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Moon Space Science

Golden Spike Working On Private Moon Flights 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-of-these-days dept.
medcalf writes "NBC reports that Alan Stern's Golden Spike Company is planning commercial trips to the Moon. From the article: 'A group of space veterans and big-name backers today took the wraps off the Golden Spike Company, a commercial space venture that aims to send paying passengers to the moon and back at an estimated price of $1.4 billion or more for two. The venture would rely on private funding, and it's not clear when the first lunar flight would be launched — but the idea reportedly has clearance from NASA, which abandoned its own back-to-the-moon plan three and a half years ago. Golden Spike's announcement came on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 17, the last manned moonshot. Backers of the plan, including former NASA executive Alan Stern and former Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin, were to discuss the company's strategy at a National Press Club briefing at 2 p.m. ET, but some of the details were laid out in a news release issued before the briefing. "A key element that makes our business achievable and compelling is Golden Spike's team of nationally and internationally known experts in human and robotic spaceflight, planetary and lunar science, exploration, venture capital formation, and public outreach," Stern said in the news release.'"
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Golden Spike Working On Private Moon Flights

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @08:38PM (#42210925)

    If I were planning this, I'd like to first launch an automated habitat onto the Moon. If we weren't in a Cold War driven "space race", maybe we would have done that. We have some working knowledge now about long duration exposure to the space environment. We just need to work out landing something ISS-sized on a planet, or getting manufacturing capabilities there to build it in-situ. We also have better robots now. Build it, and then come.

    • Should we allow commercial exploitation of the moon?

      Sending astronauts there to discover new things, to take moon rock back to earth for research, to set up a moon-based telescope or something akin to that is one thing.

      Commercializing the moon is another.

      Should we allow such endeavor to proceed in the first place?

      • by ImprovOmega (744717) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @08:54PM (#42211091)
        Eventually the moon will replace Florida as *the ultimate* retirement community. It's really only a matter of getting cheap propulsion systems, and then everything else falls into place. If a trip to the moon can be reduced to the cost of, say, 5x a roundtrip cross-country flight, then infrastructure will start to be built, communities set up, regular freight traffic (space truckers!) and then people by their thousands migrating there. Close enough to home but with 1/6 the gravity (and fewer falling injuries, bonus). It's the perfect place to retire to, once the infrastructure gets there.

        I'm hoping this happens in the next 40ish years so I can spend my final days there.
        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:36PM (#42211411) Homepage

          Slow down Cowboy! We've barely managed to keep up a small station in Low Earth Orbit, much less figure out how to build and maintain habitable areas on the moon. It's lots more that just 'cheap propulsion systems'. It is an enormous expense of designing, building and maintaining things in a totally inhospitable environment.

          Who is going to 'migrate' there? Where is the economic benefit? Don't go all Kim Stanley Robinson on us, there are incredible financial constraints that are quite real and won't go away. At the rate the economy is going, you're going to be lucky to spend your final days in something stronger than a cardboard box.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MangoCats (2757129)

            I've lived in Florida all my life, the retirees who actually live here are incredibly cheap, I simply can't imagine them paying even $100/kg for their food, water and air. (now, the people who buy expensive beachfront real-estate and never use it are another thing... they are our tax base.)

            If, by infrastructure, you mean "farm domes," then think about how much area under dome is required to support each person and compare that to the size of your average McMansion.... I'm guessing you'd need dozens of McMa

          • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@@@netzero...net> on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:19AM (#42212445) Homepage Journal

            The reason why the "small space station" is a problem is precisely because it is in Low Earth Orbit. There are no "native resources" at that location to do anything useful. That particular orbit is really only useful as a way station to other places in the Solar System and for people and stuff going in both directions... to the Earth and from the Earth to elsewhere.

