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Starchaser should abandon suborbital space tourism.

Posted by: virgair - Sat May 14, 2005 7:12 pm
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Starchaser should abandon suborbital space tourism. 
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Post Starchaser should abandon suborbital space tourism.   Posted on: Sat May 14, 2005 7:12 pm
The subject window was too small for me to post what I really meant.
Don't take my words out of context!

It's clear that Virgin Galactic, and Space Adventures Inc, will dominate
"suborbital space tourism" over the next ten years, with spacecraft production
help from Scaled Composites, XCOR, Canadian Arrow, Armadillo and XCOR.

THAT'S THE GOOD NEWS!

The bad news? Not enough effort has gone into orbital space tourism.

Other X-Prize [and non x-prize] competitors should divert their efforts, and
start to work towards the goal of ORBITAL SPACE TOURISM....NOW!

Thus I suggest that Starchaser Industries should abandon suborbital space-tourism
efforts and concentrate ALL their efforts on an manned orbital space-vehicle; preferably one that can be either reused [or sold on ebay, or at Sothebys, after spaceflight.]

Starchaser's newly completed and tested 33,000Ib thrust CHURCHILL Mark3 rocket-motor can be CLUSTERED to launch a manned spacecraft into orbit.

Starchaser has some advantages
(1) An equatorial launch-site is attainable at the BRITISH island colony of Ascension in mid-Atlantic.

(2) By clustering 4 CHURCHILL rocket motors together for one booster they have a 132,000Ib thrust core-stage. With 4 strap-on stages, each strap-on booster with two CHURCHILL rocket-motors [66,000Ibs thrust], they would have a total of 66,000x(4) =
264,000Ib thrust combined. And with the core-stage that works out to 400,000Ibs combined thrust at lift-off.
One CHURCHILL rocket-motor installed in the upper-stage and its possible to launch
upto 5 short tons into LEO.
A 5 short ton spacecraft can hold three passengers and a crewman...Maybe five.
Five short tons to LEO means you could launch one-ton of hardware to the Moon.
A lunar rover perhaps?

I think its more plausible than what Mr. Phillinger proposes.

Cheers.


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Post    Posted on: Sat May 14, 2005 7:38 pm
And?...Since such a 400,000Ib thrust rocket [Let's call it SuperChaser]
could theoretically loft 5 short tons into Earth orbit, why not think of Lunar
fly-around missions?
Use two SuperChasers to launch two 5-ton payloads into orbit, days apart.

(a) One payload will consist of 4.5 tons of storable propellant [H2O2/N2H4: Isp(vac) 328 seconds] and 0.5 tons of propulsion hardware.

(b) The second 5 ton payload will consist of 1.6 tons of storable propellant [H2O2/N2H4]
and 3.4 tons of propulsion hardware and two-seater manned spacecraft [Gemini class.]

(c) Dock and linkup the two five ton payloads in LEO [orbital velocity: 7.8 km/sec].

(d) Use the payload with 4.5 tons of propellant to boost the other payload to higher velocity. Mass ratio = 10 tons/5.5 tons = 1.8.
ln[1.8] = 0.64.

(e) Delta Vee is 1.9 km/sec.

(f) The manned 5-ton payload will use up its 1.6 tons of propellant. Delta Vee = 1.3 km/sec.

(g) Since it takes a Delta Vee of about 3.2 km/sec to boost a spacecraft from LEO
to the moon, 1.9km/sec + 1.3km/sec will send the two-seater spacecraft to the moon
to loop around it and return to splashdown in the Pacific.

(h) Only billionaires could afford to pay for such a Lunar tourism excursion.
The only candidates I could think of are Mr. Bigelow and Mr. Branson.
Are they willing to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars (US) for such a privilege?

If so, then Starchaser Industries should pursue that proposal with all vigor, too.


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Post    Posted on: Sat May 14, 2005 8:10 pm
You are probably right that Starchaser has missed the boat on sub-orbital tourism but that really depends on the size of the market and how many operators it can service.

They should not concentrate on orbital flights until they have an operational sub-orbital vehicle, they need this to demonstrate to potential investors that they have the ability to create a real space vehicle and it will also generate income to fund further development.

