Newt Gingrich: A glimpse of America’s Future in Space in 2024

Newt Gingrich: A glimpse of America’s Future in Space in 2024

By the end of 2024, a very large American spacecraft should be on its way to Mars.We should have a working base on the moon that’s producing rocket fuel from ice.The first asteroid mining project should be returning valuable minerals to the United States (thus rendering obsolete the Chinese effort to corner the supply of rare minerals on Earth).Between Earth and the moon, there should be multiple low-orbit systems assembling enormous structures and supporting commercial manufacturing, tourism and other industries in space.If we achieve this before any other country, the United States will have undisputed economic superiority for decades.At the same time, execution of this seemingly fantastic concept would leapfrog our national defense capabilities far into the 21st century.Having a squadron of reusable rockets (effectively a Mach 25 Air Force) would allow U.S.forces to overfly and outfly the myriad of foreign air and space weapons proliferating today.This would also allow us to have “eyes, ears, and presence” anywhere in the world in under an hour, while also protecting the peace in the global commons of space.This vision could be made possible by three technological and entrepreneurial revolutions.First, the advent of reusable rockets is going to lead to a crash in costs and a dramatic increase in frequency of launches.Ranges and regulatory procedures must be modernized as we move from a paradigm of 10 heavy launches per year to a paradigm of 70 to 100 heavy launches per year.If the Trump-Pence team pushes it, Falcon Heavy rockets could have more than 100 launches through 2024.The New Glenn, which will lift almost as much as the Falcon Heavy and will be rated to carry humans from Day One, could add another 20 flights between 2020 and 2024.Together, these approximately 120 heavy commercial flights would lift as much payload as 60 of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) flights.However, there will be at most