            The problem with the ISS and why it is so hard to keep going is because it is incomplete. It was also done in the most expensive way possible and with the least sustainable way of keeping it going. I consider it a miracle that it was put up in the first place mainly because of the insane contracts and government bureaucracies involved in getting it built. If you built an international airport with eight runways, hundreds of hangers, thousands of rental cars, several hundred employees, and an interstate highway leading up to that airport but only had two Cessna airplanes fly into it each year.... it would be equally useless and a huge waste of resources. That is what we have with the ISS. It could be useful but it was built in the wrong way to be useful in the way you are suggesting.

            You are also making the completely wrong notion that commercial spaceflight activity is not currently happening except for a few stupid extreme adventure people like Felix Baumgartner. It couldn't be further from the truth and in fact commercial spaceflight activity is already a multi-billion dollar industry. The Earth and its economy would simply shut down if it wasn't for existing infrastructure in space and for existing applications of commercial spaceflight. You use them all of the time without knowing it too. When you see astronauts running around, they are just the tip of the iceberg of the actual activity which is happening. Simply put, there is plenty to do in space and ways to make money just to support the existing infrastructure of what we are currently doing in space. That by itself would more than justify putting some people up there simply to take care of that equipment... particularly given the increasing complexity of much of that equipment which is being sent into space.

            In other words, there are some space tourists and extreme adventure type people going into space, but they are so insignificant right now as to be ignorable on a statistical basis for the real stuff that is happening in space. Supporting that infrastructure from stuff you can get from space is already right now something which can close a business case for going up there right now. In fact, there are multiple businesses who are trying to do just that, and Golden Spike is just the latest of a long string of companies.

            • by _4rp4n3t (1617415)

              The Earth and its economy would simply shut down if it wasn't for existing infrastructure in space and for existing applications of commercial spaceflight

              Uh, I'd like to see you support that wild assertion with some pretty solid facts please!

              • by Anonymous Coward

                1) GPS/Galileo (arguably not commercial but has created a huge commercial market and applications that we rely on heavily). In another 20-30 years aircraft will probably fly all automated using satnav. Other applications that rely more and more on the ability to locate things in 3D within cms or even mms.
                2) Commercial satcomms - medical, internet, phone, TV,etc.
                3) Weathersats - now you can see what is coming. Shut them down and we'll be back to asking grandpa if his knee is itchy.
                4) Earth resource sats - f

                • by crutchy (1949900)
                  if all space infrastructure were all of a sudden disabled it would be inconvenient for many, but "the economy" has a little more resilience than you give it credit for

                  everyone likes to think the industry they work in is important, but unfortunately NASA has been battling to justify its budget for a long time now, and its because its full of all the things that makes progress difficult. the following article describes:
                  http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/gettospace.html [jerrypournelle.com]

                  many of the things you
                  • by Teancum (67324)

                    If you want to know what would happen to the economy if alcohol was to disappear, all you need to do is look back to the prohibition era in the USA during the 1930's. As a social policy it was an utter disaster, but economically it wasn't nearly so bad and the Great Depression had nothing to do with the lack of alcohol production.... although a solid argument could be made that it may have been more than coincidence that the economy fell part when prohibition was passed and it recovered when it was repeale

                    • by mforbes (575538)

                      "although a solid argument could be made that it may have been more than coincidence that the economy fell part when prohibition was passed and it recovered when it was repealed."

                      Well, sure, except that you have your timing wrong. Prohibition was passed in 1920, and repealed in 1933. That period saw the boom period of the Roaring Twenties, mostly as a result of rampant stock speculation, and most of that without any significant research into the actual value of the stocks being traded. The crash of Octob

                    • by crutchy (1949900)
                      the highest capacity trunk connections will always be fibre-based because wireless signals just can't compete serially, and parallel signals would require much larger satellites which compound their cost (and risk)
                    • by crutchy (1949900)
                      believe it or not i'm actually a space enthusiast myself, but when i was studying i learned some very harsh realities about the economics, politics and legalities of space, and the reality is that commercial and government space programs have no future. the only reason why the space race even occurred was because of military objectives, so if you want to go to the moon again you need to start another cold war with the russians (or maybe chinese).

                      i think non-profit co-operation (supported financially by s
        • by Jeremi (14640)

          Eventually the moon will replace Florida as *the ultimate* retirement community.

