Alternative development of space industry

Space owes its appearance to the political ambitions of the superpowers who have dropped enormous resources literally at nothing, just for the sake of strengthening of national prestige.

But in spite of half a century of presence in outer space, space programs are still in effect and scientific propaganda. The real industrialization of space is only due to the growth of commercial satellite constellation, but we can not develop some space satellites.

Plans space agencies in the coming decades do not provide nothing new, despite the strengthening of the space industry, the emergence of new technologies and trends.

Alternative space development, providing for the establishment of the industrial groupings designed for industrial activities, the development of extraterrestrial resources and private funding makes it possible to go from budget research missions to industrial colonization of space. Further expansion which will not contain the dependence on limited public budgets.


The idea of ​​flying into space did not leave humanity since the awareness of the fact that the earth is not the center of the universe and the smallest grain of sand, surrounded by endless ocean of space and lots of planets. Original, but in something like the earth worlds, only uninhabited due to the lack of vehicles to allow them to fly.

After the first space rockets, space travel became a reality, humanity ceased to be locked on the ground. But despite the technical feasibility, the colonization of nearby planets to land that is not happening. In addition, space colonization is not even considered seriously in the scientific community. The presence of human activity on other planets is limited to one-off expeditions, largely automatic, apart from a single series of manned flights to the moon, and the station in Earth orbit. Such activities can not be considered in the full sense of space exploration, so as we are talking only about research. The actual development of other planets can begin with a permanent manned bases, designed for long-term stay.

Adopted in the aerospace community opinion, the main obstacle of space colonization is the high cost of space transportation is not quite true. Price spaceflight is really very large, but not beyond, the scientific, technical and economic potential of mankind to create a alien base and it does not require any excess costs, the price of extraterrestrial settlements is insignificant on a global scale. People do not tend to space is not so much due to lack of the necessary technology and money, but because of the lack of real interest.

Space colonization hinders not only the lack of funds, but the absence of goals, strategic directions of development that would make space expansion is obviously a necessary and achievable goal. The purpose, capable of becoming one of the trends of global development to which humanity deliberately direct the necessary resources

The first driving force to encourage people to fly into space was political propaganda.

The first space mission has attracted much public attention and served as a means of demonstrating superiority and political superpowers device. The strategy of political prestige and humanitarian aspirations led to the initial spurt in space, created the space industry, where its practical use has not been the question.

Who manned space travel and exploration of other planets are moving in the field of science, but still the main task of allowing to obtain public funding is still the political prestige.

Fundamental science also serves as a driving force on the way into space, but some scientific interests is not enough for global expansionist aspirations, without which it is to overcome the technical and financial gap that makes other planets hardly accessible.

Expansionist projects should be infrastructure, rather than one-off expeditions, budget financing for the exploration of other planets will not be enough, hence the purpose of the cosmic expansion should not be ideological and scientific and practical.

The propagandists of the traditional areas of astronautics is often taken as an example of successful commercialization of new technologies gained in the process of creation of space technology and research in space. But technology incubation and commercialization of scientific activity weak argument for investors from the business areas. This strategy is appropriate for states, but government funding is limited, in order to attract investment in the space of the world economy need direct and guaranteed sources of income.

On the direct economic impact is calculated grouping of commercial satellites in Earth orbit, which is based on communication satellites and monitoring. Grouping commercial satellites successfully developing segment of the self-financing astronauts, whose activities are included in the economic system and information infrastructure of the land. Commercial group can be regarded as an example of successful space exploration, though it does not involve the use of extraterrestrial material resources and strongly tied to the land, but it can serve as a basis for other promising segments. The annual turnover of the commercial space industry today is about 160 billion dollars and continues to grow rapidly, it is enough for the emergence of infrastructure projects designed to service commercial satellite constellation,

There are several potential areas of commercialization of the “budget” Space sectors, such as manned space stations and bases on the moon. Now fame has space tourism destinations and mining of radioactive materials “Gellius – 3” on the moon. But travel services can not be the basis for funding such an expensive high technology activities like aerospace. Tourism can only give a little extra source of income. Ensure full private financing of space exploration can only industrial activities are of global importance and momentum in the tens or hundreds of billions of dollars. On the role of such activities could qualify for isotope production Gellius – 3 on the moon. But this project is associated with extremely high costs of the means of industrial production and enrichment of helium – 3, whose concentration in the soil is very low. Besides workable fusion reactors can consume this isotope does not exist, and their appearance can be expected not earlier than in decades. Project helium production – 3 on the moon can not be realized in the near future, and can be claimed only in the distant future.

