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What is the status of Kistler?

Posted by: FerrisValyn - Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:33 pm
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What is the status of Kistler? 
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Space Walker
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Post What is the status of Kistler?   Posted on: Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:33 pm
I know the site is down, and from what Hobbyspace said about their main backer pulling out, it sounds bad - Are they dead in the water? Or are they still trying?

Does anyone have any news on them?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:52 pm
Their website doesn't look down to me. But if Kistler doesn't get a contract from NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, their future looks very bleak.


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Space Station Commander
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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:25 pm
Their big investor bailed out on them when they needed him most.

Selfish investors are not to be trusted--my biggest beef with the alt.spacers. Why would I as Joe-Q Trump want to invest in an unknown (to me) space start up when I can buy proven stocks?

This is why we have a NASA--funded by tax dollars confiscated from these little fools--so we MAKE them pay for space progress whether they want to or not.

It worked for R-7's backers.


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Rocket Constructor
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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:06 am
publiusr wrote:
Selfish investors are not to be trusted--my biggest beef with the alt.spacers. Why would I as Joe-Q Trump want to invest in an unknown (to me) space start up when I can buy proven stocks?


Those proven stocks have fairly low rates of return to go with their relative safety. The reason a wealthy individual invests in startup companies (of any description) is to get rates of return that are simply not available in the public markets. In exchange, they take much larger risks. Nothing magical or irrational about any of it. Investors really aren't any less reliable than Congress -- an investor stands to lose directly and personally if he drops an investment; congresscritters have no such disincentive to bail out of a program if it becomes temporarily less politically popular than something else they could spend the public purse on.

In the specific case of Kistler, I think their investors held on much too long and should have cut Kistler off *MUCH* sooner than they did. Hundreds of millions of dollar spent and no flying hardware. I think a large part of the reason for that is that Kistler packed the house with NASA greybeards. Naturally, they did things the way they'd always done them... and got the results they'd always gotten. Lots of money spent for minimal gain.

The moral of the story is clear: if you want different results (like, say, cheap access to space) from previous experience, you must do things differently, potentially radically differently. Public funding and NASA projects haven't made space cheap in the four decades they've had to do it. I don't see any reason to believe that anything will be different in the future, absent a very strong prod to make them do things differently. Alt.space may be sufficient prod... or it might not.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:30 pm
I don't agree with that at all. If it had been up to private surces there would be NO spaceflight, period. NASA greybeards don't get fooled by anti-gravity bs like a lot of space advocates. I blame selfishness of investors.

I would like to pass a law reqiring anybody who has a million in stocks to place 10 percent into space start ups.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:45 pm
"I blame selfishness of investors"????

As for privet investment, I don't know...could part of the problem with
Kistler be that over $600 million was invested and not a single space craft built or sold. Seems like a pretty easy concept to understand.
Oh and go figure their recent investment was by none other than NASA
for COTS as RPK's bid. (not privet money)
What privet investor with half a brain would consider Kistler being effective a leveraging a dollar. Out of all of the space organizations.
RPK probably will have the toughest time raising further privet capital.
The best thing they have going for them is there association with COTS and any "Grey beard" inside connections they might have.
They certainly can’t count on theirs or Rocketplanes Track record. :roll:


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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:13 pm
This isn't start up computer program firms. This isn't software--its hardware. If you want a spaceship to fly--you give engineers money until something does fly. Its how the Manhatten project worked

This is why I don't buy into the alt.space promises. Investors want a quick buck--and space isn't the way to make one.

This is about the future of humanity--and more important than profit.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 04, 2006 2:50 am
I hate to break it to you Publiusr, but making a buck is the only way things get done.
This is almost too easy...
I am going to tell you a cold hard fact that everyone who is in capitalist
society needs to know... that is unless you are old Soviet Block.

Progress on a technological level is only effectively made by the privet sector. And that is a fact.
War is probably the second most effective way… and even that quite often is driven by the mighty buck.

Since I am obviously speaking to someone without any manufacturing or engineering background I will explain.
Anyone who has worked in R&D and business knows that the last thing you ever want to do is get a bunch of engineers together and throw cash at a them and a problem. This is the quickest way to bankruptcy. Engineers are only effective under the right vision and leadership. Leadership that must not only understand the engineering and design focus but the financial and business know-how in order to succeed.
This is a Fact.

Give me an example of a development in use and I will point to industry.

[i]“Investors want a quick buck--and space isn't the way to make one.