          The reason everyone retires to Florida is because the weather doesn't get too cold in the winter. I'm not sure how the moon is going to compete there.

          • The reason everyone retires to Florida is because the weather doesn't get too cold in the winter. I'm not sure how the moon is going to compete there.

            How long was the hurricane season on the moon again?

            Oh, and how big are the Moon Roaches...

            No sir, can't imagine how it would compete.

        • by crutchy (1949900)
          the moon... where the voting public would love politicians to retire
        • Meh. I personally would not care to retire to a place like the moon (or Mars for that matter). Just the very thought of it is depressing, knowing that outside the little habitat that is sustaining you, there is nothing else alive.

          • by Teancum (67324)

            Meh. I personally would not care to retire to a place like the moon (or Mars for that matter). Just the very thought of it is depressing, knowing that outside the little habitat that is sustaining you, there is nothing else alive.

            Just don't move to a climate where the temperature falls below freezing for a couple months of the year... or to a place where the temperatures stay above 100 for the whole day. Not all of us can live in Malibu where the temperatures year-round are pleasant with a gentle breeze and little in the way of nasty storms that cause other problems.

            Mankind has dealt with living in less than ideal locations for millennia and has created technologies to be able to cope with living in those harsh climates. People li

            • The point of my post seemed to have been missed. Essentially what I meant was that living in a sterile, closed environment like what would be required on a lunar settlement would be the equivalent of being in a prison. I am "addicted" to being able to encounter a wide variety of life almost anywhere I go on this planet. I have developed a fascination with our world's biodiversity. In fact, after reading your response to my post, I had to step outside and just bask in the cool Northwest night air, taking

              • by Teancum (67324)

                I would hope that over time a place like the Moon would become a place that would be full of life, and have some unique aspects that would making living on the Moon seem better to the local residents than what we have living here on the Earth. At the very least it would be different.

                The early pioneers going to the Moon would face some incredible hardships, and it would indeed be a sterile and dead place for them. One of the challenges for those going to the Moon to live and raise families (as opposed to w

      • by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:08PM (#42211213)
        Yes we should. There is no good reason whatsoever to ban commercial exploitation of the moon. If there are particular parts that make sense to keep pristine for future generations, then make lunar parks to preserve them. Preserving the moon in it's pristine form is only good if there are people their to appreciate it.
        • Think of what can motivate people, in the name of profit ---

          There are things that we do not want on earth - NOT IN OUR BACKYARD, anyway - such as nuclear wastes.

          If the commercial exploitation of the moon becomes a reality, who is to stop people offering services to pack nuclear / toxic waste into a rocket and shoot it towards the moon?

          They don't even have to dug a hole on the moon - they can just crash that rocket into the moon and that's that.

          • by Teancum (67324)

            What is stopping people from launching nuclear waste and sending it to the Moon or to the Sun is simply that it would never be economical to do something that stupid. Honestly, sending nuclear waste to the Moon would be a very good thing to do, and nobody either here on the Earth or on the Moon would care. The waste stream from a terrestrial nuclear power plant could easily be thrown into a crater without any covering and nobody even near that crater would even care. There is no environment to destroy, t

            • by snadrus (930168)
              The moon? If I'm in space & throwing nuclear waste in a preferred direction, what about that giant fusion reactor warming everything (the Sun)? As a bonus, it actually has a use for radioactive material.
              • by Teancum (67324)

                The delta-v needed to send something to the Sun is even harder than shipping it to the Moon. Nice try, but even that won't work.

                The only reason why somebody would put some nuclear waste into space is because that "waste" would be considered valuable in and of itself. Sort of like why Pu-238 [wikipedia.org] is being used extensively on spacecraft at the moment. It is worthless as something to be used in fission reactors (hence considered "waste") but incredibly useful for other tasks. There may be other things in nuclea

      • by niftydude (1745144) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:24PM (#42211339)

        Commercializing the moon is another.

