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#76 2004-07-08 14:22:07

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

The market is on Earth for anything except water which will be worth (in LEO) the going rate for lift to LEO or at L1 the going rate from lift to L1.

This whole asteroid mining for water (or mining lunar water) only makes sense if Earth to LEO is expensive. With Zenit able to lift at $1100 per pound, nothing in space is worth more than $1100 per pound since it can be shipped from Earth configured how ever you want.

Invent $100 per pound Earth to LEO lift and lunar mining is a quick trip to bankruptcy except maybe for stuff like He3 (if you buy the He3 fusion hype).

Rocket fuel from the Moon? Stick a bucket in Lake Michigan and send it up. Way cheaper.

As far as PlanBush, and building a lunar base to mine O2 and H2, unless that base can deliver fuel to LEO for less than $1100 per pound, it isn't worth it.

L1? Wouldn't a single nuclear thermal tug be way cheaper than a lunar base for moving rocket fuel to L1? Cycle between LEO and L1.

= = =

We are living under the illusion that Earth to LEO is expensive. American lift to LEO is expensive, today.

And a launch company managed Bigelow style might well beat that $1000 per pound figure without fancy new inventions.

= = =

Show me you can mine lunar water (and deliver to LEO) at a cost below $1000 per pound and we can talk. But until then. . .


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#77 2004-07-08 14:22:18

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

But big energy companies and mineral companies and what not want the information so they can mine the stuff. The information without the technology being available or near at hand (ie proven) is worthless... and the millions you spent getting it, wasted.

That giggle factor can get pretty expensive... a proof of concept system still needs to return nontrivial (i.e. by the hundreds of kilos) of refined high purity precious metals to the Earth, and be able to do it again without too much trouble.

Which is why I don't care for the disposable drop pod idea... provided you could keep your material from vaporizing (difficult given the density of most precious metals), you'd still have to launch the pod to the asteroid. You are going to need to send up stuff to the asteroid anyway, use the vehicle to bring some of it back down.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#78 2004-07-08 14:24:06

RobertDyck
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Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Actually I like smurf's ideas. We could start with a prospecting probe. That will be needed for any new mine, so is a long-term product. Building something small first is a good idea. The asteroid prospector could have instruments for in-situ analysis as well as collect small samples for return to Earth. An asteroid sample-return mission would definitely get scientific interest.

I still think returning precious metals would provide immediate profit. However, highly refined industrial metals could be parked in space for later sale to a customer. I don't think industrial metals from space will ever be profitable on Earth. Perhaps space steel could be made into a fuel depot. I did say you would have to harvest fuel from either a C-type asteroid or dead comet to make it economical. That fuel could be used for a manned mission to the Moon as part of George W's new space initiative. Of course I see a manned mission to Mars as more valuable, but fitting with the current administration's plans is a more practical means to get funding.

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#79 2004-07-08 14:24:47

clark
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Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,265

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

You need an asteroid for the space elevator, don't you? There's a market.

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#80 2004-07-08 14:26:12

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

No, you don't an asteroid for a counterweight.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#81 2004-07-08 14:29:39

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

http://www.weblab.dlr.de/rbrt/GpsNav/IR … _paper.pdf

"Dump boxes" - - a few hundred (or thousand?) of these would be far cheaper than one RLV. Put your platinum or rare earth metals in one of these and drop it in the atmosphere.

Still, the more you import, the lower the price you can command.


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#82 2004-07-08 14:40:24

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Which is why I don't care for the disposable drop pod idea... provided you could keep your material from vaporizing (difficult given the density of most precious metals), you'd still have to launch the pod to the asteroid. You are going to need to send up stuff to the asteroid anyway, use the vehicle to bring some of it back down.

You fill the drop box at an LEO station.

I may start a new thread to discuss the capital cost of shipping containers. Why use a fancy RLV to ship rock from a Near Earth asteroid to LEO? You want that shipping container to be as cheap as possible.

Use the RLV to drop off crew at the asteroid mining site and then send it elsewhere so it never sits idle.

