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Reasons for the Restriction to american firms

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Fri Oct 08, 2004 1:55 pm
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Reasons for the Restriction to american firms 
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Post Reasons for the Restriction to american firms   Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 1:55 pm
I've read the articles reporting that Bigelow has set a prize for reaching the orbit. But I didn't realize that the prize is restricted to american firms:

What are the reasons for this restriction?

I can imagine that they might be technical or they should protect teams that don't know the problems and difficulties providing unexpected requirements of financial ressources.

I wonder that this restriction has been established because it means reduction of the number of possible customers too. If for example english Lords could go to orbit by spacecrafts constructed and built in the UK and launched by a british space travel firm these Lords would pay to Bigelow for being in his Nautilus. And Starchaser has been said to be able to construct an orbital spacecraft.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 6:56 pm
Well from a business standpoint it sounds downright odd, mostly because hes LOSING market for it. Losing market means money, so if his goal is to make money, its not quite clear.

Maybe he is trying to keep his interests U.S. only, and make others pay more for services? Maybe its also to spark more competition from outside the United States? Some of these could be valid points, but none can give a definitive answer as to why Bigelow has chosen only American endorsement.

Being an American I like using other societies ideas for new things, such as "building spaceships" and the like. I can only guess we have to wait and see how things play out, it could either help or slow his cause.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 7:37 pm
Folks keep mentioning that the America's Space Prize is restricted to U.S.-only comptitors, but I have thus far been unable to find anything specifically stating that fact. Everything I CAN find says that the "details are still being worked out" and that complete funding is still not available.

The most noteworty thing I have found is that the "end-date" for the prize is supposed to be the end of the decade (2010, although when in that year is perhaps not clear); if that is the case then it may be pretty much a moot point. It took 8 years to win the X-prize, I am guessing that "going orbital" in something less than five years is unlikely at best.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:12 pm
2010 I don't think is too unrealistic. I mean if Virgin is going to have a mini-fleet of SpaceShipOnes before then, someone else could surely get something orbital.

Yes, Xprize took 8 years, and now we only have 6 years till this prize expires, but surely some of the other xprize contestants are a few years ahead by now. And with greater interest, and with current tech being better (I assume) than it was in 1996, it should be easier to get funding and the like.

Now granted, this is if the competition is open globably. If we are just looking for US investment, I bet we could quickly find the only 2-3 possibilities for people capable of doing it by 2010. And of those, I am not sure if they will want to redirect their efforts for this venture....
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Post Legal Reasons.   Posted on: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:38 pm
I would suspect that because he (I surmise) intends to operate from the US, that limiting the competition to US firms avoids all manner of legal complexities.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 12:51 am
i personally think that the creation of the american space prize is not a serious attempt to spark a market for orbital flight.

i mean if he (bigelow) was going to take it seriously, he would of at least got a media team together to get excitment going about the idea.

and about being realistic, 6 years, ***, Bigelows asking for a miracle.
-orbital flight is HELL of a lot harder then suborbital flight.

ha ha, Bigelow hasnt even bought the domain name

http://www.americasspaceprize.com

check it out ^^

late

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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 2:41 am
I am also interested to know what are the rules to his contest.

It does not make sense to exclude non-US competitors because afew of the XPrize teams close to making flights are non-US, such as Canadian Arrow, Starchaser and Da Vinci (if you choose to believe). And it also happens that these teams have a good chance to scale up their hardware for orbital flights.

At the same time, the 2010 time frame is unrealistic unless these teams are able to obtain funding from an angel investor. Most of these teams will take one more year to flight test their sub-orbital vehicles and to setup a workable business model, so they effectively have 4 years left.

From an economics point of view, I really don't see teams currently working on a 'donation' basis being able to compete in this unless they can generate revenue from selling sub-orbital flights or some millionare comes along to fund them. Remember, we are talking abt orbital with 7 persons!