        Should we allow such endeavor to proceed in the first place?

        Of course we should. For two reasons.

        1. Space exploration won't become more than the sideshow it is now until someone manages to monetize it. If we want real sustainable investment in space and space related technologies, we need someone to be making money off it somehow, otherwise various governments around the world will just continue to drop the ball. It could be from mining, or tourism, or something else, but industry needs to get involved.

        2. I own all the real estate on moon (I bought it on eBay), so if anyone went there, they would have to lease the area they are using off my company - it's well past time for that investment to pay off for me.

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:05PM (#42211651)

        Allow? We? Is this a socialist dictatorship or some shit? If WE aren't going to the moon, doing anything with it, exploring, mining or anything else with it, then how do WE have the right to stop an individual from doing all those things?

        • how do WE have the right to stop an individual from doing all those things?

          The same way that most remaining uninhabited islands in Florida are being blocked from development - arguments about the impact of development on the surrounding ecology, economy, etc.

          If Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Bernard Arnault, Amancio Ortega, and Larry Ellison each decided to start their own space program, imagine the environmental and economic impact that would have. Sooner or later, government would step in with regulations, safety standards, certifications, inspections, permits, waiting lists, engin

          • by khallow (566160)

            The same way that most remaining uninhabited islands in Florida are being blocked from development - arguments about the impact of development on the surrounding ecology, economy, etc.

            Most such islands are blocked by virtue of someone owning them who doesn't permit development.

            If Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Bernard Arnault, Amancio Ortega, and Larry Ellison each decided to start their own space program, imagine the environmental and economic impact that would have. Sooner or later, government would step in with regulations, safety standards, certifications, inspections, permits, waiting lists, engineering studies, licensing fees, etc. to ensure that these huge endeavors don't wreak havoc on the interests that our elected officials protect.

            What environmental and economic impact? And why isn't current regulation good enough?

          • What the hell are you talking about? It's the MOON. There is no environment, and development there will have absolutely no impact on us what-so-ever. None. It costs something like a billion dollars to launch 3 man capsule to the moon. How quick do you think it would take all those guys to go broke doing that? Unless we find printer ink in space, there's no way in hell it will ever be profitable until we have a space elevator or discover some new form of propulsion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kahlandad (1999936)

        We allow commercial exploitation of the Earth and we live here...

      • Should we allow commercial exploitation of the moon?

        Who is "we"? Unless you represent some group that owns the moon it's not your place to stop people from doing what they please there.

      • by Teancum (67324)

        Should we allow commercial exploitation of the moon?

        Sending astronauts there to discover new things, to take moon rock back to earth for research, to set up a moon-based telescope or something akin to that is one thing.

        Commercializing the moon is another.

        Should we allow such endeavor to proceed in the first place?

        Why should we not be able to commercially exploit the resources of the Moon? That this question is even being asked sort of suggests that we aren't worthy of being a species worth saving. Yes, I'm serious.

        Of any place in the Solar System that is worth gouging up and mining until it is unrecognizable, the Moon would be the place to do it and benefit not only mankind but the Earth itself as well. I would much rather have the face of the Moon become unrecognizable from its current view than to have mountain

      • by Jeremi (14640)

        Should we allow such endeavor to proceed in the first place?

        Who is this "we", kemo sabe? And what gives "us" the right to stop anyone from going to the moon?

      • by khallow (566160)

        Should we allow commercial exploitation of the moon?

        Absolutely! Because there is nothing better to do with the Moon. Not science, not military outposts, not international cooperation, not feelgood conservation of a sterile object.

        Sending astronauts there to discover new things, to take moon rock back to earth for research, to set up a moon-based telescope or something akin to that is one thing.

        A pretty low value thing since no has bothered to do anything about it for forty years.

