A human space transportation system at commercially successful price points.
December 7, 2012 6:39 AM   Subscribe

The Golden Spike Company plans to offer moon flights for around $750 million.
posted by xowie (49 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hope that's for a return
posted by criticalbill at 6:46 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Board of Advisors

[...]

Mr. Newt Gingrich - former U.S. Speaker of the House and U.S. presidential candidate; commercial space advocate


I'm out.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:50 AM on December 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


Does that price include something for your widow to bury as proxy?
posted by nathancaswell at 6:51 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


never trust anyone only capable of "Nova" level computer graphics to launch you into space.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:53 AM on December 7, 2012


From the Slate article, neither the rockets, nor the capsules, nor the space suits exist yet. (They don't even mention the lander.) And Golden Spike doesn't seem to be developing those things themselves -- except maybe the suits? -- just waiting for NASA and/or SpaceX to deliver.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:57 AM on December 7, 2012


Oh, well, in that case, I am offering a teleportation special of only 250 million dollars! Teleport yourselves to the moon and enjoy a 500 million dollar savings!
posted by elizardbits at 6:58 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Launching you into space is the easy part.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:59 AM on December 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


The name implies their launcher is some sort of mechanism whereby your capsule is rocketed into space by being ricocheted off the ground following an intense downward thrust.
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 6:59 AM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


One checked bag or two? And what's the carry-on allowance?
posted by three blind mice at 6:59 AM on December 7, 2012


Well, I think it's awesome. I'm reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy right now and it all seems so maddenly close to within our grasp (at least, the initial trip and the first few years). I'm 36 and starting to feel panicked that I'm not going to get to see human space colonization in my lifetime. We need to get going on it, and private enterprise seems to be the most viable option. Even if they're not quite ready to begin blasting people off, at least they're trying. I don't really care if Newt Gingrich is what it takes to get people back to the Moon; space exploration is awesome and, with the exception of the Mars rovers, governments have not really been pushing the envelope for the past several decades.
posted by something something at 7:01 AM on December 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I want to invest in this company and spend the rest of my life convincing wealthy libertarian wingnuts the motor of the world that they should move to the Rand Memorial Lunar Entrepreneurial Center.
posted by griphus at 7:12 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm confused -- the "$750 million" link says round-trip moon tickets will cost only around $1.5 million.
posted by brain_drain at 7:12 AM on December 7, 2012


I'm confused -- the "$750 million" link says round-trip moon tickets will cost only around $1.5 million.

For you, my friend Meester Brrain Drrain, special bargain!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:21 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm confuse-- the "$750 million" link says round-trip moon tickets will cost only around $1.5 million.

$750 million is their total estimated cost for developing a commercial moon landing program, not what they would charge for individual trips.

I think $750 million is... highly aspirational.
posted by muddgirl at 7:21 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


How about we not wait until it's too late, and get some heavy criminal penalties in-place for anyone taking souvenirs from any of the Apollo sites?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:23 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ticket to the moon.
posted by Catblack at 7:23 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If by "highly aspirational" you mean "bitches be trippin" then I concur.
posted by elizardbits at 7:24 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


$750 million is their total estimated cost for developing a commercial moon landing program, not what they would charge for individual trips.

OK, no, $750 million each is for the first two seats (ie, funding the program on the first flight). $1.5 million is their WAG for seats on recurring flights.
posted by muddgirl at 7:27 AM on December 7, 2012


The article I just read about this in my local paper says trips will cost $1.5 billion, and the company will have to spend $7-8 billion before the first flight to get up and running.
posted by something something at 7:29 AM on December 7, 2012


$1.5 billion = 2 x $750 million.

So basically, this is all PR-ese. No one knows how much anything will cost because they don't know what platforms they're going to use.
posted by muddgirl at 7:35 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do it people. No need to reward others who don't have the 'I got mine, you best get yours' mentality or those less fortunate/lucky than yourself. As you well know that is not your problem, it is theirs. Go hit a few golf balls.*

Treat yo self!

*I'm totally ok that pioneering astronauts hit a few golfballs while they were up there, that's different than this, completely different.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:35 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's beautiful to think of how close humanity is to launching Newt Gingrich into space
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:39 AM on December 7, 2012 [20 favorites]


"Fate has ordained that the men tourists who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace crying, screaming, puking and instructing their families about their wishes in the coming lawsuit.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, They know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding marketing."
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:57 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, I think it's awesome. I'm reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy right now and it all seems so maddenly close to within our grasp (at least, the initial trip and the first few years). I'm 36 and starting to feel panicked that I'm not going to get to see human space colonization in my lifetime. We need to get going on it, and private enterprise seems to be the most viable option. Even if they're not quite ready to begin blasting people off, at least they're trying. I don't really care if Newt Gingrich is what it takes to get people back to the Moon; space exploration is awesome and, with the exception of the Mars rovers, governments have not really been pushing the envelope for the past several decades.

@ something something

You actually expect space colonization within our lifetime? I applaud your enthusiasm, but whats the best viable option to "colonize" as of now?
posted by mitrieD at 7:58 AM on December 7, 2012


Unless they're going there to actually do something, this is a huge waste.

I'm all for a rational plan to return to the Moon and establishing bases there. But going just to sight see? Find a rocky desert on Earth and during its hottest part of the year. If you want that that authentic "I'm wearing a space suit" feel, you can buy one for less than the price of a real moon trip.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:06 AM on December 7, 2012


Unless they're going there to actually do something, this is a huge waste.