That is my POV abt existing X-Prize teams. There could be new teams being formed with the express purpose / goal of reaching orbit.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 2:52 am
The prize is a great marketing tool. He sets a goal that's impossible, gets lots of publicity, then never has to pay a penny. It's win-win for him. Unless the rules are seriously revised it's over before it started.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 3:01 am
eXcaliberZ wrote:
i mean if he (bigelow) was going to take it seriously, he would of at least got a media team together to get excitment going about the idea.


I rather suspect that the folks who have a chance at winning the prize have no need of media hype to keep them aware of it.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 3:05 am
koxinga wrote:
From an economics point of view, I really don't see teams currently working on a 'donation' basis being able to compete


Not a downside from Bigelow's POV, since he intends to purchase services from the winner. Who would you rather win in the same situation? A one shot deal who walks away with the prize money, but without developing the system you need, or a serious contender?

Bigelow is not going for a propoganda victory like the X-prize, but seeking an operational system. That's a critical difference that goes a long way to explaining the questions posed here.[/url]

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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 7:33 am
There are many interesting posts.

SpaceX ahs scheduled the launche of the 1/3-sacle version of Nautilus. If the the finished Nautilus will be launched in the future Bigelow really needs a carrier to get revenues from Nautilus. So his prize will be real and serious and not propaganda, advertisement etc.

Teams explicitly working on the orbit there several:

1. Interorbital Systems (intended business).
2. Armadillo Aerospace (talking of it even at this board)
3. Scaled Composites (thinking of it in the public and in touch with Bigelow)
4. Micrspace (have been reported to have switched over to orbital)
5. Starchaser (said to be able to at this board)
6. SpaceX (seems be able to reach orbit unmanned but we have to wait for the launche scheduled for the running quarter of 2004)

So there are competitors and there might be some to add in the future.

But the reason still is unclear.

Am I right, that Branson too plans to set a prize? And if so is that prize orbital? If yes - might that be the reason for Bigelow's restriction if this restriction is real? There is a doubt in at least one answer wether the prize is restricted to american firms really.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 10:20 am
Interesting that you mentioned those teams as Starchaser is a UK based team.
As for SpaceX, i do not think they will go for the prize unless someone partners up with them to build the space vehicle. They are going to have their hands full these few years to ram up to their Falcon vehicles.

It is also important to point out the cost of the Falcon vehicle. The Falcon V vehicle has a approximate launch cost of $12 million USD. A surface launched ballastic approach will not be cheap although the technology is mature and well thought out with plenty of examples. Something innovative needs to be developed if it is ever going to be accessable.

At the same time, it is still early days. I am also wondering the impact of Bigelow's prize on the CEV fly off competition which is scheduled to take off for the orbital flyoff in 2008.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 12:37 pm
DerekL wrote:
koxinga wrote:
Bigelow is not going for a propoganda victory like the X-prize, but seeking an operational system. That's a critical difference that goes a long way to explaining the questions posed here.


Exactly, and the timeframe is being driven by when he expects to need transport to the habitats that Bigelow Aerospace is developing.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 4:26 pm
SawSS1Jun21 wrote:
Folks keep mentioning that the America's Space Prize is restricted to U.S.-only comptitors, but I have thus far been unable to find anything specifically stating that fact.


"To win the contest, which is limited to U.S.-based ventures, a team must build a five-seat spacecraft without government money and send five astronauts into orbit above the Earth twice within 60 days."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6187724/


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 09, 2004 6:07 pm
Ah - "US-bbbased" has been said. May that mean that it will be sufficient to have a base in the US and foreign firms can participate too?

That makes sense because working together concerning the hardware itself is required for testing and experimenting. To test wether the hardware of a spacecraft firm is able to dock to Nautilus in space will be too late.

So if a foreign firm has a base in the US too it can participate. Starchaser for example is british but could organize a base in the US - then they have the chance to participate.

They are already moving their launch equipment to the spaceport of New Mexico. This may be upgraded to a base.

Do I understand right?



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