        Should we allow such endeavor to proceed in the first place?

        My view is that unless you are doing something on the Moon, something happens that effects you directly, or someone is doing something that would be illegal no matter where it happened, you shouldn't have a say in what happens on the Moon.

        For e

      • by rally2xs (1093023)

        What makes you think its up to us? We don't own it. If the Chinese want to commercialize it, they will, and won't ask us. Our best course of action is to commercialize it first.

  • by detain (687995) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @08:41PM (#42210941) Homepage
    I'm sure NASA would be going to the moon every month if they had all the funding they needed but sadly they no longer can. With that in mind I'm really glad that private companies are still pushing for space exploration and that governments aren't preventing them from doing so. I hope there are enough rich people interested in this to properly fund companies like this.
    • by caballew (2725281)
      You'd better learn Mandarin. China is the only country properly investing enough money for the infrastructure to expand and explore space. I believe their plans might be more mature than Golden Spike Company.
      • by murdocj (543661)

        Good lord, not the "omg the Chinese are better in space than us" line again.

        The Chinese are slowly repeating what the USA and Russia did in the '60s. In the meantime, the USA has explored most of the solar system. Let me know when China has 2 probes entering interstellar space.

      • by Teancum (67324)

        You'd better learn Mandarin. China is the only country properly investing enough money for the infrastructure to expand and explore space. I believe their plans might be more mature than Golden Spike Company.

        {{Citation needed}}

        Seriously. While China was saying they might be able to get to the Moon by the year 2030, they are going very slowly and not very well for that matter. The Chinese space program does not have the operational tempo needed to have a sustained presence on the Moon or anywhere else for that matter. They are doing some interesting things, no doubt, but the Chinese are hardly the nation to fear in terms of what is happening in space.

        By far and away I'd call this plan [goldenspikecompany.com] to be far more detailed

    • Actually, my bet is that private space will go to the moon, but with NASA leading them. Just like NASA is leading private space to deliver private launch vehicles.
      And it is not rich ppl that will pay for this. It will be nations. My bet is that Saudi Arabia, UAE, or Austalia will be on the first trip.
    • I don't get why everyone here thinks that some Rich adventure people are the target market for Golden Spike!

      The target is any gov't that wants to do this, but doesn't want to spend all the money on the R&D to do the Rocket. Did anyone read any of the articles?!

      Just think how annoyed the Chinese would be if the Japanese got to the Moon first, for a tiny fraction of the money they're spending? And I think the Japanese KNOW IT!

      1.4 Billion is not private citizen money. It's Gov't size money. Maybe Huge corp

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @08:42PM (#42210965)
    I think the number of multi billionaires that would sign on is small but it's cheap for countries to get a seat on a Moon mission. Rather than spending tens of billions themselves they can for a fraction of that get one of their people a seat. It's one of the smallest clubs on the planet and so far they have all been US citizens. I can see Japan and as well as much of Europe being very excited about the prospect. For Russia it would be an afordable way to get there without committing to a massive program.
    • Would be more likely to be China IMHO

    • Wow, I hope that's not true.

      I, for one, have absolutely no interest in funding a passenger ride for one of my countrymen for no reason other than to tick off a box.

      Of course, if there's a high chance of them not coming back, I might reconsider.
  • Best of luck to them (Score:4, Informative)

    by zill (1690130) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @08:43PM (#42210975)

    at an estimated price of $1.4 billion or more for two

    According to Forbes [forbes.com] there are only around 1000 people on Earth with that kind of money.

    • by SixAndFiftyThree (1020048) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:04PM (#42211177)
      ... some of whom have several ex-wives they'd like to send far, far away.
    • by countach (534280)

      And a smaller amount who would blow 1.4B on the exploit. Then the number left stupid enough to risk their lives on it, is roughy zero point zero.

    • by Blackjax (98754)

      First, the price is for two people, the price per seat is half that.

