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Faster, Cheaper And Better

Here's a long, but interesting article about SpaceX and Elon Musk.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 04, 2005 02:48 PM
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Interesting that they interviewed Andy Beal. I hadn't heard him be quoted in quite some time.

Posted by Frank Johnson at February 4, 2005 04:51 PM

Speaking of Beal, didn't he try this before? Got his engine designed and working, too.

Well, I wish those guys luck in finding jobs in a couple of years when Musk has to lay them off. I wish I wasn't so cynical about their chances.

Posted by Astrosmith at February 5, 2005 05:39 PM

I think he's probably going to successfully reach orbit.

The problem is the timelag between reaching orbit and creating a market- just because he can reach orbit for a low price, doesn't mean anyone will pay him to do that for some years. If Musk can hold in there for up to 5 years, then he could make it big. One problem is that 5 years is enough for competitors to build their own launchers...

It might be different if his vehicle was manned; space tourism is going to be big.

Posted by Ian Woollard at February 6, 2005 07:38 AM

I suspect after a good launch or two, Musk will have an IPO to raise capital to help stave off the wolves.

Posted by Mike Puckett at February 6, 2005 08:41 AM

Musk can personally afford all the development costs. When you factor in the fact that with 30% seed money you can get the 70% loan to do almost any scheme, no matter how risky.....

The hints at a big booster sound interesting...

Posted by at February 7, 2005 03:57 AM

Sounds like he has the money and development culture to succeed at low cost a la Skunkworks style.

I'm an optimist on this one.

Posted by Kevin Parkin at February 7, 2005 07:41 AM

Beal did try this before, or at least something like it. He didn't get as far as Musk has. Moreover, there was something odd going on there -- he destroyed his technology, IIRC, rather than sell it to anyone when he folded (and made excuses about NASA driving customers away).

Frankly, Musk's start-even-smaller approach just seems more reasonable. Taking the Falcon I prototype to the quad in Washington was a stroke of genius, IMO. Invaluable publicity, *and* stroking the egos of the major customer for launchers in that class (the government).

Posted by Paul Dietz at February 7, 2005 09:30 AM

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