Sending supplies to Mars by nuclear transport is cost-foolish. use a nuclear tug and accelerate for a lunar/Earth fly-by and let the cargo coast.

The tug cycles. LEO - - > L1 - - > Luna - - > LEO

Cut the cargo loose at some point for Mars injection, flip your tug around and SLOW down for LEO capture. Pick up another cargo module and its back to L1. (Edit: Martin Lo could probably calculate some famncy trajectory math to save fuel - - accelerate full throttle towards Luna or Earth, cut the cargo loose and the tug then tracks a less efficient fly-by trajectory to start the slowing process, for example.)

Heck, sending crew by nuclear propulsion and having your nifty nuke powered ship floating idle in Mars orbit while the folks go rock hunting is foolish.

= = =

An airliner that is not flying is bleeding money. An RLV or nuclear tug that is not pushing something useful is bleeding money.


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#83 2004-07-08 14:48:38

smurf975
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From: Netherlands
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Posts: 401
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Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Which is why I don't care for the disposable drop pod idea... provided you could keep your material from vaporizing (difficult given the density of most precious metals), you'd still have to launch the pod to the asteroid. You are going to need to send up stuff to the asteroid anyway, use the vehicle to bring some of it back down.

Yes I mentioned that also in my post. The problem would be building those pods. Building them on Earth would be way to expensive and in space could be very complicated. Also you will lose a significant part of your resources in those disposable pods building materials.

However I also added that ideally if you could make the cargo it self work like the entry vehicle and cover it with an ablative heat shielding, the shield could even be made of ice. Make it the shape of a lifting body, then you can have controlled crash but as you have no guidance system the exact location of touchdown is not 100% sure and so you will need let it crash-land in some remote area.


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#84 2004-07-08 14:52:45

Rxke
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Putting refined materials into orbit or Lagrange and leaving them there for someone "to come get" is an absolutely silly proposition from a profit standpoint... the market after all is on Earth, so that is where the material has to go. Shipping it down a few tons at a time with a multi-stage RLV that docks with a LEO-to-asteroid-to-LEO tug seems like the best option to me.

Well send it to LEO then... Bit LEO is too close to Earth for a stable orbit, and any SNAFU gets you a killer asteroid on a rampage.

You have the advantage of choice if you don't go directly to Earthsurface.
Get a second (or your own) company to get it down *or* use it in LEO/GEO/wherever you want to do something.
Controlled crash/landing is not so simple, look at Soyuz landings...

Frankly, GCNRevenger, I have difficulties following you, one moment you say there's no market on Earth for asteroidmaterial, next time you say there is, one moment you say solar farms are too expensive, because you have to get too much stuff into orbit, next time you say stuff in orbit is silly. (OK, I know, processed metals do not a farm make, and you say it's too difficult to build/refine etc in orbit...)
But: given advances in telerobotics etc, how much of a profit would it give you to
1)develop a device that tools the 'ore' into rolls of metal,
2)refurb the beambuilder that was all but finished by NASA (wich made latticed beams out of rolls of Aluminium (iirc)
3)send these two items up, with a sprinkle of BigeHabs, instead of tons and tons of material...


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#85 2004-07-08 15:03:02

smurf975
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From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
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Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Frankly, GCNRevenger, I have difficulties following you, one moment you say there's no market on Earth for asteroidmaterial, next time you say there is, one moment you say solar farms are too expensive, because you have to get too much stuff into orbit, next time you say stuff in orbit is silly. (OK, I know, processed metals do not a farm make, and you say it's too difficult to build/refine etc in orbit...)
But: given advances in telerobotics etc, how much of a profit would it give you to
1)develop a device that tools the 'ore' into rolls of metal,
2)refurb the beambuilder that was all but finished by NASA (wich made latticed beams out of rolls of Aluminium (iirc)
3)send these two items up, with a sprinkle of BigeHabs, instead of tons and tons of material...