      Second, they are not targeting wealthy people as the primary immediate market, they are targeting sovereign clients (i.e. foreign space agencies). (although granted there are real questions about the actual size of that market).

      Third, that price isn't necessarily the price forever, just the price fairly early in their operations. Bringing the price down to continue capturing more market is in the plan. The more they do this, the more of

      • by zill (1690130)

        First, the price is for two people, the price per seat is half that.

        Next time the cab driver tells you the fare is $20, give him $5 and tell him that's the per seat price.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          First, the price is for two people, the price per seat is half that.

          Next time the cab driver tells you the fare is $20, give him $5 and tell him that's the per seat price.

          I've been a cab driver, and if four people were riding in a cab where the fare was $20, I'd be glad to take that $5 from each person separately and even give change.

          It really isn't a problem. If you are stupid enough to ride in a cab by yourself, you need to pay full fare, just as it would be in this situation with Golden Spike as well.

        • by Blackjax (98754)

          First, the price is for two people, the price per seat is half that.

          Next time the cab driver tells you the fare is $20, give him $5 and tell him that's the per seat price.

          I am not sure what your point is given that Golden Spike actually offers the ability to buy per seat rather than requiring you to purchase the whole mission.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        I imagine there would be some commercial interest too. Mining the moon could be big.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just use the portal gun.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    a commercial space venture that aims to send paying passengers to the moon and back

    Well, thank goodness for that. Wouldn't they be surprised to find out a billion dollars only got them a one-way ticket?

  • by jfengel (409917) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @08:59PM (#42211131) Homepage Journal

    The secret sauce is their "team of nationally and internationally known experts in human and robotic spaceflight, planetary and lunar science, exploration, venture capital formation, and public outreach", who of course go without introduction (i.e. we haven't found them yet).

    I'm particularly fond of their saying that they have "clearance from NASA". What the hell does that mean? Are they cleared for launch of an unnamed rocket from an undisclosed location? Hell no. It means that they said, "Hey, NASA, do you mind if we make bogus claims about going to the moon" and NASA said "Sure, knock yourselves out."

  • I expect something like a 30 year time from project start to launch. Which is good news - because it gives me time to save the $1,4bn. On the other hand, will septuagenarians be able to go?

  • Service Temporarily Unavailable

    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.
    Apache Server at goldenspikecompany.com Port 80

  • FAIL.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hmm.. sending private citizens for $750 million a person; or $1.5 billion for two.

    I'm going to call FAIL on this one.

    Although, it would be cool to see this happen. These rich billionaires with money burning a hole in their pockets, would be spearheading the technology needed to colonize the moon and solar system.

    But the problem, is that they are not doing anything to lower the cost of space launches to make the exploration of outer space more affordable. They are just using existing technology, to send pe

    • by khallow (566160)

      But the problem, is that they are not doing anything to lower the cost of space launches to make the exploration of outer space more affordable. They are just using existing technology, to send people there. And that is the reason why it fails.

      New uses for existing technology does lower the cost of all that technology that gets used. Ever hear of "economies of scale"? Space technologies are an unusually fruitful target for the economy of scale coming from frequency of use in two primary ways -- more uses of the technology spread over the R&D costs and learning curve effects.

  • Derpy (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:38PM (#42211435)

    it's not clear when the first lunar flight would be launched

    Never. That clear enough for you?

    And now... OooooooooOOOOOO

    "Fly me to the moon
    Let me play among the stars
    Let me see what spring is like
    On a, Jupiter and Mars
    In other words, hold my hand
    In other words, baby, kiss me"

  • If this is push through, that means, another history in the making!
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:52PM (#42211543) Journal

    Is anyone else struck by the fact that people who are allegedly intending to deliver an economically feasible private-sector ride to the moon would choose a name alluding to the completion ceremony [wikipedia.org] for a massively government-sponsored(and deeply politicized and not a little corruption-plagued) infrastructure project?

