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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: Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:24 pm
This is likely connected to the way that the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives -- what a combination) really does not like the amateur experimental rocketry group anymore.

I doubt that the people in DC would care for this fact very much, but here goes anyway: 1) anything that flies can carry a warhead, 2) a dumbfire rocket is exceptionally easy and cheap to build, and are widely available, 3) a guided missile is only slightly harder to build than a dumbfire rocket, 4) a suborbital vehicle has essentially no military value whatsoever. Why pay for a multi-million-dollar tourist yacht when you can buy a Zodiac and fill it with C4 for a couple hundred dollars?

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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 29, 2005 6:55 am
Check the article on the frontpage. Aren't they acting just a little tiny bit paranoia here? Britain is their best partner and still they don't trust a company. Why do they trust their own company's then? A company doesnt care much for nationality, it's money they care about.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:04 am
May be there problems are not the countries themselves - and thus not that foreign companies themselves too.

As known the US currently are doing very much to keep terrorists outside the US - especially since the eleventh September 2001. They want to bar any repetition of that catastrophy and the government is assisted in this by their people.

As a consequence of all like this they want to prevent terrorists from getting technology they could use to repeat 9/11. An terrorists could use SS1 and rockets for their purposes like they used those airplanes - and SS1 is much faster than those airplanes which would mean increased danger.

In the UK, in Germany and in most other european countries not that much is done to keep terrorists outside these countries and they don't have that security system - in these countries there are no space vehicles and these countries are not of that meaning for the world as the US are. So they suspect that terrorists may secretly enter those countries and manage to get things like SS1 there - which would allow them to use it against the US from somewhere outside.

If the US manages to keep the terrorists outside but SS1 and other such vehicle inside then it's much safer.

They don't blame anything to the other countries - they understand the difference in the safety requirements and they understand the reasons. But they look into the unpreventable consequences.

The problem they have with the business between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites may be that Virgin Galactic is british but working in the US only. Once this british Virgin Galactic has the WK/SS1-derived vehicles but inside the US this means real ownership - private property right on those vehicles. Virgin Galactic in turn is a subsidiary of Virgin Atlantic - Virgin Galactic is owned by Virgin Galactic. This way the ownership on those vehicles may move over to Virgin Atlantic which is - in opposite to Virgin Galactic not working in the US. Not only at least. If Virgin Atlantic cancels Virgin Galactic after Virgin Galactic has got the vehicles - then Virgin Atlantic owns the vehicles. And Virgin Atlantic may want to move the vehicles off the US to be able to offer their service elsewhere. Then the vehicles are outside the US - and the terrorists are outside the US. Which means that the US have lost control over the terrorists' capability to use those vehicles against the US.

A chain of thoughts like this may be behind it. And what's export, what's ownership and what's outside the US is defined by the laws - as is the case in all countries. A little bit they simply may be forced by the system of their laws - this too is normal case in all countries: their laws sometimes force them to do something they don't want to do.

This is no excuse, no blame - only an image of what may go on in their heads.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:33 pm
The man's got it down to a science. That (at least from my understanding) is essentially how the military bureaucrat's brain works -- I used to study military history, especially regarding WWII. Good job, Ekkehard.

Unfortunately, said military bureaucrats don't seem to realize the fact that I stated above: a suborbital vehicle has essentially no military value. It cannot function in-atmosphere nearly as well as a jet fighter (no power), it cannot actually attain orbit (and thus lob projectiles with invincibility down upon the helpless huddled masses), and (just to top it all off) it is an exremely high-profile vehicle (not to mention fairly slow, as high-performance vehicles go): if one of these puppies goes missing, EVERYBODY is gonna hear about it. For one thing, Virgin Galactic will be screaming bloody murder -- SS2 ain't gonna be cheap.

Oh, and let's not forget that SS2 will be a terrible flying bomb: Rutan has built one of the world's most stable aircraft. Once it's back in the atmosphere, it lazily drifts down towards its home port. SS2 will simply be too hard to crash.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:06 pm
Another quote from http://www.thespacereview.com/article/362/1 says, “Few members of the committee who attended the hearing, however, picked up upon Rutan’s criticism of the licensing process”.

