News briefs... Sci-Fi writer
Robert Sawyer sees aspects of the Salvage
1 program in the SS1 and other private rocket developments:
bottom line at zero gravity by Robert Sawyer - The Globe and Mail
- June.29.04 (via spacetoday.net)...
...Maybe the giggle factor
is slowly decreasing for the Space Elevator: Space
Elevator: Momentum Building by Leonard David - Space.com - June.29.04...
.... Russia asks Europe to
collaborate on the Clipper
RLV project: Russia
suggests that ESA take part in new spaceship project - ITAR-TASS
- June.29.04 (via NASA
... Research on the Columbia
disaster continues and is revealing important information on the
effects of reentry on various types of materials, especially composites:
Columbia: Experts Piece Together a Telling Tale by Leonard David
- Space.com - June.30.04 ...
... An interesting essay appeared
in today's Wall Street Journal that points to the need for the US
government to spare private space development from over-regulation,
especially after the first accident occurs: The
Future of Space Travel . . . by Holma W. Jenkins - WSJ.com - June.30.04
SS1 news... Scaled has posted
page that includes a nice one made by Paul Allen's Vulcan Productions.
Plus there are links to videos at LA Times and MSNBC....
... Check out a big set of
pictures at the Mojave
Pictorial: Two Parties and a Launch - Samizdata.net - Dale Amon
... Irene Klotz, who seems
to be writing a lot on space these days, profiles the Mojave Spaceport
Race II: Paving a new path to space - UPI - June.28.04....
... Sure nice, and very unusual,
to hear a commentator admit he was wrong to ridicule a space project:
St. Louis, spaceflight prize is the X factor - STLtoday - June.28.04
Boeing CEV resources... Boeing
posts a new section dedicated to the its proposals for the Space
... After seeing the quote taken from Aviation Week,
Elon Musk sent the following note:
Let me clarify my comment about SS1 in AvWeek. When I said SS1
didn't solve the fundamental problems required for orbit, I refer
to the two fundamental contributors to the rocket equation, as
well as orbit insertion accuracy. In other words, it has not achieved:
1. Isp sufficient for orbit.
2. Mass fraction sufficient for orbit.
3. Guidance & control needed for a specific orbit (vs. a variable
There are other critical problems that are being addressed, such
as operability, cost, overcoming regulatory hurdles, etc., which
you describe in your December article. Rutan's achievement has
also had a very positive effect in reducing the sense of impossibility
associated with space travel.
I've been asked many times about the difference between Burt's
(very significant) achievement and orbit. It has been hard to
convey the difference without sounding like I'm attacking SS1,
which I'm definitely not. I'm one of the financial backers of
the Ansari X Prize and consider what Scaled has done to be awesome
and of great historical importance.
SS1 pictures... Collections
of photos from the SS1 space flight are now available at
News briefs... John Carmack's
weekly update reports on the discovery of the cause of a persistent
electronics problem: Inductive
kick, Miscellaneous - Armadillo Aerospace -June.27.04 ...
... Derek Webber predicts that
the SS1 flight will be seen as "the true beginning of the new
space era, a turning point for mankind." The
future starts here by Derek Webber - The Space Review - June.28.04
Pickens, who helped design the SS1 propulsion system, says his
company "will build rockets for food.": Madison
man a real rocket entrepreneur: Tim Pickens led propulsion design
for SpaceShipOne - Huntsville Times - June.27.04 (via spacetoday.net)
... My suggestion for pegging
the Moon-Mars program to space transport costs: Pay
as you go - at the right price - Space Log - June.28.04
AW&ST reports on the SS1...
Well, I lost my bet that the SS1 would be on the cover of the next
issue of Aviation Week. Nevertheless, there is a long article describing
the flight and the program. Here are some highlights:
- The left roll that started about 7sec after ignition was due
to a 60kt. wind shear.
- Melvill responded with the rudder and it rolled to the right
but then again to the left until finally leveling about 19secs
after ignition. These "trajectory excursions" reduced
the apogee by about 30k ft.
- Roughly 68 secs after ignition, Melvill began to counter the
effects of nozzle erosion with trim that eventually "hit
the stop, tripping the thermal overload breaker." It needed
3 secs to reset before providing trim control again.
- A left roll occurred over the next 15 secs, a period during
which the engine shut off 76secs after ignition.
- With the trim motor available again he was able to removes some
of the roll and "exit the atmosphere in relative stability."
- Avoiding the trim limits and the 3 sec dead time on future flights
is a priority for the engineers.
- The hurricane-like sound during the Mach 2.9 reentry was the
most frightening segment of the flight for Melvill.
- A glide ratio of 7:1 allowed Melvill easily to reach the desired
runway despite the fact that the accumulated anomalies knocked
him off the target box by 26 miles.
- The fairing under the nozzle that buckled most likely suffered
from heat radiated from the engine. The buckling probably produced
the loud bang that Melvill heard during the flight.
- On the Tonight Show the following day, Rutan told Jay Leno:
- "Right now, I don't care if you're a billionaire, you cannot
buy a ticket [to space] in America"..."A billionaire
can go to Russia and pay $20 million to get one ride. But
Paul Allen, he didn't go over there and get a ride, he took
that money and he sent it to Mojave . . . . Because he did
that we, all of us, are a lot closer to being able to buy
that ticket, and we're damn close."
- Rutan is serious about an orbital vehicle and is currently at
a point similar to where he was "8-9 years ago with the suborbital
100-km. plan--evaluating concepts and doing significant planning."
A second article by Craig Covault talks about the big differences
between suborbital and orbital flight. He quotes Elon Musk:
"SpaceShipOne is a cool and marvelous airplane. But it is an
airplane, not a spacecraft," Musk said. "And many people do not
quite appreciate the magnitude of that difference. In the context
of human rocketry, Rutan is not solving any fundamental problems."
See this article
for alternative views. [See note from Elon above.]
Constellation news ... Aviation
Week also reports on plans at NASA with regard to the Crew Exploration
Vehicle (CEV). Development is supposed to start in 2005 and they
are now doing a broad "trade study" that will look at
a range of systems options including the EELV, shuttle-derived vehicles,
and even foreign launchers.
After collecting all this data they will put out a request for
proposals (RFP) in January. This seems ambitious to me since they
don't seem to know yet what they want:
Garry Lyles, who heads Project Constellation in NASA's new exploration
systems office. "We don't have specific requirements. We don't
know how much mass that we want to carry to orbit yet, so we're
looking at trades anywhere within the current capability of our
systems to larger systems, and what we would have to modify to
get the larger systems."
Nevertheless, some proposals bouncing around include a shuttle
derived vehicle that could put 160,000 lb. to LEO and be ready by
2010. There's even a design with a "cryogenic upper stage powered
by a variant of the Rocketdyne J-2 engine used in the upper stages
of the Saturn V moon rocket." ...
... James Burk has revamped
web log. He provides an introduction
to the CEV and this CEV
Concept Gallery that will be updated as new designs are presented.
The Huntsville Times examines how commercial rocket development
might affect the biggest local employer: Tourism
in space closer to countdown: Private effort unlikely to hurt NASA,
but its expertise is helpful - Huntsville Times - June.27.04
which provided the Flight
Navigation Unit for the SS1, has posted more information about
its other projects. These include its own Aurora
Space Plane entry in the X PRIZE and a 1/10 scale version of
the Aurora called the Research
.... Good selection of SS1
project pictures: Slide
Show for album :: SpaceShipOne, Burt Rutan's entry for the X-Prize
SS1 news ... The NSS offers
a way for you to say Congratulations,
Burt! - Send Congratulations to Burt Rutan!
News brief... The English version
of the pages are not available, but a Russian HS
reader tells me that the RLV
Ajax design, which built on the ealier RLV
Neva, offered some interesting ideas on hypersonic transprot.
