It was refreshing to see Dwayne A. Day start his “Outpost on a desolate land” article with pragmatic words about calendar slippages in NASA’s return to the moon (on the British Interplanetary Society’s “Spaceflight” magazine, May 2007).
One has just to look at the history of the Space Shuttle and then the International Space Station, compared to the Apollo project, to understand that big space projects without fixed deadlines will cost a lot more than anticipated, and achieve (much later) a lot less.
Some say that’s the way Governments work.
Is there perhaps a case for launching a “Moon Landing” competition, with a prize for whomever will guess the date of the “seventh American landing” (and another for the “first Chinese landing”)?
My entries are the following:
a. Without another Space Race, NASA will finally land again on the Moon on July 11, 2069 (mostly, to avoid feeling ashamed of themselves)
b. With a Space Race with the Chinese, American astronauts will walk on the Moon around July 11, 2029
c. Chinese taikonauts, if things get serious, will reach the Moon around July 2027
Nothing to be enthusiastic about, but what’s the point of deluding ourselves into believing that things will be any faster?
Unless there is some major breakthrough in commercial space activities beyond LEO…