It seems this group has also not picked up on the licensing process and is instead looking at export controls. What Rutan says almost ruined his program is the missile oriented regulations of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation. He would prefer that his spaceplane be regulated by the aviation safety office just like airliners are now. In other words he wants the same safety regulations that apply to airliners to apply to his space planes. This seems to run counter to repeated statements in the alt space community that such regulations would stifle innovation and drive up costs.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:23 pm
Hello, spacecowboy,

the point for the military bureaucrats might be that they imagine SS2 being launched not at 15 km altitude but at 50 meters altitude and not 90 degree but at a much smaller angle 100 km away from a building like the former World Trade Center at Ground Zero.

Regardless of being that silly or not - their knowledge of theory may say that that is possible. To remove that theory they would have to go to Burt Rutan and Scaled Composits and do mathematics and physics which they don't have time for... So they apply rules that have to be applied to all such vehicles and companies... That's the problem with regulations nearly always.



Hello, Peter,

as far as I read all the news under www.xprizenews.org and the other news the statements didn't refer to the aviation safety offoce especially nor to FAA - they referred to the bill about suborbital space travel that has been discussed at the House several months ago. The bill is law in between as far as I know and it say that the FAA mustn't regulate the vehicles themselves for eight years except there is a severe accident. The FAA only can regulate because of safety of people not going on a flight - according t that bill.

And this remainder is a topic for Rutan etc. currently.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:30 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The bill is law in between as far as I know and it say that the FAA mustn't regulate the vehicles themselves for eight years except there is a severe accident. The FAA only can regulate because of safety of people not going on a flight - according t that bill.
Exactly right. And Rutan seems to be saying that this is the wrong way to proceed. Interesting, isn't it?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:59 pm
No - it isn't. When the bill was under discussion the regulation of the vehicles themselves and the passengers of those vehicles were the superior topic and the impacts on space tourism and on the development of vehicles had to be prevented. Rutan assisted that and it succeeded.

Those impacts prevented other impacts have become superior topics - impacts on safety-oriented developments and impacts on deals, sales and business.

The hearing wasn't because of threats to personal spaceflight/space tourism but because of obstacles to further developments in the future and because of obstacles for the deal with customers.

And the difference the FAA is not aware and conscious of currently is the difference between unmanned space vehicles and manned space vehicles -while the Aviation Safety Office is.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:04 pm
Well Ekkehard, as usual you don't get my point.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 30, 2005 9:31 am
From the words in your post(s) I understand that you consider Rutan to be opposing the bill and to be contradicting himself - do I understand right? Please correct me if not.

But if I am understanding you right I cannot agree - Rutan isn't contradicting himself and he isn't opposing to the bill.

The problem is multidimensional.

1. The first dimension is time. Rutran needed a launch license for launches of SS1 from Wk last year. He has had problems to get it but he finally succeeded. That licence has been valid for one year - I don't know if he has a new one for this year. He experineced problems and difficulties to get it from the FAA. To these experiences he seem to be referring currently. More about that in the second dimension. Successfully having got the license for 2004 he did the test flights and the two XPRIZE flights. Then the politicians began to discuss a bill about sunorbital personal flights - note: the policiticians began to discuss it after the XPRIZE flights. That's importatnt in the second dimension. The private space travle compamnies formed an asociation or federation and the discussion went on. It culminated in severe thoughts to establish additional regulations because of the passengers of suborbital flights.The community here at the board and reading the articlkes under www.xprizenews.org have been called upon urgently to intervene on their elected representatives in the Houses and finally Dana Rohrabacher and the majority of his colleages succeeded in preventing the additional regulations. Research and development went on becasue of the deal with Branson and all is faced to regulations that already are there since years.

2. The second dimension are the criteria politicians apply to decide when to act and discuss. When Rutan started to develop SS1/Wk this happened within his company only. Accidents, explosions, catastrophies could damage the private equipoment of Scaled Composites/Mojave Aerospace venture onyl: No topic for any politician and no topic for any regulation agency. Next Rutan did testflights with SS1/Wk. As long as he flew SS1 in Captive Carry Mode only it was air flight and required the aviation license he already and selfunderstandingly had long because Scaled Composites is an airplane developer since twenty years: No topic for politicians because they already have handled it. Rutans problem were the launch license for SS1. The problems to get have been extreme - but it wasn't a topic for the politicians then simply because they had no reason that time to awit regular personal spaceflight. SS1/Wk were in the tests - no vehicle ready. When Rutan had won the XPRIZE the situation changed: space vehicle ready, a dela with Brason, personal spaceflight company founded: the politicians saw action required and started work on a bill.

