E. Thomas Chesworth
I thought that the huggermuggers were all in the CIA, NSA, ONI or ASA but evidently there are a group of them in the private sector on the high desert in California. I wondered why after putting a man into space Burt Ratan had not pressed on and built a plane that would be able to launch rockets that could put satellites into orbit. Well he has been working on it for about a decade and keeping it secret.
He has a way of succeeding so I suspect he will be making a fortune shortly putting commercial communications satellites and governments, including USAF and NOAH into orbit. Since the U.S. government has decided to eviscerate NASA, they will probably even be putting astronauts onto the space station and soon after that hauling tourists into space and selling real estate on the moon. Since all of this will be in the private sector it will be done for less than half what it would cost if the government were in charge.
Can you imagine what a tricycle would cost if the government had it made to government specs? First of all it would have to pass EMI tests since it has a battery and a light. Then of course the manufacturer would have to keep track of the steel in the frame, which batch it was in when it came from the blast furnace and which open hearth was used and how much carbon and vanadium was added to make the steel. Of course, it would be absolutely necessary to test the tensile strength of the tubes used to make the frame which obviously need to be MIG-welded by a certified welder. You’d be lucky if you could buy a tricycle for $10,000 - on sale yet.
Burts bunch isn’t interested in an artillery piece that can shoot a projectile halfway around the world. So they didn’t go for the rockets’ red glare. Instead, they will put a small rocket on a large airplane and shoot it into space above the atmospheric friction from Florida where the velocity due to the earth’s rotation is as high as you can get in the continental USA and with an additional close to the speed of sound headstart on achieving orbital velocity. Unlike a government procurement they will make the airplane’s platform out of a few used 747s, much cheaper than a DOD tricycle. The thing has flat sides - guess why - so that they can make flat panels for the fuselage which will be interchangeable instead of individually formed. They did this because the thing doesn’t have to be pretty -- it just has to work and be inexpensive. My guess is that Burt’s bunch will be able to launch a satellite for one-tenth of what it costs NASA and still pocket a big bag of change as profit on the deal.
My guess is that labor will be the bunch’s biggest expense and that their second biggest expense will be taxes. Yeah, taxes. The government is so dumb that they can’t even learn from history. Will someone please tell them about Ferdinand and Isabella. In Spain in the sixteenth century these two funded an exploration of unknown territory. For the next two centuries Spain, a small country in southwestern Europe was one of the richest countries in the world because of the return on their investment. In an analogous set of circumstances the nitwits in our government are dismantling NASA so that they can pay the Chinese for rides into space.
And guess who will profit by the natural resources on the moon in the astroid belt and on the moons of other planets. Whose citizens will have jobs as space explorers, in building spaceships and whose armed forces will have a military base in synchronous orbit right over Washington D.C.
Thank goodness for Ratan’s bunch. They may just turn the whole thing around for us. But they’re going to have a rough time of it even though we were a few decades ahead of everyone else just a few decades ago. Oh well, we’re sure to be ahead on idiotic government restrictions.