Spaceport Vegas?

In theory, Vegas should be an ideal hub for space tourism, but what operators are they talking to? VG doesn’t have enough business to support Spaceport America as it is, and it would be a real punch in the gut to the poor citizens in New Mexico who paid taxes to build it if they pulled up stakes for Vegas. Maybe New Shepard could fly out of there, but it’s not a vehicle with enough tempo to justify it. Is there someone else (finally) working on a practical suborbital vehicle?

51 thoughts on “Spaceport Vegas?”

  1. Spaceport Vegas would have the advantage of being able to check your odds of safe arrival prior to departure…

    1. +51 (area)

      I passed through Parumph NV on vacation when Art was still doing his show. Didn’t stop by. Figured he probably had had enough stalkers. Didn’t get lunch there either. Having the ASPCA Hospital right next to the McDonalds I took as a bad sign.

      1. Having the ASPCA Hospital right next to the McDonalds

        Nye Country Veterinary Hospital in Pahrump NV. I run on glitch memory. Google Maps shows it’s still there, so’s the McDs next door. Therefore I assume services still needed and business remains good. Draw your own implications…

  2. Yeah, well, I’m gonna go build my own spaceport, with blackjack and hookers! In fact, forget the spaceport.

  3. Jackass Flats would be a nice location for an inland Starship pad. Any operational fully reusable LV should not be restricted to the coasts. Increasingly, air traffic control will be the issue, and disrupting the east coast air and ship traffic will get in the way.

    1. *click* UsAir 183 traffic above at 60, turn left heading 238.
      5 seconds later
      *click* United 103 traffic above at 30, turn right head 127.
      3 seconds later
      *click* Eagle Air turn right to 138, descend and maintain 12,000 traffic above at 15, expect some turbulence.

  4. So twenty years from now where will the SpaceX commercial launchers be located? Serious question. Will it even be in the US given the regulatory BS?

          1. To clarify, partially submerged launches, or up on the platform?

            Just gathering info for future sci-fi books:-)

      1. SpaceX needs to court Ecuador, for launch rights from Isla Genovesa in the Galapagos.

        A great harbor (Great Darwin Bay), and a volcanic lake to put his lair under. And the rest of the island is pretty much volcanic rock

        And pretty much on 0-N, 90W,+Ecuador/@0.3153854,-89.9805255,7409m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m6!3m5!1s0x9aaa92ee319f2cbf:0x95bebc63839846f2!8m2!3d-0.9537691!4d-90.9656019!16zL20vMDM2NjBi?entry=ttu

  5. I ask that, given how Musk is setting up factories in various countries in Europe and China.

  6. Follow on question. What site seems most likely? Carribean? Pacific off Central America, or perhaps Atlantic off Brazil since there is plent of time befor launch reache Africa or Europe.

    1. Caribbean isn’t equatorial. Multiple platforms in eastern Atlantic and Eastern Pacific. Maybe also east of Africa and east of India. Spaced around the globe.

        1. You never leave the Starship BTW. The equatorial part is just to attach to the SuperHeavy for orbital launch. It’s NYC to orbit via Equatorial Platform 45W at 0N 45W. 1 hr flight to equator, 30min flight to orbit. 2 to 32 hours to destination in orbit?

          Will you get a bathroom break while Starship is on the chopsticks?

          1. Sure but you still need to reach the equatorial platforms. You could fly via conventional jet but why? It’s so much quicker via Starship. There’s practically no reason to do otherwise.

            It’d by like taking the train from Boston to NYC in order to fly to Miami because jets only fly to/from NYC. Now some people would do that to save money, most will just wait for the bargain fare from Jet Blue and chuck the wait.

          2. I think you miss my point. It’s not P2P Earth. Its two hop P2Orbit. With one hop being to the equatorial platform. Final destination to orbit. If you don’t have enough DeltaV you reverse the process for a trip back to Earth. Otherwise you just land direct to your destination city via Starship.
            Makes sense right?

          3. Yes, if there is a launch platform convenient to you. For the return, you have to go back through an equatorial platform, because Starship from ELEO won’t be able to get to any high/lower latitude platforms.