Also it is unlikely that a design with so many engines would be used by Starchaser, they have steadily increased the power of their engines and it seems likely that in the time necessary to develope an orbital vehicle a "Churchill Mk4 or 5" would be available with higher thrust levels and a better weight to power ratio. Something like 100,000lbs thrust possibly, which would mean having a core with 2 engines and 2 strap on single engine boosters.

Docking payloads in orbit is too complicated for a small company like Starchaser, just make a bigger rocket.

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Post    Posted on: Sat May 14, 2005 9:25 pm
As this is my first post, I will introduce myself. My name is Tom Fox, and for the past 2 years, I have been volunteering my time to help with the Starchaser programme.

In that time, I have seen Starchaser win [Churchill 2 testing] and lose [the X-prize], but what has been consistent throughout this time is the determination that the staff, and volunteers, put into the project.

I too was deeply angered when Scaled :evil: bought :evil: the X-Prize [$40 million into a $10 million prize], as it proved that all you need to suceed in life is deep pockets.

Many of the X-Prize teams have fizzled into nothing. I believe about 10 out of 24 teams are still building, with 5 to 10 more teams joining in afterwards. This gives 15-20 teams building sub-orbital.

Apart from Scaled, none of these teams yet has a completed vehicle -
Quote:
It's clear that Virgin Galactic, and Space Adventures Inc, will dominate
"suborbital space tourism" over the next ten years, with spacecraft production
help from Scaled Composites, XCOR, Canadian Arrow, Armadillo and XCOR.


[Notice XCOR are in there twice]

Virgin Galactic do have SS1, but this could only take 1 person - the pilot into sub-orbit. This means they need a new ship - SS2 to take passengers. Origionally this was due in 2007, but this has been put back til 2010.

XCOR are working on their spaceplane, but don't have an engine, airframe, or life support. In fact, they don't have anything which has flown more than 20 000 feet.

Canadian Arrow have a full size model, and an engine which can achieve 45 000 lbs for 8 seconds http://www.canadianarrow.com/test/alchemy.htm, but they are yet to test any real hardware.

Armadillo with the exhaustive testing regime seem to be a very strong candidate, but they too have not flown anything bigger than a human to any great height.

Quote:
Not enough effort has gone into orbital space tourism


The reason - because their is nobody who is in a position to achieve it!
The only way to get into orbit is to pass sub-orbit - and this principle is true to anything - you must walk before you can run!

Quote:
It's clear that Virgin Galactic, and Space Adventures Inc, will dominate "suborbital space tourism" over the next ten years, with spacecraft production help from Scaled Composites, XCOR, Canadian Arrow, Armadillo and XCOR.


This is true if no other team achives 62.4 miles. Remember that Scaled aren't going to have SS2 ready until 2010 - which gives 4.5 years for someone else to make it, and begin tourism flights. This way, they can dominate the market 100%, before Scaled [Virgin Galactic] get a look in!

In fact, the only team that has proven hardware, engine testing, life support systems, and launch escape systems is STARCHASER :!:

Thats right,
Quote:
Starchaser should abandon suborbital space tourism
are in fact the only team in a position to suceed.

Is it this attitude from sponsors which has crippled Starchaser, and prevented them from achieving thier aims. If Starchaser had $40 million to spend, they could have a finished orbital rocket by now, taking fare-paying passengers floating around the earth, before any other company even made it to sub-orbit.

The market in 10 years time will be dominated not by those who have the hardware, but by those who can afford the hardware. This is true to all teams in the space business - without funding they cannot suceed.

The next few years will be interesting, because those teams with the money will suceed, and those who can advertise themselves enough to get the money will also suceed. I think that the 15-20 number will drop to 5 teams who can prove they can make the distance, and of those, it will the the team that can go highest that will get all the prizes.

At this time, only rockets can do it - Scaled and XCOR are running unproved technology.

To all those who have put down Starchaser, to all those who don't share the dream, to all those who don't back the underdog -- four letters KISS [keep it simple, stupid!]

Come on lads, back me up!

TomFox


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Post    Posted on: Sat May 14, 2005 9:51 pm
Hello Tom, Welcome.