(You can try the translator at Babel
News briefs ... This report
gives details of the insurance arrangement to fund the X PRIZE purse:
the flight - MSNBC - June.25.04 ...
... Leonard David reports on
the SS1 mission data: SpaceShipOne
Data Shows Vessel Took a 'Trajectory Excursion' - Space.com - June.25.04
Capability vs requirements...
mentioned below, about unexpected benefits of a new technology goes
well with an excerpt
(p.30) in Stepping-Stones
to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report - Nat'l Academies
Press - 2004, which I heard about via HS
reader M. Antoniewicz.
Parkinson, who helped to invent the GPS system, was on a panel
called "Technology as a Driver for Capability Transformation"
and he held up GPS as an example of a capability transformer. I
was unaware that the GPS system had ever been anything but wildly
popular with the Air Force. He said that
"GPS was canceled by the Air Force on four separate occasions.
Fortunately, civil leaders with more authority stepped in to prevent
that from happening."
Parkinson argued that for a technology to be useful it needs the
focus of a mission, have the time to mature, and
"...leadership from someone who understands how much time
it will take to achieve a disruptive technology and who as the
courage to stand up to the mainstream world, which is saying it
can't be done."
He noted that since the Air Force didn't think it wanted the GPS,
it didn't weigh him down with requirements and he could focus on
what was achievable within available funding and time. He generalizes
this nicely in the following sentence (highlighted by Antoniewicz):
"...the idea of capability is more helpful than the idea
of a requirement, because often requirements are defined so rigidly
that they can never be achieved at a reasonable cost."
This reminds me of the DARPA RASCAL
project, which insisted on a particular technology for the first
stage of a small-sat launcher. Why not instead ask for the capability
and let industry make a range of proposals as to how best to provide
This is also the fundamental problem with the way NASA has pursued
space transport development. It always lays out an encyclopedic
set of rigid requirements and specifications rather than defining
a general capability that it needs and letting others find a "good"
(maybe not perfect) way to fulfill the ultimate goal, e.g. ISS cargo
resupply or crew replacement.
SS1 news ... The log
entry for flight 60L/15P has been posted at Scaled Composites.
... The altitude as measured
by the on board GPS system has now been confirmed: Altitude
for SpaceShipOne flight confirmed - L.A. Daily News - June.25.04
(I assume this is from Edwards radar measurements but neither the
article or log says.) ...
... I like this article Spaceship
One-derful by By Tim Worstall -TCS: Tech Central Station - June.25.04
(via HS reader D. Starr). It emphasizes
that it's impossible to predict what new ideas will arise when a
new capability like suborbital spaceflight is proven and which of
them will find a market. Expect to be surprised....
... I'm getting indications
that the other suborbital projects are getting positive spinoffs
from the SS1 flight such as more investor interest and big jumps
in web site traffic.
Airship setback... JP
Aerospace had a bad day in Texas according to Alan Boyle: Balloon
test goes bust- Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.24.04. They were pushed
by the Air Force to fly in wind conditions far higher than suitable
for their system and it didn't work.
However, it sounds like they will try again soon. It's obvious
that the Air Force really wants a system like this that that can
monitor hotspots in Iraq.
News briefs ...The Economist
gives an excellent report on the SS1 and the implications for space
tourism and private space enterprise: Manned
spaceflight: The Starship Free Enterprise - Economist.com - June.24.04.
See the discussion at Transterrestrial
...Leonard David reviews future
high tech transportation systems: The
Future of Travel: Aquatic to Cosmic Destinations - space.com - June.23.04
... A new space transport
blog is opened by Derek Lyons: Spaceship
... Alan Boyle reports on
the detailed requirements for the official X PRIZE flights: X
Prize countdown - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.24.04
Systems shows the Flight
Navigation Unit (FNU) model that flew on the SS1 and containd
GPS and ring laser gyro systems to provide "full six degree
of freedom navigation, guidance, and flight control data."...
... I missed quite a party
it seems: Space
Commodity - LA Weekly - June.25.04 ...
... Another cool cartoon: Heh
An SS1 report from Jeff Foust,
who attended the launch, discusses the problems encountered: SpaceShipOne
makes history — barely -
The Space Review - June.24.04....
... Andrew Case notes
that at a dinner last night with Jeff, Pat Bahn, Phil Smith, and
myself one topic of discussion was how important the pilot had been
in saving the vehicle during the flight test program. This is a
whole new type of vehicle and problems during testing should be
expected. The adaptability and experience of the pilots have been
crucial in keeping the program on track....
... When the SS1 was first
introduced last year, Burt Rutan indicated that after the initial
flight test program was completed he would like to fly the vehicle
regularly over a long period to prove the robustness and reliability
of the system. I don't know if this is still in his plans but I
think it's a great idea. For space tourism to be practical and available
to as big a market as possible, the vehicles will need to fly many
times between major overhauls and will need to operate with minimal
costs. Demonstrating this would be another huge contribution to
the creation of this industry by the SS1. (Actually the current
SS1 should go to the Smithsonian and a duplicate used for operations
The final frontier, or there abouts...
Jeff also talks
about the arbitrariness of the 100km altitude as the "boundary
to space." He points to an interesting
page at the FAI that recounts the history of the 100km "Karman
line", which was invented by a group led by the famous Theodore
von Karman to protect aeronautical records for speed and altitude
from the performances of spacecraft.
Seth Shostak of the SETI Instiute discusses the space border issue
Final Frontier: Where Does it Really Begin? By Seth Shostak - Space.com
- June.24.04. There's also some background here in the Advance
Rocketry Records section.
Spacedev's rockets are dicussed
in this aarticle: SpaceDev
Rockets In To Space With Paul Allen's Team - CNNMoney/DJ Newswires
- June.22.04. Note that it briefly reports on Richard Branson's
space plans near the end. (Item via HS
reader J. Roche.)
Apparently the motors could come down significantly in price: "Benson
further said his motor is priced low enough not to hinder a tour
operator from one day offering space travel tickets for $10,000
There's also this PR from SpaceDev: SpaceDev
Technology Powers SpaceShipOne In History Making Flight to Create
World’s First Private Sector Astronaut - SpaceDev - June.21.04
NASA drops Kistler
contract after protest by SpaceX.
Claiming that it was just an extension of a previous SLI
contract, NASA in February committed to paying Kistler
Aerospace $227.4 million for flight data from the K-1 if the
company successfully emerged intact from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings
and got the vehicle flying. The K-1
is reported to be about 80% complete. NASA said it would use the
data to evaluate whether other vehicles besides the shuttle and
the Russian Progress could resupply the ISS
SpaceX complained that the contract should have been awarded according
to an open competition in which it could participate. The General
Accounting Office informed NASA, Kistler and SpaceX in a conference
call on June 17th that NASA would probably lose the protest. As
is usual after such warnings to a government agency, NASA dropped
NASA has not said if it will hold a competition for a contract
to provide such flight data or just go directly to a request for
proposals for ISS resupply.
George Mueller, chief of Kistler, had recently said in an interview
that he was optimistic that the company would raise the money needed
to make the company solvent again. However, without this NASA contract
in hand, it would seem that this task will now be extremely difficult.
Rescinds Kistler Flight Demo Award - Space News - June.23.04 (subscription
required.) - (Link via spacetoday.net).
Space Transport news...The
Corporation displayed their Rubicon
X PRIZE vehicle in Seattle at The Museum of Flight last weekend.
See the pictures in Update
- Display Success at The Museum of Flight - Space Transport - June.23.04
(pdf). STC expects to launch Rubicon to 15,000 feet on its maiden
flight in mid-July from a location on the Olympic Peninsula near
Starchaser news...The Starchaser
project in the UK announced that it has found a sponsor to fund
development of the Launch
Escape System (LES). for its Thunderstar
sponsors UK's "X prize" entry - E-consultancy.com - June.23.04.The
project also plans to open a branch office in New Mexico where it
plans to do test flights: British
space firm to open New Mexico office - New Mexico Business Weekly
- June.23.04. (These links came via X
PRIZE Space Race News)
The suborbital road... Prof.
