New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: We've recently made changes to our user database and have removed inactive and spam users. If you can not login, please re-register.

#1 2005-01-14 06:42:39

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

We all the that when Space Ship One was viewed as little more than a toy not capable of achieving the limits for the xprize and some of us got fooled by is appearance. Some would say that the Falcon is also to small and that kistler will never be anything but given the chance they just might IMO.

The space game has had little but the giants for the industry which as we all know costs big bucks...

The alternate space endeavors are all working with limited funding, tons of regulations and not much else other than a dream.

Space ships one success has lead to virgon taking a chance to change the design of space ship one into something a kin to the 0 G sub orbit tourism effort, while others are still shooting for the stars.

Recent legislation has changed some aspects of getting into the game but for others IMO it may have done more harm then good.

Another has now taken up the challenge in that Amazon founder unveils space center plans The Bezos’ Blue Origin venture
will build a West Texas rocket facility.

After years of work behind closed doors, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has gone public with a plan to build a suborbital space facility on a sprawling ranch under the wide open skies of West Texas.

Details of Bezos' plan were first reported in this week's edition of the Van Horn Advocate, the community's newspaper, and confirmed Thursday by Blue Origin spokesman Bruce Hicks.

Other private space ventures have a more accelerated timetable: Branson, for example, plans to start offering suborbital rides in the next three years or so, most likely from the Mojave Airport in California. That facility, which served as SpaceShipOne's base, has already received its FAA launch site license.

Time will tell where all of this leads but I hope it someday will give more of us access to forefill our dreams of space travel or of colonization.

Amazon CEO gives us peek into space plans

Amazon CEO chooses nowhere for space program

Ansari x prize

TEAM NEWS
X PRIZE INTERORBITAL SYSTEMS TEAM CONTINUES TO REACH FOR THE STARS
October 18, 2004

TEAM STC TO CONTINUE BUILDING ROCKET
October 12, 2004

Watch the WINNING X PRIZE Flight! On your computer.
October 4, 2004


FOUNDATION NEWS
X PRIZE FOUNDATION ELECTS TO BOARD OF TRUSTEES
January 12, 2005

Congress Passes Space Tourism Bill
December 9, 2004

X Prize Winners Take Their Victory Dance
November 9, 2004

Offline

#2 2005-01-14 08:15:48

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Bezos offers glimpse into space project

At the end of February, the first rocket produced by SpaceX, started by PayPal founder Elon Musk, will launch and deploy a military satellite into orbit. John Carmack, founder of video game company ID Software, created Armadillo Aerospace in hopes of launching his own brand of rockets into outer space.

Just think of all the jobs this could create.  big_smile

Offline

#3 2005-01-14 10:56:22

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Not many. If they did, then the overhead would be so high that nobody but the few superrich could afford tickets.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

Offline

#4 2005-01-14 12:26:24

Martian Republic
Member
From: Haltom City- Dallas/Fort Worth
Registered: 2004-06-13
Posts: 855

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Yes, it interesting, but it look like a continuation of Space Ship one, but by somebody else. It nice to know that Space Ship one has competition, but it still just for the rich people even if it possible to have tourist. there is still no indication that they could even reach the ISS space station even. It also looks like it a sub-orbital craft too.

Larry,

Offline

#5 2005-01-14 12:54:01

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

And thats all it will be at this rate.

The only AltSpace outfit that has a hope of putting anything serious into orbit is Elon Musk's SpaceX firm, which they can't even get a PegasusXL sized payload into orbit with their rocket yet. Also boasting about building a new rocket five times that size to compete against Delta-II that will apear soon that is complete vaporware.

The other "big name" AltSpace outfit, Kistler Aerospace, designed their rocket for a launch market that no longer exsists (MEO satelites) and last I checked was only 40% finished and the company was $400-500M in debt with no hope of finishing the vehicle any time soon... much less building a version to rendevous with the ISS.

And Carmak? Sure, he's good for a laugh.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

Offline

#6 2005-01-14 13:14:51

Euler
Member
From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2003-02-06
Posts: 922

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

You also have to keep in mind that even if Elon Musk's estimated costs do not bloat any further, those are the costs for launch vehicles rather than launch services.  The expenses of actually launching a vehicle are generally high enough to account for a significant portion of the total cost.  SpaceX might be able to compete successfully with other small launchers like Pegasus, but don't expect any dramatic decrease in the cost of getting payload into orbit.

Offline

#7 2005-01-14 13:52:25

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

There is also no chance that SpaceX's Falcon-V, if it is to be a Delta-II competitor, would be powerful enough for what we really need, more medium launchers for VSE's Moon program.

