Wednesday, September 15, 2004
The New Atlantis - The Path Not Taken - Rand Simberg
The New Atlantis - The Path Not Taken - Rand Simberg: "This means that even the theoretically best vehicle concept, if flown rarely, will be unaffordable to fly. A mediocre design, flown often, will beat it in cost per flight. How frequently we used the hypothetical launch system was much more important than what kind of propellant it used, or how many stages it had, or whether it took off or landed horizontally or vertically, or any other design choice. This, to me, was the key insight from all of those studies, and it’s one that remains true to this day. For example, the costs associated with the space shuttle largely go to pay the army of personnel and associated infrastructure needed to keep the shuttle fleet operational at all, even when the shuttles don’t fly. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we should ignore vehicle design, but it does mean that we need to pay much more attention to the dynamics of the market."
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