Chris Hall says in his SpaceCraft
blog that my article "Suborbital
spaceflight: a road to orbit or a dead end? does a very nice
job of presenting the issues and the various schools of thought
regarding the answer to that question." It's also rewarding
to find that Dwayne Day says
it was a "a well-researched article".
More SS1 News... Alan Boyle
provides an interesting perspective on the flight and the aftermath:
meet the stars - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.23.04
... Dwayne Day argues that
suborbital spaceflights will finally make a space themed reality
show a viable proposition: The
reality space race - The Space Review - June.21.04 ...
... At spacetoday.net
there are two or three dozen links to SS1 flight related articles
and editorials. Seems that the significance of the event is starting
to sink in....
... Looks like the Cosmopolis
suborbital project still hasn't gotten past the mockup stage: Russian
suborbital spaceship being developed - Interfax - June.22.04
... Melvill sure seems to be
a very open and talented fellow: At
One Point, 'I Was Deathly Afraid,' New Space Visitor Admits - NY
Times - June.23.04. See the poignant picture of him and his
wife just before the flight in this CS
EELV redundancies... The Air
Force may eliminate one of the two EELV suppliers: Air
Force to consider EELV downselect - spacetoday.net - Juhe.23.04.
This would be done on the basis of cost savings. So what if SpaceX
comes along with the Falcon V and offers a significant discount
for launching mid-sized and smaller payloads? How would the AF justify
not taking advantage of this cost savings?
News briefs... Sounds like
Congress might expand the prize amounts that NASA could reward for
technical accomplishments beyond what the Centennial
Challenges originally expected to provide: NASA
Mulls Cash Prizes for Private Spaceflight Milestones - Space.com
- June.23.04 ...
... This commentator argues
for the prize alternative approach to space funding: Challenge
Me to the Moon: The government should encourage the private sector
to get into space - by Eli Lehrer - National Review Online - June.22.04
... The possibility of the
shuttle flying by next spring looks bleak: Space
Shuttle Safety Modifications Proving Difficult - VOANews.com - June.23.04
Latest SS1 news... The X
PRIZE Space Race News has a big set of links including videos
at BBC for the whole broadcast (52min
Real Audio) and for the flight (1min
50 sec Real Audio). The latter includes shots from the SS1 in
... A wild bet says Aviation
Week will show the SS1 on its next cover: SpaceShipOne
Makes First Private Suborbital Space Flight - Aviation Now - June.22.04....
... The Canadian
Arrow team is inspired now to go fly to space as well: U.S.
rocket launch spurs Canadian's hopes - CTV.ca - June.22.04
Spaceship development as it should be...
Aren't "reusable" (I'll have to drop that word soon) rocket
vehicles great? You get to test incrementally and to fix problems
as they appear with each expansion of the envelope. Just look at
the SS1 experience as given by the Test
Log. There were lots of minor problems encountered, and several
serious ones as well, but the team overcame each one in a systematic
For example, during the drop test of flight 37L/06G, the vehicle
unexpectedly pitched up and wouldn't respond to the controls ("stall
entry maneuver resulted in an un-commanded nose rise"). The
pilot eventually regained control and managed to land safely. By
employing a "Bubba wind tunnel" with a Ford-250
pickup truck (see Ground
Test Log) the team "validated several aerodynamic fixes
to solve the tail stall problem" and the following flight went
The first powered flight on December 17th 2004 also went well until
the landing when "touchdown caused the left main gear to collapse
and the vehicle rolled to a stop off the runway in the soft sand."
made by Alan Radecki.) I can't find any details but I believe there
were some hardware mods and changes in the approach procedure to
prevent this from happening again.
In Monday's flight there was a serious failure of the flight control
system but a backup allowed the pilot to continue and to complete
a successful mission. (A dent in a fairing around the nozzle looks
to be a less serious problem.) While this has delayed the announcement
of the X PRIZE flights, no doubt this problem will also be solved
presently. I'm sure there will also be improvements made throughout
the vehicle based on the data from the flight.
To airplane builders, of course, this is all typical of the normal,
everyday incremental testing procedure for a new vehicle design.
Sure is nice to find here at the start of the 21st century that
a spaceship is finally being developed in this manner as well.
Armadillo Aerospace plans... On
the Armadillo message board, John Carmack answered
several questions on Monday about vehicle development plans. He
confirmed what he had indicated previously with regard to the X
PRIZE: the team will now focus on smaller test vehicles:
"Now that it looks like Scaled has a lock on it, we are
definitely scaling down the vehicle. We aren't even going to look
at 100km flights until a commercial spaceport that we can use
is licensed (we can't use Mojave, because they are only for HTHL
vehicles). I'm not going to give White Sands over a million dollars
to allow us to test our vehicles just for grins. We will concentrate
on getting rock solid reliability within the limits of waivered
flights instead of licensed flights. "
On the very long term, the goal is an orbital system and currently
he favors the DH-1 design described in "The
Rocket Company" novel by Patrick J. G. Stiennon
and David M. Hoerr and serialized here:
"My pet plan for orbital has been "boosted SSTO" for quite
some time. This is basically the plan described in "The Rocket
Company" serial on Hobby Space -- a straight up / straight down
booster, and a very high performance upper stage. I think there
are strong engineering and operational reasons for this, even
though it looks like an inefficient staging point at first glance."
(Item via HS reader M. Böller)
Special Report: Joan
Horvath sent in this first hand report on the SpaceShipOne flight:
Dateline Mojave, June 21, 2004
By the time you read this all the facts and figures and details
will have been laid out for you by the major media. I'm sure,
though, that the readers of this website are also interested in
an answer to the simple question: what was it like to BE there?
I was fortunate enough to be in the press area, due to some other
projects of mine, and so these observations are both on the event
itself and also on some of the reaction of the "mainstream" media
to the concept of entrepreneurial space.
Sunday, June 20: Flight Eve
The heat (and a slightly nervous anticipation) made Sunday a
fairly subdued day, much more so than I was expecting. People
were excited, but also reflective (photo top) as was this a space
fan thinking her own thoughts while looking out over a Mojave
BTW: Joan will be on the
Space Show this Sunday, June 27, 12-1:30pm Pacific Time. See
Show Newsletter for a biography of Joan. Tune in online at Live365.
SS1 flight details... Here's
a lengthy and interesting article by William Harwood - SpaceShipOne
rockets into history by William Harwood - Spaceflight Now - June.21.04
... I heard a remark from Burt
Rutan on TV that a space tourist vehicle should go to 150km instead
of 100km so as to provide a longer period of weightlessness. Also,
he thinks each passenger should have a big window to privde a really
Even more SS1... Tons of SS1
related links at spacetoday.net.
Here is a sampling:
More SS1.... Nice sets of pictures
- Alan's Mojave Airport Weblog - June.21.04 and MSNBC
- Private rocket ship breaks space barrier....
... A personal log of the event
Space Ship One Launch - The Interocitor (Kevin Murphy) - June.21.04
... News reports:
Armadillo Aerospace had one
of those learning experience type of days: Good
intentions, bad results - Armadillo Aerospace - June.20.04
19:45 Even more SS1.... Leonard
David reports on the technical problems that occurred during the
Makes History with First Manned Private Spaceflight - Space.com...
... Mike Melvill took some memorabilia and M&Ms to the space
today., according to Robert Pearlman of collectSpace. Robert also
provides some pictures of the event: Private
spacecraft to launch June 21 - collectSpace
17:10: More SS1... Pictures
from Mojave from Michael Mealling of Rocketforge....
