Bleeding Edge

by Mike Masnick

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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  • identicon
    DL, 21 Jun 2004 @ 1:04pm

    Winning the X-Prize

    Actually, to win the X-Prize, you don't need 3 people on board. You need the MASS of 3 people (only a pilot is strictly necessary - the other two "people" can be sacks of rocks). What's really required is two flights within two weeks. It's all about the turn-around time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris ODonnell, 21 Jun 2004 @ 2:33pm

    No Subject Given

    I wonder if 50 years from now we'll look back on this like it was Kitty Hawk II?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2004 @ 6:26pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Three Men In A Boat, 22 Jun 2004 @ 5:59am

    Re: 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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