Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rocketing Toward the Future of Space





Wow! Have any of you heard about this annual X-prize cup and the new rocket racing league? I just now read about it and I am really excited. Apparently this is a continuation of last years X-prize which I’m sure you all remember Spaceship-1 winning. Well this event is to be held every year and it is meant to really ignite a flame under the potential powder keg of the private space industry.

The event will consist of rocket planes racing on a vertical 3-D track. The plan is that these races will eventually be held all over the world at small airfields and will become a global sport resulting in technological advances in rocketry that will fuel an emerging space industry.

After last years flight of Spaceship-1 I was so excited about the prospects of a private space industry but then there seemed to be a major stall. I hadn’t heard hardly any news but speculation about what might happen down the road. Finally a concrete plan emerges.

So it would seem that we now have three distinct programs going on simultaneously: centralized government planning (NASA etc.), the space elevator, and the space tourism industry. NASA’s plans don’t excite me too much. If in 2018 we’re still trying to put men on the moon with multi-stage chemical rockets then something went terribly wrong (I guess NASA never heard of technological evolution much less exponentially accelerating evolution). The space elevator is about the coolest thing I ever heard of but we will probably have to wait at least a decade before we see construction begin. For the present that leaves the private space industry as our greatest hope for actual real progress that is unhindered by centralized government planning. I expect this emerging private industry will unleash the most powerful force on earth, which is the triad of Science, Capitalism, and Democracy – a.k.a the American Way.

1 Comments:

The space elevator is about the coolest thing I ever heard of but we will probably have to wait at least a decade before we see construction begin.

Yes and no. The ribbon material is the big pole in our tent of course but a number of smaller poles need to be erected before we can put up the circus tent. We'll be busy working on those (for example our lifter) in the meantime.

Nothing exciting, nor dramatic. Just steps to take, tests to run and tech to build. Lay enough stones down and you'll build that staircase by golly.

By Blogger Brian Dunbar, at 4/10/05 13:38  

Post a Comment

<< Home