Space Access Update #134 12/31/13
Copyright 2013 by Space Access Society
In this Issue:
- 2014: Cautious Optimism
- Space Access '14 Conference News
We're cautiously optimistic
about the coming year. We've been pushing radically cheaper reusable space
transportation for over twenty years now, and it begins to look like we might
finally be winning. Multiple commercial groups with the resources and
talent to fly practical reusable rockets now obviously get it, and the
government (for the moment at least) is allowing them to get on with it.
Mind, that is cautious optimism. This is a high-risk business; things will go wrong, sometimes spectacularly so. Moreover, rule number one of any project is, it will take longer and cost more than planned. The last few years illustrate far too clearly that this goes doubly so for advanced aerospace vehicle projects.
Yet, eventually, advanced
aerospace vehicles do fly. We look for
the current two reusable human-carrying commercial space vehicles in flight
test (Falcon 9R/Dragon and SpaceShip2) to double to four in 2014. XCOR
Lynx will almost certainly see first flight (though we'd fail to be shocked if,
like SS2, it does so with something short of its final propulsion system.) And going out on a limb based on their recent
test of a reusable engine through a full nominal VTVL reusable flight sequence,
we wouldn't be at all surprised if Blue Origin has that engine flying in some
sort of testbed this coming year.
Good things are worth waiting for, and now it looks like they're finally starting to arrive. It'll still take a while - we don't expect any of these four to carry their first paying passengers in 2014 - but some if not all will get there.
So, be of good cheer in 2014. And a Happy New Year to all!
Space Access '14 Cancelled
I very much regret to announce that, due to circumstances arising that will require a great deal of my time in coming months, this April's Space Access conference is cancelled. We'll be contacting those who paid for advance SA'14 registrations at SA'13 about refunds this week. (If you haven't heard from us by this weekend, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line SA'14 Refund.)
Henry Vanderbilt, Space Access '14 Conference Manager
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"Reach low orbit and you're halfway to anywhere in the Solar System"
- Robert A. Heinlein