    • by khallow (566160)
      It was also a massively private-sponsored activity. Why pay attention only to public funding? It's the "one drop" rule for economic activities -- "There was a fed in the woodpile."
      • by bogjobber (880402)
        Not only are you crass, but you obviously have no idea what you're talking about. Between 1850 and 1871, the United States government *gave* the railroad companies more than 175 million acres of public land. That is over 10% of the entire land area of the United States! And even that figure underestimates the significance of that number, because in the West the value of land is largely dependent upon water rights (particularly back then) and the railroad companies more or less had monopolies on the water
        • by khallow (566160)
          Before you blather about how valuable the handout was, consider how valuable the land was before the railroads existed. It wasn't much of a handout. It just appears big because of what the railroads did with the land.
          • by petsounds (593538)

            The land was pretty valuable to the native Americans on whom the United States government committed genocide.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It was also a massively private-sponsored activity

        No, no it wasn't. It was overwhelmingly state-sponsored. And the land grants went far beyond what was required.

        • by khallow (566160)

          No, no it wasn't. It was overwhelmingly state-sponsored. And the land grants went far beyond what was required.

          No railroad businesses involved, no railroads. Funny how that works out. And how valuable was that land given the absence of railroads? There's a reason the feds were giving it away. They couldn't get rid of it in any other way.

          • by rmstar (114746)

            No railroad businesses involved, no railroads. Funny how that works out. And how valuable was that land given the absence of railroads? There's a reason the feds were giving it away. They couldn't get rid of it in any other way.

            It also just made a lot of sense. The government got a lot in return, by having the country prosper in a rather substantial way. And since the land was still in the same country, it cannot really be said to have been "given away".

          • No, no it wasn't. It was overwhelmingly state-sponsored. And the land grants went far beyond what was required.

            No railroad businesses involved, no railroads. Funny how that works out. And how valuable was that land given the absence of railroads? There's a reason the feds were giving it away. They couldn't get rid of it in any other way.

            Nobody is disputing that the transcontinental railroad was a good idea, (unlike, say, putting a man on the moon, the utility of having a railway link across the middle of the country is quite obvious), or that the construction was handled by contractors, with the feds doing overall route planning, territorial acquisition, and funding. It's just that, by that standard of "private", the Apollo program was practically a private sector project. The feds had some managers to keep the contractors in line, and som

    • by grumpyman (849537)
      I got it!! They'll employ slave Chinese engineers via H1B to work on the project!!!!
  • I like the name of the company, very clever. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_spike [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6EwNlWH7g4

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:13PM (#42211723) Homepage Journal

    I can't believe how much press this got, for being so without substance.

    Here is their business plan: They are going to take people to the moon. They are going to do it by buying a spaceship.

    That's it.

    • by Teancum (67324)

      I can't believe how much press this got, for being so without substance.

      Here is their business plan: They are going to take people to the moon. They are going to do it by buying a spaceship.

      That's it.

      It is a fair criticism here. I find it sad that they don't have any customers to show off, and that the hardware they are claiming that they are working on is all on power point presentations rather than something they can pull out and present at the press conference. At least Planetary Resources (the last company to make a big splash like this) had some Arkyd 100 satellites to show off to prospective customers on the day of their big public debut. They have just photoshopped Apollo 17 images.

      The big thi

      • by Legion303 (97901)

        "If these companies are not involved, I would really like to know who might be?"

        Acme. Specifically the Giant Slingshot division, though there were rumors of rocket-propelled rollerskate technology coming soon.

    • by bogjobber (880402)
      I like the $1.4 billion "or more" part. I think it might cost somewhere in the range of $1.4 to $50 billion dollars, depending on how many people they get to sign up.
    • by Hillgiant (916436)

      Buy rocket to the moon.
      Buy airplane to the rocket.
      Buy taxi to the airport.
      Buy front door to the taxi.