If I had a spare few million pounds laying around, I'd give it to Starchaser to fly more rockets. :)

I think that US legislation has effectively crippled Virgin Galactic's lead in space tourism and all is still to play for. If Starchaser can get a manned vehicle into space they could be a real power in the tourism business but somebody needs to make some flights soon before the public looses complete interest.

Keep at it, I want to see a British rocket flying.

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Post    Posted on: Sun May 15, 2005 8:20 am
Hi Tom, and welcome --

-- But I'm afraid I must correct you on a few points; consider it a friendly shot across the bow. The total cost of the Teir 1 program was around $25 million, not $40 million. SpaceShipOne was a three seater, not a one seater, and in fact flew ballasted flights during both X-Prize flights to simulate the weight of three passengers, so there's no doubt whatsoever that it could and can do that. SS2 was originally due in 2007, but has been pushed back to 2008, not 2010. Canadian Arrow has built and tested their capsule, their engine, and much of their airframe -- and all of that absolutely qualifies as real hardware. Moreover, companies likes Scaled and Xcor are not relying on "unproven technology" -- they're following in the footsteps of the X-15 (199 successful flights), and even if they had been relying on "unproven" technology, I'd say that Scaled rather conclusively "proved" it as of last June 21st.

Sorry if this comes across as overly prickly, but I hope that when you said these things you were simply misinformed, and not knowingly bending the truth in an effort to disparage other teams. One thing I've learned is that in a nascent industry like alt.space, collegiality is more than just a polite facade. The fact is that the success of any team is good news for the whole industry, and should not be dismissed, diminished, distorted, belittled, or begrudged. Only if a team is outright fraudulent (see some of my previous posts) should it be taken to task.

Speaking of which... there are many teams who have many challenges to overcome before they reach space. Most of them won't make it; we all know that -- but some of them will, and not necessarily the ones that everyone expects. And vice versa. If the good of the industry as a whole isn't sufficient motivation to keep you respectful of other teams, you may wish to meditate upon parables involving stones and glass houses. I do of course wish Starchaser all the best success -- I absolutely mean that! -- but you must admit that you aren't exactly in the most tenable position to make some of the criticisms that you make...


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Post    Posted on: Sun May 15, 2005 2:54 pm
Let me clear a few things up with you as I didn't make some things clear in my post.

Quote:
I too was deeply angered when Scaled bought the X-Prize [$40 million into a $10 million prize], as it proved that all you need to suceed in life is deep pockets.


What I meant by this was that Scaled had a huge budget - far bigger than the Prize itself to make this happen, and could do basically whatever it wanted.

Paul Allen is said to have given "over $20 million" into the project, this could be any amount, but I would personally say about $25 million. Add this to the money Rutan Aerospace Factory has available ($10 million) and other finanical deals $5 million gives a round total of $40 million available for the project, not neccessirly spent.

The whole idea of the X-Prize was to encourage small teams, without such huge amounts to spend to use creativity, inginuity and R&D to create their rockets. Only Armadillo [financed by John Carmack of Doom fame] had this sort of money available, but they haven't had the same success.

Yes SS1 did carry the ballast for 2 other people, but this meant that they didn't need life support etc. for the other people, which saved huge amounts of weight. SS1 went to a height of 69.6 miles, more than the 62.4 required. Had this extra weight been put on, SS1 might not have reached the height.

Spaceplanes are a relitavly new concept. Not all of the technology used in them has been given the same extensive tetsing that rocket parts have had. Therefore, it is not 'proven' yet, it is being proved as we speak.

I don't personally believe that SS2 will be finished in 3 years. SS1 took 3 years to make and fly. Notice how after the rolling incident, they did not do any real testing on the craft. They didn't strip it down to see what went wrong. A potentially fatal flaw was pushed aside an an 'unforntae incident'. They put it in a museum as quickly as they could. This technology is not perfect, it still needs lots of work and testing. Maybe 2008, but probably 2009 before regular flights start. Thats my opinion. I heard 2010 on lots of interviews with people, so presumed that it wasn't going to happen tomorrow.

