9. COST ANALYSIS AND PRODUCTION DESIGN
As the future missions require more materials both processed and raw, the need for a form of space-based manufacturing and refining will become a necessity. We believe that ASI will provide a means for both. With the beginning facility running off of solar energy and raw material mined from the lunar soil it will provide a manufacturing platform on which parts and equipment can be manufactured and shipped for use in the space-based economy. ASI will take full advantage of the resources that NASA will provide in their design reference missions and provide a way to perpetuate the space economy and space exploration. One of the most important aspects of ASI will be its demonstration of the survival of a space-based business, and in some respects will act as a guinea pig for testing the pros and cons of a space-based economy and business.
The initial facility will be an inflatable version of the space manufacturing facility using a double-sized derivative of the TransHab module. It will receive raw materials from the surface of the moon via E-mag launchers that can be constructed near the U.S. lunar base. The raw materials will then be refined and shaped into usable parts for expanding and maintaining the lunar base and for the in-orbit construction of spacecraft. It will also become a material processor for the construction of other space-based facilities, both manufacturing facilities or facilities for other businesses, i.e., hotels.
Construction and excavation will be handled by robotically retrofitted versions of present day excavation and construction vehicles. They will be run by technicians on earth at around $100/hr. and will require 2 personnel for each craft. Each craft will be owned and paid for by the company. Construction Vehicles will primarily handle, lifting, placement, welding, riveting, testing, and other various construction actions. The excavation vehicles will primarily focus on digging, boring, placing charges, and removing large amounts of lunar soil for refining and extraction.
Included is a spreadsheet detailing
cost estimates for initial start of a space-based manufacturing business.
Using cost estimation models from NASA a ballpark number comes out to be
about $3.7 billion.
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