Yes this may be true but we are a mining operation. If someone wants to build a spacestation we will forward our proposal on getting the materials at the wanted location and time and so could an Earth based company such as SpaceX. Its possible that SpaceX could get the building materials cheaper up "there" or at the needed time better then we can.

So basically this is a mining operation we just get the ore from asteroids, moon or where ever and refine (if wanted) it and ship it to the desired location. After that its your problem. Building a spacestation is another project which could be a spinoff but doesn't have to do with mining it self.


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#86 2004-07-08 15:05:37

Rxke
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

I know, Smurf, that's wy I'm constantly jabbering about 'another' company'  smile


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#87 2004-07-08 15:21:48

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Which is why I don't care for the disposable drop pod idea... provided you could keep your material from vaporizing (difficult given the density of most precious metals), you'd still have to launch the pod to the asteroid. You are going to need to send up stuff to the asteroid anyway, use the vehicle to bring some of it back down.

Yes I mentioned that also in my post. The problem would be building those pods. Building them on Earth would be way to expensive and in space could be very complicated. Also you will lose a significant part of your resources in those disposable pods building materials.

However I also added that ideally if you could make the cargo it self work like the entry vehicle and cover it with an ablative heat shielding, the shield could even be made of ice. Make it the shape of a lifting body, then you can have controlled crash but as you have no guidance system the exact location of touchdown is not 100% sure and so you will need let it crash-land in some remote area.

The capital cost to use your RLV will be more than the cost on an inflatable drop box.

The value, at $1000 per pound, of the ice you throw away into Earth's atmosphere will be more than the cost to lift inflatable drop box. How many pounds of ice will you need?

Dropping asteroids on the Earth? Hmmm. . . if I worked for bin Laden I would get sleeper agents into your company ASAP.


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#88 2004-07-08 15:34:01

smurf975
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From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
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Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

I'm not talking about Reusable Launch Vehicles. Its just the cargo (refined ore) it self is shaped as a lifting body and covered by an ablative material for Earth entry. Instead of waisting money on a RLV or even pods (drop boxes). Which would requiere Earth facilities and that means more cost and that means your price goes up.

Hmm the ice is not coming from Earth. Its mined water from the asteroid field. So there is not cost to launch it only to refine it.

Its the cheapest way of getting those materials to Earth and its called controlled crashing. Like what the Apollo and Soyus capsules do and even the Mars Rovers.

Your remarks about terrorist will count for any big space project. What if they crash a plane into the space elevator? What if... endless list of possible terrorist possibilities. Bringing in the terrorist hype is a weak argument if used for just this project. Sounds more like a fall back routine for the lack of arguments.


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#89 2004-07-08 15:42:18

Martian Republic
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From: Haltom City- Dallas/Fort Worth
Registered: 2004-06-13
Posts: 855

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Notice I did not say this was for novelty metals; that is just a bonus. This is for precious metals: platinum, gold, silver, and the other platinum group metals. The plan is to send automated equipment that requires a supply of electronics once in a while for the entry capsules, but only that, and sends back regular shipments of bullion.

I'm not talking about making a launch vehicle. There are a lot of people doing that.

Once the shuttle back in operation, maybe you pay NASA to bring down a few tons every so often. If they will go for it, you won't have to worry about how your going to return the mined ore.

Larry,

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#90 2004-07-08 15:55:51

Rxke
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Once the shuttle back in operation, maybe you pay NASA to bring down a few tons every so often. If they will go for it, you won't have to worry about how your going to return the mined ore.

Larry,

Don't count on that, they'll (rightfully so?) say it' too risky etc... It'll cost you heaps of money to prove otherwise...


