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LANL engineer looks for partners for cheap space flight

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By Tris DeRoma

Joseph Archer wants to start a company to take ordinary citizens into space.

With all the millions of dollars spent on space tourism today, the Los Alamos National Laboratory radiological safety employee has a plan to do it more efficiently, and cheaper.

His first step is to get a group of investors together who are genuinely enthusiastic and interested in the idea.

“If I were to go out and say ‘invest in this idea’… I don’t generally subscribe to that. You should invest in things you have a say in,” Archer said.

Archer, of Hernandez, New Mexico, is hoping that lab retirees and others who have harbored the same dream he’s had all these years will invest in his idea.

He is looking for10 to 20 investors who will also serve on a board. All members will have equal say.

“I remember watching the moon landings, 50 years ago and thinking, boy, it’s going to be great when a common person will be able to experience the exhilaration of space flight. I figured, give it a couple of decades and we will probably be able to go down to the airport and buy a ticket. Well, it’s been 50 years and I’m running out of time, and yet, not only is space tourism not a reality, if it becomes a reality, it will be exorbitantly expensive,” he said in his statement. “...I have written this article to solicit anyone in the community who has ever held the remotest hope that they and their loved ones might someday be able to experience the exhilaration of space, to help me make space flight affordable to the masses.”

After he assembles his investors and has a board, Archer wants to start a project that will show the public their idea is feasible, and can be done at minimal cost.

The project will involve launching a one-ton payload into space within a year of the company’s formation. He estimates he could do it for an amount between $200,000-$600,000.

“As a group of  retired professional and technical types, there is little doubt that we can accomplish such a modest objective,” he said in his statement.

Archer knows his idea of inexpensive tourism for the common folks may sound a little out there.

In his argument, he talks a lot about how the Germans were able to accomplish much with little when they built the V-2 rocket in World War II.

One Los Alamos resident, Alan Hack, said in a letter to the Los Alamos Monitor that there was a huge difference between the wartime German program and what’s happening today in civilian space travel.

“Comparing costs to manufacture the V-1 ignores that it was built by slave labor from the captured countries as the Nazi regime did not have enough German labor to meet the huge demands for war production. Your manned rocket cannot be as cheap as you estimate,” Hack said.

“You get a lot of blowback, no one believes you,” Archer said of the rejection he’s received so far. “All I’m trying to do at this point is get people to review the engineering argument.”

Archer said all people have to do is send him email to find out more to get started. In exchange for a non-disclosure agreement, Archer will send an overview of his plans and the curious can go from there.

“Help me form a team to make this happen based on the engineering principles that I will present. If you can’t understand the principles, or you doubt it’s true, that’s fine, just don’t be a board member,” he said.

Archer can be reached at hanblecheya@gmail.com.