... Now I understand the Tier
Rutan made an "allusion to the Tier 3 orbital space-vehicle
program that he is reportedly involved in. The SpaceShipOne program
is known as Tier 1, and Tier 2 would be a tour-bus-like version
of the same concept, a vehicle capable of carrying up to 10 passengers
on suborbital space flights." - SpaceShipOne
Soars - Popular Science ...
... Buy your SS1 souvenirs
Licensed SpaceShipOne Merchandise - t-shirts, posters and more!
... Scaled press release: SpaceShipOne
Makes History: First Private Manned Mission to Space
16:45: A robust little spaceship...
Despite some fairly serious problems, the SS1 succeed in its mission
today. During the news conference Rutan said
about the flight control system failure that "The anomaly we had
today is the most serious flight system safety problem we have had
in the entire program".
Plus there was "a roll of the rocket plane during its ascent"
and then "an unexpected booming sound." This "was
apparently caused by the buckling of a fairing that was added to
the rocket plane's engine nozzle for this record-setting flight."
They had hoped to set a date for the X PRIZE flights but Rutan
said "SpaceShipOne would not fly again until the source of
the flight control problem was identified and fixed."
13:50: Spaceflight Now has
from the news conference:
- Apogee was 100.1241 km
- That makes "Mike Melvill an astronaut" and he received
his commemorative wings in a ceremony during the news conference.
- A control system malfunction caused the SS1 "to miss its
reentry box by 22 miles."
12:45 Faring damage... Jeff
that "The vehicle suffered some minor damage during the flight
when a fairing near the engine nozzle partially collapsed, leaving
a large dent on the underside of the vehicle." Melvill mentioned
a loud bang durng the return. I assume this is related to that....
... I've seen estimates of
crowd size of around 10k-15k. Less than the big number speculations
but not bad for an event that started at 6:30 on a Monday morning
in the middle of the desert.
12:25: Fast turnaround... In
this pre-flight report - Prelude
to history? - The Space Review - June.21.04 , Jeff Foust reported
on comments made at a news conference on Sunday. Hightlights include:
- The May flight to 40 miles was more risky and settled crucial
questions, particularly about the feathered reentry. Rutan said,
"I believe the risks we face tomorrow are small compared
to the risks we took in May.”
- With regard to subsequent flights, they believe the turnaround
time for the SS1 "will be well under one week, they should
be able to make three flights during the two-week window required
to perform two flights to win the $10-million prize."
- The SS1 rocket has power to spare. Burt "said that if Melvill
doesn’t turn off the engine Monday at the specified time, the
vehicle would fly to nearly 130 kilometers."
- No passengers in the near future. Continued testing and flight
- "Rutan noted that he and Allen formed a company, Mojave
Aerospace, which actually owns the intellectual property associated
- Rutan expects a "barnstorming" phase of passenger
flights at $100k per seat in the near future but " a mature
space tourism industry" will need ticket prices in the $30k-50k
range that would come with second gen vehicles.
- He will be presenting a new model design soon.
- Rutan also said “we’re heading for orbit sooner than you think.”
12:10 More SS1:
to Mike Melvill.
and Lands Safely!
firing complete. Latest word from pilot is
that things are going good.
Now is providing regular text updates.
got a stream via BBC - news.bbc.co.uk.
So far things are looking good.
just occurred. Happened a few minutes later
than scheduled. I've not been able to connect to any of the streamed
broadcasts. Guess there are lots of people all over the world trying
Thankfully, all three cable networks are doing fairly good coverage.
Though during the one hour ascent to 50k feet they will be switching
to other news.
9:37: Rand says
went on through the night at the Mojave airport.
2:45 SS1 blogging..
Rand Simberg will be blogging from Mojave.
1:35: News briefs...
I've been disappointed not to see very much
written yet about last week's Centennial
Challenges Workshop. Here, though, is a short but nice report:
Challenges Workshop Summary - Space Race News! - Jan.20.04...
... John Carmack and Neil Milburn
Aerospace have been responding to questions at the Official
Armadillo Q&A thread.
Arrow news... The X PRIZE team
Arrow is showing a picture of their vehicle on their home page
with the statement that they will "start test flights this
August." They also have updated the pages on their Space
test stand (that's a good sized engine), and propulsion.
The Space Show - Mojave update... David
Livingston has arranged to broadcast the even with John McKnight
in Mojave and David in San Francisco:
Show plans to begin the streaming broadcast of this event
between 5:30 - 5:45AM [Pacific TIme 8:30-8;45 EDT] Monday, June
21. The actual take-off of the carrier plane, White Knight, is
scheduled for 6:30am EDT. Space Ship One breaks free of White
Knight about an hour later, ignites its rocket engine and then
travels to 62 miles (100 kilometers). The entire flight to landing
of both Space Ship One and White Knight should take approximately
90 minutes from the initial take-off of White Knight.
As our reporter in the field, John Carter McKnight, will be using
a cell phone, we will be going back and forth to John during this
time as events are unfolding and to allow us to conserve cell
phone battery power to take us through the entire launch and landing
Updated information will be posted to this site approximately
11:30PM PDT on Sunday, June 20th. Space Show listeners are welcome
to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
with any questions or comments you might have about this special
live broadcast of the Space Ship One launch. All efforts will
be made to respond to any e-mail questions prior to the Sunday
night update per above. In addition, while streaming this live
broadcast, The Space Show will continue to accept chat comments,
questions and feedback from the listeners at "spaceshowchat" for
those with IM and ICQ.
The SS1 pilot will be Mike
selected to pilot SpaceShipOne - spacetoday.net - June.20.04.
He flew the most recent mission in May....
.. A new page has been posted
... Long article from the Telegraph
about the SS1 and other X PRIZE teams: Up
tiddlee up up - Telegraph - June.20.04
SS1 updates: Long lists of
articles are available at spacetoday.net
and X PRIZE Space
Race News. Here is a sample:
SS1 updates: More articles
collected from spacetoday.net,
X PRIZE Space
Race News, and elsewhere:
home page says "There are 500 media representatives signed
up to cover Monday's event."
to historic space trip - BBC - June.19.04 - long article about
Private Spaceflight: Historical Milestone or Stunt Flying? - Space.com
- June.19.04 - Sounds similar to a typical headline from 1977:
"Apple II: A computng milestone or a toy?"
Soaring Toward Tomorrow - Space.com - compilation of articles
on the event.
Guide to Monday's First Piloted Private Space Flight - Space.com
- info on viewing in Mojave or from elsewhere
pushes envelope on space tourism - Seattle PI - June.19.04
- I didn't know Kistler was involved with the X PRIZE:
Another local X Prize supporter who will be down there applauding
the Rutan-Allen team is Walter Kistler. The retired founder
of Redmond-based Kistler Aerospace is one of the major donors
funding the award. His company has struggled financially but
it stubbornly persists in its attempt to make re-usable rockets
Kistler, a Swiss-born scientist who at age 16 burned off his
eyebrows while making rocket fuel on the family stove, said
private industry must jump with both feet into space. "The only
way this is going to happen is if entrepreneurs do it," he said.
to edge of space: Civilian pioneers prepare for launch - Toronto
Star - June.19.04 - I like this part:
Many of those counting down to Monday's 6:30 a.m. (PDT) launch
believe this flight could be the thin edge of the wedge that
opens the very heavens to private enterprise. And, ultimately,
opens them to you.
"That's right, you — the person reading this sentence,
at this precise moment, wearing exactly what you've got on.
Business implications of the
flight are discussed in Final
Frontier: Private Enterprise Counts Down For Space Travel - Investor's
Business Daily - June.21.04 (via spacetoday.net)
... And the flight seems to
be boosting SpaceDev: SpaceDev
Shares Soar Along With SpaceShipOne - SANDIEGO.COM - June.18.04
(via X PRIZE
Space Race News).