Recognized areas of commercial and industrial development of space are not effective and can not serve as a basis for new breakthroughs. In this connection, adopted the concept of development of Russian space exploration does not provide for a complete overhaul. Planned reconstruction of the manned station, manned missions to the moon and Mars, but there is no question about the transition to the industrial activity, new projects include the scientific objectives and budget financing. The desire to achieve a more “distant cosmic horizons” coming from Space Administration is not so much motivated by the desire to expand the space activities in the interests of the economy as “race for the record” to renew public interest in missions, having propaganda purposes.

Space agencies continue to plan next research mission, without taking into account the new possibilities offered by the rapid development of commercial satellite constellation and new technologies.

I am an independent member of the aerospace community and can offer a vision of an alternative direction of commercial and industrial space development, the essence of which is to unite manned space flight, projects of advanced space transportation systems and development of the moon into a single cohesive system that works for the maintenance and development of commercial satellite constellation.

Unlike satellites, whose task includes only the services, “Industrial space grouping” is not tied to the land, is more mobile and is designed for a variety of activities, including the development of lunar resources, which makes it a more effective instrument of space exploration. But its work will make a profit, it will be financed by private corporations, and its development will not be constrained by limited budgets and lack of practical objectives for further expansion. Which will enter into the mainstream of astronautics space colonization and get practical almost unlimited opportunities for development.

Practical problems of the industrial groups in reducing the cost of space transport and servicing of satellites, so as it develops any activity in space will become cheaper and more easily realizable.

Scenario of the space industry are a few basic concepts and activities.



Orbital “Spaceport”.

Concept perspective removal system “Cosmoport” consisting of manned station in orbit fulfilling the function of transport and assembly of the terminal pad and specialized carrier – “Shepherd” which plays the role of the main workhorse for launching into orbit payloads.

The carrier Pony easy, cheap rocket engines and with simplified control systems. Pony motors are not turbine fuel pump for supplying fuel from the expulsion of pressurized gas tank, used for the orientation of beacons with remote compensation for missile control. “Size exclusion” fuel flow limits the power engines and rocket launch weight, lack of autonomous “Inertial” orientation systems and sophisticated electronics binds rocket to fly at a fixed trajectory from the launch site, to Spaceport on which its “Lead” beacons and control centers. But these restrictions are “workhorse” more than compensates for its main advantage, simplicity and very low cost.

Limited capacity Pony compensates Spaceport activity, wherein the light of the standardized modules and components output this media is collected commercial satellites and other spacecraft. The unit cost of removal using complex Pony – Spaceport, is about $ 1,000 per kilogram of payload, which is 3, 7 times less than the traditional single-carrier. Spaceport allows several times to reduce the cost of removing and creating a paid commercial demand for the activities of people in orbit associated with the installation.

Intermediate means of deducing the system Pony – Spaceport can be reusable winged first stage, serving to “suborbital jump” to a height of more than 100 kilometers. Start outside atmosphere with a high initial velocity enables to increase the effectiveness of disposable carriers without increasing their starting weight.

As an auxiliary withdrawal means “Cannon start” ultralight carriers can be used, which serves for delivery Cosmoport consumables resistant to overload, primary fuel, but also construction materials, food for the crew, simple parts and products.

In “Space guns” may be used the new technical solutions, such as missiles protection against overloads due reusable durable tight-fitting tubes, the use of a special powder release hydrogen by combustion, which enhances the initial velocity of the projectile to 60% of orbital, and m. P.

Technical simplicity cannon start reducing the cost of removing this method, up to $ 500 per kilogram, but does not allow to display fragile items.



The system of reusable orbital tugs.

Spaceport can serve not only as a component removal system, but also the base for reusable orbital tugs. Orbital tugs, one of the main directions of development of advanced space transportation systems, the advantage of orbital tugs to use “and the electric motor,” very low-power, cost-effective but that conditions permit orbit, weightless and permanent availability of energy sources. Motors Electric orbital tugs make it possible to reduce considerably the cost of movement in space and associate different orbits regular transport links that do not allow conventional missiles, used primarily to run “One Way.”

A permanent “Orbital Fleet” greatly simplifies any activity in space, linking public transport satellite constellation, and the lunar orbit to the Earth orbital stations. Low cost orbital transportation allows you to engage the service and repair of satellites in the orbital stations, expanding the scope of their commercial activities, making them a necessary part of the satellite constellation.

One function of the Spaceport, the binding of launch vehicles and orbital tugs at a single transport system, eliminates the single-orbital engines.

Fuel for orbital tugs at the first stages must be an organic fuel, obtained in Spaceport of plastic tanks Pony carriers or derivable starting gun, after a transition on the lunar fuel.

Feasibility for fuel production of electro-tugs on the moon is associated with lower costs for removal from the moon, which is ten times less than for land, due to lack of the moon atmosphere and low gravity.



Moonlight fuel base.

Lunar resources can be obtained, liquid oxygen and optionally water or hydrogen. However, the most readily available fuel in the moon is lunar soil, in the form of fine powder. Technical characteristics of the “Plasma electric rocket engines” most suitable for the tugs, allow them to consume different types of fuel, organic fuel, water, liquid oxygen and the mineral powder. “Flex” plasma engines can be used as fuel alien resources without substantial infrastructure costs, gas, liquid, or solid ground is in any astronomical objects.

The concept of “Powder fuel base” on the moon, alternative uses for lunar mineral resources. The simplicity and low energy consumption for producing a powder from the lunar soil allow greatly reduce the weight and cost of the moon surface production infrastructure. The mechanical system is removing the crushed soil from the surface of the moon – “Moonlight sling”, consisting of a rotor with ribbons kilometer long, the ends of which reach the lunar escape velocity, it allows you to display lunar resources on an industrial scale and cost effectively. Creating a powder fuel base on the moon it is placed in a reasonable private investor funding. It can serve as an objective economic justification of industrial activities on the moon, and creates conditions for further development of this planet.


Commercial industrial grouping.

Interrelated projects commercial space stations, transport systems and resource base on the moon, make up a single transport operating complex which by itself does not serve to make a profit, but is a means of maintenance and development of commercial low-Earth space grouping. Thus, the money spent on the “industrial space group” allows to reduce costs for the expansion and maintenance of commercial health groups and back into the economy in the form of cheaper and more accessible commercial satellite services.



Space cellular communications.

Activities of the industrial orbit segment also allows the fundamental modernization of the commercial group. Such as the commissioning of satellite platforms with mesh antennas large area, mounted to the spaceport capable of receiving cell phone calls and to broadcast directly into the individual’s body and radios, modems targeting devices and so on. N. And just to monitor the earth’s surface and broadcast telemetry, weather forecasting, monitoring of air and sea transport and control over natural resources. Such a system would eliminate most of the terrestrial terminals, cellular towers, TV and radio repeaters transferring the bulk of the information system into orbit. What will attract significant new investment in space, will cause expansion of the satellite communications industry and its importance.



Space solar power.

In the longer term, a transition to the space solar energy. Solar energy, powerful and inexhaustible source of energy, a lot easier to collect in space than on earth. An outer vacuo and weightless concentrating mirrors can be rotated from the thin film kilometer area that is practically impossible in the earth’s atmosphere and gravity. Light film mirror will allow to receive energy flows comparable only with nuclear heat sources, turbine or thermionic generators allow to convert solar heat into electrical energy transmitted to the earth in the form of a radio beam.

