Friday, December 09, 2005

Orbiting Fuel Depot on NASA Wish List

NASA administrator Mike Griffin recently floated the idea of someone (not NASA) building an orbiting fuel depot for anyone making a trip to the Moon, Mars or beyond.
It sounds like something out of the pages of Heavy Metal, parking your starcruiser at the pump while some guy in a spacesuit squeegees your windows, but this is no joke. Whoever figures out how could make a fortune selling fuel to customers from at least three of the greatest nations on Earth: USA, Russia and China.
Griffin estimates a floating fuel station would allow them to carry about 10,000 pounds less fuel than they do now, meaning much more cargo room for equipment, crew or whatever.
This is only the latest in a long list of things Griffin hopes some private company will develop so they can use. He has repeatedly said, he hopes someone comes up with a better Spaceship design so NASA can simply buy it instead of designing and building their own, and this seems like a logical path for NASA to follow: why build it yourself when you can just rent it from someone else for less?

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