Q: How are payloads delivered to the launch site?
The method for transporting payloads to the launch site will depend largely on the distance to the site-which itself will be determined by insurance requirements for distance from land necessary to accommodate “uncontrolled” landings. High speed boats will likely be used, however specialized aircraft that can take off and land vertically are also available and can use a barge as a landing place. It is likely that payload delivery will be a small part of the operation’s time or expense.
Q: How is the Advent concept able to achieve multiple launches per day with only 4 hour turn-around times?
The Advent launch system is much like an airline system. Avoiding the use of hydrogen is probably the main reason that the Advent operations are simplified. Commercial operations using liquid methane (liquid natural gas) and liquid oxygen are common today. The Advent propellant tanks are built much like the tanks used for highway transport trucks. Not having to deal with a launch platform and a landing area that are separated by some distance is also a schedule advantage. The vehicle can land near the launch site and be towed to the launch site for refueling. The refueling process will cause the vehicles to rotate into the vertical attitude, avoiding the typically-used vehicle erection equipment. The Advent system is actually simpler than an airliner. While the payload is being loaded into the payload module, the launcher can be fueled for the next delivery. Assembling the payload onto the fueled vehicle is a simple crane operation. Low cost will prompt many operations and the crew will be very experienced and capable. Airline type operations can be expected.
Q: How soon might the first payloads be delivered to Earth orbit?
Advent Launch Services is entirely a function of financial support. Advent needs some financial support. Investors have been interviewed, but they demand complete ownership, which violates our prime organizational principle, participant ownership. All the results to date have been funded with retirement pay and the contributions of the various individuals and commercial organizations. When the financial support becomes available, we expect to fly the first vehicle within a year, and the first payload about six months after that. An additional vehicle can be produced every six months because the basic design and engineering will be complete with the first vehicle. Fabrication will be expedited because the vehicles will all be very similar, requiring the same production equipment and expertise. The Advent team can put America back into the space activity leadership role within a few years. Earth orbit is indeed a lot closer than you might think.
Q: Why is the cost of travel to Earth Orbit and return so high?
Today’s launch vehicles are basically converted military rockets that were originally designed for a single flight. Changes to that basic design has been the project of large institutions, having an expert in charge of every aspect of the system. The experts have the challenge of making their part of the system as light-weight and reliable as possible. To get the best results, a high cost is expected. Complex and expensive systems have evolved with a large crew of specialtists for monitoring.
Q: How does the Advent organization avoid the high cost that is typical of today’s systems?
The basic challenge to avoid high cost is to have a simple system; a system with as few parts as possible. History has demonstrated that the key to simplicity is to have a relatively small group of creative individuals that have their primary focus on the end product having minimal cost. The development of automobiles, aircraft and computers are good examples. The small group works together to make the compromises required for the best results. The Advent Launch Services system is one more example of what history has demonstrated.