Mojave spaceport ... More about
the licensing: New
spaceport set for milestone mission by Alan Boyle - MSNBC - June.18.04.
News briefs... The Space
Transport team carries out another sounding rocket test flight:Space
race encounters forks in road - SeattlePI - June.19.04 (Nothing
yet on their News
page, however.) ...
... I don't see any announcement
on the ARCA web
site but the X PRIZE
home page quotes a press release as saying that ""World's
first composite materials reusable monopropellant rocket engine
will be flight tested in July on board the Demonstrator
2-B rocket. The first flight will be made below 10 km, mainly
because of the launch site restrictions." ...
... Return to flight in March
may happen without the inspection boom: Plans
to Launch the Shuttle Are Dogged by Stubborn Safety Boom - The New
York Times - June.19.04
Free live stream from MSNBC
for the full hour and half mission time! Just got the
word from Alan
Boyle. Not yet clear if the TV coverage will span the whole
period but the streaming should be a better anyway since it will
be devoted to the mission while the network TV will be jumping back
and forth with other news.
News briefs... Alan does his
own survey of space tourism interests: Who
wants to go to space? - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.18.04 ...
... Latest weblog updates from
Alan Radecki at BoingBoing: Reports
for June 18th. ...
... Alan has also posted pictures
of the celebrations for the spaceport licensing. (Via X
PRIZE Space Race News).
The Space Show in Mojave... The
with substitute host John Carter McKnight will provide a live webcast
on the internet at www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston.
[Regular host David Livingston had a prior commitment.]
In addition, an additional streaming site has been provided Space
Show listeners by Jeff Birk at Pioneer Radio in the UK. The tentative
URL for this additional site is usa.rolo.net:8008/listen.pls.
Further details will be available over the weekend on the Space
Show Newsletter page.
Branson goes galactic, again...
As mentioned here
recently, billionaire Richard Branson has indicated he will soon
make a space related announcement of some sort. A few years ago
he registered a company called Virgin Galactic Airways and expressed
an intention of pursuing a space tourism type of business (e.g see
from 1999). However, it seemed he had dropped the idea.
A HS reader - B. Freebairn
- noticed that the business registration
with the UK government was re-activated on May 20, 2004. (I assume
the listed nature of the business as "Hairdressing & other
beauty treatment" is meant to show a wry sense of humor.) The
web address www.virgingalacticairways.com
currently goes to the main Virgin home page.
Perhaps next week after the SS1 flight we will hear what he has
in mind for the company. Maybe it's related to the larger vehicle
that Burt Rutan has suggested
for a tourism business.
Webcast coverage... Looks like
there will be an alternative to CNN (especially if it has to cover
some other breaking story.) Just got this message from Robert Burmeister:
I called KLOA FM and they told me that the City of Ridgecrest
will be providing one hour of audio webcast for the Burt Rutan
By the end of day Friday, the link will be posted at www.kloafm.com
KLOA FM (Thunder Country 104.9) has exclusive rights to the audio
for the flight. This will also include the audio coming from the
cockpit during the flight.
Some potential space tourists,
who have each put their money where their passion is, respond in
interesting ways to a Space Adventures poll: Space
Adventures Announces Results of Suborbital Client Survey Close to
70% would fly on the inaugural SpaceShipOne suborbital spaceflight
- Space Adventures - June.18.04
SS1 updates... More articles:
Race II: A 'private' astronaut - UPI - June.18.04 - profile
of Peter Diamandis
rocket aims for the stars: SpaceShipOne flight heralds attempt
on $10-million X prize. - Nature - June.19.04 - Maybe if the
mainstream science journals start to take suborbital space transport
seriously, I can finally get some intelligent responses from the
scientists to whom I've sent queries as to how they might use
such vehicles for their research. Generally, most scientists (with
some welcomed exceptions) need confirmation and validation from
their peers before they will make the effort to examine something
as radical as manned suborbital.
First Private Manned Space Mission Set To Blast Off - Radio Free
Europe/ Radio Liberty - June.18.04 - John Pike finally gets
to put in his two cents. (Actually, that vastly exaggerates the
value of his opinion on space transport.)
space travel next leap for mankind? Private manned flight test
may launch new era in aviation - CNN.com - Jun 18, 2004
Secret: Who Will Fly SpaceShipOne? - Space.com - June.18.04
It's now official and they
have the license to prove it:
America's First Inland Spaceport Launch Site
Operator License # LSO 04 009
(Item via Aleta Jackson.)
Update: 5:55pm: Ready
for Historic Launch: FAA Grants Mojave Airport First Inland Spaceport
License - Space.com - June.18.04
SS1 updates... Here are some
links I gathered mostly from spacetoday.net:
News brief... This article
talks about the daVinci
Project in Canada: Space
flight: the new extreme sport - Imprint [Waterloo Univ.] - June.18.04.
SS1 updates... Looks like there
will even be quite a few people going to Mojave a few days before
the launch. For example, the popular Boing
Boing web log has a poster [Alan
Radecki] who has arrived in Mojave and will be sending reports
on happenings up to the day of the launch: Special
BoingBoing report: Live from SpaceShip One - June.17.04 * Boing
Boing: SpaceShipOne blog, part two ...
... Jeff Foust in this Space
Politics posting points out the editorial in yesterday's Christian
Science Monitor that advocates tax breaks to encourage development
of private space transport: Tax
Breaks for Private Spaceships - csmonitor.com - June.16.04.
Today there was also this article: Out
on the Mojave: space shot for the common man - csmonitor.com - June.17.04
... Here's an article in Wired:
Folks to Kiss the Sky - Wired News - June.17.04
News briefs ... Via a link
on sci.space.policy I came across another report on military RLVs:
Launch Systems - Aerospace Corp - Winter 2004 ...
... NASA still seems to be
holding to the March 2005 return to flight goal: NASA
Presents Return To Flight Update - NASA - June.17.04.
Oklahoma flight demonstrations...
Horvath comes this announcement:
announces formation of the Capps Space Science Center and July
4 flight demonstrations
Frederick, Oklahoma, June 17, 2004. Today a consortium of Frederick-based
entities announces the formation of the Capps Space Science Center
at Frederick. This Center will have as its mission partnerships
between educational and scientific institutions and entrepreneurs
developing new types of flying vehicles.
A first example of this type of partnership is a joint endeavor
between Frederick-based HighShips,
Inc and the Robotic
Systems Laboratory of Silicon Valley's Santa Clara University.
Through the support of investors and donors in California and
Montana, the HighShips' highly maneuverable small airship program
has begun. Over the next few weeks, HighShips will be flying a
camera in a tethered flight test for Evergreen Films, a Hollywood
production company, to provide unique aerial point of view for
an upcoming project. The prototype of a more sophisticated robot
airship is planned for tests this fall for search and rescue applications
in Montana and possibly in support of paleontologists' dinosaur
digs in the Southwest.
A second partnership for the Capps Space Science Center is the
move of Beyond-Earth
Enterprises' launch operations to Frederick. In partnership
with Frederick-based Global Space League, student payloads will
be gathered for flights of its LC-series rockets. Says Beyond-Earth's
CEO Joe Latrell, "We have been impressed by the pragmatism of
the Frederick group, and we look forward a long-term relationship
with the growing pool of expertise and connections they are gathering."
At Frederick's 4th of July Celebration 2004, pending final regulatory
clearances and weather, Beyond-Earth plans to display their full-scale
LC rocket and launch a one-third-scale version. (The full scale
version is planned to be launched from Frederick later this summer.)