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#91 2004-07-08 16:13:15

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,862

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Frankly the shuttle is a bust, if you want to go asteroid mining get another vehicle that one is a waste of space( ignore the pun)
The Esa probe smart seems the best step forward, if launched by a more powerful Launcher it could start visiting the Near Earth Asteroids to start proper Minerological and chemical surveys of these rocks. So what if it takes a long time its not as if we are going anywhere soon (sigh)

If Bigalows plans to launch 6 pathfinder Habs at a time on Russian rockets that is a lot of orbiting infrastructure. These will need supplies initially from Earth but soon supplied from the Moon and those Asteroids. Frankly Metal support struts and internal furniture will be the biggest imports to the Bigalow orbital hotel. Food and Drink will come from Earth, This is a hotel they will need the best, the creme de la creme.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#92 2004-07-08 16:25:46

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

The current plan is to only use Shuttle to complete assembly of ISS, then retire it. In fact NASA is looking at an unmanned mission to save Hubble. It sounds nice in principle to use Shuttle to recover precious metals, but not going to happen. Besides, to avoid fuel cost you would want the vehicle returning to LEO to use aerobraking. If it requires a heat shield anyway, why not make a disposable dump box from asteroid material? You probably want a reusable spacecraft to go from Earth orbit to the asteroid and back. It could drop the dump box in the appropriate trajectory for direct entry. This raises the question of the appropriate transfer point from a launch vehicle to the interplantary cargo truck. Do you want cargo sent from Earth inserted into the minimum orbit, just barely out of the atmosphere, which would require the 'truck' to enter LEO? Do we use ISS as the transfer station?

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#93 2004-07-08 16:28:32

smurf975
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From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
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Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Do you want cargo sent from Earth inserted into the minimum orbit, just barely out of the atmosphere, which would require the 'truck' to enter LEO? Do we use ISS as the transfer station?

I would say that NASA's ion driven blimp that people have been talking about should be your truck.


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#94 2004-07-08 16:51:34

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,862

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

True it would, But there are a lot of proposals for various space tugs. But even having one in orbit would potentially be a commercial success it could recover lost satelites and still push cargo. If it was made powerful enough it could push items to the Moon or Lagrange points


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#95 2004-07-08 17:10:48

Martian Republic
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From: Haltom City- Dallas/Fort Worth
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Posts: 855

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Once the shuttle back in operation, maybe you pay NASA to bring down a few tons every so often. If they will go for it, you won't have to worry about how your going to return the mined ore.

Larry,

Don't count on that, they'll (rightfully so?) say it' too risky etc... It'll cost you heaps of money to prove otherwise...

You may have a point there. But, at least NASA has way to get the metal down to earth, whether or not it too dangerous or whether you could convence them to do it, is some thing altogher something different. Even the Russian would have a problem getting the metal down.

Larry,

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#96 2004-07-08 17:25:50

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Hmm the ice is not coming from Earth. Its mined water from the asteroid field. So there is not cost to launch it only to refine it.

If Bigelow builds a chain of space hotels, you can sell the ice for $1000 per pound. You can also sell the ice for $1000 per pound at L1 for rocket fuel.

Thus, ice is worth $1000 per pound. Drop box is cheaper. :;):

(Especially if drop bax has a microchip transponder and ballutes to slow final impact.)

Spray on ablative? Maybe. But its labor costs versus the cost of drop boxes.

= = =

Terrorists cutting the space elevator? Different in kind (IMHO) from dropping a few tons of rock on New York City at terminal velocity. (Or key buildings inside the Beltway)


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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#97 2004-07-08 17:40:23

Martian Republic
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From: Haltom City- Dallas/Fort Worth
Registered: 2004-06-13
Posts: 855

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

True it would, But there are a lot of proposals for various space tugs. But even having one in orbit would potentially be a commercial success it could recover lost satelites and still push cargo. If it was made powerful enough it could push items to the Moon or Lagrange points

At this point you would have to make a decision. Do you want economy or do you want power.

If you go economy because it the cheapest way to go and to achieve the cheapest transportation, you would pick ion drive. It doesn't have much power, but of the four or five possible ways to drive the space transport from the asteroid to earth orbit, it the most efficient, when it come to power use to distance traveled in space.

