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Interorbital to compete for Bigelow prize

Posted by: koxinga - Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:34 am
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Interorbital to compete for Bigelow prize 
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Post Interorbital to compete for Bigelow prize   Posted on: Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:34 am
http://www.interorbital.com/

Not much except a simple statement on the main page. Vehicle will be the Neptune SLV.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:25 am
It's under www.xprizenews.org too now - and I would have wondered if they wouldn't have decided to enter the new competiton.

They couldn't get the XPRIZE but the “America’s Space Prize” will be much more important for them because of the amount of money as well as because of the possibility to prove their know how and the capabilities of their vehicle.

As they scheduled the first unmanned orbital test flight 2005 and the first orbital test flight of the manned or at least mannable vehicle 2006 they are a quite interesting competitor. And they will be a win for the new competition.

It would be fine if the former discussion of them is going to be relaunched here.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:53 am
Their chances seem to be increasing - SpaceX has moved the first Falcon I launch from the current quartal to the first quartal of 2005.

By the way - Interorbital's vehicle for America's Space Prize will be the Neptune OLV - not the SLV. The SLV is designed to launch satellites and is a testbed for the OLV - as I read at their site.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 25, 2004 3:14 am
I see Interorbital have also signed on Justin Houchin as the first teenager in space, he will be a astronaut/tourist, at 17 now he will be about 19 when he gets the go for launch.

As a fellow teenager (for at least now!) I say good on him and am a bit jealous to be honest!
Oh well, I still have a chance to be the first NZer in space! hehehe

Iain


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:13 am
The article "Space Tourism Firm Signs First Orbital Passenger" ( www.space.com/astronotes/astronotes.html ) provides the first news since long about Interorbital Systems.

According to that article they will do their first manned orbital flight by a downscaled vehicle within the next ten months or until 2008.

Obviously the vehicle doesn't qualify for the ASP yet - but what's said concerning it sounds as if it is one step to an ASP-vehicle - meant to do promotions.

What do you think?



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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 09, 2005 7:02 am
...


Last edited by whonos on Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:04 am
I've just been poking around interorbital's website and aside from a few engine tests on rocket motors they dont show or talk about any other actual hardware that they have produced (excluding a few propane taanks for Dick Rutan's balloon trip).

The biggest engines tested are 5000lb thrust, somewhat short of the required 460,000lb that they quote for their Neptune booster. There is also not much information on their smaller rocket Sea Star, now maybe I've been spoilt a bit by the likes of Armadillo and SpaceX but I would have expected some more detail.

Perhaps they are being secretive about what they are up to but I think the truth is that they are a long way behind other companies trying to make it to orbit. One would expect more information on Sea Star as it should be closer to production and will be easier to complete, like SpaceX they need to generate confidence in their product and fly something (or at least show they are making constant progress).

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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:25 am
Quote:
And now they're using liquid oxygen and methane in a single stage and a half to orbit design with altitude compensating nozzles?


I didn't know that yet - I should have a look at their website it seems.

Regarding the question if their supposed thinking would fit into the ASP rules there seems to be to much degree of freedom for interpretations perhaps.

The rules say "80% reusability" but where do they explicitly say that his has to be reusability as vehicle or booster or as launch-equipment? The question is what would happen if they succeed by their concept in putting a vehicle into orbit which qualifies for the ASP - and then Bigelow refuses to award them the ASP including its $50,000,000.

Since I am not that familiar with the american laws and the law system I refer to the german laws and law system. In Germany is valid what rules explicitly say - they mustn't be interpreted in a more narrow sense by applying implicit imaginations, images, ideas etc. If someone who has won a prize doesn't get it because of interpretations and implict meanings he didn't know before and the prize incliding significant cash is refused to him then he will apply the laws - he will hire an advocate who will urge the person or company who set the prize. If that doesn't succeed the case will go to the court.

At court it will be discussed and debated how the rule(s) can be interpreted and how it mustn't be interpreted. There will be one special criterion be applied - "Can be expected that each participant of the competiton will interprete the rules like the person/company who set the prize?", "Is there a commonly accepted implicit intrepretation of such rukes?"

If both questions are answered by "Yes" then it was right to refuse the prize - in the case of the ASP. If not then it mustn't be refused.

Regarding the XPRIZE everyone could compete who wanted - space companies as well as cclubs, private persons and the like. It is likely that the clubs and private persons can't know implicit interpretations commonly used in the industry or this special branch. So a refusal wouldn't be considered to be legal - and so the court would decide the prize has to be awarded.

Regarding the ASP I don't remeber any restriction to companies, space companies, industry, branch or the like. So each rich person could start to develop an orbital vehicle without being familiar with common interpretations od industry and branch. Such persons may understand the term "reusability" as "reusability as such". "reusability as such" means that the reusable objet max be reused for a different purpose than during the previous use.

