Getting There

How do we reach this vision of the future? How do we get there in one piece? The key that will open up the door to this kind of future is the reusable advanced spaceplane. Extensive flight test, leading to increased reliability and safety, advanced engines, superior structures, and competent operations all lead to a satisfied market, which will pay for the entire process.

Good spaceships (Fig. 9.18) are a prerequisite for safe, reliable space transportation. The advanced spaceplane will be that spaceship, without relying on the primitive, wasteful concepts of rocket staging or modular missions. They will be the final stage in an evolution from primitive rocketplane, through suborbital spaceplane, to

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Fig. 9.18 Is this what good spaceships of the future will look like? This is the BOR-4 unmanned Russian spaceplane on display (courtesy http://www.buran-energia.com)

single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane. Only by flying thousands - not hundreds - of missions, only by proper FFM techniques, only by using superior structures and engines, and only by cool competence and sustained development will this come about. The suborbital spaceflight experience gained by the operator, as well as enjoyed by the space tourist, is the key that will open the spacelanes and stimulate the spacelines of the future.

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