Title:  New National Human Space Programs



Source & Date

Al Globus.  Senior Research Associate. San Jose State University Foundation.  

April 2007.




Human space programs are notoriously expensive.  Although many nations would like to have a human space program, to date only Russia, America, and China have launched people into orbit, although Europe and Canada have participated in American programs such as the Shuttle (with SpaceLab) and the International Space Station (ISS), which also includes Japan.  If the cost of a human space program could be radically reduced, Europe and Japan might be interested in an independent human space program, and other large, technologically capable countries such as India, Brazil, Australia and others might develop indigenous human space capability as well.


Bigalow Aerospace (http://www.bigelowaerospace.com/) has launched two pressurized modules into orbit and plans to place a habitable space station in orbit by 2010.  They are working with Lockheed-Martin to man-rate the Atlas V for transportation to and from the space station.  The company plans to sell habitable modules for US $100 million apiece. Bigelow Aerospace has also announced  plans to offer a four-week orbital stay for US$15 million by 2012, with another four weeks for US$3 million more. Plans include leasing the entire facility for US$88 million a year, or half for US$54 million.



No nation currently has firm plans to take advantage of the Bigalow Aerospace space station.  However, assuming $50 million to launch and return each astronaut, each eight week stay for two astronauts would cost about $150 million expensive but well within the capacities of a number of nations and significantly cheaper launch would radically improve this. What would such a human space program look like?



The TP has the following assignment: 


Part I

1) Define at least two human space programs based on leasing a space station at Bigalow Aerospace prices.  One program should be low cost suitable for up and coming developing countries such as India or Brazil; the second should be somewhat more expensive suitable for a European country, Japan, Canada, Australia or similar nation.

2) Assess the benefits to nations executing such a program.

3) Identify potential low-cost vehicles for delivery and return of personnel, materials, and equipment.

4) Identify countries that might be interested in executing the programs.

Expected level of involvement by department area


               Business            Life              Policy           Physical          Satellite          Systems           Space

            Management       Science           & Law           Science       Applications     Engineering & Society

Major                             X                                      X                   X                   X                   X



Brief explanation of expected involvement by department area

 Space Business & Management:   NA.         

 Space Life Sciences:                    Identify the most valuable areas of research for each program, and define at least three relevant experiments.                   

 Space Policy & Law:                     NA.

 Space Physical Sciences:             Identify the most valuable areas of research for each program, and define at least three relevant experiments.

 Satellite Applications:                     Identify the most valuable applications for development by each program, and define at least three technology applications.

 Space Systems Engineering:         Design the equipment and determine the materials and personnel required.

 Space & Society:                           Determine the benefits nations would accrue.  




Window of Opportunity

This proposed TP is viable for the next decade or so.




This proposed TP is likely to be of great interest to a number of nations.