[Before I try and end the speculation about what it is we’re trying to accomplish at Altius, I wanted to give some thoughts about where I think things could go over the next 25-30 years. I think everyone who reads this probably has their own unique vision, but this is to give you an idea of what I think is possible over that timeframe.]
Imagine a future where transportation to and from orbit has become so common that there are dozens of vehicles going to and from orbit every day, from countries all over the globe.
Imagine a future where orbital research facilities can get new parts or materials quickly enough that they can keep pace with terrestrial research labs. And where the transportation costs are low enough that some high end materials are even manufactured in space for use on earth.
Imagine a future where orbital rendezvous and docking has become so simple and reliable that dozens of such events occur on a daily basis, with some facilities handling multiple events at the same time.
Imagine a future where every cellphone on the planet uses LEO satellite platforms for “roaming” when outside of cities, where such systems are competitive enough with terrestrial cell towers, that rural cell tower have been dismantled because they aren’t cost-competitive.
Imagine a future where you can get custom facilities constructed for you on-orbit, with lead-times measured in single-digit years, not decades.
Imagine a future where there are daily flights departing from earth to the Moon.
Imagine a future where transportation costs to the lunar surface are low enough that lunar tourism is the new playground of the rich. And where transportation costs from the lunar surface back to earth are getting low enough that mining companies are beginning to mount prospecting expeditions, in the hopes of returning PGMs to the earth.
Imagine a future where beyond earth orbit spaceflight is affordable enough that space exploration enthusiasts stop arguing over people vs. robots.
Imagine a future where orbital debris is a concern that sounds as anachronistic as worries about the Soviets coming through the Fulda Gap.
Imagine a future where due to remediation efforts for the van Allen belts, radiation levels have dropped to the point that COTS electronics can be used all the way out to GEO, without any concern about radiation hardening.
Imagine a future where more people reside in space than in Antarctica at any given moment.
Imagine a future where microgravity science is a common major at most universities.
Imagine a future where orbital propellant transfer is so common that all spacecraft are designed from the start for refueling.
Imagine a future where in-space search, rescue, and repair is common enough that travel to the lunar surface is no more dangerous than traveling to orbit today.