MAIN ARTICLE: Europe to compete against America.
Is Europe getting ready to take on America in a new commercial market currently being developed?
Poll Results: Yesterday's poll had really close results compared to the last couple days. Scroll down to see what DKOS members voted for, click subscribe to get the latest space polling.
Star Trek: In the News. "They came from outer space: Pussycat Dolls Jessica transforms into the alien from Star Trek"
Yesterday's Comments: "Whoever created that juxtaposition is one sick son of a bitch...& probably one no-longer-employed sick son of a bitch..." - Uncle Cosmo
Today's Poll: Should America help fund the development of Commercial Space Tourism?
Should taxes help develop a new industry for the 21st century or should private enterprise go it alone?
This diary has refered to the International competition that is forming in the commercial space industry (see "International Space Race? Part I - ESA.", 'Americans in Space', Jan 12, 2009) and now there was an interesting article at Flight Global website:
"The prospect of an all-European competitor to US suborbital tourism projects has become stronger with the €7.3 million ($9.68 million) funding of the Future High-Altitude High-Speed Transport (FAST) 20XX project that will focus on two concepts, one suborbital, the other a hypersonic point-to-point transport system.
With its "kick-off" meeting taking place in either April or May, depending on contractual negotiations, FAST20XX will design, develop and experimentally validate hybrid propulsion engines, other technologies and make a recommendation on safe air-launch separation from a carrier aircraft.
The hybrid propulsion would be for the suborbital vehicle, which is based on the unmanned automatic glide-and-landing Phoenix test vehicle developed by Germany's DLR aerospace centre and EADS Astrium. The vehicle would have six passengers and one pilot.
The hypersonic point-to-point transport system is the DLR space launcher systems analysis group's liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen-propelled concept vehicle called SpaceLiner.
It has two stages. The first is a large unmanned booster and the second a 50-passenger vehicle that piggies back on the first stage. The vertically launched Spaceliner would take less than 90min to fly a route from Europe to Australia. With a return flight once a day, DLR says the Spaceliner could be flown 150 times, with replacement engines needed every 25 flights.
FAST20XX is the latest in a line of at least half a dozen commercial spaceflight-related projects. European industrial and institutional interest stems from market studies that show a $700 million market by 2021 and Virgin Galactic's success in raising $40 million in ticket deposits and sales over the past three years despite there being no prospect of flights for at least another 18 months.
While EADS Astrium's space jet, unveiled at the 2007 Paris air show, is the most high-profile potential European competitor to Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo the European company's suborbital vehicle team is not involved in any EU or ESA projects despite the involvement of other parts of EADS. Astrium's space tourism programme manager Christophe Chavagnac told Flight International last October that he would only talk about spacejet once the company rolled it out.
FAST20XX follows the EU Sixth Framework Programme's 12-month, €127,000 space tourism-related Future High-Altitude Flight - an Attractive Commercial Niche? (Flacon) project. Ending in October 2007, this proposed a costed air launch demonstration. "A demonstration is possible and affordable," says Wilhelm Kordulla, who co-ordinated the Flacon project, but is handing over to ESA's Johan Steelant for FAST20XX."
If that is how Europe is going to respond to America's infant suborbital space tourism industry, the Nation better wake up. A vehicle like that could make our industry still born. Virgin Galatic's offering is a six passenger spacecraft and Xcor's Lynx is a single passenger spacecraft.
Both of these American offerings are straight up and down with no crossrange/downrange capability, well none that is advertised. I hope some of America's big aerospace companies take note and start jumping into the deep end of the pool and start investing in this industry before we are playing catch-up.
EADS Astrium's Space Plane: (official site)
"The EADS Astrium Space Tourism Project, also called EADS Astrium TBN according to some sources, has been officially unveiled in Paris by EADS Astrium, the space subsidiary of the European consortium EADS, on June 13, 2007. The project is the first space tourism entry by a major aerospace contractor. A scale one mock-up of the cockpit has been exhibited at the 2007 Paris Air Show and is now on display in the Concorde hall of the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace.
