View Full Version : NASA Invests in SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler

2006-Aug-21, 05:55 PM
NASA has announced a $500 million investment in two aerospace companies: SpaceX and Rocketplane-Kistler to help develop vehicles capable of resupplying the International Space Station after the Space Shuttle is retired. The funding is split between the two companies, and requires them to meet a series of milestones as they develop their vehicles between now and the end of the decade. 20 companies originally submitted proposals to win the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration program contact.

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/08/21/nasa-invests-in-spacex-and-rocketplane-kistler/)

Ray Bingham
2006-Aug-21, 11:34 PM
Well that takes care of Space X as being one of the groups that was trying to prove that private enterprise could put men into space. The could not even execute a successful firing of one craft while Rutan et. al. did it all on their own. Now Space X has their hand in our (the government's) pocket.

2006-Aug-22, 01:28 PM
The cool thing about this is the launch location will only be 600km away from me north of Adelaide (South Australia), in a place called Woomera (which is the Aboriginal name given to a throwing device).

I can't wait to see my first major rocket launch!

2006-Aug-22, 01:38 PM
So...Is the goal here to subsidize wealthy tourism? What about science? Where is the science in reinventing a wheel?

John Mendenhall
2006-Aug-22, 03:33 PM
Seems to me, the problem is that it's horrendously expensive to get off of Earth with our current technology. Rockets are big, powerful, costly, and dangerous. We have 14 dead astronauts to prove it, plus however many the Soviet Union has managed to kill over the years. The cost overrun on the space station is huge. We need some alternative way to low Earth orbit.

Space plane? Space elevator? Electromagnetic launcher? Conventional gun? (Not as crazy as it sounds, see Sky and Telescope article on British designer John Bull.) Remember, we're talking about accelerating vehicles to 25,000 miles per hour or better. There's no easy way to do it, and once they're moving, you have to figure out a way to slow it down again to get it back!

I think there are better places to invest the taxpayer's money than in commercial rocketry, but frankly, 500 million isn't that much. Let 'em have a try at it. If it flops, we know one more thing not to do.

2006-Aug-22, 05:12 PM
Remember that the intent is for them eventually to provide commercial cargo services to the ISS at lower prices than if NASA does it on their own. How they're going to compare the costs is another question.

2006-Aug-25, 07:44 AM
The major problem, aside from being horribly expensive getting rockets off the ground is the lack of interest in doing so. Aside from a few space agencies, there really isn't much in the developmental phases for the aerospace industry. Its just classic human nature I think for the most part. We don't really have a need at the current moment to get ourselves off the planet, so we don't really care to invest in it. If circumstances were different, such as facing a global distaster within the next half century (aside from gas shortage or pollution), then we'd be working diligently and probably would be successful in finding a way to blast ourselves off this god for saken rock :)

John Mendenhall
2006-Aug-31, 05:26 PM
Note: The Wikipedia article on space elevators is excellent.