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Who is or will be in the lead and who in the hunt?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:38 am
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Who is or will be in the lead and who in the hunt? 
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Post Who is or will be in the lead and who in the hunt?   Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:38 am
SpaceX has scheduled several launches of Falcon I but the first is moved to the first quartal of 2005. A launch of Falcon V is scheduled too. But none of the launches is manned and nothing is reusable except the first stage.

Interorbital Systems has scheduled beginning of test launches only but explicitly has scheduled the beginning test launches of mannable vehicle for 2006. But they don't say nothing about reusability of parts of Neptune in the Neptune section of theier website.

JP Aeropsace say they will be ready in seven years.

Nothing concrete is known about Scaled's plans and concept.

Armadillo Aerospace still is working on a suborbital craft.

Microspace only did switch over to orbital but didn't say anything about participation in this competition.

It seems to me that SpaceX is in the lead really and Interorbital is in the hunt but this might change slightly.

Which teams are to be added and which of them might provide a surprise?



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 9:59 am
Too early to say. Still remember the Discovery documentary afew years back when a confident Kelly Aerospace predicting that KST will roll over the competition? 8)


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:05 am
I didn't know of the XPRIZE competition before this year.

The reason to open the discussion on this topic are the threads discussing each team of its own. Another reason are the public thoughts of Scaled/Mojave and Armadillo.

So a comparison from time to time will be interesting I think.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:33 pm
Starchaser are also in there with a shout - they have probably the most advanced rocket technology of anyone in the private space business after SpaceX.

I don't think SpaceX will compete by themselves, but it is quite likely they will team up with someone else - SpaceX providing the launch capability, someone else doing the human bit. After all, they are a commercial launch company, and there is little or no reason for them to try to compete directly for something like this prize.

I think anyone would be stupid to count Scaled out. They've proven to be far far ahead of everyone else in the X Prize, they already have funding for future development (thanks to Branson), so I would say that it is only a matter of time before they get to orbit.

Personally, I expect a lot of new teams will start up seperately for this prize, I don't think it will bear all that much resemblence to the X Prize. A few teams will carry over, but mostly it will be all new.

That is of course, assuming Bigelow ever gets around to officially setting it up. Right now it's just a whole load of rumour and speculation.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:03 pm
Yes, I missed to list Starchaser but it was because they despite their advanced technology haven't had a suborbital launch yet - at least I didn't hear of one yet. What may be the reason?



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 22, 2004 3:19 pm
Because they under went a complete redesign of the X-Prize vehicle last year. The original Starchaser vehicle was quote 'over-engineered' end quote. The original Starchaser design is more like what Burt Rutan is trying to do with the SS2/Richard Branson contract. A smaller vehicle, the Thunderstar is good enough for their X-Prize attempt. OT, they are one of the teams scheduled to launch by next year. The other team would be Canadian Arrow.

I dunno about these two teams going orbital. I know technology wise, it is entirely possible for them to scale up. But, they may not yet have the funding and is still very dependent on their existing sub-orbital designs to fly first, convince folks and get some commercial flights underway before they may be able to think orbital.


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