This is about the future of humanity--and more important than profit.â€


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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 04, 2006 8:42 am
I am an engineer and, although it pains me to admit it, Number2 is probably correct that if you just gave a load of money to a bunch of us without any constraints you would not end up with necessarily the cheapest option. One of our "failings" is to want to continually improve something and without someone calling a halt you start to get to point where a lot of money is spent for only small improvements.

This of course this sometimes leads to a significant technical breakthrough, but there is no point spending all the money designing and testing something if you cant afford to build it. "That'll do" is not really in the engineers vocabulary its more like "That'll do until we come up with what we really need".

Engineers become attached to their project and quite often accountants are seen as the enemy who overly interfere with the work being done but in all probability they are a necessarily evil. :)

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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 06, 2006 4:58 am
publiusr wrote:
This isn't start up computer program firms. This isn't software--its hardware.


You mean like Intel, and Fairchild Semiconductor before it? Or how about Ford or Catepillar? Those were all once financially risky startups, and they privately financed ventures, and they're all still in business producing technologically advanced hardware. With the exception of Ford, they're all doing it profitably. From a venture investor's perspective, the software/hardware line isn't nearly as important as you seem to think it is.

Quote:
If you want a spaceship to fly--you give engineers money until something does fly. Its how the Manhatten project worked


That only works in engineering dorm bull sessions. In the real world, it is doomed to failure under any reasonable set of economic constraints. The Manhattan Project did not operate under reasonable constraints because the US was involved in a war of survival at the time.

Quote:
This is why I don't buy into the alt.space promises. Investors want a quick buck--and space isn't the way to make one.


There are plenty of ways to make mucking huge piles of money in space... and they all require that it be cheap. The first company to bring orbital access down below the tipping point where the market really opens up will make its principals rich beyond dreams of avarice. There are plenty of investors who have come to this conclusion; their major concern is the demonstrated competence; in this context, that means low cost over new technology.

Quote:
This is about the future of humanity--and more important than profit.


Nonsense -- the real future of humanity is always profitable; it has to be or it can't sustain itself and therefore does not happen. Socioeconomic system and silly false dichotomies irrelevant.

PS to Number2 -- I believe we're discussing capitalism, not hedges. :P Otherwise, spot on across the board.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:04 pm
Has anyone else noticed that the ex-Soviet space program is running a substantially commercial operation. Whereas when it comes to designing a new launch architecture, the number one priority of capitalist America is retaining the jobs of tens of thousands of workers? Despite the fact that retaining those workers, will make the new system about as expensive as the old?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:04 am
WannabeSpaceCadet wrote:
Has anyone else noticed that the ex-Soviet space program is running a substantially commercial operation. Whereas when it comes to designing a new launch architecture, the number one priority of capitalist America is retaining the jobs of tens of thousands of workers? Despite the fact that retaining those workers, will make the new system about as expensive as the old?


Oh, without question. I think the difference is that the old Soviet technocracy has more or less completely fallen apart, leaving no alternatives except a partially or entirely commercial approach. The US technocracy is still alive and somewat kicking, and the US government still has the power and the will to support it. Therefore, the technocratic institutions in this country (Eisenhower's military-industrial complex in all its glory) lumber on. Here in the US, any commercial approach is going to have to come from the private sector, which is fine.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:52 am
When is Kistler going to show pictures of actual hardware? For years they have kept saying that the the K-1 rocket is "75% complete". Ok, then show us. I'm tired at looking at pretty CAD models and animations. It looks like the COTS money should put them on track to at least finish the K-1.

The company I work for signed a contract with Kistler 10 years ago to launch our commerical satellites. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet.

http://www.kistleraerospace.com/newsinf ... 12897.html


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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:28 am
IMO NASA giving Kistler the COTS contract was a mistake, I will be surprised if anything is ever launched. The only proven tack record that Kistler have is in spending money.

A bit harsh possibly but thats how I see it, they need to actually produce something before I could take them seriously.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:18 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
IMO NASA giving Kistler the COTS contract was a mistake, I will be surprised if anything is ever launched. The only proven tack record that Kistler have is in spending money.

A bit harsh possibly but thats how I see it, they need to actually produce something before I could take them seriously.

I tend to agree. Kistler has been in business over 10 years now and haven't shown anything. Rotary Rocket Co., Blue Origin, Scaled Composites, SpaceX, and Masten Space Systems have either build test vehicles or are testing major spacecraft subsystems in a fairly short time period.

I was very surprised that Pioneer Rocketplane bought Kistler given that Kistler was still in bankruptcy limbo.

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