Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I‘ve always been interested in Aerospace. The X-Prize -a contest for being the first private entity to get into space repeatedly has been won awhile back and has spawned -among others- Virgin Galactic, a spacefaring airline, scheduled to start service soon. The real player to watch these days, though, is Elon Musk and his SpaceX. Elon made his fortune on the internetby cofounding eBay, among other things. SpaceX is set to achieve real orbital space service for man and machine within the next two years at a fraction of the cost of what Uncle Sam pays. According to Elon, the revolution needed for affordable space transport isn't technological, rather it's in the management and cost control of the spacefaring entity. (NASA's chasing the myth of the next great technological leap into low-cost access for the last quarter-century or so having been a collossal wast of money, read: Space Shuttle and the aborted VentureStar spaceplane.) NASA is -finally- starting to understand this, and awarded some contractors funds for its COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportational Services) initiative -SpaceX among them. NASA is , however, hedging its bets by developing the Ares family of low(er) cost vehicles to take over for the Space Shuttle when it’s retired in 2010. My money is on the development process for the Ares to be so drawn out by budget issues, however, that COTS-like services supplied by companies such as SpaceX, Armadillo, and Blue Origin should be the operating norm by the time the first Ares vehicles begin service sometime in the middle of the next decade. I keep updated on the new field of low cost commercial aerospace through (in no particular order):

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