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Orbital Fuel Depots

Page history last edited by Ken Davidian 15 years, 5 months ago


NOTE; This is an email written by Peter Garretson giving a good overview of current studies for Orbital Fuel Depots.
Subject: #1 LEO Propellant Depot


The first, and most transformational in my opinion is a propellant depot (probably water) because it so broadly enables so many different things:
1) Nodal LEO logistics architecture
2) Regular, predictable launch rates & number of times we access space
    -- Lowering costs by economies of scale, stable production lines
    -- Lowering costs by demonstrating reliability on low-cost cargo (for insurance
3) Allowing users to "Dry Launch" and bring greater payloads to destination (GEO, Moon, Mars)
4) Allowing customers to do on-orbit refueling
If the US wanted to make a strategic decision to develop space commercially, a propellant depot should be a centerpiece, and subsidization of regular launch of propellant to space ought to be at the front end of consideration.
Here are some resources to shape your thinking:
- Like Greg, Mike Snead, who recently retired from AFRL and worked extensively with our office has given great thought to space logistics and an architecture with a central "water economy" fuel depotI'm attaching one of his papers.  More resources, including some great explanatory videos here: http://mikesnead.net/resources-spacefaring.htm  Highly recommend you have Mike come brief you, his e-mail is: spacefaringamerica@gmail.com
- Lastly, I'm attaching the paper by Dallas Bienhoff from Boeing about a Depot contingent up on Falcon delivery and what it could mean to exploration.  Boeing has done a lot with the Space Commerce Roundtable looking at future markets.  If you have not, I recommend you get the briefing.  I'll shoot a note to see if Dallas would be open to giving it to you guys. 'dallas.g.bienhoff@boeing.com'

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