AE 124

Manned Spaceflight Statistics

55 years of men and women in space

The dream came true

“The dream came true” (print from Zazzle)

On this year’s anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering orbit of the Earth, we publish bar charts showing manned spaceflight statistics over the first 55 years of space travel.

The three key indexes I have chosen are:

  • Man-days spent in space on orbital flights per calendar year
  • Number of launches to orbit per calendar year
  • Number of astronaut seats to orbit per year.

It should be clear that no spacefaring civilisation worthy of the name can even begin to be constructed until all three charts show sustainable growth.

Read the full post on the Astronautical Evolution website.

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AE 123

When Will Jan Wörner Get His Moon Village?

Is it yet time to return astronauts to the Moon?

One of the great formative experiences of my childhood was following the news about the Apollo Moon missions. I waited up all night to see the live TV of the first moonwalk in July 1969. So do I want to see a return to the Moon? Of course I do!

ESA’s concept for a lunar base

ESA’s concept for a lunar base (Science Photo Library)

And as I am the author of a full-length science fiction novel partly set in and around the future lunar base of Selenopolis in Mare Foecunditatis, as well as in Sinus Medii at the centre of the lunar nearside, you can believe me when I say I’ve given these matters some thought!

Now Jan Wörner, Director General of the European Space Agency, has been speaking about his plan for a Moon Village – a permanent, manned base station on the Moon… much as I would love to see astronauts walking on the Moon again, I have to conclude that Professor Wörner is going out on a limb here, pushing his dreams way beyond any realistic political or entrepreneurial support.

Read the full post on the Astronautical Evolution website.

AE 122

Interstellar Travel and Straw Men

KSR

Kim Stanley Robinson talks about his novel Aurora on YouTube

A bizarre article appeared on the Scientific American website on 13 January under the byline of well-known science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson, entitled What Will It Take for Humans to Colonize the Milky Way? Bizarre, because it shows a failure of imagination from someone whose imagination is his main professional skill, contains factual errors, and discusses only the Earth-to-Earthlike-exoplanet model of interstellar travel despite the fact that the literature, going back to the 1984-1985 worldship papers in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, shows this to be a straw man.

Read the full post on the Astronautical Evolution website.