Space Access

I was remiss in not posting much from the conference, but Clark Lindsey has some thoughts in the aftermath, with a lot of links. My impression? It wasn’t as exciting as last year, when Gwynne Shotwell came and not only gave a speech but answered questions. I think that both SpaceX and XCOR weren’t there in force this year (the latter for the first time, though ably represented by Mark Street) because they’re busy building hardware that will reduce the cost of access to space.

3 thoughts on “Space Access”

  1. Tsk, Rand – you’re getting jaded. I tried to get Elon to launch the next COTS test flight out of the parking lot for you, but he said, no, he had a prior commitment… I think Clark has it right; the real action this year is with a whole range of outfits getting very close to rolling out significant capabilities – SpaceX (and Orbital) aside, there’s a good chance four different reusable suborbital outfits will have made it to a hundred kilometers and back by sometime next year (some of them very likely sooner) and that’s far from all that’s going on. Keep an eye on Space Florida’s draft rules for the Nanosat Launch Challenge due out next week, for instance – I like the way they seem to be approaching that; $3 million in prize money split up $1.5m first, $1m second, $500K third for two nanosat launches in seven days has a real chance of motivating some serious near-term efforts from our community, I’d say. Some of the low-cost capabilities coming along are amazing. The people that won’t be surprised by a lot of the developments coming soon are the ones who caught the conference.

  2. There was a couple of good presentations on Red Dragon at Earth and Space 2012 yesterday. But then there are always a lot of NASA folks at the ASCE conferences so I am not surprise that SpaceX was there.

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