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Frontier Astronautics

Tim Bendel is head of the company, based in Chugwater, Wyoming (they bought an old Atlas missile silo and set up shop in it, including housing).

They provide attitude control systems, engines, and test facilities to other startups. Describing their use of "state-space" controllers that solve a simultaneous set of differential equations, rather than classical ones, that allow a rapid seek/find of an optimal solution in real time. Had a demonstration at the X-Prize Cup last fall, using cold-gas thrusters, using it to balance a cone on end with air pulses. Showing a video of the demo. "Like balancing a broom on your finger." They gave the kids nerf balls to try to knock it over, to demonstrate its ability to respond to unexpected disturbances. Supplying systems to Masten Space for their attitude control.

Other company is "Speedup" which is building a Lunar Lander Challenge vehicle, which is a prototype for what they call a "flying motorcycle."

Also developing a 7500 lbf engine, and capabilities to design whole vehicles. In addition, they have engine test facilities. Sorry, I'm distracted by other things, but they do seem to have some interesting capabilities to other entrepreneurs. They seem to be one of the companies trying to make money by selling picks and pans to the miners.

Applying for spaceport license out of their facility, which has the support of the Wyoming Economic Development Council. It has a mile radius of empty space, so could provide a good test range for small vehicles that can't exceed that distance.

Posted by Rand Simberg at March 23, 2007 05:31 PM
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Wonder if that would have helped SpaceX?

Posted by Mike Puckett at March 23, 2007 05:42 PM

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