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April 18, 2003
Scaled Composites revealed their passenger-carrying spaceship today. This is an actual, working vehicle they're planning to use as part of a commercial space program. It would also get them the X Prize once flown. Wow!
For those who don't know Scaled Composites, it's an aerospace firm run by Burt Rutan. His plane Voyager was the first to fly around the world without landing or refueling. He's known for working, low-cost aircraft designed with revolutionary techniques. Go Burt!
Posted by Chris at April 18, 2003 02:41 PM
SpaceDev is an entrepreneurial publicly traded (Nasdaq OTCBB: SPDV) company working on the SpaceShipOne project.
SpaceDev recently orbited the world's first Internet node - CHIPSat - a low cost, inexpensive, full-feature, high performance microsatellite. SpaceDev's CHIPSat is designed like a microcomputer and is performing science for NASA.
Posted by: Jim Benson at May 2, 2003 02:41 PM
This is by far the most interesting of the X-prize contestants. However I am disappointed that the program currently has no plans beyond the X-prize. There is a large obsticle to taking Spaceship One into orbit, reentry from orbital velocity. I am confident that Burt and co. could come up with a new solution to this problem. I lean towords a longer reentry burn to reduce the thermal loads, of course that requires draging that fuel up to space with you. My only real hope to get personally into space is that the space elevator will overhaul the entire rocket industry.
Posted by: Ed Gray at October 8, 2003 06:27 AM
Actually, I think Scaled has the right idea with SpaceShipOne, just as the X Prize has the right idea with emphasizing suborbital flight first.
After the prize is won, no matter who wins it, we'll have a small group of experienced private companies capable of carrying passengers to "the edge of space". Considering that the X Prize was conceived less than a decade ago, that's impressive progress. It also fits a real need: space tourism by folks like me who would love to ride in one of these.
If X Prize contestants focus too much on the "reusability" of their craft, it's likely to be overengineered for the task at hand (and overpriced to boot). Something tells me that no matter what gets used to win the prize, the next level (because you know there will be one) will inspire even more unusual entries from folks like Burt Rutan.
Posted by: Chris at October 8, 2003 01:48 PM
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