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Should the remaining teams abandon x-prize?

Posted by: luke.r - Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:24 am
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Should the remaining teams abandon x-prize? 
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Post Should the remaining teams abandon x-prize?   Posted on: Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:24 am
I was just thinking that with Scaled pretty muck having the prize "in the bag" so to speak, why should teams like Starchaser and Armadillo bother with developing vehicles constrained by the x-prize regulations? Does anybody agree that as they have no intention (sensibly) of launching this year, why not save the cash and push on like Space-x toward LEO micro-satellite launch and get some revenue coming in to fund manned missions.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:33 am
They should prepare to compete in the CUP. Orbit is requiring more financial ressources, Know How and time than they have. And they have to satisfy their investors and sponsors first. Additionaly - isn't the orbit too far away as long as they didn't launch successfully at least suborbital?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:56 pm
To be perfectly honest I think any of the leading teams that aren't in a realistic chance of winning the Ansari X-Prize should try and get as far ahead of the competion as possible. There is no real reason why for the moment at least they must develop their vehicles according to x-prize specifications. Remember, those specifications are for developing ready to use tourism vehicles, proving their capabilities to orbit for example would probably go better if they went along their own path.

Orbit is a lot harder than sub-orbital but saying that the other major teams haven't reached sub-orbital yet, while perfectly true doesn't tell the whole story. They have only tried to develop X-Prize vehicles so far, if it was just a case of reaching 100km then these teams would have done it a long time ago (I seem to remember that an amature team has already done this). Orbit may be hard to achieve but left to their own devices it may be easier.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 25, 2004 12:10 am
I agree that they should be working towards the cup. The regulations are the same for the most part, so it's good to just push forward IMHO...

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 25, 2004 2:35 am
See, SpaceX wasn't an X-prize contender to begin with. They have a simple goal of taking out Boeing and Lockheed Martin's launch business by building a semi-reusable booster that's far cheaper. Without running out of money before they can prove that they are far cheaper.

The big thing is that the smallest useful reusable space vehicle *is* an X-prize / CUP contender. A single-person vehicle has no seats to sell. A twenty person touring craft is better, but it's bigger and harder to engineer. An orbital vehicle is better, but that's also incredibly hard because you need to not burn up on reentry.

Carmack seems to be playing things both ways, but that's because his designs are the fastest and easiest to construct.

Which, incidentally, makes me wonder what the ISS would look like had it been designed and assembled with the same sort of programming-inspired rapid development.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 25, 2004 8:51 am
The teams we are talking of have another hope and chance - prizes are recommended by the Aldridge commission. They can hope of additional prizes being created by other organizations now which would be helping to keep their sponsors and investors engaged and involved in their work. At least one of the teams might become a new Scaled Composites one day in more than five years growing not from airplane development but spacecraft development.



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