3. The third dimension is existence. The regulations forcing Rutan to get a launch license already exist since long - the regulations discussed concerning the suborbital bill last year didn't exist yet.

4. The fourth dimension is the topic. The already existing regulations are concerning the topic "safety of the non-involved people and companies" Thes are the people living around the launch site - in their hoauses working intheir bureaus, going shopping and the like - and shops, retailers, repair services, small industrial companies outside the space industry and son. As launch site must be considered the location where WK releases SS1 and where SS1 ignites its engine here. That's one topic - and the other is the topic of the safety of the passengers of a private space vehicle.

These four dimensions together resulted in changing situations. Before he testflights Rutan was faced to already existing regulations that nearly destroyed his program but he was faced too to the absence of any way to renmove or alter these regulations. This continued to be so but he managed the situation and won the XPRIZE. Then the situation changed so that he had to struggle to prevent ne regulations that did not ecist before his XPRIZE success - and so couldn't engage against existing regulations. He first had to prevent the new ones.

At these new ones the argumants pointed and were applied that the regulations stifle innovation and so on.

In between the situation changed again - and now Rutan can engage against existing regulations. For this he had to get new reasons. These reasons already exited because of the deal with Branson: he has to improve safety. And for Rutan this means the safety of the non-involved too. Now the already existing regulations interfer again: The laws define standards and the regulation agencies look into the laws, see differneces between what the laws say and what Rutan is doing... - and try to stop him. Rutan now knows that his safety improvements provide improved safet compared to the standards defined by the laws - which means that the already existing regulations have to be removed or at least altered. He can get rid of the regulations only by talking to politicians and only when the politicians see a reason to listen to him - which is the case now. Rutan wnats to improve safety to the level of passenger air flight and this requires redcution of existing regulations - he is not free to do safety improvements for both passengers ans the non-involved which simply is absurd.

Different times, different topics, different situations - that's all behind it. Nothing contradictory, nothing interesting but only complex and awful.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 30, 2005 5:11 pm
Ekkehard,

Have you even read this http://www.thespacereview.com/article/362/1 ?

The following quote from it is the point I am talking about.

"Rutan reserved his harshest words of the hearing for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST), the branch of the agency charged with issuing launch licenses and ensuring the safety of third parties—the “uninvolved” or “non-involved” public—during launches. In the past, Rutan made it clear that he preferred to be considered as an aircraft and deal with the FAA’s aviation safety office (AVS, formerly AVR), a point of view that has put him at odds with much of the rest of the incipient commercial suborbital industry. On Wednesday he reiterated that position in strong language."

It says that Rutan does want, and always has wanted, the government to regulate space passenger safety. I did not realize that before so I found it interesting.

That is my point and nothing more. It is really not complicated!


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Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 30, 2005 5:25 pm
God bless miscommunication, a never-ending source of entertainment!

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Post    Posted on: Sun May 01, 2005 3:08 pm
Hello, spacecowboy,

your comment is right even if it would turn out later that I myself might be miscommunicating.



Peter,

yes, I have read that - and it really does NOT say what you read out of it. What you quote does NOT mean
Quote:
It says that Rutan does want, and always has wanted, the government to regulate space passenger safety.
as you say.

Read the passage you quote precisely:
Quote:
In the past, Rutan made it clear that he preferred to be considered as an aircraft and deal with the FAA’s aviation safety office (AVS, formerly AVR), a point of view that has put him at odds with much of the rest of the incipient commercial suborbital industry.


No word that Rutan wants or has wanted the government to regulate space passenger safety - not a single word.

It's quite different. The FAA and the regulations are ther since decades and the politician established the rules and the criteria of regulations longe before there has been any SSO or any WK. And Rutan's - Scaled Composite's/Mojave Aerospace Venture's - vehicles fulfill these criteria, they fit into them. So automatically the since decades established and existing rules of regulation have to applied to his vehicles: Rutan has no choice - his vehicles unpreventably are regulated. No way out - fate: Rutan can't escape the regulations. He don't like that, he don't want that but it doesn't matter.

But Rutan wants to construct and build those vehicles and especially WK/SSO and the derived vehicles for Virgin Galactic and so he surrenders to fate and struggles to handle the problems set and provided by the regulations and the FAA.


