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SCI/TECH: Branson and Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company

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posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 04:44 AM
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Burt Rutan, the man who designed and build the first commercial spacecraft with his company Scaled Composites teamed up with the British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson to form a spacecraft building company, called The Spaceship Company. By the end of 2008 the first commercial flights are expected, at the cost of $200,000, already about 100 pioneers have signed up.
 



www.space.com
The announcement was made today at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture gathering being held July 25-31 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The yearly event spotlights homebuilt aircraft, antiques, classics, warbirds, ultralights, rotorcraft—as well as the emerging commercial spaceflight business.

Both rocket ship and the carrier aircraft will draw from Rutan’s work on SpaceShipOne and the White Knight mothership. The SS2/WK2 system will adopt the reentry concept and hybrid rocket motor design work hammered out for SpaceShipOne, licensing that technology from Paul Allen’s Mojave Aerospace Company.

SpaceShipOne successfully snagged the $10 million Ansari X Prize last year by staging back-to-back flights of the piloted craft to the edge of space.

Both of the new vehicles, however, are to be twice the size of the earlier designs.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Wow, things are going well for Rutan. First he wins the $10M X-prize with the SpaceShipOne spacecraft and the White Knight carrier aircraft, then DARPA decided to use the White Knight to test the X-37, a new commercial and military reusable space vehicle, and now this!

He certainly is a very important person in aviation history, he has designed hundreds of aircraft. On March 3, 2005, the GlobalFlyer, a plane he designed completed the first solo non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.

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posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 05:42 AM
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Awesome! If anyone can do it, he can!



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 06:10 AM
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It just goes to show what can be achieved if people are smart and aren't bogged down by beauarcratic nonsense. Small and pretty vs large and cumbersome. That is why Branson/Rutan have this fantastic craft while NASA is stuck with that ageing death trap the shuttle which despite their best efforts is still falling appart.

Why can't NASA come up with something like this? They have all these great technologies, but their senior management has absolutely no imagination whatsoever. Its such a great concept. I love it, hats off to Rutan and Branson, I know I'll travel on the craft if I can afford it! Thank god for things like the X prize!

I wonder, will NASA find itself marginalised by this. Is this the beginning of a cheaper space age? I'll bet by the time NASA has the ISS put together, Branson will have hotels in space. This is a very exciting time indeed!



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 09:24 AM
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Originally posted by enslaved83
Why can't NASA come up with something like this? They have all these great technologies, but their senior management has absolutely no imagination whatsoever. Its such a great concept. I love it, hats off to Rutan and Branson, I know I'll travel on the craft if I can afford it! Thank god for things like the X prize!



NASA is hog tied by the laws of government.
The Laws of Government are:
1. All government is bureaucracy.
2. Bureaucracy must expand to fill all available space.

The end result is a management heavy dinosaur that can't get out of its own way. A private company has to show a profit and doesn't have resources to waste like government does.



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 10:00 AM
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I believe it was Rutan himself that said something along the lines of, "I want to beat NASA to the Moon so I can greet them when they arrive."

He pronounces NASA naysay, by the way. I wonder why.



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 10:20 AM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499

Originally posted by enslaved83
Why can't NASA come up with something like this? They have all these great technologies, but their senior management has absolutely no imagination whatsoever. Its such a great concept. I love it, hats off to Rutan and Branson, I know I'll travel on the craft if I can afford it! Thank god for things like the X prize!



NASA is hog tied by the laws of government.
The Laws of Government are:
1. All government is bureaucracy.
2. Bureaucracy must expand to fill all available space.


The end result is a management heavy dinosaur that can't get out of its own way. A private company has to show a profit and doesn't have resources to waste like government does.


Maybe the US governemnt should consider privatising NASA! Alternatively I think what NASA needs is a charasmatic president like Kennedy to give it a goal/s which should be its sole goal i.e. we want a base on the moon, period, we want a reusable launcher, period etc etc. The oranisation should then be restructured around these goals with any programs that do not contribute to this being binned. Its my opinion that they have too many fingers in too many pies! The also need another Von Braun! That would help. I saw a documentary on him and he was a brilliant man, way ahead of his time.



[edit on 28-7-2005 by enslaved83]



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 10:58 AM
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Personally, I think NASA is going the way of the DoDo...

Privatization is the key to the future of space...and men like Rutan and Branson see this future, and can see that eventually, it will be highly profitable...

I think eventually we'll see NASA go back under the auspices of the military, renamed of course, while commercial satellites and other space endeavors are carried out by eventual companies spurred on by such successes.



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 11:17 AM
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It makes you wonder though....

How can the governemnt spend so much money on things and come away with what they have. Its when I see people like Rutan doing things like they are doing that I become convinced the US has a major balck space program because the alternative is that they are grossly wastefull and I mean REALLY grossly wastefull with American Taxpayer Money. I just makes no sense. I do agree tho, NASA is going the way of the DoDo and needs to shape up or die a death. EVen so with the Chinese and the Russians emerging into the picture again, who knows what will happen. Maybe thta will be the kick up the backside that NASA needs, tho by the Rutan will probably be on Mars......



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 12:05 PM
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Anyone who wants to know how the government cand spens so much money and get such small results just has to look at an internal phonebook for a government facility. If they haven't been declared classified documents after 9/11. Everyone in that book has to be paid. Many of the people in that book have secretaries and assistants. They must be paid too. Around 1987 a new Federal building was being built in Jacksonville Florida. At the time building was relativly inexpensive so it was decided to build a few extra floors so that there would be room to expand in the future. Problem was that by the time the new building was built it was too small! When was the last time that you heard of the Federal government having layoffs? I don't mean military base closings. A military base closing just results in the civilian support staff losing their contracts and the military families relocating. NASA has its fingers in too many pies. It tries to do many things and as a result it has lost the ability to do its primary job well.



