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What happening with the far out teams?

Posted by: Ernest the Yak - Tue Jul 29, 2003 10:27 pm
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What happening with the far out teams? 
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Post What happening with the far out teams?   Posted on: Tue Jul 29, 2003 10:27 pm
Where are all the ramjets and bizzare entrys? Like the discraft corporation. Are they still competing?[color=blue][/color]


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:31 pm
I believe a number of teams registered to get publicity, an aura of legitimacy, and pursue venture capital.

A couple of people have a cool idea, but no money to make it happen, so they create a company and try to get people to invest in it. Having the label X-Prize competitor splashed across the website helps, plus the X-Prize website gives you free publicity. Ideally you can get a former astronaut, or a NASA engineer to lend their name to the project, and then you approach people like Dennis Tito and try get start-up money.

While some registrants are keeping details secret to protect any competitive advantage, a number of the far-out teams didn't get enough funding to go anywhere. daVini & Starchaser are chasing sponsorships, and public donations. Canadian Arrow drive's their rocket all over the place trying to get funding support.

I think the amount of progress you hear about is directly proportional to the funding the team has been able to get. Thus totally financed teams like Scaled, and Armadillo can talk about tangible results. daVinci, Starchaser, & Canadian Arrow move ahead when sponsorships and donations give 'em money to move to their next step. The ability to show tangible progress (i.e. engine test firing, or sub-scale test launch), also helps to increase funding. Progress snowballs progress. Therefore there is an incentive to publicize any success you can in order to help generate funding. I suspect if an under-funded team isn't publicizing progress, then they aren't making much progress.

Once a team feels they've got enough money to make it to the end, they're going to go quiet to try and have a competitive edge. At this point, the only reason to go public is to get public assistance for something. Thus Scaled needs public outcry to help free the regulatory log-jam, and Armadillo publishes work in order to get free consulting. (A reader of their site e-mailed them about where to get the quick disconnect that they're using for the drop tests).


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