Reducing Costs with Human Presence
The nature of our reference mission
requires that we have humans present, and that they must have EVA (extravehicular
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.
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