In addition HighShips will have the first airship tethered on
display. Kids of all ages will be able to come into a "Super Top
Secret Area 57 Rocket Scientists Only" play area where they will
be allowed to make secret messages to fly on HighShips' and Beyond-Earth
vehicles, create their own fizzing rockets, and ask questions
of a real astronomer and rocket scientist from California. Detailed
schedules, parking and camping fees, and similar information can
be obtained from the Frederick Chamber of Commerce at the number
The Capps Space Science Center is a project managed jointly by
Space League, Inc., the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, Takeoff
Technologies LLC, the Frederick Airport Commission and the
City of Frederick. Founding vehicle providers are HighShips,
Inc. and Colorado Springs-based Beyond-Earth
SS1 updates... MSNBC offers
this page - The
New Space Race - which holds links to its articles on the SS1
and other X PRIZE related events...
... Scaled Composites has nicely
revamped its SS1 web pages, which are entitled: Tier
One: Private Manned Space Program....
... Profile of the SpaceShipOne
Rutan: Aviation pioneer - BBC - June.17...
... Cruising to space and then
Cruises Hosts Aviation Legend on Heels of Historic Space Flight
- Celebrity Cruises - June 16.04 (via Alan
Boyle and Robert Pearlman)
News briefs... Starchaser
has posted updates on progress with the Environmental
Control Life Support System (ECLSS) and
capsule for its Thunderstar
vehicle ( via X
PRIZE Space Race News). ...
... Leonard David reports on
the Armadillo flight: Armadillo
Scores Test Liftoff Success In Bid For X Prize - Space.com - June.17.04
Destination Mojave ... To complete
our rush to the future, I suggest that when the SS1 spaceman emerges
from his exotic looking rocketship he have this ray
gun strapped to his belt.
SS1 flight memorabilia could
become a top collectable for space enthusiasts according to Robert
Pearlman of collectSpace.
He tells Alan Boyle - Space
race update - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.16.04 -
"The appeal of philatelic material or other collectibles (mini
SS1 models, medallions, patches, etc.), not to mention any piece
of the actual craft that is expendable/replaceable, will be of
interest to space collectors..."
Perhaps Laura Wiggins of ToSpace
has arranged for a payload. At SA
' 04 she reported that she had so far put collectibles
on one high altitude unmanned rocket flight and was looking to charter
more rides. (I expect she also had a payload on the CSXT
amateur record altitude flight in May.)
... More flight updates:
News briefs... Rand Simberg
discusses how the commercial space transport business might develop:
- Transterrestrial Musings - June.16.04...
... James Burk at Project
Constellation seems to have rounded up most of the articles,
commentaries, and background info on the Aldridge
... And Thomas James is providing
condensed versions of the findings
A resuable military space plane is now
feasible according to this announcement from Northrop
- Northrop Grumman Outlines Test Program to Advance Military Space
Plane - Northrop Grumman -June.16.04 (via spacetoday.net).-
"Over the past three years, Northrop Grumman has successfully
developed and demonstrated key structural and vehicle health-management
technologies required to build, launch and operate an affordable
and reusable military space plane," said Doug Young, director
of space programs for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector.
"An integrated ground demonstration system would help identify
and remove technical and financial barriers to producing, integrating
and deploying this critical space asset."
The company is pursuing a system that would fulfill the goals of
programs like FALCON
that seek to provide payload delivery to orbit on short notice.
RMLS - Reusable Military Launch Systems
- is a new acronym for me. I was looking for background info on
the above Northrop article and came across a presentation entitled
Near-Term RLV Options (ppt
and a HTML
conversion at Google) given at a AIA meeting in 2003 by Alicia Hartong
of the Air Force. Like Northrop, she concludes that "Technology
is available NOW to initiate RLVs".
Mojave space extravaganza...
Via a Mojavian comes this local report on preparations for the SS1
flight event next Monday: SpaceShipOne
preping for space - AV Press - June.16.04 (short-lived link.)
- "Organizers are preparing for 30,000 visitors"
- "On the day of the flight's announcement, the Scaled Composites
Web site received millions of queries"
- "Hotels in Mojave are already booked solid, with rooms
filling up in more distant communities such as Lancaster."
- "A camping area has been cleared to park 250 self-contained
recreational vehicles, with campers allowed to enter the grounds
beginning Saturday night. Reservations are required for these
$40 spots, and they are filling fast. As of Tuesday afternoon,
160 spots remained."
- "Already, "space groupies" have requested permission for
a concert in the camping area Sunday night, adding to the festival-like
atmosphere." [Maybe this is the rave that Leonard David referred
- "Ridgecrest radio station KLOA 104.9 FM will provide a
play-by-play broadcast of the flight and traffic reports for those
heading to the airport."
- "For those unable to attend, the flight will be covered
live by numerous broadcasters, including CNN and the national
networks. Some 400 different media outlets from around the world
are expected to cover the event, Rice said." - [I hope Alan
Boyle is planning to broadcast on MSNBC.]
Copyright Armadillo Aerospace
An Armadillo Aerospace rocket comes in for a landing.
perfection.... Armadillo Aerospace executes a Perfect
test flight - Armadillo Aerospace - June.15.04. A rare mid-week
update from John Carmack reports on a beautiful "boosted hop"
of the 300lb streamlined rocket followed by a pinpoint landing.
The video (7.1MB
mpg) is a wonder to behold.
Congrats to John and his team.
He will be responding to questions about the flight at the Official
Armadillo Q&A forum.
Prize money... Aviation week
reports on the upcoming Centennial Challenge Workshop: NASA
And Industry Brainstorm Aerospace Prize Ideas - Aviation Week -
"[Senator] Brownback said that he hoped NASA would consider
a $100 million "Glenn Prize," named after astronaut John Glenn,
to be awarded to the first private team to send a human being
on multiple orbits of the Earth."
... While the Space Frontier
Foundation says it should lead to much bigger things: NASA's
Budget is No Prize! Space Frontier Foundation Calls for NASA to
Greatly Expand "Centennial Challenges" Project = Space
Frontier Foundation - June.15.04
News briefs... This report
on National Public Radio - Race
for Private Space Craft - NPR - June.15.04 - puts too much emphasis
on the need for a magic technology to reduce LEO launch costs. One
interviewee does point out the need for lowering labor and operations
costs but there's no mention of high flight rates as the real key
to making this happen....
... Russian continues to consider
possible development of a flyback booster: Come
Back Big Baikal Booster - Spacedaily - June.15.04....
... The X PRIZE team High
Altitude Research Corporation (HARC) site has a new picture
on the home page but so far there's no news posted on what's happening
with the project.(Item via X
PRIZE Space Race News).
News briefs... Alan Boyle comments
on the economics of commercial space tourism: Space
race economics - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.15.04...
... Via Alan's site, here is
a free reprint of yesterday's WSJ article: Private
Space Mission Is Ready for Takeoff - SFGate/WSJ.com - June.14.04
... John Carmack will now respond
to questions and comments at a forum on the X PRIZE site: Official
Armadillo Q&A - X PRIZE Forums (via X
PRIZE Space Race News) ...
... NASA astronauts are not
enthusiastic about riding on EELVs according to a report in the
latest Aviation Week. Rand Simberg comments on this in It's
Not Just About You - Transterrestrial Musings - June.15.04
Amateur rocket team reaches 37km... The
Dragoon II rocket launched by Paragon Astronautics on June 7th didn't
make it to their goal of 100km but 37km ain't bad. This puts them
third on our list of amateur
rocket altitude records.
This comes just a month after another amateur group - CXST - reached
Hope this is an indication that the average set of skills and capabilities
of amateur/ student/ small company organizations in rocketry is
also rising higher and higher.
More in Advanced
Lots of SS1 articles out today
included several forwarded to me by HS
Aviation Week editoral in the
latest edition urges Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to remove the hold
that he placed on HR-3752
- The Comercial Space Launch Act Amendments. Rocketplane
Ltd. is based in Oklahoma and received tax credits from the
state to help it build a suborbital vehicle. The company asked Inhofe
to place the hold because of uncertainty as to whether the bill
properly includes in its definition of a suborbital space vehicle
the type that the company is developing - one that takes off under
turbojet power, at 50k feet fires a rocket to reach 350k feet, reenters
and lands with turbojets turned back on.