XCOR are an interesting team. Their Xerus plane http://www.xcor.com/suborbital.html if you read the bottom, it is still in the design phase. No mention of real testing, just computer simulations and stuff. In terms of real hardware, their engine looks impressive, and the EZ rocket seems cool, but its max height is 1.9 miles, far short of the 62.4 required. They are not in a position to fly sub-orbital any time soon.

I don't know where you got your Canadian Arrow testing info from. Post the links here please. According to their site, they have done engine testing, drop testing and are planning a LES test later this year. There is no mention of airframe testing (in the form of smaller rockets) as far as I can see. What about launch procedure, flight recovery and manned flying? They dropped their unmanned capsule shell from 5000 feet to prove that the parachutes worked. http://www.canadianarrow.com/news.htm

I agree that any success for any team is good for the whole industry. What I am
Quote:
dismissed, diminished, distorted, belittled, or begrudged
is teams such as Scaled, whose plan is to take as many people as possible, to make as much profit as possible. They have no plans to use their technology for any sort of scientific purposes, or to create craft which can replace those of NASA etc. (cheap launching of ISS components etc.)

In terms of your most scornful remark
Quote:
If the good of the industry as a whole isn't sufficient motivation to keep you respectful of other teams
I give respect when and where respect is due. Of course I respect all of the underdog teams, who against the odds, are trying to achieve something so increadible, as to be mocked daily by those who do not share their visions.

Space is something greater than all of us. It is a gift to wander amongst the stars, and it is privileges such as, which should not be abused by those seeking profit.

The Earth will not be around forever, and it is the job of the human race to create something which can get us off this rock before it is too late. Therefore, yes, any progress is good, but only if it brings us closer to this goal, and does not distract us in the interests of green paper.


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Post    Posted on: Sun May 15, 2005 4:37 pm
@Tom.

I think you forgot to mention http://www.rocketplane.com/

http://news.rocketplanelimited.com/?v=1&i=1

Quote:
What I meant by this was that Scaled had a huge budget - far bigger than the Prize itself to make this happen, and could do basically whatever it wanted


I think every progress is good, the prize was an extra reason, not "the reason" to do it.
and I think the total money, donated, donated with hardware etc.. will in the end also be a lot higher as 10 million us$ for Starchaser before they will reach space.

And I think Starchaser would accept the money if an other rich person wold offer it to them. I think your anger to scaled is more personal frustrations than about space development.

Quote:
Paul Allen is said to have given "over $20 million" into the project, this could be any amount, but I would personally say about $25 million. Add this to the money Rutan Aerospace Factory has available ($10 million) and other finanical deals $5 million gives a round total of $40 million available for the project, not neccessirly spent.

I can tell you that no "money" from scaled did go to ss1 (scaled actually made profits), it was payed by Paul Allen. and you mentioned "not neccessirly spent."... then you can also count ALL the money Paul Allen has but "not neccessirly spent." on ss1... your math is flawed.

Quote:
The whole idea of the X-Prize was to encourage small teams, without such huge amounts to spend to use creativity, inginuity and R&D to create their rockets. Only Armadillo [financed by John Carmack of Doom fame] had this sort of money available, but they haven't had the same success.


Humm, you're Peter Diamandis ? "The ANSARI X PRIZE is a $10,000,000 prize to jumpstart the space tourism industry through competition among the most talented entrepreneurs and rocket experts in the world."
I was here, before Scaled joined, and it was all about "giving everyone the capability to go to space", "lowering the costs to go to space" etc etc... that's what Scaled and now also Virgin etc is planning to do.. that's exactly what the ANSARI X PRIZE was created for.
It was NOT created for only "none profit groups" to go to space.. deffinatly not, it was to create a new industry to make a LOT OF PROFITS... and to show investors space is open for "business".

Quote:
Yes SS1 did carry the ballast for 2 other people, but this meant that they didn't need life support etc. for the other people, which saved huge amounts of weight. SS1 went to a height of 69.6 miles, more than the 62.4 required. Had this extra weight been put on, SS1 might not have reached the height.


I think you didn't read the ANSARI X PRIZE details, I can assure you that not only the "ballast" was available, but also the life support and all other features needed in weight. (what is your info source ?)