Chemical rockets are out, because of high volume for fuel and you would have to build extra support for it some where in space to refine the fuel from some source in space, because it would not be efficient to sent the fuel up from the Earth. Also Chemical rockets work well good if you have a gravity well like the Earth, Moon or Mars. Depending on how big the asteroid it, you may not have a big enough gravity well to get your rocket back to earth orbit.

That leave either Fission or Fusion and they would have the power you talk about for a space tug. Fusion doesn't currently exist, so it out. You would have to launch uranium into space for Fission power space craft.

Then there are the sailing ship space ships with a great big parasol working off the solar winds.

I’m sure there are other types of engines or way to power the cargo ship in space, but we would have to pick one type we intend to use and run with it.

Larry,

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#98 2004-07-08 17:52:14

smurf975
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From: Netherlands
Registered: 2004-05-30
Posts: 401
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Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

Hmm the ice is not coming from Earth. Its mined water from the asteroid field. So there is not cost to launch it only to refine it.

If Bigelow builds a chain of space hotels, you can sell the ice for $1000 per pound. You can also sell the ice for $1000 per pound at L1 for rocket fuel.

Thus, ice is worth $1000 per pound. Drop box is cheaper. :;):

(Especially if drop bax has a microchip transponder and ballutes to slow final impact.)

Spray on ablative? Maybe. But its labor costs versus the cost of drop boxes.

= = =

Terrorists cutting the space elevator? Different in kind (IMHO) from dropping a few tons of rock on New York City at terminal velocity.

I'm sorry; I don't get your point.

The ice is worth $1000 per pound if shipped from Earth. Who says that a by-product of asteroid mining will be worth that per pound to the seller?

Hey if you need to pay $1000 per pound to get something to the space hotel then don’t expect many customers. As setting up a hotel requires a whole infrastructure, which will just add to that initial cost. I guess your hotel will be called the Bill Gates hotel as only people with his wealth will be able to go to it. And who says they would even want do?

Especially if drop bax has a microchip transponder and ballutes to slow final impact.

Sounds like another explanation of a controlled crash to me. A lifting body has the same effects as wings on a plane, so it would be like airplane with all its engines cut of (space shuttle) trying to land. And adding a microchip transponder is no big deal in any situation.

Spray on ablative? Maybe. But its labor costs versus the cost of drop boxes.

It will be as labor intensive as the actual mining, which is 100% automated and no Earth based anythings to support.

Terrorists cutting the space elevator? Different in kind (IMHO) from dropping a few tons of rock on New York City at terminal velocity.

There are a lot of ways to kill large populations. Using the space mining facility will be hardest. Even harder then destroying the space elevator and a lot harder then blowing up a nuclear plant.


Waht? Tehr's a preveiw buottn?

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#99 2004-07-08 21:27:30

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,996
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Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

A local individual I talked to today suggested using a Maple seed as the model for atmospheric entry. Instead of trying to manufacture a parachute from space material, or letting an aeroshell burry itself into the ground, design the craft to have a single wing on just one side and autorotate. That will spin the craft while coming down, but that's Ok for a cargo craft. Maple seeds land quite softly. Metal will be heavier than cellulose but if it dents on impact with the ground at a desert or salt flat, so what?

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#100 2004-07-08 21:36:47

BWhite
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From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2004-06-16
Posts: 2,635

Re: Asteroid Mining - profit from space

A local individual I talked to today suggested using a Maple seed as the model for atmospheric entry. Instead of trying to manufacture a parachute from space material, or letting an aeroshell burry itself into the ground, design the craft to have a single wing on just one side and autorotate. That will spin the craft while coming down, but that's Ok for a cargo craft. Maple seeds land quite softly. Metal will be heavier than cellulose but if it dents on impact with the ground at a desert or salt flat, so what?

Cool.

How hard would it be to build a 5 kg prototype and get some rocket hobbyists to send one up in a hobby grade sounding rocket? Add a $200 GPS and radio relay and track its landing.

Not atmospheric entry, but still its a start.


Give someone a sufficient why and they can endure just about any how

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