Backers of the bill believe only fairly minor changes are required
to include this type of vehicle and are willing to make them. However,
there seems to be a lack of communication among the parties involved
and the bill remains stuck. Time available to get the bill passed
is getting very tight.
Aviation Week pleads:
"For those of us who seek to foster development of commercial
human spaceflight, never have so many stars been in alignment
as in 2004. It would be tragic if a piece of legislation essential
for putting a new industry on a solid regulatory footing were
scuttled by dithering prompted by one of the very entrepreneurs
trying to turn the dream of commercial spaceflight into reality.
Please, Senator Inhofe, get this bill moving-for the benefit of
the embryonic spaceflight industry in your state and everywhere.
I'll note that another suborbital rocket builder - TGV
Rockets - has also moved to Oklahoma. TGV has not gotten tax
credits but is working closely with the University of Oklahoma Aerospace
Department in Norman. Pat Bahn is chief of TGV and also head of
Institute, which has made passage of 3752 a high
CNN will broadcast the SS1 flight
according to an update
on the Scaled Composites site. (Via HS
reader R. Burmeister)
Potential space tourist market grows...
The Wall Street Journal today says
[subscription required] that the newly released 2004 World Wealth
Report claims that the number of "'high-net-worth individuals' in
the U.S., or those with at least $1 million in financial or liquid
assets, jumped to 2.27 million last year, up from two million in
2002." The number in Europe is even larger. It also states
that "more than half of the high-net-worth individuals in the
U.S. were 'new money,' or self-made millionaires. Inherited money
is declining as a share of wealth in the U.S., according to the
study, accounting for less than 20% of high-net-worth individuals
The 2002 Futron/Zogby
poll indicated that 19% of such individuals are interested in
suborbital flights. That means a market of up to 430,000 people.
The article doesn't include a figure for the number of millionaires
if house value is included. This would surely be several times the
2.3M number. This is relevant because someone with, say, a $750k
house and $600k in liquid assets might also be someone willing to
spend $50k-$100k for a once in a lifetime suborbital spaceflight.
News briefs... The X
PRIZE home page has several news items including one about the
Mojave spaceport preparations for the SS1 flight, a presentation
by Peter Diamandis at the Centennial
Challenges Workshop, and this announcement from the Micro-Space
Micro-Space Successfully Tests Propulsion Modules - - Ansari X PRIZE
- June.6.04 ...
... Pablo De León X PRIZE team
update presented at the 41st
Space Congress back in April is now online
(pdf). (Item via X
PRIZE Space Race News).
Lots of SS1 articles today
and there will surely be many more as the flight day approaches.
will be listing them all so here I'll just try to cherry pick some
of the more interesting ones. Here are today's picks:
SS1 flight costs... Michael
Mealling takes a shot at estimating the operating cost for a SS1
Ship One Cost Estimates - RocketForge - June.12.04. Seems reasonable,
especially considering the quote from Burt Rutan.
Note that this is purely the operating costs and so doesn't include
the amortization of the cost of the vehicle and its development.
That wouldn't be known anyway until there is data on how many flights
a vehicle can make before it undergoes a major overhaul or retirement....
... Sam Dinkins estimates that
three firms will eventually dominate suborbital space tourism services:
many winners? - The Space Review - June.14.04
Space elevator news... This
article - Going
Up? : And you think your industry is risky. - Inc.com - June.04
- talks about the challenges of building a space elevator business
and also gives some background of the split between Brad Edwards,
now at ISR
in West Virginia, and Michael Laine of LiftPort...
... Learn all about space lifts
Space Elevator: 3rd Annual International Conference - July 28-30,
2004 in Washington D.C.
Armadillo hover tests of a
subscale vehicle were successful according to the latest update:
hovers and landings - Armadillo Aerospace - June.13.04. Check
out the cool video (4.1MB
The NY Times reports on the
SS1 flight: Private
Space Travel? Dreamers Hope a Catalyst Will Rise From the Mojave
Desert - New York Times - June.14.04
... And the NY Post reports
on Paul Allen: Rocket
Booster - New York Post - June.13.04
Front page SpaceShipOne article in
the Washington Post is quite interesting: A
Rocket Flight for the Common Man? Leader in Private Space Race Predicts
New Era of Tourism - Washington Post - June.12.04. It includes
"Rutan, who gained widespread renown in 1986 when his Voyager
became the first aircraft to circumnavigate the globe without
refueling, estimates that commercial suborbital flights could
cost $30,000 to $50,000 'initially,' and as little as $7,000 to
$12,000 in a 'second generation.'"
The $30k-50k is the lowest price range I've seen for a first generation
The article also mentions other competitors like the da
Vinci project and it discusses the X
PRIZE and the prize approach to motivating lower cost space
development as with the Centennial
Challenge program at NASA....
... Commentator Jake Halpern
says his grandfather, who was an early space tourist enthusiast,
would have been thrilled with the SS1: The
First Commercial Space Flight: Commentary by Jake Halpern - National
Public Radio - June.11.04.(via spacetoday.net)...
... Alan Boyle notes that the
SS1 spaceflight shapes up to be milestone event in at least three
for space stars - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.11.04.
More Virgin news... This is
a longer article about Branson's space interests: Branson
reaches for the stars - Guardian Unlimited - June.10.04 (via
X PRIZE Space
Race News).But there are no details on what exactly he is planning
to announce. Looks like he is timing it according to the SS1 flight.
The Space Adventures newsletter
will tell the tale of space tourism: Introducing
the Story of Space Tourism - Space Adventures Newsletter - June.04
News briefs... Rand Simberg
writes about Reagan's impact on commercial space transport: Space
Pioneer: Reagan’s real space innovation was in the commercial launch
industry - National Review - June.10.04 ...
... Shuttle booster test went
test leads way for safer Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor -NASA MSFC -
June.10.04 * Rocket
science? Matter of fact, yes - The Salt Lake Tribune - June.11.04
Virgin space tourism... Richard
Branson has apparently been involved in other activities in Mojave
besides the Global
Hopes to Offer Tourist Space Flights - Scotsman - June.10.04.(Link
via Ken Schweitzer).
I remember years ago that he talked about pursuing space projects
but no news since. Now it sounds like he has something real to announce.
No NSS raving... I've been
infomed that there will not, in fact, be a NSS sponsored rave at
Mojave on the eve of the SS1 flight as Leonard reported.
[Though it sounds like a good idea to me!] If you are looking for
space raves in the desert, you might contact these
News briefs... Leonard David
reports on the space fest developing in Mojave for the SS1 flight:
Prepares to Make Space History - Space.com - June.10.04...
... An excellent article about
the SS1 and the X PRIZE, and also XCOR: Space
Cowboys - LA CityBEAT / Valley BEAT - June.10.04 (via X
PRIZE Space Race News).
Rocket Man returns... Mark
Oakley is back on line after his job switch to TGV
Rockets from LockMart: In
Oklahoma - Rocket Man Blog - June.4.08. He will blog about the
company (within certain guidelines) and continue with general discussions
about how access to space can be made cheaper, e.g. Operational
Costs - Rocket Man Blog - June.7.04.
More SS1 models... Check out
ShipOne and Carrier Aircraft resin model kit at Unicraft
Models. There is also the Scaled
Composites SpaceShipOne paper model at Currel
News briefs... Jeff Foust notes
that the SS1 may inspire considerably more excitement about space
with the general public than what NASA is able to do: "We
all wanted to go" - Space Politics - June.8.04 ...