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 12:38 PM
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Because NASA can only get it's money from taxpayers and from money assigned to it by congressmen. Any increase in money to NASA is met with all sorts of "why don't we feed/house/care for all the poor people and children" crap that congresscritters don't want sullying their chances at re-election.

And the only way to get money from congresscritters is to talk their language-bureacratese. Any government organization that doesn't follow the pattern, can't be trusted.

Look at all the screeching about "safety" and the foam issue. How many hundred launches with the same foam but one incident and every self-described expert starts screaming "ground the shuttles!". You want NASA to develope a new technology? New technology has risks. The uncontrolled rolling issue SS1 experienced would have had anti-NASA pundits screaming to cancel the program until millions of dollars of testing and years had passed. Rutans crew did not have an adequate explanation but did the second launch anyways. Most of the public and government would positiviely *crucify* NASA had they taken such a risk.

Pioneering spirit is unacceptable in government (even considered "politically incorrect" and can cause you employment problems) and even in big corporations. Privatizing with big government contractors isn't necessarily a solution. The root of this problem, and most in America, are the so-called leadership-legislative and executive branch both. More concerned with re-election than job performance or doing the "right thing".

And Media gets to make money off successes and manipulate failures towards it's even present anti-government campaign.


Originally posted by enslaved83

Why can't NASA come up with something like this? They have all these great technologies, but their senior management has absolutely no imagination whatsoever. Its such a great concept. I love it, hats off to Rutan and Branson, I know I'll travel on the craft if I can afford it! Thank god for things like the X prize!




[edit on 28-7-2005 by Phugedaboudet]



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 12:48 PM
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Originally posted by enslaved83
Maybe the US governemnt should consider privatising NASA! Alternatively I think what NASA needs is a charasmatic president like Kennedy to give it a goal/s which should be its sole goal i.e. we want a base on the moon, period, we want a reusable launcher, period etc etc.


President Bush has made bold statements about going back to the moon and to Mars, but it doesn't have the electrifying mandate effect because the times are different -- remember the Kennedy statement was back in the Cold War and we were in a race (that we were then losing) against the Russians with our space program, which became a national pride priority.

I do believe that NASA should be more privatized though, it is way to bureaucratic and inefficient at the moment.

[edit on 7/28/2005 by djohnsto77]



posted on Jul, 28 2005 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by enslaved83

Maybe the US governemnt should consider privatising NASA! Alternatively I think what NASA needs is a charasmatic president like Kennedy to give it a goal/s which should be its sole goal i.e. we want a base on the moon, period, we want a reusable launcher, period etc etc.


I may be going off topic for this thread, but I have to ask.

If Kennedy wasn't assasinated does NASA go to the moon. Everything that I have read on the history of the moon missions implies that a large part of the commitment was that we need to do this in memory of Kennedy. Johnson was smart enough to play it up that Apollo was Kennedy's legacy. Notice after Apollo 11 how fast interest dropped off.



posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 09:56 AM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499

Originally posted by enslaved83

Maybe the US governemnt should consider privatising NASA! Alternatively I think what NASA needs is a charasmatic president like Kennedy to give it a goal/s which should be its sole goal i.e. we want a base on the moon, period, we want a reusable launcher, period etc etc.


I may be going off topic for this thread, but I have to ask.

If Kennedy wasn't assasinated does NASA go to the moon. Everything that I have read on the history of the moon missions implies that a large part of the commitment was that we need to do this in memory of Kennedy. Johnson was smart enough to play it up that Apollo was Kennedy's legacy. Notice after Apollo 11 how fast interest dropped off.


Its an interesting thought. Its my opinion that having people like Kennedy and Von Braun helped massively. You had a young, popular President to support the space program in congress/public and lobby for it, while you had this very media savvy guy in the guise of Von Braun who was very photogenic and had some great ideas. The best things about Von Braun is that when he said something, people believed it!

I think people lost interest in the Moon program because after the first mission, the other missions were just a repeat of what happened before i.e. go there, walk and drive around, plant a flag, bring back some rocks etc etc. (Btw I don't mean to down talk the moon landings in any way or be disrespecfull, for me they are amazing achievements but you know how fickle the public can be. Once they have seen something they won't want to see it again) Another factor was the Vietnam war which was very very expensive, so I guess it made sense to scrap the moon program been as how the Americans had already won the race to get there.

Getting back on topic! I think the issues raised about Governmental organisations are all very very valid. The problem is NASA needs to face the facts. I think that people would be more enthusiastic about Space if it was made more accesable. People want to go to Space. Sending a probe to look at colour spectrums of dying stars is all very well (again, I don't mean to be disrespectfull, I personally think its great but thats because I love science), but that isn't what captures the publics imagination. People like Rutan do capture the publics imagination, because they are doing something that will benefit people like you and me. The more and more people like Branson and Rutan make progress in making space accessable, the less people are gonna care about NASA and I think NASA will be in even more danger from the congressmen because the taxpayers will say: "heck we have these businesses making space affordable, why should the government bother as they haven't managed to do this despite the untold billions they have had over the years". This comes back to the point raised about political opertunists. NASA needs to see, that in the short to mid term future it is likely to be in a lot of danger and it must adapt to meet this new challenge.




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