      (Yes. I know. The actual lyrics are "By ____ to the ___")

    • And yet, which nation or company was it that sent the first private citizen into space?
      Was it Russia? Nope.
      Was it ULA, L-Mart, boeing, etc? Nope.
      It was Space Adventures who bought a seat from Russia and time on the Russian side of the ISS. [wikipedia.org]

      You do recall what FUD is. Right? It is when somebody ignores history or tries to change the future all by offering Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

      And Bruce, that is EXACTLY what you are doing at this time.
      • Yes, I know two of the people who have been to ISS via Space Adventures.

        But Golden Spike is not like Space Adventures. Space Adventures was founded when there was a temporary opportunity to get a ride to space from the Russians because of their economic woes.

        What we are seeing here is a company that doesn't have the opportunity, doesn't have the technology, doesn't have the capital.

        I know really well what FUD is. I also know about FAKES and PHONEYS.

        • These ppl are more connected than are the Space Adventures ever were. What is interesting is where the GS ppl are connected. With the very ppl that have been working hard to gut private space. Now, they are pushing this forward and will no doubt be lobbying USA's neo-cons to stop their insanity (at least WRT space). That will likely happen upon the FH making it to orbit. But, I would expect that GS has money invested into it from those very neo-cons.

          BTW, you will note that Eric Anderson who founded SA, is
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:07PM (#42212033)

    ...I was transported back to my air traffic control days. There was a high performance aircraft called a Mooney 20 that was favored by doctors and lawyers with way too much money on their hands. The Mooney was a tricky aircraft to fly, lots of airplane to handle for the uninitiated. Mooney pilots in crisis were the worst pilots to deal with due to their relative lack of inexperience. The running joke was that each Mooney came equipped with a "golden spike" mounted on the door, impaling unsuspecting pilots in the head and rendering them stupid.

    Needless to say, a company called "Golden Spike" would not be a company I'd prefer to take me to the moon and back.

     

  • by koan (80826)

    They are in dire need of name change as it reminds me of what a burning vehicle would look like on re-entry.

  • But John Pike, a longtime expert on space policy who heads GlobalSecurity.org, said he was "deeply skeptical" about Golden Spike's business plan. "If you could do it this cheap, somebody would have already done it," he told me.

    Talk about a bad argument. Nothing that was expensive can ever be done more cheaply, because if it could it would already be done. It's like saying in the late 90's "I am deeply skeptical about Intel's business plan. If you could make 386-level processors cheap, someone would ha
    • by medcalf (68293)
      John Pike is, sadly, a frequently-quoted person. In my experience, he is wrong almost as often as he is quoted, primarily because he seems to always take the most pessimistic possible position in any given case.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:12AM (#42212417)
    Start with billions of dollars, establish a private spaceflight company offering rides to bored rich people and shut it all down before you're bankrupt.
  • Donald Trump should be the first passenger. He could then build the golf course of his dreams where nobody would object. Alan Shephard already started the ball rolling, so to speak. . No more plebs in the view from his multi-billion hotel. Win-win for Earth and Moon. His wig could be the Moon's first native wildlife.
  • Far too many ppl here have this wrong. It will NOT be private citizens that fund this. Instead, it will almost certainly be multiple nations that will be amongst the first few groups. My guess is that NASA will go. I am also guessing that Saudi Arabia, UAE, and perhaps Australia will be part of the first few groups.

    And for those of you thinking that this will never happen, I will also get that we will see this by 2020, unless the republicans manage to gut NASA's work with private space. So far, O has kept
  • let me just check my couch cousins for that. so that narrows it down to what....100 people that could possibly afford the trip? people that actually have that much cash on hand are few and far between. I see a flaw in this business model.
  • Space right now is where the Internet was for the first quarter century of its ife -- a tiny, academic curiosity with a heartbeat kept running by government cash.

    When business figured out profitable uses for it, out came trillions of dollars from mattresses for investment, transforming it in quality and quantity and speed.

    If this happens for space, NASA can back da fuck up. A retirement community on the Moon is a great start. Once a critical mass of private industry gets going, boom. Soon its The Moon I

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