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Is SpaceX/Elon Musk the favorite of the ASP?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:18 am
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Is SpaceX/Elon Musk the favorite of the ASP? 
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Post Is SpaceX/Elon Musk the favorite of the ASP?   Posted on: Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:18 am
SpaceX probably will have ready the orbital unmanned Falcon I in March 2005. The unmanned orbital Falcon V that is to launch Bigelow's third-scale space station in the second quarter of 2006 is a simple enlargement by using five of the engines Falcon I is using.

Given these facts - is SpaceX the favorite to win the ASP until 10. of January 2010? They will be the first private ones having ready an orbital engine...



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:32 pm
I think that given the delays that SpaceX has experienced over their Falcon I launch it is not a certainty that Falcon V will fly this year, although I hope it does.

Even if they get Falcon V flying they would still have to design, test and build a suitable orbital manned vehicle and I think other teams such as Starchaser might be further along on this front.

I think that the competition is still anyones and that SpaceX will have to get a few launches under its belt of the Falcon V before it can concentrate on their orbital manned craft. Also other teams have the advantage that they are focusing their efforts solely on manned flight whereas SpaceX has to think about its normal launch business as well.

It would be nice to know who was actually competing and what progress was being made so that it was possible to see who might be the favourite. IMHO with the lack of information at the moment I think it would be difficult to say who is in the lead. Im surprised that Bigelow Aerospace hasn't set up a link from their website to give information, even their commercial space section hasn't been updated in a long time.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:47 pm
I agree concerning Bigelow Aerospace. And they don't have an ASP-site up to now - there is only this section of the XPRIZE message board and a private ASP-forum.

The website of SpaceX say that the Falcon V-launch for Bigelow Aerospace has been moved from the fourth quarter 2005 to the second quarter 2006 - and this only the second if not the first of the Falcon V-launches.

The problems for the other known participants of the ASP is that Interorbital Systems has a budget of 4 million $ only - SpaceX has twentyfive times of that at least. Unitel is strange and JP Aerospace said that they will have ready their last step - the vehicle going from their Dark Sky Station into the orbit by ion drive - seven years from 2004.

Is Starchaser's enginy that crafty that it is easy to upscale for the orbit? Do they compete for the ASP?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:05 pm
From what I've read on Starchaser's site they appear to be almost ready to start testing on their latest engine (15 Ton thrust) and that so far their engines appear to be scalable so I dont see why it couldn't make orbit eventually. They could increase the booster size by adding more engines much as SpaceX did to create the Falcon V from the Falcon I, but as yet they are still to make a sub-orbital flight so they need to do a lot of work before they get to that stage.

The point is they've done a lot of work on a capsule design and LES so they would have a ready made system to incorporate into an orbital vehicle whereas SpaceX would need to start from scratch.

So while it might appear that SpaceX is in the lead, the winner will have to get all elements completed and they are behind on some of those.

The fastest way to produce an orbital vehicle would probably be if someone else developed the crew capsule and used SpaceX's booster to launch it.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:17 pm
Has Starchaser a budget of a size comparable to SpaceX's budget? If not this would tend to change my image of the situation significantly.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 20, 2005 2:44 pm
In other threads people have mentioned that Steve Bennet has had a good rant about money and the fact that this wasn't one of the problems for Scaled so I can only assume that money is tight for Starchaser. That may be another reason why they are opening up in the US, to get more investment opportunities.

I suspect that they have only a small budget or they would have progressed faster and this will be a disadvantage. But if they can compete in the X-Prize Cup this will give them a lot of credibility for investors. There are a lot of millionaires in the US and a working sub-orbital craft will generate the investment needed to move on to bigger things. Now that the winner has been taken by Branston others will be looking to see who is next to fly sub-orbital successfully to invest in.

Burt Rutan had the advantage of a big reputation in the aerospace industry to begin with, other teams need to prove that they can achieve sub-orbital flight before anyone with a lot of money is likely to back them.

I'm not sure whether Starchaser has declared that they will compete for the America Space Prize but then they would not originally have been eligible operating from the UK. If they are allowed to compete now it would be the logical step once they have achieved sub-orbital.

Another thing to think about is that ESA will be launching Soyuz from French Guiana and although it does not include manned flights at the moment the agreement could be expanded and that might be a lot more attractive to Bigelow than going to Russia. It will also give more capacity to launch Soyuz craft to his space station. This may take some of the pressure off of meeting his 2010 deadline if he has alternative launch sites.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 06, 2006 1:44 pm
The article "SpaceX Building Reusable Crew Capsule" ( www.space.com/spacenews/businessmonday_060306.html ) - reporting nearly the same as the article Marshall linked to in the Latest News section - says that according to Elon Musk
Quote:
"... total time from zero to launch will be just over three and a half years."


It is not clear when zero was or is for Elon Musk since there already has been worked on the manned vehicle.

But this would mean that SpaceX already is competing in the hidden. Each competitor might have 3.5 to 4 years only to win the ASP and it might not be required to push the date when the ASP is terminated without a winner.

It will be interesting if t/Space, Scaled/MAV/Virgin Galactic (SS3), Armadillo Aerospace, Starchaser or any other actual or potential competitor for the ASP now will react to this publicly - SpaceX may be supposed to be the favourite now...



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:07 pm
It appears from what Bigelow says in this artical in the space review that SpaceX are excluded from competing for the ASP becuse they have excepted government cash.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/667/2

I dare say though that he wont have any problems buying flights from them if they manage to build a successful crew vehicle, but he is not overly confident that there is going to be a host of vehicles to choose from by the time he launches his full size inflatable.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:23 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

yes, I too recognized that. I remeber a talk here about how strictly the rules will be applied or not. It seems that the rules will be applied strictly at this point.

It's intersting that Bigelow said that the major problems of others were theier lack of financial ressources and that he can imagine to buy services fromrejected COTS-bidders - as if he might apply a private COTS. This way SpaceX might have a chance again -but they wouldn't get the ASP. ...

...



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:20 am
Well, SpaceX are the hot favourites now.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:59 pm
does spacex even still qualify for asp? they are privately financed, but have government contracts. i'm not too clear on the eligibility requirements with regards to gov't financing of other aspects of the company... even for elon $50M is not a drop in the bucket though i hope they can get it when dragon flies (2010/11 is schedule for first flights right?).

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:04 pm
The prize isn't the purse, it is the years of contracts that follow. With no other serious contender, SpaceX may hold the domestic American monopoly on manned space launches.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:44 am
I must say this is the best thread I have seen to date and the most accurate conversation and assessment of facts I have had a chance to read on this entire forum so far! This is what the space race is all about! Intelligent conversations about groups or teams actually competing in the X-Prize I have renewed hope that we may progress as a civilization! I’m truly honoured to be in the presents of such brilliant comrades.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:44 pm
Hello, TerraMrs,

the government contracts don't prevent them from still qualifying - it is the COTS-money that disqualifies them because COTS finances their Dragon and its launcher Falcon 9.



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