Quote:
I don't personally believe that SS2 will be finished in 3 years. SS1 took 3 years to make and fly. Notice how after the rolling incident, they did not do any real testing on the craft. They didn't strip it down to see what went wrong. A potentially fatal flaw was pushed aside an an 'unforntae incident'.

That's your opinion, and I think 3 years time will be almost right... and do you care ? cause I think Starchaser needs a lot more time.
Scaled was able to fly short after it and they made the decision to wait several days to learn more about the problem. The problem itself wouldn't be nice for passengers, Rutan also openly shared the details, but it was not putting the pilot in danger, so they voted to go on to the next flight :) (I'm sure Starchaser would do the same ;))
And yes now they develop a new vehicle and I'm sure that they have already an answer to the problem of ss1.

Quote:
They put it in a museum as quickly as they could. This technology is not perfect, it still needs lots of work and testing.

As if you can make the first Starchaser perfect ? wait until you fly and you see all the unpredictable errors.

Quote:
Maybe 2008, but probably 2009 before regular flights start. Thats my opinion. I heard 2010 on lots of interviews with people, so presumed that it wasn't going to happen tomorrow.

I think first flight 2008. only Political problems can stop them.


Quote:
I don't know where you got your Canadian Arrow testing info from. Post the links here please. According to their site, they have done engine testing, drop testing and are planning a LES test later this year. There is no mention of airframe testing (in the form of smaller rockets) as far as I can see. What about launch procedure, flight recovery and manned flying? They dropped their unmanned capsule shell from 5000 feet to prove that the parachutes worked. http://www.canadianarrow.com/news.htm

Many teams are active, and Canadian Arrow does not share info public as many teams as Starchaser does.
Also Starchaser shares a lot of info, but the info that reaches the internet is a LOT LOT LOT less, I know many people in the industry, especially in the US, and several people working with these companies or supporting them even didn't knew about the existance of Starchaser... For them, it's also easy to claim that starchaser has a lot lot lot technology not available, cuase your website offers not all the progress you have.

Quote:
I agree that any success for any team is good for the whole industry. What I am
Quote:
dismissed, diminished, distorted, belittled, or begrudged
is teams such as Scaled, whose plan is to take as many people as possible, to make as much profit as possible. They have no plans to use their technology for any sort of scientific purposes, or to create craft which can replace those of NASA etc. (cheap launching of ISS components etc.)

Wow... you're terrible wrong...
1) It's exactly what people need, someone who offers the capability for relative cheap acces to space for "many people"., and that' what scaled etc plans to offer. and step by step scale the price/ticket down.
2) And yes it's all about making profits, this indusstry needs to work, make profits, on this way it can create new vehicles, more advanced technology etc etc.. or do you think space should be for donations only ?
3) They do plan to offer it for scientific purpose, they can even get flights of ss2 etc, they didn't offer it on ss1, true, but ss1 was a technology test, not a vehicle for mass usage, I'm sure the first Starchaser rocket will not fly many many many times, cause you'll always notice small problems or even bigger problems that gives you a damn good reason to make a better vehicle from the information you learned.
4) I guess you also didn't heared about t/Space ?
http://www.transformspace.com/ Scaled and other companies who're member of t/Space just offered Nasa what you blame them they didn't... I guess you really get your info from the wrong place.
Read one of their great proposals: http://www.space.com/spacenews/business ... 50509.html

Quote:
I give respect when and where respect is due.

That's a problem, you blame them for "not" doing something... while they actually did.. that's litterly no respect, if you try to judge and criticize people and companies, you exactly get comments as I'm writing now, telling you that you're terrible wrong in many details.
Do you see me saying many things about Starchaser that is more than 40% false or even "guessed" information ? I don't blame, critisize etc companies or things I know almost nothing about... if I see a possible problem I "ask" other people their opinions, information, facts, I try to read more about it, to contact them etc etc... but I don't put my guesswork as if it's a fact on a messageboard or so...

Quote:
Space is something greater than all of us. It is a gift to wander amongst the stars, and it is privileges such as, which should not be abused by those seeking profit.

