backtop


Print 40 comment(s) - last by FPP.. on Aug 7 at 1:56 AM

In the upcoming years, SpaceX has extremely high ambitions for space travel to Mars

The millionaire brainiac behind the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) program has high ambitions of future private space exploration. Founder Elon Musk seeks a trip to the Red Planet of Mars before NASA's mid-2030s current projected timeframe.

Of course, Musk and SpaceX have delayed projects and failed tests in the past, but have shown great promise in current projects. SpaceX also continues to collect funds from NASA and other contractors looking to help go into space.

NASA's interest on the private sector relies on the hope of being able to use the SpaceX Dragon as an astronaut ferry into space, while the Falcon Heavy can carry cargo. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy successfully broke the $1,000-per-pound-to-orbit barrier at a time when space industry experts thought it couldn't be done at the time.

NASA and the US federal government are relying more on private contractors to help in the future -- SpaceX and its rivals will be more than happy to pick up the research slack. The SpaceX Dragon capsule may be prepared for launch in the next five years, with thoughts also on manned mission to Mars. Until then, the company recently announced it will invest $30 million for Space Launch Complex 4-East, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base. 

It's believed up to 1,000 employees could be employed at the facility in the next four years. SpaceX plans to launch aircraft and test projects from the popular launching site, while competitors look for other launch sites.

The private space market is growing with even more companies trying to snag government funding -- and SpaceX will have to face the United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket, along with foreign-based projects.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Good thing
By TheCastle on 7/17/2011 7:30:33 AM , Rating: 2
Ah sorta. Space-X is getting most all of its funding from NASA, and is re-using NASA technology and designs in developing the rocket system.

NASA has always used private contractors to operate/build/maintain its space program. In fact the Space Shuttle Program was almost entirely operated by United Space Alliance, with the original intent that USA would take over running the space shuttles as a private contractor. This failed as NASA did not want to relinquish over site control of the Space Shuttles. USA even tried again recently to lobby congress to turn the shuttles over finally to private industry.

Space-X is simply a new contractor for NASA, just like Boeing, Lockheed martin, and United Space Alliance, designed, built and operated the space shuttles, Apollo, Gemini, ect under contract for NASA. NASA is just simply trying to foster some new companies because of their better lobbying efforts.

The reason why private industry has never sent people to space is that except for a very few tourist millionaires who pay the Russians for a Soyuz seat there is no profit from space. Space-X's whole business model is to do satellite launches and get paid by NASA to possibly send people to the space station. Which in the Past, NASA paid Boeing, Lockheed, USA to do the same thing with the space shuttles. Its really nothing new.

Not to rain on everyone's Parade.... But if Lockheed, Boeing, and USA have decades experience building, operating, and maintain very successful space craft systems. Why haven't they built their own space program, and started sending people into space without NASA contracts? Simple answer, there is no profit sending people into space. It costs too much money to make a human rated vehicle to recover it from tourism.

The big problem, outside of commercial satellites, no one has figured out how to make money out of space. This isn't arguing that the are benefits from developing technology to go into space. But NASA and its contractors have already invented most of it, so what is Space-X really offering as an innovation? Simply a cheaper process to do the same thing, but no new technology.


RE: Good thing
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/2011 6:22:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The big problem, outside of commercial satellites, no one has figured out how to make money out of space.


That's because space travel has been exclusively out of public hands since day one. Also it's an extremely high risk investment, one could say volatile.

I mean hell, I bet you could make a multi-billion dollar industry out of selling ridiculously priced jewelry and other nicknack items out of moon rocks. Think I'm crazy? Moon rocks have gone missing before, and it's rumored that just a small sized moon rock goes for 6 figures on the black market.

http://blog.silive.com/weather/2009/09/when_rocks_...

I think low orbit commercial travel is a dead end. The investment would be MASSIVE. But worst, as soon as someone comes out with another Mach 1+ commercial transport like the Concorde, you're put out of business pretty much.

quote:
Why haven't they built their own space program, and started sending people into space without NASA contracts?


