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House Subcommitte Meeting on Future Markets in Space(Apr 05)

Posted by: Teancum - Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:15 am
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House Subcommitte Meeting on Future Markets in Space(Apr 05) 
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Post House Subcommitte Meeting on Future Markets in Space(Apr 05)   Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:15 am
I'd like to say that I find that there are several very interesting sets of testimony from the official web page regarding the direction that commercial space should go. I've been following the debate on and off now since the late 1990's, and the overall discussion still hasn't changed much other than the fact that the X-Prize has succeeded.

What I find interesting is that besides the strong pro-private astronaut group (Burt Rutan, Elon Musk, Will Whitehorn) the rest of the group seems to be from more traditional space contractors.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is these other people that spoke up yesterday that represent more of what congress is currently thinking about commercial space rather than the strong advocates and movers more familiar with these forums. It will be very important to come up with arguments that counter what they are saying if we are going to realistically get some traction in congress. There seems to be in general a very pessimistic view point on the part of traditional space companies (Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, NASA, etc.) that commercial space is going down the toilet and only starry eyed dreamers are dumping money into a vast economic black hole... or rich billionaires buying cut-rate Russian spacecraft to get a chance to get into space.

I was particularly disturbed by the discussion of Wolfgang H Demisch, and his attitude toward the overall cost of sending stuff into space. He said specifically that improvements to rocket performance, "which would be a prerequisite for a much better cost performance, is not in sight. Hence it would seem prudent to set policy on the basis that no substantial launch cost reductions are to be expected." In effect he is saying that Elon Musk and Burt Rutan are totally full of it to suggest that they can develop spaceships capable of LEO for a price per pound substantially less than $10,000 per pound.

This will more than likely be the prevailing opinion of your average congressman if for no other reason than traditional space interests and lobbiests will push them into believing this

I know I'm preaching to the choir here to suggest that there are substantial improvements that could be garnered to improve the cost to get into space, if for no less than cutting red tape necessary compared to a typical government LEO payload.

I was especially heartened by Elon Musk who has in effect thrown down the gauntlet to NASA and said that he is designing a vehicle that "will provide the United States with an all American means of transporting astronauts to orbit and ensure that we are beholden to no one once the Shuttle retires." What is missing here is that he is developing this rocket on his own dime and not government cost-plus contracts. Also not stated is that if NASA decides not to invest into the Falcon V that he is going to sell the technology to the highest bidder... and not necessarily American bidders either.

Burt Rutan is also throwing a warning that while America does have the current lead in going into space, it is not necessarily unique and others can take our place. It is up to congress to screw it up.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:28 am
I don't 'understand' that last sentence. America this, America that. We're talking about space. It shouldnt be an American-only task/playground. If Rutan means it purely economically, it's fine with me, but i doubt he means it. We make rockets to, the Russians still have major experience and the chinese and japanese are also coming. So why the pro-American attitude about everything. Yes i know we have a lot to thank for, but isnt a bit over-doing it the situation?

Back on topic. The people won't understand anything about space and why they (we) want to try to get there fast and cheap, unless they really care. And that's the part that what will hurt the private space sector the most. It's not a big difference if NASA launches a space shuttle or when Burt launches his SS1 or SS2. Why should the fact that NASA is government funded, be a factor for security in contrast to private sector? They've blown up quiet a few rockets and allready 2 shuttles. Sure, they make a lot and good changes to make it safer, but it seems to me that the rule-makers are much more sceptic about private spaceships then they are about NASA.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:43 am
Hello, Stefan,

what Burt Rutan has said during the hearing doesn't have to do anything with pro-american. The reason is quite another - he simply is talking to politicians and he is talking politically.

Burt Rutan considers the american space-legislation, the american space-rules and the american economic policy to be far too regulative. On the other side he considers NASA to be by far too in-innovative while he himself indeed is innovative as well as Elon Musk and some others. So he wants to remove the over-regulation and to prevent future over-regulation. The only way to make the politicians to reduce and to prevent over-regulation is to let them know that otherwise their own country and government will fall behind other countries in the competition with other countries. The american politicians as well as a large part of the general public wants to keep the american leadership - and so Rutan say to the politician that this leadership is threatened by over-regulation of private space flight and private space vehicles.

Rutan is using in instrument only - it is no serious meant pro-american opinion.

The other point of your post has to do with public perception and I would like to discuss that in the according section of this board because that point of yours fits into some threads there.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:36 am
Thanx for the explanation, didn't loko at it that way. I'll take my words back, so my apologies to anyone whom i might have offended ;)


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 11:08 am
There wasn't any reason for anyone to feel offended.

There simply was a misunderstanding of what was behind Rutan's issues. I often happened to hear someone say something now and something quite different and contrary an hour later. I wondered a little bit and asked and recognized that the people to whom he was speaking had in mind quite different things - to a CEO for example one and the same person must talk by other arguments than to a politician involved in the same project. And to an engineer invloved that person has to talk by other arguments yet.

Often I had to ask for additional informations before I recognized the circumstances.

Rutan doesn't seem to be pro-american or something like this - he not only is constructing WK/SSO-derived vehicles for a british billionaire but licences out his technology to that british entrepreneur too. May be because Rutan wants to get profits and Allen wnats profits too - but I suppose he would have acted different if he really claimed the american leadership. I think Rutan knows that someone only can be in leadership if he works for it and proves efficiency and the like.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:30 pm
First off, you're not going to offend most of us Yanks. We'll simply sit here and patiently explain why America is the only one really running the Space Race :wink: -- although, seriously, where is Europe planning on conveniently being able to build, test, and fire a rocket? The international airspace legalities alone are enough to increase the costs to unsustainable levels, not to mention the fact that no design engineer worth the name would even consider testing a rocket over such a densely populated area (which is why everything interesting happens out in the Southwest deserts).

