Structures and Mechanisms
Section 4.3.7.
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Reducing Costs with Human Presence

The nature of our reference mission requires that we have humans present, and that they must have EVA (extravehicular activity) capability. This is a major lesson learned from the International Space Station program. We enjoy tremendous savings in weight, cost, and complexity, when we design systems to be assembled by human beings, rather than using teleoperated mechanisms. The cost saving can add up to many orders of magnitude, even to factors of millions.

This is especially true for something we only do once during the life of the spacecraft, such as deploying the landing legs or an antenna.

We also derive much greater entertainment value if we have the crew building these things. These days, space programs are the glamor girls of government, and spacewalks are the lead dancers. We can reasonably expect that this will also be true for private industry.

Structures and Mechanisms

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