Monday, November 28, 2005

The High Road

Or .. can't we all just get along?
The world is awash in capital. We have trillions of dollars of houses, cars, and businesses. The world’s productive capacity is growing all the time. We are figuring out how to build old things better so quickly, we have to find an ever-increasing pace of new items to produce. Ever more of our productive economy is being devoted to entertainment, beauty, recreation, vacationing, art, luxury food, leisure, and lifestyle medications. And it is doing so with less energy per dollar of GDP . It is only a matter of time before early adopters follow the style of Paul Allen, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos, and start their own space programs—or at least go for a ride.All the existing aerospace related firms and many others can prosper if demand and capitalization grow for space enterprise. All of the following companies and more can succeed: ATK Thiokol, Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Energia, Imaginova, Incredible Adventures, Lockheed Martin, Liftport, Masten Space Systems, Northrup Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, Rocketplane, Space Adventures, The Spaceship Company, SpaceShot, SpaceX, TGV Rockets, t/Space, United Space Alliance, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Skill, and XCOR Aerospace.

While there are long-term lean scenarios, there are also extended boom scenarios. If there is an elevator that is put up, we will need more rockets, not fewer. We will spark a vast new era of development, colonization, and exploration with lots of rockets and spaceships flying off of a space elevator.

As Monte Davis recently said on “The Space Show”, we have to set aside our petty differences. Shut up about Moon vs. Mars, hybrid vs. liquid, SSTO vs. TSTO, alt vs. biz, tourism vs. military, private vs. public, orbital vs. suborbital, robots vs. people, and asteroids vs. space invaders. Start subordinating our unimportant grousing about other’s companies and products to common goals. Start smoothing over our differences, agree to disagree, and push forward a positive message about our own and all competing products. Start teaching each other how to promote in a positive way and teach the media how to cover us in a positive way.

Mark Twain's quip comes to mind; the reason that school board elections are so vicious is that the stakes are so small. The opposite is true here - time to realize that, yes, the stakes might be high, but the payoff is huge for all concerned.

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