Besides all that, the American teams -- Scaled and Armadillo (not to mention others like Pioneer that are keeping a low profile) -- are the ones closest to market. We'll be more than happy to start talking about the European private human spaceflight industry -- just as soon as there's one to talk about.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:49 pm
Would be a good encouragement for ARCA and Suborbital Corporation - they are both sited in regions having low density of populations. Starchaser and Bristol Spaceplanes could test over the ocean(s). The Talis Institut isn't working on manned suborbital vehicles yet and has in mind to launch from the UAE mainly but considers Woomera in Australia as launch location too.

Five companies - not comparable to the private US space vehicle industry. Nearly noone here at the continent knows of them, the are not in the news - and Germany is loosing its advantages to the foreign countries, the US mainly. A Burt Rutan is what we are missing here - and it may be that we are loosing possible future Rutans to the US. :wink: :cry:



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:51 pm
the yanks are all brain washed anyway! everytime i see an american film i find myself being sick, they realy dont know the rest of the world is there!

1. you can have a world series at a sport that only u play!

2.there is no language called "US english" im sorry that isnt a language!

3. you should learn to play fpptall like the rest of the world, and learn its not called soccer

4. who runs your country ha!

5.British accents are not limited to Cockney,
>upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).

6.You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen",

7.Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is
>similar to American"football", but does not involve stopping for a rest
>every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We
>are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2005.

8.The Russians have never been the bad guys

9.>All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own
>good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.
>All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts

10.>The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be
>referred to as "Near-Frozen Knat's Urine", with the exception of the
>product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to
>as "Weak Near-Frozen Knat's Urine". This will allow true Budweiser (as
>manufactured for the last 1000 years in Ceské Budejovicé a.k.a. Budweis,
>Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

11.You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or
>therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows
>that you're not adult enough to be independent

12. nasa would have been nothing withour europeans building and designing the crafts!( mostly german all be it)

"but seriously"
sorry, just hate that whole america is so great attitude!
not to have a go but the whole holding the flag up at X2 (backwards) stopped it being a world private accomplishment and at that point we were all throwing up. It became a US thing then not a world one!

the xprize teams can be proud of their countries but i feel they should have the logo there not a lational flag! anyone agree? time to breakdown those borders and become a unit striving to achieve and better ourselves!

all the FAA crap just means that the government still have the control on what people can do in the US

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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 2:18 pm
It's a british company who is giving a good example of how to get rid of the borders rised by the FAA and regulative measures: Starchaser. Establish an office in the US, move over headquarters. They will find a way to participate in the ASP but stay a british company. Partially this is valid for Virgin Galactic/Virgin Atlantic too.

Here in Germany this known by the example of the Arabs - they simply bought assets and shares of some large firms and trusts. And the strategy to get access to japanese markets is to cerate your own company there with making a Japanese the CEO but owning the capital - there is at least one example that it works I have been told or read it somewhere.

Reading the articles about Rutan's issues at the House it can be seen that Rutan is aware of all this - so he calls upon to break down the regulations. ...



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 2:40 pm
You're right about Europe. We dont have the space, for a big spaceport, allthough i think launch from international waters should be a good option. Water enough around here ;) regarding knowledge i doubt where any worse then us, or russia, but we simply lack personal interest, big money and the guys who really acn push this forward. It's not an US thing, like Rob says, without Werner von Braun, NASA would not have made the mighty Saturn V, and would not have been on the moon at that time. I think a bit of mutual respect is at its place.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 3:07 pm
agreed stefan :D

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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:05 pm
Well, I agree with you Rob. A lot of us Yanks keep bringing up the Apollo "been there done that" attitude--where the Indians are planning on putting a 200 ton solid as a first stage on their GSLV while Rutan and friends are playing with toys.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 23, 2005 8:06 am
Rgearding areas sufficiently free of people living in it there is the North Sea, the inner of Iceland, the inner of Sweden and Finland, the Ukraine, the inner of Romania, the Black Sea and the Meditarranean Sea - at least.

At the listed seas or oceans modified former oil platformss could be used.

The most relevent reasons will be the lack of interest, the lack of pioneership and the lack of favour for adventures and too mauch favour for romance, ideology/philosophy and culture only. ...



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Post Why America this or America that...   Posted on: Sun Apr 24, 2005 1:49 am
I don't want to make offense about people outside of America, but the reason for America this and America that is becuase this was a political event in the American Congress, and people discussing exactly what future space exploration and development should occur that is financed by the government of the USA.

Indeed, I'm pointing out that there are many other places in the world that have the scientific knowledge necessary to go into space, and if Americans sit on their hind ends and do nothing then you will find many other countries getting elsewhere in the solar system first.

Why does Brazil speak Portuguese, Mexico Spanish, and the rest of North America English and French? Because the major colonial powers that peopled these regions of the world spoke these languages and had the political will to go out and set up those colonies with the related political and economic links. Indeed, the fact that English dominates over French is precisely because France decided to scale back its colonial presence in North America as opposed to the English simply pouring millions of people onto North America... in some cases forcing people to go there at gunpoint (like the original people in Georgia).

The same will be true in space, and who ever gets into space and sets up shop first will be bringing along their culture, traditions, and political institutions. As an American, I would like to see that to be American institutions, but I'm pointing out that there will be many other nations involved as well. It may be hard now to see Tonga or Samoa as major space-faring nations, but who knows? I do think that Hindu and Chinese will be dominant languages for many settlements in space.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:46 pm
There is an interesting article in the Space Review about Burt Rutan testifying before congress.
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/362/1

I find this quote interesting:
"extensive improvements in safety are more important than extensive improvements in affordability"

And I find this one VERY interesting:
"the FAA does need to stand up to the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the passengers"


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