Falcon-V won't be able to fly the CEV and certainly wouldn't be big enough to get practical payloads to the Moon, much less to LEO if it had to lug along a bus & docking gear.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

Offline

#8 2005-01-14 14:17:34

Martian Republic
Member
From: Haltom City- Dallas/Fort Worth
Registered: 2004-06-13
Posts: 855

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

About the only way that these private venture won't die on the vine would be to have Government financing with Government contracts. That would also assume that we are going to upgrade the ISS and/or some kind of Space Island Type space station too, which also does not look like it in the offering either. I can't see that happening, because we would have to double the size of the NASA budget for maybe ten years to put together that kind of private venture together and make it work. That kind of investment would have to be made to put together the ground facilities, build those new private space shuttle, create the business activities and maybe the space station that there going to be going to.

They don't have anybody out there that can buy there product or services or needs there product of services. Only the United States Government has the capability of creating that customer base that would make these and other private venture profitable and I don't see that happening.

Larry,

Offline

#9 2005-01-14 14:24:25

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Again, you blow the cost of such an endeavour far out or proportion.

No new private Shuttle, just rockets. No ISS involvement, start from scratch in equitorial orbit. No "international cooperation" nonsense beyond making a provision for Soyuz/Progress compatibility. Inflatable modules... it wouldn't be that expensive.

The problem is though that there is no reason to build a space station worth the investment. Barring some absolutely must-have substance that can only be fasioned in space, which is unlikly given advancements in magnetic or spinning drum "zero-g simulators" for Earthly manufacturing, no space station is going to happen.

As far as military contracts, sure I can see small ones being awarded to SpaceX for small satelites, especially concerning SBR or missile defense targeting, but nothing major.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

Offline

#10 2005-01-21 07:48:40

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Cape launch site could host new commercial rocket fleet


SpaceX is moving forward with plans for the pad 36 complex.
This makes good sense to use the Atlas facility for a couple of reasons as the number of launches from them have diminished for Lockheed and it would already be setup for the same fuel types.

"Until the formal process is complete we cannot say the pad is ours," Musk told Spaceflight Now in an interview this week. "But it's my understanding that there is no obstacle to us obtaining the launch pad. Unless something very unusual happens, we should receive it."

The two-stage, small-satellite launcher Falcon 1 will call pad 36A its Florida home. That is Complex 36's northern pad, which has been active since 1962. The larger, more powerful Falcon 5 is headed for the site's pad 36B that entered service in 1965.

Edit more news stories:
SpaceX starting small as it dreams of grand plans

Gee, not much more than a soyuz or maybe even a progress.

SpaceX has been selling its small Falcon 1 rocket for $5.9 million and the beefed up Falcon 5 for $15.8 million, plus launch site Range fees, which is significantly cheaper than other American rockets available today with comparable lifting capacity.

Offline

#11 2005-02-10 06:33:52

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Getting the average joe interested in space is a first step in getting the funding for the vision. Even if that interest is only for now sub orbital, it at least an interest.

Caught a glimpse of this commercial:
Space Race 2: Spaceflight Ad Hits TV

Volvo's sweepstakes rules stipulate that if regularly scheduled commercial flights into sub-orbital space have not begun by March 1, 2009, the ticket to ride, along with up to $100,000 in cash to pay for federal and state taxes on the prize, will be rescinded.

Instead, the winner will receive a cash substitute in the amount of $100,000 - enough to buy a pair of Volvo's new luxury SUVs.

Offline

#12 2005-02-24 13:02:37

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Well with the failure of the rubicon and the race having been won it would seem that the rubicon will not come to be. The lack of funding dollars have hurt all that would be space visionaries in the alternative industry.

Plans for rocket dashed, founders leaving Forks


"Our company is in the middle of selling some equipment and figuring out how to tackle the privatization of space," he wrote. Proceeds will be used to pay bills, with the remainder to be saved "until we figure out our future plans."

Offline

#13 2005-03-08 13:57:17

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

While many were hopeful of success and some did try in an explosive ending attempts. The glory of spaceshipone was not felt by many other teams that barely got out of the starting blocks.

The New space Race Dark horse makes bold claims; Aera announces launch pact, plans flights in 2006


A rocket startup that was an also-ran in the $10 million X Prize private-spaceflight competition says it is gearing up to beat the prize-winning team to market with a low-cost suborbital space tourism operation, launching from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Offline

#14 2005-04-12 10:46:15

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

While we may not be on the road to cheaper or safer access to space by these companies Nasa however is giving them a try at least.

XCOR Aerospace Wins $7 Million NASA Contract; Company to Develop Cryogenic Composite Tank to hold liquid oxygen (LOX). 

Do we not already have companies that can do this already?
Or is this a means if successful to get competion going?

Offline

#15 2005-04-20 05:54:01

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Burt Rutan and Private Space Pioneers to Testify on the Future Markets of Commercial Space

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics – Hearing
Future Markets for Commercial Space
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
2318 Rayburn House Office Building (WEBCAST)
Possibly the side bar link to the pages for wecast will be updated by time it is on.

The first panel at the hearing will examine the potential of space tourism, with a focus on last year’s successful flights by SpaceShipOne, the world’s first privately-built and human-piloted space craft

The second panel will examine the potential of the wider commercial space market, which includes rockets to launch satellites and the satellites themselves, which provide services ranging from beaming images of landscapes and weather patterns, to global communications and entertainment.

