A Critical Path
- It is worth investing in a system which will give really low launch costs, as it will pay off in the long run, such as Startram or (if it could be made fail safe) Launchloop. They have low costs when there is high volume of launches, which there would be to build a starter habitat; if coventional rockets can get below $50/kg, that is indeed an option, but even then it would need an awful lot of launches.
- Build a starter habitat, with materials from Earth.
- Develop mining of near earth asteroids, and process on the starter habitat to steel, plastic and water.
- Then build a first large scale habitat. Over time space built components will replace those brought from Earth.
A manned landing on Mars,or a Moonbase, currently targets, are expensive distractions from this.
The total cost (ballpark, remember) is around $350 billion, as shown in the chart below.
To put this in perspective:
- Apollo programme (in 2019 $) $290bn
- US military budget 2019 $673bn
- Chinese investment in high $300bn
speed rail to date
- Global investment in airports $319 bn
National Prestige – and Military Strategy