In the comment section.
In case no one has mentioned it, a private company has announced a moon mission
Some interesting quotes from this link:
"I was telling people that "tumblr" site was full of nonsense."
"GS gets a FAIL on mass communications for something so EPIC."
true--didn't make spacedaily yet..
Big "admiration" for NASA noted in closing remarks.
Jeff Foust tweet: "Stern: this would not be possible without our current forward-looking space policy."
“NASA is tackling the very important and difficult challenges of human deep space exploration by developing systems including the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System. The capabilities being developed by Golden Spike compliment NASA’s deep space exploration program.” said MacCallum.
Maybe he was being diplomatic. Other responses:
"But they really aren't taking advantage of the Falcon Heavy."
"I have a hard time believing a Centaur will ever be integrated with a SpaceX vehicle"
"There's a bunch of others errors in this paper relating to the Dragon. It seems they've gotten no better information out of SpaceX than us amateurs. I think Golden Spike needs to go pay SpaceX for some mission analysis. That's the only way they'll get real numbers on the Falcon Heavy / Dragon capability."
At about 1.4 billion...about the price of an SLS. I really don't see the savings...by Grabthar's hammer.
Some more interesting blurbs from the net:
"Even with this “head start” approach, the company will still need
significant amount of money to develop this system: Stern said they
estimate the cost to be $7–8 billion"
"But John Pike, a longtime expert on space policy who heads
GlobalSecurity.org, said he was "deeply skeptical" about Golden Spike's
business plan. "If you could do it this cheap, somebody would have
already done it," he told me.
"Landing pod looks like-Cobra Flight Pods from 1980's G.I. Joe cartoons"
"Except that the development cost is far more than $1.5 billion. Stern was clear that it would require multiple billions to get to the first mission. So your first 50 kilograms might cost $8 billion, and your second 50 kilograms might cost only $1.5 billion, or $9.5 billion for 100 kilograms. Hard to see how that is a bargain."
"And why does anybody believe these numbers? I listened carefully and never heard anybody state who did their cost estimates. Were they done by an independent assessment team that has a reputation for producing accurate cost estimates?"
This is why heavy lift matters. Had Apollo--or Constellation--been allowed to continue, you could have had real infrastructure to allow for a true moonbase with sizable rovers and an ability to DO WORK. One way or another, BEO is going to cost billions--so you might as well spend a bit more, preserve infrastructure here, and have real capabilities out there.
Apollo allowed for a pretty good haul of moon rocks that were selected in situ and by hand no less. The LEM, already pushing it mass constraint wise, was a tank compared to this contraption. A thimble too much of regolith and you're not coming back. The LEM allowed a lander which covered more ground faster than any robotic rover before or since.
GS is basically asking for its astronauts to dance barefoot atop a razor blade over the Pit... that's the margin you are talking about here.
What they are selling as their plan's biggest strength is actually a weakness. No new LV capability that will allow simpler, more robust missions farther afield like SLS for comparable amounts of money.
Therefore GS's plan is more "Flags and Footprints" than Apollo itself was--because that's all the blasted thing will hold. In retrospect--Apollo allowed more real science than GS affords.
Were I a very wealthy investor, I would launch a Bigelow module to ISS, try to inherit that for a song--and put the other 6 billion into MCT and Skylon development.
Remember, the big arguement against SLS was that it was too expensive--and an alternative could be found. Well, here it is--and many folks seem to take a dim view of that and question its savings too.