Please note urgently - he does it because he is forced to do it: It's the only way to success of his vehicles and to be allowed to sell them and the only way to get a market.

He can't escape the regulations and their rules and criteria - but he knows that there is a difference between the rules for aviation and the rules for spaceflight. And he knows which of the both set more restrictions to him. He knows too the criteria for his vehicles being classified as aircraft or as spacecraft - and he is experienced in handling the regulations for aviation. As entrepreneur he constructs and builds his vehicles so that the problems with the regulations are minimized or optimized at least - because these problems tend to increase the costs. Coming fom the development of aircrafts he naturally and logically developed a vehicle having very much in common with aircardts although it goes into space. Two reasons at least to want and to claim SSO and WK to be considered as aircrafts both.

In short: Rutan can't escape the awful fact of regulations but he struggles to make the best of this awful fate by claiming "if unpreventable being regulated then please as aircraft and not as spacecraft".

It's only management and politics - he really doesn't want to be regulated anyway. The only thing he will consider to be reasonable is that the public and the politicians want to be assured and convinced that nobody is going to be hurt etc.

The constraints set by the regulations for spacecrafts seem to be harsher than those for aircrafts which means that he consequently and logically is put at odds with teams developing spacecrafts that really and obviously cannot be considered as aircrafts - Armadillo's vehicle for example: He got and gets an advantage in the XPRIZE competition(s) that hasn't to do with engineering, technology, development or the like.

This is the complete context which has to be applied to understand Rutan correct.

To repeat it once more - Rutan doesn't want to be regulated but he can't prevent to be regulated and so he at least wants to be treated his vehicles as aircrafts.



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Post    Posted on: Mon May 02, 2005 1:31 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
No word that Rutan wants or has wanted the government to regulate space passenger safety - not a single word.
How about these words from the same article?
Space Review wrote:
“I made my point that the FAA does need to stand up to the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the passengers,” he said.
Does that convince you Rutan really does want government regulation of space passenegr safety?


This quote
Space Review wrote:
Rutan said he would very much like to see regulation of spacecraft like his shifted within FAA to AVS, but sees that as unlikely because of a current staffing shortfall within AVS. (Such a move would also be against the intent of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act, approved last year, to leave the regulation of suborbital spacecraft within AST.)
And this quote
Space Review wrote:
extensive improvements in safety are more important than extensive improvements in affordability
completes a picture of a man who wants an airline like suporbital space flight operation where expensive and very safe vehicles carry lots of passengers under strict government safety regulations. It is a complete picture of Rutan’s thoughts that can only be gained by reading and understanding the whole article in context.


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Post    Posted on: Mon May 02, 2005 2:06 pm
Hello, Peter,

all your quotes have be seen in the context I apllied in the post your are responding too.

Your first quote from the Space Review means that Rutan has said "If I cannot escape the FAA and the regulations then the FAA has theresponsibility and the regulations cause these responsibility - the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the passengers.".

Rutan means that he himself wnats to develop a vehicle of increased safety - but the FAA and the regulations don't allow him to do so. And this means that the FAA doesn't stand up to their "responsibility of ensuring..." and so on. He blames the FAA and the regulations not to stand up to this and so he says that the need to do so - he says that if there were be no FAA and no regulations safety would be better because he himself is providing increased safety. In short - Rutan says that regulations and FAA are an obstacle to safety which has to be removed: He really doesn't want to be regulated.

So thsi first quote really des NOT convince me - in contrary - it totally fits into what I said in my last post.

Your second quote also has to be seen in the complete context I provided. Rutan can't escape the regulations and the FAA but then, please, the regulations for His spacecraft should be shifted to another department of FAA His spacecraft fits better into.

This too is valid for your third quote - Rutan said this all only because he can't escape the regulations and the FAA. They are there and he can't remove them and so he has to handle them. He experiences problems and difficulties, ignorance, irresponsibilities and much more and sees that urgently something has to be modified, changed, altered and removed... - but he can't do all this: The politicians only, the Senators and Member of the House of Representatives only can do it and so he says all that what you are quoting. He tells them the truth about the FAA and the regulations to make them being conscious about all the regulatory nonsense. He mentions the current staffing shortfal and this way says that AVS/FAA are unable to do their job - in other words "remove that nonsense-agency".

The "whole article" has to be read under a wider and broader context beyond that "whole article" - like I did.



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