Without money, there will be no industry, there is a NEED for profits, so yes I respect the one who go for money so they can build even greater vehicles. This industry needs money, so yes it should generate a lot of money... and I know no company who is "abusing" it for profits.
I only know 1 space scam company, but it's really not on your list of companies you really know or critisize.


Quote:
The Earth will not be around forever, and it is the job of the human race to create something which can get us off this rock before it is too late. Therefore, yes, any progress is good, but only if it brings us closer to this goal, and does not distract us in the interests of green paper

Very true, but I don't see your point of view.. it's kinda what we all think, and I think all the companies you criticized above... give good progress that brings us closer to our goal.

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Post    Posted on: Sun May 15, 2005 6:19 pm
Hi, Tom!

Welcome to this site.

Yes, I did repeat the name XCOR by accident.
That's neither here-nor-there.

You volunteered your services to Starchaser?
To use a bit of archaic English: Jolly good, old boy. Well done!
A 33,000Ib thrust CHURCHILL Mark3 rocket motor is not to be despised.

BUT!....I STILL think Starchaser should abandon suborbital space-tourism
and concentrate their efforts on using this CHURCHILL Mark3 rocket motor
mass-produced and clustered to make an manned orbital booster.

To make money in the mean time. Starchaser industries can make very good
"sounding rockets" using 33,000Ib thrust rocket motors...
33,000Ib thrust rocket motors can also be used in boosters to orbit lightweight-payloads
of upto 50-60 pounds.
Great Britain's scientists need a sounding rocket, now that Skylark has been retired.
British and European science institutions will PAY millions of Pounds or Euros
for a good number of sounding rockets; why can't Starchaser supply those rockets?


And, by the way!.... A 400,000Ib thrust orbital booster can ALSO send 2000Ib payloads
directly to the MOON. That would be sufficient weight sent to the Moon to land a rover.
Imagine if Starchaser Industries landed a Lunar Rover in the Ocean of Storms
and charged internet customers 100 Euros or 200 Pounds for the privilege of driving
an unmanned rover five metres across the Lunar surface [using debit or credit cards]?
By the time the Lunar rover covers a distance of 50 kilometres, Starchaser Industries will
have pulled in 2 million Pounds...And that doesn't include the income from Lunar rover
toy-models sold under license; it doesn't include the commercial advertising logos
plastered over the Rover, drawing in hundredsof thousands of Pounds of additional income.
It all adds up.


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Post    Posted on: Sun May 15, 2005 7:36 pm
@virgair,

I think Starchaser has still a lot potential for the Sub Orbital market.
From the teamspirit point of view... I think changing the goal would be difficult.

I don't see a real reason why they should abandon the market, because I think even scaled ss2 will be able to fly many times a year.. they can never provide enough flights to put everyone in space who wants to go...
Also more companies can make the price lower, because of competition and in general create a lot more unique vehicles with each unique capabilities.

There're only a few large airplane developers these days... but there're many service providers, because there're no companies mass producing space planes/rockets... there is enough place for many companies (who provide their own commercial flights, or using partnerships with other companies).

Of course it's very true Starchaser can do a lot more if they decide to do so.. so they have a great future if it's managed good.
But I also think it's good for now, not to change or accept so much "more" work, I think they should first reach Sub Orbital Space (manned) and step by step create more technology.

HobbySpace provided a list of the firms that now claim to have obtained full funding to build vehicles for suborbital space tourism and have specified (or soon will) a date for when they will start service:

http://www.hobbyspace.com/AAdmin/archiv ... #May.13.05

I think more companies should be on the list soon.

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Post    Posted on: Sun May 15, 2005 11:43 pm
TomFox wrote:
What I meant by this was that Scaled had a huge budget - far bigger than the Prize itself to make this happen, and could do basically whatever it wanted.

Paul Allen is said to have given "over $20 million" into the project, this could be any amount, but I would personally say about $25 million. Add this to the money Rutan Aerospace Factory has available ($10 million) and other finanical deals $5 million gives a round total of $40 million available for the project, not neccessirly spent.

