[FPSPACE] Study backs COTS[Scanned by MAIL]
Matula, Thomas L.
MATULAT at uhv.edu
Mon Feb 12 18:53:55 EST 2007
Its a very long road from development to operations. And I have never heard Jeff Bezos say anything about the X-Prize inspiring Blue Origins. Indeed he has had nothing to do with it and has always claimed the Apollo missions inspired him. So if he succeeds it wouldn't be because of the X-Prize but in spite of it. But like the Launch Purchases Act you will probably claim victory even if their is no victory to claim.
As for the rest of your paragraph, it sounds a lot like the whistling in the dark that orbital RLV folks were saying when promoting their plans in the 1990's, or was the financial failure of Iridium and Global Star just "bad luck" and not the mobile phone market simply passing them by.
I know the alt.space community has convinced itself suborbital tourism is the next big thing, but I see it as best as only a detour on the road to space commerce. The really sad thing is that in pursuit of space tourism inspired by the X-Prize these firms are actually passing by real near-term markets for suborbital services, ones that don't need crewed craft or the steep (and expensive) learning curve that goes with crewed spacecraft. In that sense the X-Prize might have actually set the development of space commerce back by setting it out to follow the wrong trail.
Like I said its not popular saying the emperor has no clothes, but in the real world of business you need to separate the hype from the reality when doing your analysis. I see the alt.space hype feeding on itself in this area as a classic case to illustrate the idea to my graduate students and by doing so hiding real marketing opportunites.
This paragraph is both incorrect and internally inconsistent.
There is little doubt that, barring catastrophic
bad luck, there will likely be some sort of
suborbital tourism market in the next few years.
And given that the current participants all
attribute the X-Prize as a key catalyst, it would
take elaborate sophistry to argue that the
X-Prize failed in its intent of spurring
development of passenger spacecraft. Especially
given the reality that, well, passenger spacecraft are being developed.
At 10:47 AM 2/12/2007, Matula, Thomas L. wrote:
>If the X-Prize was supposed to start a
>sub-orbital tourist industry it appears to have
>failed. Today there are only three viable firms,
>Blue Origins that has had nothing to do with the
>X-Prize, Virgin Galactic which may commericalize
>Burt Rutan's airframe design and
>Kistler/Rocketplane, which is being swallowed by
>its COTS commitments (BTW alt.space advocates
>have been strangely quiet on how Kistler has
>brought in ATK who is building the Ares I as
>their lead contractor for COTS.). All have dates
>for the first passenger flights that are receding into the future.
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