United Launch Alliance Plans To Have 1000 People Working In Space By 2045
American space launch provider United Launch Alliance (ULA), a collaboration between Boeing and Lockheed Martin is reportedly working on a plan to have 1000 people working in the Earth-moon space in the next three decades by 2045. The goal is based on three space vehicles that will depend on rocket fuel refined from asteroid and lunar water.
Called the Cislunar 1000 Vision, the plan will be divided into segments. The first part called the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) will revolve around the Vulcan launch vehicle which will be developed to be reusable and can be refueled in space. ACES will have the capacity to transport things around the Cis-Lunar space as well as propel payloads into deep space after being refueled at one of the depots stationed between moon and Earth.
The second phase of the idea will include the development of a spacecraft called XEUS, which is being designed by Masten Space Systems. The spacecraft will be able to make horizontal landings on the lunar surface, get loaded with fuel and take off for one of the depots where ACES is stationed to refuel it or top off its payload.
Incidentally, ULA has also calculated the prices of the fuel in relation to where it will be launched from. For instance, fuel carried up from our planet will cost around $1,360 for a pound, whereas fuel derived from the moon and asteroid will cost $225 and $450 per pound respectively. However, the estimates are hypothetical, in the sense that no one knows how true the calculations will be after thirty years when the plan is actually concretized.
If ULA manages to successfully jump start space based mining and rocket fuel relaunching, then vehicles can be launched with just the adequate amount to reach their payloads to the refueling station. According to a report, the development will alter the economics of space flights and commercial space mining because fuel is approximately 80 percent of a rocket's mass that is launched from our planet. In the process, the changed monetary dynamics will also allow more private sector organizations to operate beyond Earth.