For this reason I suppose that the courts would decide that the ASP has to be awarded to Interorbital Systems even if they reuse the orbiting stage for making it their own space hotel. There would be the alternative to sell it to Bigelow Aerospace for use as extension of Nautilus (if not for habitation then for adding a spaceport, a machine shop or something like that perhaps).

So far what I suppose would happen in Germany - I think the US law being not that different. But is known here that the reuslts at court tend to be more extreme and significantly different.

If Interorbital think they have won the prize I think it to be likely that they will hire an advocate and go to court - my informations from my last look at their homepage or to an article about them in 2004 are that they have a budget of around $4,000,000 only which $50,000,000 is 12,5 times of. This will hold too if they got much more funds in between.



It may be a quite difficult case and Bigelow may threaten the success of the Nautilus if he would refuse to award the prize to IOS.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 09, 2005 10:50 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Regarding the ASP I don't remeber any restriction to companies, space companies, industry, branch or the like. So each rich person could start to develop an orbital vehicle without being familiar with common interpretations od industry and branch. Such persons may understand the term "reusability" as "reusability as such". "reusability as such" means that the reusable objet max be reused for a different purpose than during the previous use.

For this reason I suppose that the courts would decide that the ASP has to be awarded to Interorbital Systems even if they reuse the orbiting stage for making it their own space hotel. There would be the alternative to sell it to Bigelow Aerospace for use as extension of Nautilus (if not for habitation then for adding a spaceport, a machine shop or something like that perhaps).

If Interorbital think they have won the prize I think it to be likely that they will hire an advocate and go to court - my informations from my last look at their homepage or to an article about them in 2004 are that they have a budget of around $4,000,000 only which $50,000,000 is 12,5 times of. This will hold too if they got much more funds in between.


I think that if interorbital produced a suitable craft for Bigelow's needs at a cheap enough cost then the qestion of reusability will be glossed over and it would not be in Bigelow's interest to withhold the prize. Also the potentially much more lucrative prospect of a ferry contract to a Bigelow orbital hotel will have to be considered by interorbital should they wish to sue (this could also be used as a lever by Bigelow to stop the formation of rival hotels).

Also I thought I read somewhere that launch companies are now required to de-orbit upper stages to stop Earth orbit getting cluttered. It seems to me that leaving a booster up there just in case someone wanted to convert it to a hotel at some point in the future would not be allowed. Is this correct or is it my imagination?

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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:01 pm
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Last edited by whonos on Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 09, 2005 4:03 pm
I think that the point is being missed here. It does not matter to Bigelow whether someone totally complies with the rules only that the competition produces a suitable craft for him. The rules are guides to what he is ideally looking for, if when the time is up nobody completely complies with every letter of them but companies have produced ships that he can use they will have served their purpose and he would probably award it or a percentage of it to a winner.

The great driver will be cost, if it is cheaper to throw away an upper stage with each flight then the spacecraft doing that will win. I havent looked but you will probably find a statement to the effect that Bigelow's decision is final when announcing a winner on their website somewhere. So people can object all they want but it will do no good. Can an athlete sue the Olympic Commision for the time and money they spend on training if the games were cancelled? Bigelow could cancel his competition at any time if he wanted without a problem (except he might not get his orbital craft of course).

The companies competing for the ASP were not formed purely for it, in most cases their websites talk about pushing boundaries and offering services nothing to do with Bigelow and so would be deemed not reliant on it if it did not exist. The ASP is an encouragement to the space industry to move in a certain direction that Bigelow wants, it does not make him liable for anything it chooses not to be. I'm not a lawyer but I dont think that the competition would be seen in the same way as a contract for launch services because the competitors enter with no guarantee of getting anything.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:45 pm
Stage-and-a-half systems like the early Atlas SCORE, shuttle ET and this concept allow for tankage to follow the payload into orbit. The Neptune is really a Sea Dragon type system. Maybe AERA's Sprague will be working for them now.

It kind of reminds me of a mini-Sea Dragon meets MOL type system, minus the hatch-thru-the-heat-shield' madness that MOL and the early ALMAZ/Salyut capsules would have faced.


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Post Actually...   Posted on: Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:32 pm
I'm doing a senior design project to make a theoretical competitor for the ASP. They don't say as much on their website, but in the packet they send competitors it says:

Well... damn. In the upper left-hand corner it says it's confidential and proprietary.

Anyway, let's just say that IOS had better reread the rules if they're sticking to that habitat thing, because they don't currently qualify as of 10 OCT 2005. whonos has basically the gist of it right.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:46 pm
Actually, I am really wondering that of IOS is doing anything right now
And you're right, I can only see some black-and-white small pictures of engine testing, I cannot find any evidence that they're really doing anything
Also, do you think that it is possible for them to launch first manned mission in 2008?
Think about it, 2008 is only the first year of Virgin Galactic operation
Remember this, Virgin Galactic is only SUBorbital


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:51 pm
They are looking for money. Same old song. I like their approach. We need more big pressure-feds.


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