April 9, 2010

I Hope She's Right

Rand Simberg interviews NASA second-in-command Lori Garver:
A caveat to begin: the agency is still planning its mission sequence and goals. With that in mind, within five years, I would expect to see at least one commercial U.S. vehicle carrying astronauts to and from the ISS on a regular basis for a per-seat price. I would anticipate that additional private citizens and other government agencies might also be buying transportation services to and from a possible co-orbiting commercial/industrial space station, perhaps using inflatable technology. NASA will be, at that time, developing our state-of-the-art heavy-lift vehicle that will take us into deep space for missions to a variety of destinations throughout the solar system...I'm confident the excitement of the President's future-looking vision for NASA will carry the day and in five years, we will be amazed at how far we have progressed beyond today's capabilities.
The private sector servicing the space station within five years? Together with, perhaps, a private sector version(s) of the station? If that happens--and I hope it does--, wow!

The first sustainable step out of the gravity well. (By which I mean that it can be profitable via tourism if nothing else. Hopefully additional economic opportunities will arise.)

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