The whole idea of the X-Prize was to encourage small teams, without such huge amounts to spend to use creativity, inginuity and R&D to create their rockets. Only Armadillo [financed by John Carmack of Doom fame] had this sort of money available, but they haven't had the same success.


First of all, your suppositions about the Teir1 budget are incorrect. It was truly $25 million; Paul Allen payed for it in whole. Second, prior to the X-Prize, $25 million was considered peanuts when it came to the conventional wisdom. I can't tell you how many times I had folks from Boeing and Lockheed Martin tell me that sure they could win the X-Prize, if they had a couple hundred million dollars. (Keep in mind that the X-15 program cost over $2 billion, in inflation-adjusted dollars.) Beating the X-15's altitude record and carrying capacity with a mere 50-person team and $25 million is an astounding reduction in the cost and complexity of spaceflight, in comparison with the way things used to be done. If you can do it for cheaper, then that's great -- more power to you -- but anyone who ridicules Scaled for having spent a "huge amount of money" is seriously lacking in perspective.

TomFox wrote:
Yes SS1 did carry the ballast for 2 other people, but this meant that they didn't need life support etc. for the other people, which saved huge amounts of weight. SS1 went to a height of 69.6 miles, more than the 62.4 required. Had this extra weight been put on, SS1 might not have reached the height.


Again, you are misinformed. Scaled was required to have life support for three people, and this had to be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the team of judges. Moreover, life support equipment for flights of this short duration is a trivial amount of weight -- just a few pounds worth of 02 canisters, purge valves, and dehumidifiers.

TomFox wrote:
Spaceplanes are a relitavly new concept. Not all of the technology used in them has been given the same extensive tetsing that rocket parts have had. Therefore, it is not 'proven' yet, it is being proved as we speak.


Gah... must you be wrong about absolutely everything? Do the 199 flights of the X-15 mean nothing to you? Have you never heard of Dyna-Soar, Spiral, or any of the other numerous foundations for spaceplane development?

TomFox wrote:
I don't personally believe that SS2 will be finished in 3 years. SS1 took 3 years to make and fly. Notice how after the rolling incident, they did not do any real testing on the craft. They didn't strip it down to see what went wrong. A potentially fatal flaw was pushed aside an an 'unforntae incident'. They put it in a museum as quickly as they could. This technology is not perfect, it still needs lots of work and testing. Maybe 2008, but probably 2009 before regular flights start. Thats my opinion. I heard 2010 on lots of interviews with people, so presumed that it wasn't going to happen tomorrow.


Alright, now you're pissing me off; you're implying unsafe practices on Scaled's part where in fact the exact opposite was true. The roll in the first X-Prize flight was thoroughly investigated. It was determined to be the result of a Pilot-Induced Oscillation, amplified via the rapidly-diminishing control authority that SS1 had as it ascended. While this roll-coupling and control authority issue is one that Rutan says he intends to improve in SS2, it was determined that it was in NO way a fatal flaw, and with proper pilot awareness, could be avoided. They waited to fly the second X-Prize flight until after this determination had been made, and indeed, in the second flight, the roll was gone.

I'm glad you clarified that 2010 was your opinion. Previously, you had implied that it was a fact.

TomFox wrote:
XCOR are an interesting team. Their Xerus plane http://www.xcor.com/suborbital.html if you read the bottom, it is still in the design phase. No mention of real testing, just computer simulations and stuff. In terms of real hardware, their engine looks impressive, and the EZ rocket seems cool, but its max height is 1.9 miles, far short of the 62.4 required. They are not in a position to fly sub-orbital any time soon.


Ah, I see. And by way of making an honest comparison, the maximum height that Starchaser has flown anyone to is .... ?

I'm tired of this argument, and don't feel the need to keep rebutting you on a point-by-point basis. I understand that team spirit is a valuable commodity, but when it involves making up malicious fabrications about other teams ("Canadian Arrow ... [is] yet to test any REAL hardware"), or making untrue boasts about your own team ("the only team that has proven hardware, engine testing, life support systems, and launch escape systems is STARCHASER"), then the only thing it does is make YOU look bad. You may wish to stop before you dig yourself in any deeper.

