Now it is time to pull all of this together.  Let’s start with some questions.

  1. Question: You started out stating that the exploration of an asteroid should be done by a robotic rover.  Why did you change to a joint rover and astronaut team?
  2. Answer #1: There is a great deal to be discovered by surveying an asteroid. We learn important information on its behavior, composition and ways that we can deflect an asteroid.  We also learn about the presence of possible valuable minerals that could be profitably mined. This kind of exploration would be better accomplished by a joint effort of a roverbot and astronaut.  This is enhanced by the roverbot being directly controlled by the astronaut from an on-board command and control center of the Super Shuttle spacecraft. This is an ideal mix of human scientific expertise with the technological power of the roverbot.
  3. Answer #2: The proposed concept of the Super Shuttle, robot/astronaut teams, and the Super Shuttle serving as an on-site command center establishes a break-through configuration for all future explorations of our solar system. This does not rule out that some explorations will be done only by astronauts. The same is true for solo robotic explorations; however, it is our opinion that most solar system explorations will take advantage of the combination we present in this blog series.  We see it as the new space exploration system model.
  4. Question: The concept of a Super Shuttle that is totally space-based sounds a bit fanciful, don’t you think?
  5. Answer #1: It is not fanciful at all.  We built the ISS in this way and we can certainly build the Super Shuttle the same way. Making it totally space-based introduces both considerable savings and advantages that improve the entire solar system exploration roadmap.  The expanded ISS will serve as both a fuel depot and a maintenance shop for both the Super Shuttle and the astrobots that fly with it. Yes, we expect the ISS to both grow and to be renovated to keep it safe and viable.
  6. Answer #2: Additionally, support of the ISS as both an orbiting research center and as the service center for the Super Shuttle teams will expand the need for and the ability of the commercial service operations that provide supplies and crew transfers to the ISS.  It is envisioned that the HLV launch vehicles developed by the commercial sector will be highly efficient and less costly than those required to provide launch support for human spaceflight missions that include both crews and exploration spacecraft.  The Super Shuttle(s) once assembled stay on duty in space and can be heavier and more extensive than could be economically launched from an Earth site by even a monster HLV.
  7. Question: You base the entire program model for solar system exploration on an International Consortium.  Is this really possible and workable?
  8. Answer#1: Yes it is since we have already set a solid standard and example with the ISS, and with the shared usage of the space telescopes such as Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra, etc.
  9. Answer#2: The United Nations Outer Space Treaty that has been signed and ratified by all the currently active spacefaring nations clearly supports, actually mandates, that we move into outer space in a joint and cooperative manner.  We need to exercise the provisions of that treaty and move ahead in a united scientific and commercial effort to explore all that surrounds us.

Original Space Shuttle:Role Model for the Future

It is recognized that the above questions and answers are only a small set of the many questions and suggestions that this blog series generates. In this regard we ask for your specific questions and comments and we assure you we will answer them promptly and completely to the best of our abilities. We need your comments and advice.

Personally, I get very excited about the exploration model we have presented. I am particularly hopeful about the development and operation of a fully international space exploration program.  As with the ISS, this will tie all of us closer together, and in the future we will need that to help us first protect our home planet, and to eventually move on to a new home as our solar system faces a dying Sun.

No, I won’t be here and neither will any of you, but what we do today and in the immediate future sets the stage for generations to follow. If we don’t assume that responsibility then we have relegated this civilization to ultimate extinction.  Just think of all the other great civilizations we will not get to meet and interact with because we fail now.  We have both the opportunity and the mandate to provide a space exploration legacy to the future.  We owe this to all humankind here and across the universe.

Explore posts in the same categories: Commercial Space Programs, Deep Space Explorations, Enterprise, Humankind and Exploration, Robotic Exploration, Scientific Research

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Waddell Robey, Carlos Lobo. Carlos Lobo said: RT @XiNeutrino: OF ASTEROIDS AND ASTROBOTS – Part V: http://wp.me/po5Ku-8p […]

  2. XiNeutrino Says:

    Here is an update on University of Arizona’s plan for the exploration of an asteroid.


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