SpaceShipOne Makes It To Space

from the congrats dept

We wanted to avoid all the hype surrounding the launch of SpaceShipOne until there was some actual news about it, rather than hundreds of stories about how it would probably be touching space today. The news has come back, however, that SpaceShipOne has successfully broken the space barrier with the first ever “private-sector astronaut.” While this won’t qualify for the X-Prize (there need to be 3 people on board), it certainly does suggest it won’t be long before the SpaceShipOne team can really go for it. As the article makes abundantly clear, this represents quite a step forward in the concept of private space travel. The real issue, though, is how far private space travel will get before there’s a major accident (which unfortunately will happen) — and how that will impact the overall industry.

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Comments on “SpaceShipOne Makes It To Space”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I was excited until

… I read some techies who sniffed that this was a sub-orbital flight, that true orbital flight won’t work with this configuration. While its great for a few minutes of tourism, what I got from them was that it wasn’t really opening the doors as much as one would think.

Hell of a start, though.

Three Men In A Boat says:

SpaceShipOne makes it to space

This is a great achievement. However, in the techdirt tradition of including a skeptical or cautionary note on every story, there’s no compelling business model for space travel, and this feat doesn’t help produce one.

Comparisons with Columbus or Kitty Hawk, while romantic, just don’t wash. Look at the statistics- it’s been 43 years since Yuri Gagarin’s first flight, yet every manned flight into space is still a test flight.

And the expense… space flight won’t approach cost-effectiveness until you stop lifting raw materials out of the gravity well. Do we have the technology and the will to put a robotic manufacturing facility in space with raw materials from the moon or asteroids? One comparison with Columbus is correct- on that scale, this is the business of countries, not companies.

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