Probably because even if they wanted to, they wouldn't be allowed to. The Government has made it's position pretty clear, they think they own space. They would cite "national security" or tie you up in so much red tape and litigation that it simply wouldn't be worth the investment.


RE: Good thing
By JediJeb on 7/18/2011 3:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Think I'm crazy? Moon rocks have gone missing before, and it's rumored that just a small sized moon rock goes for 6 figures on the black market.


I think in the US it is actually illegal to own a moon rock, that is why the black market figures are so high. There was a plaque given to each state back in the Apollo era with a small moon rock on it, some are now missing and the government keeps an eye on places like Ebay looking for anyone selling one. Most people don't even know they have something illegal who have them because someone in the state government gave it away or sold it a long time ago even though they were not supposed to.

I guess if a private company wanted to get around the US and other major nations control of space they could go somewhere like Honduras and build a space port, I'm sure a country like that would like the income from it. Maybe if we find an asteroid with a high gold content it would spark a space gold rush that would make it profitable for private companies to make the investment. Who knows, with the way the price of gold is currently going, it could happen.


RE: Good thing
By delphinus100 on 7/18/2011 8:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think in the US it is actually illegal to own a moon rock


No, not so much a moon rock, but NASA's moon rocks which, obviously, are government property. If you have the means to go get your own, go for it. There is no legal barrier that would prevent you. (Actual Lunar resource extraction is another matter, depending on how you interpret the 'common heritage of mankind' language of the Outer Space Treaty, to which the US is a signatory)

quote:
I guess if a private company wanted to get around the US and other major nations control of space they could go somewhere like Honduras and build a space port,


That's where you'd run into legal issues via ITAR:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Traffic...

...You simply aren't going to be able to move rocket technology out of the US like that. Even if you do all the R&D outside the US, you're bound by those laws, as long as you're a US citizen, no matter where you are.


RE: Good thing
By Laereom on 7/19/2011 11:04:34 AM , Rating: 1
Pff, forget gold.

The gold market would crash quite readily if you introduced a ton of it, because the demand for gold is ultimately driven by its scarcity; increasing the supply not only forces supply-side pressure on it, but people are also going to find it less attractive on the demand-side, as well.

Rare earth metals are where the money is at. They're in everything, they're damned expensive, they're becoming increasingly hard to obtain now that China is less willing to poison their population to obtain the stuff, and our demand for them is going to grow regardless of how much we find in the asteroids.

Indium is the shit. Fact.


RE: Good thing
By delphinus100 on 7/18/2011 7:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ah sorta. Space-X is getting most all of its funding from NASA...


Part of it, yes. SpaceX can and would go it alone, it would simply take longer...and end up paying the Russians that much more.

quote:
...and is re-using NASA technology and designs in developing the rocket system.


Right. This is one of the reasons NASA exists. To that extent, the system is working exactly as it should. In space and aeronautics.


RE: Good thing
By Laereom on 7/19/2011 11:00:27 AM , Rating: 2
You have a fairly accurate synopsis of the situation, but I'm going to add a bit.

Although NASA is currently SpaceX's largest customer, they only account for about 1/3 of their contracted revenue. Furthermore, they developed their spacecraft entirely on private equity, before any government funding flowed in.

Now, about the lack of profit motive to go into space...

Musk doesn't want or need it, and neither does his company. If he can break even, he'll do it. If he can make money doing commercial satellite launches and use that money to go further into space, he'll do that. In fact, he founded SpaceX because he wanted to go to Mars and he figured this was the cheapest way to do it. Musk has a purpose. To him, the goal isn't just "making money"; he had hundreds of millions of dollars before SpaceX. This company isn't a cash cow. It's the embodiment of the dreams of Elon Musk and his band of merry engineers.

That's why they'll succeed. Money works. Greed (I say that in a good way) is powerful. More powerful, however, is the kind of greed that seizes upon the dreams of the discontent, and that's precisely what drives SpaceX.


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki