The killer app for Space

By September 14, 2014Season 7, TMRO:Space

Main topic this week: What is the “Killer App” for space?

In Space News we have:
Chuangxin 1-04 and Ling Qiao satellites launched via Long March 2D
Yaogan-21 Launch via Long March 4B
Asiasat 6 Launch via SpaceX
Measat and Optus launch via ArianeV
Virgin Galactic moves to 2015
XCor selling tickets to wealthy Chinese
Big solar storm – Should have limited impact
Zero G engines repossessed

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7 Comments

  • DougSpace says:

    I think that there are three killer apps.

    REUSABLE LAUNCHERS – This is an obvious one. It reduces the cost of everything else, especially if the cost gets low enough that orbital tourism really takes off. Reusable launchers without a high flight rate = expensive launchers. But frequent tourist flights means space becomes accessible for all sort of ventures.

    SMART NASA FUNDING – COTS, CRS, CCP (sorry!) have been absolutely key to SpaceX’s survival and hence all that is following (e.g. F9, F9R, FH). We need to keep doing this such as with Lunar COTS programs and/or the guaranteed purchase of a certain amount of propellant at a depot in LEO – once again, high flight rate.

    ISRU – Utilizing resources at destination (i.e. Moon, Mars, asteroids) means that you don’t have to ship it meaning that everything that you launch can be very high value (e.g. people, high-tech equipment) and not low-info stuff like propellant, consumables, or even bulky metal parts.

    The cool thing is that it seems that we could be very near all of this if only we as a nation chose to do it.

  • Todd Tabb says:

    Why does SpaceX get lower compensation for equal or better tasks? SpaceX recieved 1.6B for 12 launches to ISS, ULA 1.9 for 9, and most recently SpaceX get 2.6B for their space taxi, ULA 4.2B…I am guessing for equal or fewer launches, what is the justification for this?

    • John Bensted says:

      As I understand, Boeing and SpaceX bid on the same Request for Proposals (RFP), so they bid on all the same requirements. SpaceX bid lower than Boeing, nevertheless NASA wanted two contractors to provide commercial crew services just as they have two contractors for commercial cargo services. Dream Chaser was not showing promise and may have over bid.

      If SpaceX gets to orbit with a crewed Dragon Mark II first then Boeing will have a big black eye. Go SpaceX!

  • John Bensted says:

    A fully reusable first stage that can lift various spacecraft to space is a killer app IMHO. The lift to orbit would be a service not unlike a tugboat. The booster service provider would have the specs required to use its service so anyone or any other entity can customize its own spacecraft. Need a lift call Spacelift Services!

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