Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I for one welcome our suborbital overloads

…. and have been since 2004 when the Ansari X-Prize was won and nothing happened. 5.5 years and counting. It’d be nice if this supposed “race” would heat up a little. It really does seem that everyone assumes Virgin Galactic / Scaled Composites is so far ahead that they can never be caught.. despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Did you happen to catch the Armadillo Aerospace yearly video:

This is last year’s video:

Did you think the same thing as me: “That’s it?”

Rocket Racing League. Methane/LOX engines for NASA. Lunar Lander Challenge. So the only new thing is the low altitude hops. (Speaking of which, break the DC-X altitude record of 3.14km already!) At Space Access, after the grumblings about being trumped on the LLC, Carmack made the pledge that this year they’ll be doing something new. Here’s hoping it involves *people*.

And while I’m being critical.. which, I know, I do too much.. What’s next for Masten? More hops? Can we count on you to beat Armadillo to that DC-X altitude record?

And yes, XCOR.. smart about their “don’t talk until you have something to report” policy, but unfortunately they still don’t have anything to report. Back at the start of the year Greason suggested that there would be something to report this year.. and so we wait.

I think it is fair to say that no suborbital tourism will be flying this year, or next year. We might see some interesting test flights, but that’s about it. Maybe 2012?

My point, (sorry, did I forget I had one? /rant) is that this stuff seems to be hard.. it seems to be a long bet.. so you can’t really crystal ball it. For all we know suborbital tourism will die out, perhaps with a bang, perhaps with a whimper. But we can hope, so long as you can stand Jeff Bell’s ridicule.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why it was named as Armadillo Aerospace. The video clip was very interesting. Now I know how tough it was to create a rocket.