Solar power industrial power in orbit, will be relatively mild and comparable to the cost of power on the ground, but unlike Earth, will not need fuel and release of greenhouse gases or nuclear waste. Similar projects are planned and previously in the United States and Japan, but their development using the traditional space transportation is extremely expensive. Transport mounting system makes the implementation of energy projects of affordable and engineering capabilities.

Space generators before start working on the ground, will be incubated on the orbital stations and powerful tugs. Implementation of cosmic energy projects will attract into space hundreds of billions of dollars in additional investment and make the space industry a major component of the world economy.



Manufacturing in space.

Separately, you can note the development of industrial activities in space, this is now the direction is virtually absent, but it will be developed in the further development and increasing complexity of the global satellite constellation, especially its industrial part. The high cost of launch vehicles makes it profitable production in orbit consumables and products of various kinds, availability of raw materials in space can serve as a lunar resources and recycling of various waste materials and the most space grouping.

Some production activities using recycled, it would be appropriate at the present time, if investors have paid attention to them. ISS enough space and energy for the production of prototype articles of the empty tanks disposable missiles such as load-bearing structures, or cast parts. Because most waste ISS organic fuel can be obtained, water, oxygen, nitrogen, and other substances that can be consumed station.

Earth orbital station can serve not only the transport and technology, but also production centers, serving as the multi-purpose support bases throughout the near-Earth space grouping.

Starting with a pilot recycling debris and soil on the lunar orbital stations, production space will eventually grow and become more complex, becoming independent activities. The increasing complexity of production activities, from simple parts and materials to complex structures and machines through the decades will lead to the possibility of partial self-reproduction space group at the expense of extraterrestrial resources. On the ground will have to deliver only the most high-tech details. This separation after decades lead to the dominance of high-tech, high-tech products manufactured for space. Machinery space will replicate due to the “local” resources on the ground will produce turbines, solar cells, integrated circuits, and camcorders.

When a large-scale space colonization, differentiation in the direction of high-tech industries on the ground and in space of simple production, at the expense of the automated industrial groups, will lead to a general increase in scientific and technological progress and well-being, will transform the earth into the “Silicon Valley of the galaxy.”

Incubation of a specific production technology space conditions in acute shortage of materials, lead to the development of more technologically advanced methods that minimize processing such as high-tech molding, punching, use of powder and composite materials which reduce the number and complexity of operations in production. Borrowing these methods on the ground lead to a change of modern heavy industry production mobile technology platforms that will do activity in the manufacturing sector more accessible and quickly pays for itself by accelerating economic growth and reducing inter-ethnic inequality.

Thus, the appearance of attractive investment areas of commercialization of manned spaceflight, lunar exploration and other activities, will lead to the emergence of industrial space group, interconnected with the commercial group in a single global space industry. In contrast to research projects with dubious economic justification, industrial space can be one of the largest sectors of the world economy, able to attract new investments and rapid expansive development. The growth of the industrial groups and a gradual increase in the proportion of the space industry in key areas of Economy, first link, then the energy in the future industrial development of extraterrestrial material resources,

Fifteen thirty years of industrial space grouping will have a manned station, functions as a support base and transportation centers, resource base on the moon and the orbital fleet, allowing freely move in the near-Earth space. For the next generation of space industry will go to the development of the resources of Mercury and asteroids will be the industrial base on the moon and the support base on Mars, with interplanetary transport system and space industry, humanity will be able to freely distribute its activities in the solar system. Industrial space program makes it possible for our civilization to move to a space level for one or two generations.

The proposed scenario of the space industry can solve the problem of finding funding and go from space research to its practical colonization based on the capabilities of technology and economy of the time, which will open before mankind the way to outer space colonization.


Nikolay Agapov.


  1. Всё это давно известно и интересно.Как всегда у автора отсутсвует разработка космической технологии для обеспечения коммерческих запусков космических кораблей на орбиту Земли, что представляет сейчас большую проблему. Понятно,что разработка такой технологии требует десятки лет работы и большого финансирования квалифицированных специалистов,которых ещё необходимо подготовить.Тогда как журналист сам по себе не в состоянии решать научные проблемы профессионально.Обращение к англоязычной аудитории без финансирования проектов освоения Космоса может не принести успеха.

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