... The latest I hear about
is that it is still on hold because of the issue of whether it covers
systems like Rocketplane's
that have both an airplane phase and a suborbital rocket phase.
Unfortunately, the remaining time within legislative calendar to
accomplish anything this year is getting shorter and shorter.
A SpaceShipOne article in the
Week is quite interesting but unfortunately not available on
line without a subscription. Here are some highlights:
- The June 21st flight will carry out a full-duration 80-sec burn
of the engine.
- The speed should reach Mach 3.5. Peak equivalent airspeed, however,
will not exceed the previous flight since the air pressure will
drop so much.
- The engine will use a larger nozzle that has not flown before.
- The engine will undergo higher temperatures, higher speed, and
lower dynamic pressure at burnout.
- The previous two flights carried full fuel loads but the liquid
nitrous oxide was turned off early to terminate the burn.
- A ground firing flowed oxidizer for 100-sec. This consumed all
of the fuel plus some of the phenolic liner and caused even the
outer casing made of carbon fiber/epoxy to start smoking but it
didn't result in a burn through.
- The new nozzle provides a larger expansion ratio needed for
good thrust and efficiency at the higher altitudes. This means,
however, that it hasn't been tested on the ground since the higher
atmospheiric pressure causes flow to separate from the walls and
- Sensors and temperature-sensitive paint indicated in the last
flight that temperatures were a bit lower than expected. None
of the thermal protection coating was damaged. (This photo
shows the red TPS coatings.)
- In the June 21 flight, however, it is expected that the coating
will be damaged and need replacement before the next flight.
- The last flight did a supersonic reentry, reaching Mach 1.9
in feather mode.
- Mike Melvill manually damped oscillations in feather mode. The
oscillations may have been due to sloshing in the tank but in
the June 21 flight all the oxidizer will be burned.
- Asymmetries in the thrust due to possible erosion in the nozzle
near the end of the burn could be difficult to compensate since
the very low pressure provides weak control authority. The cold
gas attitude control thrusters are "very weak compared to
a conventional surface biting into thick air."
- "The computational fluid dynamics says it is OK but the
pilot will be earning his salary."
- In the last flight the instrument display went dark about one
third of the way through the rocket firing. Nevertheless, Melvill
was able to navigate by viewing the horizon through the windows
and still reached the target altitude. The problem is believed
to have been caused by a potentiometer affected by the acceleration
and has been fixed.
News briefs... A good article
on the SS1 and private space development: Space
Race II: Not NASA's space program - UPI - June.7.04
... Perhaps delivering water
to orbit will become a lucrative market someday: Water
to Boost Satellite Snooping - Wired News - June.8.04 * TTO
Programs - Water Rocket...
... NASA will test an improved
solid rocket motor segment: Test
of a safer propellant design for Space Shuttle's Solid Rocket Motor
forward segment set for Thursday in Utah - NASA/MSFC - June.7.04
News briefs... Armadillo prepares
its large test vehicle for hover tests this week: Streamlined
vehicle fabrication - Armadillo Aerospace - June.6.04 ...
... A song for the X PRIZE
High by Mark Horning - rec.music.filk-May.31.04...
... Jeff Foust tours the Oklahoma
spaceport on the prairie - The Space Review - June.7.04...
... Sam Dinkin proposes an
innovative space funding approach: Space
tourism co-op - The Space Review - June.7.04
Alt.space Woodstock... I hear
that the motels in the Mojave area were quickly booked solid for
the SS1 flight and I know of at least one hangar that will be packed
with people. ...
... Space Adventures PR: Space
Adventures Salutes Paul Allen, Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites
for the Anticipated First Commercial Suborbital Flight - Space Adventures
Centennial Challenges Workshop
presentation agenda now posted: NASA
Announces Centennial Challenges Workshop Agenda - NASA - June.3.04.
More info at The
space challengers - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.3.04
ARCA announcement on the recent
engine test is available at XPRIZE.org: Romanian
Engine Achieves Full Thrust - ARCA/X PRIZE - June.4.04
SS1 briefs... Jeff Foust is
interviewed in this article: Paul
Allen's SpaceShipOne Sets Date with Space - Technology News - June.3.04.
The following articles have a few tidbits of info not included in
the many other articles (e.g. see the news list at spacetoday.net)
that mostly repeat the Scaled Composites press
SS1 & the X PRIZE race... Alan
Boyle finds that other teams are not throwing in the towel on the
X PRIZE: Handicapping
the Space Race - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - June.2.04. Even after this
flight, the SS1 will still need to prove that it can carry an additional
200kg to 100km. Nevertheless, the SS1 is obviously running fast
coming into the home stretch....
... See also Alan's updated
flight set for private spaceship: SpaceShipOne due for suborbital
space shot June 21 - MSNBC - June.2.04 and comments at The
Date Is Set - Transterrestrial Musings - June.2.04 ...
... Depending on how much press
attention it gets, I think the number of observers in Mojave on
June 21 could span a wide range from a low of a few tens of thousands
to a high of a few hundred thousand. It's short notice but the space
advocate groups should get involved and promote this event like
crazy, especially within California. Somebody, for example, should
get Kristoph Klover to come down the night before and sing some
space songs like Witnesses'
Waltz to the happy campers....
... Note that for those considering
attending the event, the SS1
FAQ has a lot of travel info....
... Rand Simberg has been
after to me to change the name of this page from RLV News
to Space Transport News. Not quite ready to do that but I
will promise to refer to the SS1 missions as "flights"
rather than "launches". I suggest that all you alt.spacers
out there take the pledge as well. Time that we transition out of
thinking of spaceflight as a series of one-offs and start thinking
in terms of spaceship departures and arrivals instead.
Scaled Composites is going for it...
Space Launch Attempt Scheduled for June 21
Paul G. Allen and Burt Rutan Announce Plans for
First Non-Government, Privately Funded Manned Space Flight
- Scaled Composites - June.2.04
... Leonard David reports:
Spacecraft's Inaugural Launch Set for June 21 - Space.com - June.2.04
Russian designs... The Russian
firm ZAO - Aerospace Systems
is proposing suborbital passenger flights using a vehicle based
on the Sea Launch
Launch Cruiser - Aerospace Systems * Aerospace
Systems : Projects : "Astronaut Wings" for 10,000 USD.
The company will launch a small spacecraft this month - AKS-1
technological satellite - to test its solar sail technology.
(Item via a HS reader.)
News briefs... The daVinci
Project plans to launch this summer: Sask.
could be launch pad for space travel - Saskatoon StarPhoenix - June
.2.04 (via spacetoday.net)
... NASA may drop most scramjet
funding despite recent X-43a test flight success: NASA's
'scramjet' funding in jeopardy: The successful flight of the experimental
X-43a shows promise, but future backing is unclear. - Daily Press
(VA) - June.2.04 (via NASA
News briefs... The daVinci
Project announces arrangements with three companies to provide
various support services for its upcoming launch activities in Kindersley,
Vinci Space Project Signs Kindersley Transport, Hinz Automation
and Titan Crane - daVinci PR/X PRIZE- June.1.04 (doc file) (
via X PRIZE)...
... The Romanian ARCA
team has carried out tests of its new engine that uses composite
Test - Arca - May.30.04 (via X
PRIZE Space Race News)
News briefs ... Jeff Foust
hears that not only is there a good chance that recent obstacles
will be overcome but HR 3752 might even get the President's signature
within a month or so: A
solution for HR 3752? - Space Politics - May.31.04 ...
... Space tourism, X PRIZE
and other alt.space projects getting more mainstream press attention:
tourists into space - USNews.com - June.7.04 issue (via spacetoday.net)
... The status of Kistler
and SpaceX and
the latter's protest of a NASA contract with the former are discussed
Rocket Firms Face Different Hurdles - space.com/Space News - May.31.04
... This week's issue of The
Space Review has four space transport related articles:
to May 2004