Google Lunar X Prize in year 1997. People, brave enough to propose such a competition for lunatics, in a telecast via satellite to San Francisco were - live - addressed by Arthur C. Clarke from Colombo. I have nothing to add to these words.
Thank you, very much!
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