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Sa08 Prop Depot Panel Rand Simberg


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Rand Simberg's Space Access 08 Propellant Depots Panel Presentation on Business Considerations for Orbital Propellant Depots

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Sa08 Prop Depot Panel Rand Simberg

  1. 1. Business Considerations For Propellant Depots Rand Simberg WYSIS Space Access 2008 March 28, 2008
  2. 2. Depots Open Up Cis-Lunar Space <ul><li>Contra Mike, ESAS Is Not The Interstate Highway System </li></ul><ul><li>True Equivalent Of IHS Would Have Gas Stations </li></ul><ul><li>Even More Important For Space Vehicles Than Ground Transportation, Due To Rocket Equation And Exponential Nature Of Propellant Requirements As Function Of Distance (Velocity) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Depots As Fuel “Caches” <ul><li>Think Of Depots As A Form Of Staging </li></ul><ul><li>Analogies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-placed Caches For Antarctic Exploration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hanging Scuba Tanks For Intermediate Safety Stops </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Depots Extend Reach/Increase Payload If : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Propellant Can Be Delivered More Cheaply Than Time-Critical Cargoes And Personnel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: Low-Thrust Tankers Or Cycling Depots </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Infrastructure Should Be Robust <ul><li>Propellant Depot Architecture Renders Depots Essential For Continuing Operations </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot Have Single-Point Failure </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Redundancy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Depots </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Depot Designs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Propellant Providers </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Redundancy/Competition Unaffordable Without High Volume Of Operations <ul><li>Cost Amortization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple Depot Types Involve Multiple Developments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple Depots Multiply Production Costs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiple Providers Need Enough Market To Support Them All </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t Want To Show Up At The Depot With No Capacity To Offload </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demand Has To Support Supply (Oil Tanker Analogy) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Have To Find Sufficient Customers And Build Markets </li></ul>
  6. 6. LEO Depot Location Considerations <ul><li>LEO </li></ul><ul><ul><li>28.5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equatorial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Plane Change Penalty To GEO Constant For Any Inclination </li></ul><ul><li>Maximizing Lunar Departure/Return Opportunities Requires Multiple LEO Depots For Non-Equatorial Orbits </li></ul><ul><li>Another Driver For Redundancy </li></ul>
  7. 7. Other Depot Locations For Complete Cis-Lunar Infrastructure <ul><li>Lagrange Points (Propellants From Lunar Surface Or LEO…Or Other) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>L1 (Shorter Trip Times) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>L2 (Lower Delta V) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lunar Surface—Various Locations (Propellants Locally Produced Or Delivered From Lagrange Points) </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities Between Lunar Surface And Lagrange Points Continuous </li></ul>
  8. 8. Hybrid Location <ul><li>Consider Tankers Cycling Between LEO and Lagrange Points </li></ul><ul><li>Dual Function: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Propellant Storage (And Perhaps Processing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Propellant Transfer, Both Ways </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Possibly Nuclear Powered </li></ul><ul><li>At Least Four: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One At LEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One At Lagrange Point </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One In Transit From L? To LEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One In Transit From LEO To L? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Propellant Source Function Of Relative Cost </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If Lunar (Or Asteroidal) Propellants Can Be Delivered To LEO Cheaply, No More Need For Earth Supply </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Three Business Models <ul><li>NASA Cost-Plus Contract </li></ul><ul><li>Public Utility (Comsat Model) </li></ul><ul><li>Private Model (Existing Comsat Industry) </li></ul>
  10. 10. NASA Cost-Plus Contract <ul><li>Overspecify Initial System </li></ul><ul><li>Cost Estimate Results In Single One </li></ul><ul><li>Requirements Creep To Justify High Cost </li></ul><ul><li>Congressional Interference </li></ul><ul><li>Overruns, Slipped Schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Program Completion Just Prior To Obsolescence </li></ul><ul><li>In Other Words, Business As Usual </li></ul>
  11. 11. Public Utility (Comsat Model) <ul><li>Develop Specification </li></ul><ul><li>Establish Quasi-Governmental Corporation </li></ul><ul><li>Build/Operate Depots </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Services </li></ul>
  12. 12. Private Model (Comsat Industry) <ul><li>Establish Basic Interface Standards (NIST? AIAA?) </li></ul><ul><li>Get Anchor Tenant Contracts From NASA (And Others?) </li></ul><ul><li>Contractors Design/Build Depots In Various Locations </li></ul><ul><li>Operators Provide Propellant Storage/Transfer Services A La Gas Stations </li></ul><ul><li>System Expands To Meet Demand Either Via Additional Depots Or Depot Growth </li></ul>
  13. 13. Comsat Industry Model? <ul><li>Perhaps All Three Models Will Be Utilized, Time Phased: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NASA Develops Basic Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishment Of Quasi-Government Corporation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transition To Private Industry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Eventual Result: Robust Space Transportation Infrastructure To Dramatically Decrease In-Space Costs </li></ul>