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Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?

Posted by: quanthasaquality - Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:48 am
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Will Masten Aerospace be competitive? 
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Post Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:48 am
Given the success SpaceX has had in the orbital launch vehicles, the steady progress at Scaled Composites on its Spaceship Two for suborbital tourism, will Masten Aerospace be competitive? in 2000, the only serious outsiders interested in entering the rocket business were the several people at Armadillo Aerospace. Since then, Musk and Branson have used their money to get professionals to make vehicles for satellite orbital launch rockets and suborbital tourism respectively. Transportation is ruthlessly competitive, as evidenced by the airline companies. Does Masten Aerospace know if it can compete the Musk and Branson, or other startups, like Armadillo Aerospace?


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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:48 am
Well first of all their business is not really transportation, you land the same place you start.

Anyway I think there are room for more operators. otherwise perhaps companies like Masten and Armadillo could be acquired by companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin for their expertise in VTOL.


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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:20 pm
There's also the sounding rocket market that they could be targeting. And remember that they don't need to be enormously profitable; as long as they at least break even there's no reason for them to stop.

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Last edited by Lourens on Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:11 am
Moving a person/payload up 100 km and back down is transportation. Granted, it is very rare for people to think of vertical transportation. Transportation is one of the most commodity services out there. There airline industry on average loses money.

One of the basic things that an MBA (which I am not) is taught, is the consolidation of mature industries. The big contenders for suborbital tourism seem to be Virgin Galactic, Masten, and Armadillo. Maybe the market is big enough for 3 players. One company, probably Virgin, tends to have a larger customer, and profit share. Any more competitors will make the market bloody.

I think Virgin, SpaceX, Masten, and Armadillo should talk and come to a realistic assessment of their competitors capabilities. Together, they can decide how to divide the market. Blood is limited in the space industry, and I want its spilling to be minimized.


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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:55 pm
Wouldn't that be illegal price fixing? Also, where did you get the idea that commercial suborbital space tourism is a mature industry?

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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:44 pm
quanthasaquality wrote:
Moving a person/payload up 100 km and back down is transportation. Granted, it is very rare for people to think of vertical transportation. Transportation is one of the most commodity services out there. There airline industry on average loses money.

What I am trying to say is just that people are not buying a ticket to space as they are buying a ticket to New York. Getting suborbital is all about a cool experience, and people are paying for the experience and are not likely to buy a shitty discount version, where as if you are buying transportation, lots of people just want the cheap version, and don't care that the trip in it self is not that pleasant the suborbital business is the other way around. So it does not make much sense to compare suborbital flight with transportation.

quanthasaquality wrote:
One of the basic things that an MBA (which I am not) is taught, is the consolidation of mature industries. The big contenders for suborbital tourism seem to be Virgin Galactic, Masten, and Armadillo. Maybe the market is big enough for 3 players. One company, probably Virgin, tends to have a larger customer, and profit share. Any more competitors will make the market bloody.

The market has not really started yet, so I think it is a little early to speculate on that.

quanthasaquality wrote:
I think Virgin, SpaceX, Masten, and Armadillo should talk and come to a realistic assessment of their competitors capabilities. Together, they can decide how to divide the market. Blood is limited in the space industry, and I want its spilling to be minimized.

What does SpaceX have to do with anything here? Also I think that Lourens is right.


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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:14 am
Lourens wrote:
Wouldn't that be illegal price fixing? Also, where did you get the idea that commercial suborbital space tourism is a mature industry?


Considering that the DoJ let intel effectively control 3rd party chipset manufacturers for years, I don't think the DoJ will get involved in the smaller, less mature suborbital tourism market. If the suborbital tourism market gets big, then, the DoJ might get involed.


Yes, suborbital tourism is not a mature industry. We don't know what things people will pay for on a suborbital trip. However, there are many people with existing interior design, customer service, and tourism expertise. Once Spaceship Two sending up customers, it will take less time to work out what customers want and are willing to pay for, than to develop the expertise to make a suborbital vehicle.

I would bet money on Virgin Galactic to provide paying suborbital tourism trips before Masten.

Scaled Composites has been making airplanes for decades. Scaled Composites started testing Spaceship One back in 2004, and used it to reach 100 km. Spaceship Two was unveiled a few years ago, and started test flights less than a year ago. If Virgin had wanted to, Spaceship Two could be flying paying customers by this time, albeit at the cost of safety.

Masten Aerospace is less than a decade old. Masten has reach to reach 100 km, much less, the subsequent safety testing. Not to mention, Virgin has a lot more customer service expertise than Masten Aerospace.

There is also a lot more real world success in low cost, reusable airplane operations, than in low cost, reusable rocket operations, so I would expect Virgin to have a lower operating cost too.


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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:58 am
Wait a second.

As far as I know, Masten has (currently) NO plans to compete for the suborbital TOURISM market! Their targeted customer base are Universities and Industries that need suborbital flights to acquire real world test data and/or accelerate testing of their equipment and/or want to do stuff in "near space" which is currently very hard to reach.

So I think Masten Space Systems is more likely to compete against Armadillo Aerospace, than with anybody else, although Armadillo on the other hand has plans to serve the suborbital tourism market as well.

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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:49 am
hmm... I guess my knowledge of Masten Aerospace is not strong enough to make an iron clad argument.

http://spacefellowship.com/news/art26716/the-spaceship-company-opens-assembly-facility-at-mojave-air-and-space-port-to-build-virgin-galactic-spaceships.html

Given the progress Virgin is making, I might just wait around. Maybe Virgin can just shove scientific equipment into the passenger seats.


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Post Re: Will Masten Aerospace be competitive?   Posted on: Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:12 pm
That'll likely be a lot more expensive than flying your experiment on an unmanned AA or Masten rocket though...

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