          4. Although for sight-seeing vacationers, you’d want a higher inclination orbit. ELEO is pretty boring to look down upon.

  7. Nevada seems to have no problems spending taxpayer money to lure sports franchises from other states, why not a space port, too?

    1. Well, if a launch goes bad at Boca Chica or the Cape not much collateral damage. Slightly more at SpacePort America.

      Pahrump? Err, Las Vegas, Barstow?

  8. The old dream days of barnstorming suborbital space tourism were killed decades ago by FAA launch licensing requirements, which made getting into suborbital space tourism at any level just as expensive as developing a regional airliner – without any requirements on safety of passengers – on top of developing a market for “travel with no destination.”

    It’s an industry aborted by government, and its proponents and “pioneers” still don’t realize how gone it has been for years.

    1. How about a Federal law that mandates that the FAA cannot impose stricter requirements for crewed launchers than NASA imposes on itself for crewed launchers? Since nobody really understands what commercial orbital operations really entail yet? But NASA gets a pass because? They offer better life insurance plans via the Astronaut Office?

      1. I’m not talking about safety of people on board. FAA/AST only has jurisdiction over safety of people on the ground, and they apply the principles of “range safety” to meet an arbitrary requirement of risk of casualties to the “uninvolved public.” If every other mode of transportation required that each trip needed to prove ahead of time that no member of the uninvolved public would be harmed by that mode of transportation, there would be no other modes of transportation.

        We all opposed FAA “certification” requirements for human-carrying rockets, thinking that the cost would prohibit the development of things like space tourism. What we didn’t think about (enough) was the enormous, stupendous, overwhelming cost of “proving” that each flight of our rocket wasn’t going to harm some bystander. To repeat, no other mode of transportation would exist today had it started under that rule.

        1. So you are suggesting that Spaceport Vegas or any inland space port is likely just a pipe dream?

        2. I believe FAA “harm to the uninvolved public” regs for space launch do not mandate a probability value of zero, but only one low enough to be in line with other extant forms of transportation – mainly commercial aircraft, I suspect, as all other transport modes are appreciably more dangerous to the uninvolved. But even commercial flight yields incidents like Cerritos back in the mid-80s on occasion.

          The promoter of this whole Vegas Spaceport thing is planning to start off with an executive airport and add the spaceport pieces a few years later. In the local news clip at the link he refers to spaceplanes and mentions Radian as a possible service provider.

          Radian is looking to build a pretty large SSTO spaceplane that would launch from a horizontal rocket sled – very When Worlds Collide-ish in Radian’s CGI video. Given that operational mishaps of such a system would likely strongly cluster at takeoff and landing – as is also the case with aviation – putting the spaceport a decent distance from serious habitation seems likely to keep the potential harm to the uninvolved numbers low enough to pass muster.

  9. It would be cool to see the rise of Papua New Guinea into a space faring nation. What an exciting history they have as one of Earth’s oldest peoples.

    1. They’d make a tough competitor. Likely to eat the competition….

      Did I just say that?

  10. Rand,

    On the matter of what operators are being talked to, the Vegas spaceport promoter says he’s talking to several potential spaceplane operators and mentioned Radian specifically. Radian is working on a pretty large SSTO design. So it seems suborbital operators are not his first priority – or perhaps any priority. The long-suffering taxpayers of New Mexico are probably safe from any Vegas-based poaching attempts.

  11. Rand, did you ever publish that write-up of your ELEO concept? I’d still like to read it. I get the part about it happening in the era of massive fuel lift, but I’m, still not sure the rest of it isn’t a variant of the Ocean Airport idea from ca. 1930. How many of us remember “Tom Swift and his Ocean Airport?” I’m more of a Tom Swift, Jr. guy, born in 1950, but I have parts of my father’s and grandfather’s collections, which have just emerged for 15 years’ storage. “Tom Swift and his Motor-Cycle!”

      1. C’mon Rand. Kickstarter it if you have to. This is really important. Probably more so than Safe Is Not An Option….

      2. I think ocean launch needs cheap floating breakwaters.
        And the floating breakwater can also make good surfing waves.

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