Like 15th century explorers setting sail to explore ocean transit, we think that it is inevitable that humanity will set sail into space and continue to explore the unknown. We are starting to see glimpses of this happening from a few sites across the globe and we believe that many other individuals share our passion and excitement for the exploration of spaceflight. The Mach 30 organization formed from individuals that share this common vision and it is now up to us to make this experience a reality for everyone. The range of programs that Mach 30 will undertake to reach this goal will draw on several key ideals and be undertaken with this focused long-term goal in mind.
“Safe, Routine, Reliable”
If humanity is to become a space-faring society, these key tenants will be the center of every program. While there will always be some risk inherent to spaceflight, our commitment to safety means that every effort shall be made to ensure there are non-catastrophic failure modes designed into every system. This is critical if the public and private sectors will eventually become involved.
Becoming routine specifically refers to the technological limits of the design accommodating the increased flight tempo of up to a flight per week, thus driving the corresponding increase in economy. It also refers to the intensity of operational procedures being able to support this increased level of activity as well.
To us, a reliable system demonstrates that there is adequate margin in both the technical design of the systems and in the procedural maturity used throughout operations. If we say we’re going to fly every one to three weeks, then a reliable system will achieve it. We believe the goal of sustained access to space has been left to the non-profit sector. The economic and political conditions of the past decades have prohibited both public and private enterprise from attempting this for several reasons.
Public sector won’t
NASA and other public governmental programs are stuck in a paradigm of bigger, faster, farther. Our assertion is that steps in the process were skipped in this pursuit. In order for manned spaceflight to become a sustained endeavor time and money need to be applied to go back and fill in the gaps. Reusable launch technology is the answer to optimize the cost per flight and thus cost per pound to a reasonable level. These are not included in whole or in part in any organization that we have found.
Private sector isn’t ready
The main principles of the market drive the private sector to scrutinize every opportunity for investment and categorize the trade off of risk and reward. There has been no demonstrated large-scale reward big enough to drive a risky, larger scale investment in this area. We plan to change that.
This is where we step in; to buy down the risk and to demonstrate the potential rewards of sustained, manned spaceflight becoming feasible for everyone. Mach 30 operations will be conducted in such a way that all individuals and teams working in this area will be able to leverage each other’s work and collectively capitalize on successes and vicariously learn from each other’s failures. Using open process will foster collaborative efforts and progress us towards our goals. This community of like-minded individuals will all be working towards safe, routine, reliable access to space.