After Apollo we accomplished “LEO return” which was both a step backward and a wrong turn. LEO stopped being space exploration after Apollo 8 left it far behind. Abandoning LEO in favor of funding “LLO return” is the right path to correct that near half a century old mistake.
The three problems with LLO are first the mascons that make low lunar orbits unstable. Stable “frozen” orbits are now understood and that problem is solved. The second problem is the radiation environment and the solution is ice-as-water-shielding dipped out of the Moons shallow gravity well. The third is of course getting hardware there and a wet workshop/robot lander combination for a Super Heavy Lift Vehicle can place large habitats in LLO and fill their radiation shields. The eventual 130 metric ton lift of the SLS makes this practical with few technical challenges.
The first such water shielded workshops could also be utilized as lunar cyclers to provide commuter service to and from the Moon. This would make the Muskrats happy by possibly giving the hobby rocket a job as a taxi intercepting the cyclers as they swing around the Earth.
“While the advent of lower expense through reusable rockets is touted as a major factor for lowered cost-”
The NewSpace mob are fraudulent space advocates. It has become clear they could care less about Human Space Flight and consider it a P.R. device. They care about one thing and one thing only: promoting the flagship company.
They have been posing as Human Space Flight supporters for close to a decade when in reality they are the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.
By conflating satellite launch with Human Space Flight they have popularized this confidence scheme handing over a satellite launch company paid for with taxpayer dollars.
It is a dead end road.
“-we know giant impacts periodically destroy life forms on Earth. Perhaps someday, humans will be killed off too, but our descendants living on the Moon and beyond will survive and prosper.”
A state sponsored Super Heavy Lift Vehicle program (the SLS) is the only hope of a permanent human presence Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO). The NewSpace fans have posted libraries of death-to-SLS propaganda over the years and forever inferred it best to “hand it all over to Musk” and dismantle the space agency. The astroturfing is incessant and…it never ends.