Catty comments about altitude records aside, I do think that Starchaser is a decent team. Never the front-runner that they've constantly claimed to be -- somewhere between Canadian Arrow and ARCAspace in terms of their development level -- but if they keep at it long enough, I expect that they'll be able to make it to space. May even be able to beat SS2 to market, although their design requires so much more integration between flights that I suspect it will be far less commercially viable than SS2. Still, I believe that the market is more than big enough for everyone at this point.

One last point: we're ALL underdogs here, including Scaled, so don't even TRY to play that particular card. Just be honest about who you are and what you are doing, and you'll be given as much respect as anyone else.


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Post CXV   Posted on: Mon May 16, 2005 3:23 am
If Rutan does the CXV it means something beyond just tourism :)

Just my two cents

I dont want any team to succeed I want many (in fact all) to succeed.

Imagine that fleets of all different kinds of ships crusing against the sunset

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Post    Posted on: Mon May 16, 2005 12:48 pm
Gentlemen,

Everyone at Starchaser shares the same passion for opening up access to space as all the other teams and members of this forum. We also recognise personal views often embody strong individual feelings and frustrations. One of the most important aspects of this forum is its ability to stimulate great debates full of passion and emotion.

I'd like to provide comment on Starchaser's position on a number of the subjects covered in this thread:

Scaled Composites proved beyond doubt that with the support and backing of forward thinking backers a private sector company can develop a vehicle capable of taking people into space. While we were frustrated at not winning the X PRIZE we recognise the important contribution SS1 has made to the whole Space Tourism market.

Virgin Galactic has brought the concept of space tourism to the attention of the mass media and general public. Their reported financial commitment to space tourism embodies the Virgin Group's "lead by example" or "put your money where your mouth is" approach to business. Virgin Galactic, Scaled Composites and Mojave Aerospace have reportedly entered into an agreement for Virgin Galactic to license SS1 technology. Recent reports from Virgin Galactic have stated that their 2007/2008 target date for first flight will be delayed by "a year or so".

Canadian Arrow is working toward the same goal as Starchaser, and that's building a propulsion system and RLV capable of sub-orbital flight. Canadian Arrow have built an engine and conducted a number of short duration burns.

As mentioned within this thread many teams/companies don’t post detailed reports of where they’re up to or detailed results of tests, which is understandable. Starchaser aim to provide Team Starchaser members with detailed updates of our R&D and test programmes in our quarterly publication. With respect to our new CHURCHILL Mk3 rocket engine: We have built this engine but have yet to test it.

We understand that not everyone shares the view that, not only are Starchaser the best team, but we also have the best looking employees/volunteers; but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

One area where Starchaser differs from most of the other teams is that we’re currently developing a self sustaining business model, that is, generating our own funding rather than base our business on investment from either wealthy benefactors or Venture Capital groups. This approach allows us to demonstrate a sound business, with P&L reports, to any potential investors. We would recommend everyone read the very good article published on The Space Review titled “The ‘signal-to-noise ratio’ in financing new space startups” (http://www.thespacereview.com/article/329/1).

One problem Starchaser and the other credible teams now face is differentiating real progress from hype and CGI.

In terms of our near term and long term focus: Starchaser’s development strategy is one step at a time, that’s why Sub-Orbital trajectories will be our first target before we consider putting a vehicle in Orbit.

I would like to ensure that all forum members please refer to the Starchaser website (www.starchaserplc.co.uk) for Starchaser’s official press releases and comments.

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Post    Posted on: Mon May 16, 2005 2:26 pm
personally i think starchaser are on to a winner if they can get the Brits up there, having their own company. Big market there! id rather be on a brit craft than a foreign one, though would love to get on any! you see my point guys?

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Post    Posted on: Mon May 16, 2005 2:52 pm
I'm still convinced that the Scaled type of vehicle will not be able to compete commercially with the thrill of sitting looking straight up in a verticle launch vehicle on the pad. This is much closer to what people imagine as "space travel". We want to fly how the astro/cosmonauts did it, not a glorified aeroplane ride (although I wouldn't say no given the chance...). Armadillo will also do well commercially even if they don't reach sub-orbital hieghts. The whole system is so retro in a Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon way that there will be an automated unit in every theme park in the world!

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