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Private Space Flight since SS1 flight -show us your thoughts

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:54 am
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Private Space Flight since SS1 flight -show us your thoughts 

How has private space flight progressed since the SS1 flights?
It has been slower than expected 58%  58%  [ 7 ]
Just as expected 8%  8%  [ 1 ]
It has progressed well 33%  33%  [ 4 ]
It has progressed faster than i thought at the time 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 12

Private Space Flight since SS1 flight -show us your thoughts 
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Post Private Space Flight since SS1 flight -show us your thoughts   Posted on: Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:54 am
June 21st guys
So its now a looong time since the SS1 Flight.

Is anyone else a little dissapointed by the lack of progress everywhere? Just thougt id catch your thoughts!

Don't be shy :P

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:16 pm
I would vote: It's faster, slower and as fast as expected.

Virgin Galactic / Scaled Composites obviously have some delays. As flight test should begin this summer and no news yet, they perhaps face further delays.

SpaceX is doing as I expected. They are making quite some progress.

Bigelow Aerospace is doing faster than I thought.

The other companies mostly have only concepts or "pre-prototypes", so difficult to rate.

Concerning NASA's VSE: It's as slow as I expected. A lot of prospects lost (again).

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:08 pm
I voted that it progressed well.

After the success of SS1 not only Virgin Galactic invested into SS2/WK2 but t/Space has been formed and worked out a concept based on the launch concept of SS1. Another essential part of t/Space is Air Launch LLC who are proceeding well as far as news from them are available. They have completed a new test stand just in January this year and are in the phase just before the first flight of their QuickReach that might be launched by a WK it seems to me.

I am also very postitive about SpaceX and Bigelow.



Hello, Klaus,

The test flights of the WK2 are planned after 28th of July this year when WK2 will be unveiled. In so far there seem to be no delays except for those caused by the FAA, the accident and Branson wnating more seats several times. They seem not be caused by technical problems of the vehicles - in so far I don't consider them to be essential.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:04 pm
I must admit to being more than a little disappointed that further progress hasn't been made. 4 years seems a long time ago, I remember at the time thinking "this is brilliant, things are really going to get interesting and we will see hundreds of people launching into space soon."

But here we are 4 years later and still waiting for a commercial spacecraft to make regular flights.

I'm getting a bit fed up with hearing that commercial spaceflight is just round the corner when it should have been here decades ago. :( :(

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:29 am
Guys, this stuff takes an insane effort to build. We built the LCROSS Satellite in 2 years, but we didn't have to design any avionics, we used LRO's design and build a copy of their hardware, then bolted it onto a readily available ESPA ring and spare TDRS fuel tank. But doing it that FAST killed us. My group (flight software) worked 100's of hours of overtime in 2007 to make LCROSS happen on time (and on budget BTW!)
SpaceX and Bigelow and Scaled AND Armadillo and others are all doing great. I think they're maintaining a sustainable pace and THAT's what matters. Just because you have a great idea, and a great design, if you burn thru all your cash before the thing gets finished you're done. That's also why the VSE is taking as long as it is - the schedule is designed to be a sustainable rate. Let's stay the course and keep at it!


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 22, 2008 11:03 am
Hello, Andy,

as far as I remember, the first flights of WK2/SS2 were announced for this year in 2004/2005.

Then there were hearings at the Congress because of the thought to launch from outside the US also. Those hearings were in 2005 together with a few problems with the FAA. Those few problems already threatened the chance to do the first commercial flights this year.

This threat was overcome but then last year there was the explosion that was investigated and led to a moderate limited punishment of Scaled Composites - it is this accidient and investigation that caused the first commercial flights to be shifted into 2009.

In so far all is on the schedule published in 2004/2005. Four years may be felt to be long but Scaled and Virgin have said from the beginning that the first commercial flight would take place no earlier than 2008. They couldn't forecast the accident.

The term "around the corner" can be understood subjectively only - Scaled and Virgin understand it to mean 4 to 5 years snce 2004 I think.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 22, 2008 3:37 pm
Well I suspected it would take longer than the first claims, but this is taking even longer than I had expected.

As every engineer knows, it always takes longer and costs more.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:39 am
campbelp2002 wrote:
Well I suspected it would take longer than the first claims, but this is taking even longer than I had expected.

As every engineer knows, it always takes longer and costs more.


Hofstader's Law: Everything takes longer than you think it will, even if you take into account Hofstader's Law.

(Douglas Hofstader wrote the book "Godel, Escher, Bach" in the 1980's. Go read it!)


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:21 am
VAXHeadroom wrote:
[...] That's also why the VSE is taking as long as it is - the schedule is designed to be a sustainable rate. Let's stay the course and keep at it!


My point (besides the concept, but as this is fixed now, we have to got with that and support that) there is mainly the lost time at the beginning. First they wanted to select 2 companies to build prototypes and fly in 2009 (or 2008?) as far as I remember and then select the winner.

They would then have had after the Shuttle's retirement in 2010 at least a cargo capacity to the ISS.

But after the decision for VSE it took in my eyes too long to come to a start. I see the Administrator change from O'Keefe to Griffin as the main reason (and the change of philosophy there).

I think at least one year was lost at the start of the program, now as it is running, not much can be done with the time table.

The main problem for VSE imo are the next Presidental elections. McCain made no clear commitment yet to the program, Obama wants to delay to first flights of Ares I + Orion until 2020 to finance education.

Quote:
The cost of the early education plan would come partly from delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years ...
(http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/ ... 74908.aspx)

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:57 pm
VAXHeadroom wrote:
(Douglas Hofstader wrote the book "Godel, Escher, Bach" in the 1980's. Go read it!)
I did read it many years ago. I don't see it on my bookshelf now so I guess I didn't keep it, but I do still have "Metamagical Themas", which isn't as good IMO.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:34 am
Klaus Schmidt wrote:
VAXHeadroom wrote:
[...] That's also why the VSE is taking as long as it is - the schedule is designed to be a sustainable rate. Let's stay the course and keep at it!


My point (besides the concept, but as this is fixed now, we have to got with that and support that) there is mainly the lost time at the beginning. First they wanted to select 2 companies to build prototypes and fly in 2009 (or 2008?) as far as I remember and then select the winner.
.....

Totally agree. The 2 biggest contractors are probably equally competent and would have build equivalent hardware. Maybe not exactly the same, but work equally well.
They should have put the CEO of Boeing and L/M in the same room and flipped a coin. Heads you get the upper stage, tails you get the capsule. NG gets the lunar lander cause Grumman corp built the one for Apollo. That's how it's falling out anyhow and we'd have saved years of development and about $1B.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:49 pm
VSE is off topic for this thread, because it isn't private space flight.

But the reason for the slow pace is Money. NASA has said that many times. If they had more money they could do it faster. If they had unlimited money I bet they could do it in less than 10 years.


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