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SpaceDev a potential future competitor?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:07 pm
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SpaceDev a potential future competitor? 
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Post SpaceDev a potential future competitor?   Posted on: Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:07 pm
The article "Private Spacecraft Developer Settles on New Design" ( www.space.com/missionlaunches/051123_sp ... haser.html )

says:
Quote:
SpaceDev’s take on the small spacecraft would be lighter, seat four people for a suborbital flight and up to six for an orbital trek. The space plane is envisioned to launch atop a launch stack of hybrid rocket engines – like those developed by SpaceDev as part of the SpaceShipOne Ansari X Prize entry – and make a runway landing back on Earth, according to its designed flight profile.


Another quote from the same article says:
Quote:
Benson said that with $20 million or less and about two years, SpaceDev could have a four-person suborbital Dream Chaser vehicle ready for flight. Given three more years, as well as $100 million, and the firm could develop an orbital variant, he added.


What do you think - might they decide to compete for the ASP? Regarding the number of seats the orbital variant would qualify.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:07 am
Using Rutan's X-Prize winning vehicle, their schedule, and development cost coupled with the already established R&D company they have, I think it would be very aggressive for someone that has a less developed infrastructure to come along in a shorter time period and with less money produce a higher performing vehicle.

In addition, with the issues SpaceX had with regards to availability of a vertical launch facility, there will be some infrastructure development required (unless someone can correct me on this one). To be commercially successful even with 4 paying passengers is going to require some what regular launches.

With that said, they're right on the design of the vehicle... but I believe the regular launch logistics are going to be their biggest obstacles.

Any thoughts?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:29 pm
I think that SpaceDev is positioning themselves to compete with Virgin Galactic and maybe enter the ASP. I dont think that Scaled hold all the cards by any means and that there is still room for a couple of competitors at least for sub-orbital and orbital transports.

Although Burt Rutan initially stole a lead on others, I think that building only one spacecraft will not necessarily be enough to ultimately become a big player. SpaceDev has much more experience in space technology and has recently aquired Starsys giving them more capability and experience. The only thing they lack is investment money for Dreamchaser, the large hybrid boosters needed to launch to orbit will be paid for, at least in part, by AF contracts.

SpaceDev have said that for about $20m they could have the sub-orbital Dreamchaser up and running, this would be a 6 man vehicle built for the same cost as SSO. I dont know whether they will get the contract to develop the rocket motors for Scaled's next craft but if they did this also gives them an advantage as they can influence a competitors costs and turnaround times.

With regard to the ASP SPaceDev have quoted about $100m for an orbital Dreamchaser, if someone chips in the first $20m for suborbital I think they stand a good chance of getting the further investment needed. IMO I see SpaceDev in front of everyone else at the moment, people like T-Space could compete but I think it unlikely that they will get the $500m needed.
The Dreamchaser is much cheaper and will have an alternative market as a sub-orbital craft if things dont work out, the CXV has no such fall back position.

Another interesting fact is that Jim Benson has stepped down as CEO to concentrate on directing R&D activities. As the founder of SpaceDev he must have some pretty good reasons for doing that.

http://www.spacedev.com/newsite/templat ... hp?pid=552

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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 4:39 pm
Quote:
SpaceDev have said that for about $20m they could have the sub-orbital Dreamchaser up and running, this would be a 6 man vehicle built for the same cost as SSO. I dont know whether they will get the contract to develop the rocket motors for Scaled's next craft but if they did this also gives them an advantage as they can influence a competitors costs and turnaround times.


Maybe Rutan will chose SpaceDev for commercial reasons, but they have become quite an ennemies since then... they even had a word fight :P Rutan does not agree with how "important" SpaceDev's work was, and SpaceDev claims it's a lot. :roll:

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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 6:20 pm
Sigurd wrote:
Maybe Rutan will chose SpaceDev for commercial reasons, but they have become quite an ennemies since then... they even had a word fight :P Rutan does not agree with how "important" SpaceDev's work was, and SpaceDev claims it's a lot. :roll:


I think that for Rutan to say that the company who made the motor that gave him the x-prize didn't do anything important is a bit off. We all know one of the problems that most of the teams have had is to produce suitable rocket motors.

If I remember correctly the other rocket motor supplier he was dealing with kept having problems with their engine which is why he choose SpaceDev. Now I might except that the work they did wasn't quite as ground breaking as his own but credit where credit is due they did do a great job scalling up their hybrid engines for him by an enormous amount.

You could have put versions SpaceDev's rocket motor under an assortment of the X-prize vehicles and they would have made it to the edge of space, even flying Brian might have seen the black sky. :)

Also if SpaceDev's work wasn't that innovative why has the AF decided to place a contract with them to build a bigger hybrid booster, they didn't seem that interested before SSO won the x-prize?

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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 7:09 pm
Quote:
I think that for Rutan to say that the company who made the motor that gave him the x-prize didn't do anything important is a bit off.


I don't think that's what he said.. (it's about overscaling value, not that it's not important) I guess their diffrences where more with details of the accomplishment and how important that they where.
But I think they both agree both sides did a good job.

I don't remember where I read it, or who told me this info.. so it's even possible they are great friends now.. but personally, I think they are not.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:27 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
You could have put versions SpaceDev's rocket motor under an assortment of the X-prize vehicles and they would have made it to the edge of space, even flying Brian might have seen the black sky. :)

Also if SpaceDev's work wasn't that innovative why has the AF decided to place a contract with them to build a bigger hybrid booster, they didn't seem that interested before SSO won the x-prize?


That's because they actually make rockets--not fancy gliders that just so happen to look cool.


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