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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    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:57 am
These are Rutan's positions since long - he explicitly said last year that he prefers air launch because it is much safer than the conventional vertical launch.

He too repeatedly pointed to the threads current regulations are providing for personal spaceflight - Rutan and some others said that these regulations may terminal personal spaceflight before it has begun.

Permanently and constantly Rutan made clear since months that he considers his vehile much safer than those of Boeing etc. and NASA - his point is that he and at least some of his competitors are ahead of the current safety standards, provide much safer technologies than Boeing and NASA.

This is a strong argument against the existing regulations - and it's a political one. Rutan and this argument are known in the public - and the catastrophies of Columbia and Challenger are too.

Rutan is blaming the regulations to be preventing an increase of safety - he is struggling for free private access to space from the very beginning. He is forcing changes required for personal spaceflight - and he is doing a very good political job.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 1:36 pm
Hi Ekkehard,

I found the first quote interesting because everyone on this forum seems to be concentrating on cost reduction. You yourself have used Rutan’s statements to support predictions of huge cost reductions.
Ekkehard Augustin (in A scientific economic estimation) wrote:
Rutan had stated that the current 100,000 $ per flight can be reduced down to 7,000 $ by larger vehicles and a fleet of vehicles - it can be reduced down to 7,000 $ in the longer run which doesn't mean more than a decade.


And I found the second quote interesting because it seems to say that Rutan thinks we need MORE regulation. Most people on this forum seem to think that government should not regulate passenger safety, because that would drive up costs too much. Rutan seems to be saying exactly the opposite.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:02 pm
My post wasn't meant as an argument against your post - but now it seems that it really is such an argument.

Rutan developed WK/SS1 under the aspect of safety - he has developed a vehicle that is launched by air launch. This he consideres to be much safer than conventional launches which are vertical ground launches.

He explicitly said that he felt to be regulated that far that it nearly stopped the WK/SS1 project - such an article can be found in the archive of www.xprizenews.org online. At least one such article and there has been one recently.

Rutan is speaking of nearly being prevented from developing a vehicle that provides increased safety by regulations - this is a strong argument ahgainst the current regulations.

Rutan is speaking of the requirement to increase safety of vehicles - safety is a property of the vehicles and he has developed a vehicle with the property of increased safety. So the costs of safety are already included in the development costs of WK/SS1 and thus in the investment costs of them funded by Paul Allen.

This safety will be provided by the vehicles for Virgin Galactic too and he will improve the safety technologies - he will achieve more economies of scale and of scope too because he produces two White Knight-derivatives instead of only one and five SpaceShipOne-derivatives instead of only one.

The costs of his vehicles wouldn't be increased by his safety claims because he himself already fulfilled his own claims - he is an entrepreneur and real entrepreneurs always offer what they claim to be required.

The regulations are fixed and thumb rules - fixed by laws that don't modify themselves and rely on aged knowledges and informations as the years go by. The regulation agencies ignore each technological or technical progress because the laws say what is safe and what not. And Rutan has experienced that the laws force the regulation agencies to nearly deny licences to Rutan required to test safety improving technologies developed by Rutan.

Rutan in short says that current regulation is an obstacle for improving safety. It doesn't sufficiently allow for safety improving development(s). He claims for a reduction of regulation - which simply means less laws, modification of laws and changes of laws.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:30 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Rutan in short says that current regulation is an obstacle for improving safety. It doesn't sufficiently allow for safety improving development(s). He claims for a reduction of regulation - which simply means less laws, modification of laws and changes of laws.
Quite right. Rutan sees the current regulations as bad in 2 ways. 1, they hinder his activities, and 2, they do not ensure passenger safety. So rather than calling for more regulation, he is really calling for a shift in regulatory direction.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:37 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Rutan in short says that current regulation is an obstacle for improving safety. It doesn't sufficiently allow for safety improving development(s). He claims for a reduction of regulation - which simply means less laws, modification of laws and changes of laws.
Quite right. Rutan sees the current regulations as bad in 2 ways. 1, they hinder his activities, and 2, they do not ensure passenger safety. So rather than calling for more regulation, he is really calling for a shift in regulatory direction.


Problem in doing that is the problem the government always had. Why trust a company with commercial interest? Okay, Rutan is okay, but who's to say anybody else is okay? Do you see scaled as a sort of FAA for spacetravel?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:56 pm
Hello, Stefan,

you seem to be asking Peter.

