The main thrust of this book has been a description of the spaceships of tomorrow, which ought to be spaceplanes. As we have seen, the chief reason for the development of spaceplanes lies in their inherent reusability, regardless of whether they are meant for suborbital, orbital, or Lunar flights. Reusability is the key to the future, and wings are the means by which that key is forged. Without wings, we are stuck with egregiously expensive ballistic boosters, blunt reentry capsules, and infrequent space shots. Fixated on rockets, we remain mired in a morass of missiles and modules.
Spaceplanes will free us from the bonds of conventional thinking in terms of space access. They will finally allow us, the willing and freedom-loving denizens of planet Earth, the chance to enter the vacuous void and float unfettered in that fantastic fishbowl called the universe. This will come about as an inevitable result of drastically lowered costs when fully reusable spaceplanes begin plying the interorbital spaceways. As has been true throughout human history, wealth and its financial tools have always driven exploration and development. Therefore, cost-effective spaceplanes, transporting passengers, cargo, and propellants, and thereby filling simultaneous, vital, and multiple niches in future space infrastructure, will enable a future of expanding human activity centered on Earth. Winged space vessels promise vastly superior performance to any other type of spacecraft yet unveiled. The preference for the spaceplane touches many areas of human development, from the economic, to the technological, to the personal. Whether you own and operate a fleet of spaceplanes, or you simply wish to ride in one as a passenger, the benefits of the spaceplane are obvious. And yet, after spaceplanes have waxed and waned from the human scene, other, far more fantastic ships will rise from Earth.
Was this article helpful?