It is a rocket plane with a large wingspan, straight rearwards wing and a pair of canards. Propulsion is ensured by classical jet engines for the atmospheric phase and a methane - oxygen rocket engine for the space tourism phase. It can carry a pilot and four passengers. The dimensions and looks are somewhat similar to those of a business jet."
"Scaled Composites' Model 339 SpaceShipTwo (SS2) is a suborbital spaceplane for carrying space tourists, under development by The Spaceship Company, a joint venture between Scaled Composites and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, as part of the Tier 1b program. The Virgin Galactic spaceline plans to operate a fleet of five of these craft in passenger-carrying private spaceflight service starting late 2009 or early 2010."
Each time a new poll is created, I make a little mental note on how, I believe, it will turn out. This is a poll that went in favor of the exact opposite on where I thought it would. Yesterday's poll "Should President Obama pick a unified team or worry about the leader." Was about how should the President pick the new leadership for NASA. 52% of those DKOS members taking part in the poll said "Worry about the best leader first." with 39% wanting him to "Pick a unified team.". Only seven percent expressed no opinion.
STAR TREK: In the News.
"There's no doubt fiery redhead Jessica Sutta of the Pussycat Dolls is one stunning lady.
But, pictured leaving London nightclub Mahiki, she had a rather otherwordly look about her.
In fact, with her sucked-in cheeks, wide eyes and jutting chin, the 26-year-old bore more than a passing resemblance to Balok, an alien from the Star Trek television series in the 1960s."
"According to a commentor over at NASAWATCH
Spacenews is reporting that Alan Ladwig and George Whitesides are both being retained by the Obama administration.
Given that I haven't seen this, file it under "I heard it from a friend of a friend"
If they both are retained, it could prove very interesting." - Ferris Valyn
"A good leader will pick good people and an unified team will result.
Doing it the other way around - trying to pick a team first and then an administrator to oversee them - is a really good way to end up with a team that's not unified." - Black Knight
"Here is an interesting inside baseball comment that could help explain the "radio silence" concerning NASA:
I cannot possibly have an opinion on whether the scenario outlined below is true, but if it is true, this would be a plausible reason (IMHO) for the unnerving and continuing radio silence from the Obama Administration concerning the future direction of NASA. They may still be trying to get to the bottom of this, before setting a course.
And this is 100% intuition inspired speculation, by me.
Quote from: kraisee on Today at 04:11 AM
Yes, that actually was the Fluffy answer. Are you ready for the "Hard" answer?
Be seated. Unvarnished truth ahead.
Because Mike was so totally PO'd at Lockheed for promoting their Atlas wares because they were embarrassing to Ares-I. He was not willing to give them any more work and had in fact threatened -- apparently on multiple occasions -- to take the Orion project away from LM and give it to Boeing if they didn't shut up immediately and tow his "Ares is best" company line. I've now heard this from four separate people within ULA so I'm convinced its the truth.
Right up to the end Mike was playing hard-ball and the contractors were just taking it without a fight. I sure hope they will stand up now he's gone, they haven't got long before it will be simply too late.
The whole situation truly deserves a Congressional Investigation for the level of corruption which has been going on. But that would ruin the VSE entirely, so I can't actually support that. I just hope the new Administration can clean things up behind closed doors now that Mike is out of the picture.
Maybe the behind-the-scenes stuff is really complicated, making it difficult to chart a
course, yet." - Bill White
When asked what his company was involved in with NASA:
"No, electrical instrumentation we build custom microchips. And yes, the paperwork is quite a hassle, but thats not the worst part.
It has become clear in our dealings with NASA that our contact is less interested in science and results than in having something shiny to wave around as leverage in their internal political struggles over funding and whatnot. This results in conflicting and counterproductive instructions.
Also since everyone there has to scheme and hussle and horse-trade to get enough funding for their own pet project, they are always very slow to pay, and prefer to nickle-and-dime over a period of years rather than pony up to get shit done. Our funding often comes from strange sources, or is "borrowed" from funding allocated to another project.
All in all, I find working with them to be more trouble than it's worth, however having them as a client has undeniable prestige associated with it." - m4gill4