From my point of view Scaled cannot be a FAA for spacetravel - and doesn't want to be it. It's different - Scaled is a mirror for FAA by which FAA and the government are faced to some of their own lacks, failures, errors and mistakes. ...



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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:14 pm
I think to some degree Burt Rutan is a victim of his own success, being the first to do anything always makes it difficult for the government to regulate. He is right to complain about his treatment with the hope that the regulation process becomes easier and more appropriate to the type of sub-orbital craft that will be produced.

He might have had an easier time if his craft was more like some of the other x-prize competitors and been based on missile technology which is what the government was used to dealing with but then he is plane designer so that was never on the cards (plus he probably wouldn't have won then). My guess is that orbital craft will be more like missiles, but who can say for sure, and the government inspectors will be on firmer ground.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 9:32 pm
Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
Do you see scaled as a sort of FAA for spacetravel?
No. I think Rutan believes his vehicles are safe enough to pass any certification test needed. The problem seems to be the unreasonable restrictions placed on their operation that are based on the assumption of the need to guarantee the safety of the uninvolved public in the event of a worst case crash. This results in rules like no flight over populated areas and required destruct charges on the vehicle. (I am not implying SS1 had destruct charges). Such rules apply to missiles and not aircraft. Rutan wants space vehicles treated like aircraft. Because that is what he knows and really that is all SS1 is, a very high performance aircraft.

It just seemed odd to hear Rutan say that the FAA SHOULD regulate passenger safety when most people in this forum seem to say the FAA should NOT regulate passenger safety. Or maybe I am misreading the mood of the alt space community. Do we need a poll? Should the FAA establish regulations to ensure space passenger safety?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 28, 2005 7:30 am
I think one of the reasons that Rutan wants the FAA to regulate passenger safety is for insurance and to bring the premiums down. Also he feels they have abdicated their reponsibility by not doing so.

IMO the FAA is not likely to treat space craft like ordinary planes as most will share very little in common. I feel a little sorry for the FAA as they probably have a lack of experienced people to do this and those they have got are more used to dealing with missile technology, but then they have had a few years to get ready so any criticism is probably justified.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 28, 2005 7:39 am
There is one class of regulations he is arguing against that hasn't to do with saftey and insurances and the like but with markets: the regulations cause problems for the sale of vehicles to Virgin Galactic because Virgin Galactic is a british company in the view of the laws. This was a topic in the hearing too. We should keep that in mind - there two quite different reasons to argue against the regulations and to urge the politicians to deregulate or to modify regulations.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 28, 2005 7:59 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
There is one class of regulations he is arguing against that hasn't to do with saftey and insurances and the like but with markets: the regulations cause problems for the sale of vehicles to Virgin Galactic because Virgin Galactic is a british company in the view of the laws.


Yes I was surprised that this would be a problem, I had assumed that the US and UK were friends but then I guess this shows that the US has no real friends just countries it can bully or bribe. I hadn't noticed the UK government harbouring or supporting any terrorists lately so I dont see why it would be a problem to export this technology to us, we have after all already got missile technology and like you say Virgin will initially operate in the US anyway. :?

Is there some other agenda here I wonder? :)

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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:32 am
I think the US simply are applying the same rules to all of the world. If they would apply an exception for the UK then Germany, France and Turkey - for example - would claim urgently to be applies by an exception too. And the US would feel there public and military safety breaking down. This would be of big political meaning inside the US for the public I suppose - especially after the Eleventh of September 2001. Here in Hamburg thier consulate is extremly protected by Police and their Federal Guard of Borders.

So I think the US would allow for more sales to UK-civilans if politically possible - but it isn't. Would be interesting to read comments of diplomats about it.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 28, 2005 12:17 pm
Hrm... I thought the export regulations only applied to military technology, not civilian vehicles... Last time I checked, Boeing had no problems selling airliners to anyone and everyone.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 28, 2005 12:35 pm
I think it applies to all space technology (no distinction between civil and military as you can put a warhead on either) but I hadn't realised that all countries were included, I thought that it was a selected few.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:09 pm
Hello, spacecowboy,

I took the information from the article about the hearing only. Whitehorn and or Rutan said in that hearing that the regulations proved to be an obstacle to or to play a role for the sale to Virgin Galactic although the vehicle will stay in the US and launched from the US.

May be that FAA or somebody else is applying the regulations too extendedly - in Germany this usually has to be expected. There are often lawsuits reported of companies or even average people against a governmental agency. Much of these lawsuits are won by the companies and people...



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