Norm Augustine Profile

Space News has one. While I’m less pessimistic about the chances and timeline of it happening (and hope that space is less of a program and more of a destination), I agree with Norm that high flight rate is the answer to our access-to-LEO problem:

If you were king but still had to deal with today’s budget realities, what would the U.S. civil and military space programs look like?

That is a really tough question. The highest priorities I would give to spending would be for education, basic research and national security. If we do that, we could grow our economy to the point where we could afford a strong space program — and I kind of described it before — and I would do my best to assure we had a strong commercial program much as was done with the commercial airlines. If the government, for example, were to give a guaranteed contract to commercial companies to fly “x” number of times to orbit per year, that would give them a large enough base. A major restriction on what we can do in space is the cost of launching payloads. And it’s my belief that the only way we will see a quantum reduction in the cost of taking payloads into space will be when space tourism becomes a reality. I firmly believe that will happen, and at that point we’ll be able to do some really amazing things in space. But that unfortunately is a while away.

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