The purpose is to entice big donors into funding commercial projects - moon mining, basically. The CEO of some big company sends up their most influential shareholder, who comes back full of the wonders of space and ready to send up heaving mining equipment. This isn't really space tourism - it's space business.

Again, lots of PR, not a lot of actually exciting space shit.
posted by muddgirl at 8:09 AM on December 7, 2012


I guess unless you find moon mining exciting, which it sort of is.
posted by muddgirl at 8:17 AM on December 7, 2012


I guess unless you find moon mining exciting, which it sort of is.

I'm sort of gleefully looking forward to it simply because it will herald the inevitable annihilation of the diamond market.
posted by griphus at 8:20 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, I don't expect it, but I think it would be awesome to see. So I'm glad somebody is doing something to get us moving in that direction.
posted by something something at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2012


I'm 36 and starting to feel panicked that I'm not going to get to see human space colonization in my lifetime.

Of all the things that sometimes keep me awake between 3 and 5 am, dot com millionaire dudes not making it to the moon is pretty far down the list.
posted by colie at 8:22 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess unless you find moon mining exciting, which it sort of is.

Mining, pure science, whatever's useful. I'd just like to see some attempts at doing useful work than sightseeing. Yeah, the PR is sort of a loss leader to entice big money for commercial development, but astronauts who have been to the moon have been pushing for the same thing for decades with little success.

Of all the things that sometimes keep me awake between 3 and 5 am, dot com millionaire dudes not making it to the moon is pretty far down the list.

It's less that and more realizing you're going to miss humanity's off world push or even the smaller steps. That's a bummer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:30 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's less that and more realizing you're going to miss humanity's off world push or even the smaller steps. That's a bummer.

Right. I feel like I was born maybe a generation or two too early to see the really exciting stuff start to happen. Between 3 and 5 am, however, I am generally asleep.
posted by something something at 8:35 AM on December 7, 2012


Can I get a window seat? I hate being stuck in the middle. And you just KNOW there's going to be a crying baby.
posted by gagglezoomer at 8:36 AM on December 7, 2012


I don't really care if Newt Gingrich is what it takes to get people back to the Moon;

The hot air emanating from Gingrich might be enough to get you to the Moon, but since we can certainly get there sans Newt, why choose to associate with a hypocritical, pseudo-intellectual windbag?
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2012


don't sit in back
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2012


Wow! Not even Mitt Romney could afford a trip.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2012


muddgirl: "I guess unless you find moon mining exciting, which it sort of is."

This is my M.U.L.E. There are many like it, but this one is mine...
posted by boo_radley at 8:43 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does that include carbon offset?
posted by Segundus at 8:53 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


why choose to associate with a hypocritical, pseudo-intellectual windbag?

Because there is a very good chance we can LEAVE HIM THERE.
posted by elizardbits at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


TO DIE
posted by elizardbits at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2012


Pfft. I already told you all that Elon Musk will send you to Mars for $500,000. Save money, head to Mars.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2012


BANG! ZOOM!!
posted by blue_beetle at 9:10 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, I remember when spaceflight was enjoyable - when you had plenty of legroom, the flight attendants were young and attractive, and they gave you meals that were worth eating. Then the executives decided to go after the mass-market and it all went to hell. Now they allow anybody to blast off, and because of that, there are all kinds of security issues, the seats are those hard, thin things crammed in as closely as possible, and the food (when you can get it) is that awful recycled paste.

I'm just not going to lift off any more. I'll wait until they perfect the elizardbits matter-transfer equipment.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:10 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because there is a very good chance we can LEAVE HIM THERE.

Forget what I said.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:14 AM on December 7, 2012


I will pretend to forget it and then bring it up again one day in the future for no apparent reason other than to remind you of a bad decision you once made, because that is the ancient tradition of my people.
posted by elizardbits at 10:35 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


You actually expect space colonization within our lifetime? I applaud your enthusiasm, but whats the best viable option to "colonize" as of now?

Well, I admit to my own disappointment as human space activity has played out over my lifetime. But my sense remains that exploration trips to, for example, Mars look a lot more like the initial stages of colonization than the hit-and-run Apollo Moon landings. Mars Direct was an earlier schematic; the current CW centers around the Design Reference Mission process. It's not common to think of LEO in terms of colonization, but ISS has been continuously inhabited for 12 years (and one month) as of now.

I'm a little less certain that I will live to see these -- I'm almost 50 -- but I think a 35-year-old can almost definitely expect to see them.
posted by dhartung at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2012


It's a no lose situation: either they succeed in putting civilians on the moon, or they kill some billionaires trying.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:57 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


In that case, we should only send up the ones who have left their billions to endowments and charities, or their cats.
posted by griphus at 10:59 AM on December 7, 2012


I'm 36 and starting to feel panicked that I'm not going to get to see human space colonization in my lifetime.
Disturbing, isn't it? Other generations have sent people to the moon, or split the atom, or achieved flight, or whatever. What's our legacy going to be? Playing around on iPads and making goofy tweets?

I try to convince myself it's okay, and I think about the negatives and illusions of all of that important stuff, but it just feels like sour grapes, you know?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:27 PM on December 7, 2012


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