Offline

#16 2005-04-20 08:07:20

srmeaney
Member
From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Burt is at least on the right track. If SpaceShipOne is going to evolve into something profitable, The flying wing is going to have to achieve Sub-Orbit and The the Rocket plane is going to need to be able to move at least six passengers out to a decent orbit to the ISS or whatever space station is open for tourism.

Offline

#17 2005-04-20 08:33:45

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Except that they aren't on track for orbit. The difference between a real live orbital vehicle and an SSO derivitive is like the difference between the SR-71 Blackbird and a home-built kit Cessna propellar plane. SSO type vehicles would need 100's of times the power to reach orbit with useful payloads. Dropping overgrown model rockets with wings out from under custom Leer jets is not going to get Burt anywhere.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

Offline

#18 2005-04-20 12:34:47

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Actually, if you'd referred to anyone other than friend Burt, I'd agree with you (gasp), but Burt, being Burt, all bets against his attaining suborbital flight (no more than that) are off. Face it: He, in contrast to you, is driven by ambitions to be "always first" in everything he attempts, not (sorry, but it must be said) "always right." Not that there's anything "wrong" with that.

Offline

#19 2005-04-20 12:49:52

srmeaney
Member
From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

GCNRevenger Posted on April 20 2005, 10:33
Except that they aren't on track for orbit. The difference between a real live orbital vehicle and an SSO derivitive is like the difference between the SR-71 Blackbird and a home-built kit Cessna propellar plane. SSO type vehicles would need 100's of times the power to reach orbit with useful payloads. Dropping overgrown model rockets with wings out from under custom Leer jets is not going to get Burt anywhere.

So if Rutan Aerospace produced something along the lines of a flying wing and a Hermes Mini shuttle with expendable motor stage in place of the Experiment module, to get from the edge of the Atmosphere to orbit, you would feel that the conceptual progression wasn't expected? Even though NASA was heading in the same direction and missed the point?

Offline

#20 2005-04-21 10:07:48

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

News articles all seem to be proporting that the commercial industry is being hindered by the regulatory process.
SCIENCE COMMITTEE DEMOCRATS EXPLORE FUTURE OF COMMERCIAL SPACE FLIGHT

The House Committee on Science's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics today heard from a number of experts on the commercial space industry. Research and development in this arena has led to launch vehicles and satellites that provide services from weather forecasting to home entertainment.

Rutan: Space Tourism Will Thrive, But Regulations Hinder Progress

Speaking before the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics today, SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan said the commercial space industry will thrive but the current regulatory system is in need of repair and nearly destroyed his test program.

This all may be very true and that some guidelines need to be modified to better foster success.

Offline

#21 2005-05-05 07:24:54

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Well we would all like to think that the alternative companies can get into the game and lower cost but it looking more like roadblocks are springing up into its way.
Space Race Regulation

The owner of Virgin Atlantic airlines wants to start a legitimate business venture. But federal rules have flattened the wheels of commerce.

Washington has put export control rules in place to keep hostile and unstable nations from getting their hands on U.S. technology that could be put to military use. During the 1990s, we wrote about risks courted when the Clinton administration eased controls on exports of high-speed computers.

Offline

#22 2005-05-09 13:09:45

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

The post-X Prize hangover
While the milestone of the year 2004 was the capturing of the xprize by SpaceShipOne it is still alone way off from getting us beyound a suborbital flight.
The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act was passed but it would seem to be more of a road block than a means to the end.
There are a few that thou they were not in the running have still continued to run for the goal of launch.
Then you have Transformational Space Corp. (t/Space), Which outlined that company’s efforts to develop an architecture for NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration that has a stronger reliance on commercial capabilities.
While those like the Canadian Arrow have recently tested there rocket engine successfully.

Offline

#23 2005-05-12 06:38:33

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Entrepreneurs put space tickets on sale ; Aera Corp. joins race to attract suborbital passengers

They haven’t yet flown a spaceship, and they haven’t yet revealed the sources of their funding, but top executives at Aera Corp. say they’ll be selling tickets for suborbital rocket trips at an estimated base price of $150,000, beginning Thursday

First I have heard of them and what big gamble they are taking. Designed by a 3 decade space rocket engineer. hum..

Well if all goes well there is going to be some competition from a few providers not to far off in the future it would seem.

Offline

#24 2005-05-13 05:14:48

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

More efforts are continueing for those that want to provide suborbital flights. The SpaceDev Dream Chaser Human Space Transport System Designed or this one from corporate web.

Powering the Dream chaser launch system propulsion modules would be scaled-up versions of SpaceDev's non-explosive hybrid rocket motors. But will that be enough to get it from launch pad to orbit or is this another carrier plane drop design?

Offline

#25 2005-05-19 10:41:46

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,181

Re: Alternative Space ventures - are we on the road to cheaper access

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB