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and NASA (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414257)

dies a little on the inside...

Re:and NASA (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29414387)

fta:

Two Interorbital Systems test pilots---Nebojsa Stanojevic, a 'Tweeting' Serbian, and Miroslav Ambrus-Kis, [vid], a 'Tweeting' Croatian

I think we all just died a little on the inside.

Re:and NASA (2, Insightful)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414495)

Until the first mishap. Private enterprise and investors can't survive the impact of things going wrong. Look at the numbers and you'll see an awefull lot of private satellite launchers go belly up shortly after a bad launch. The profit margins are just too thin to weather the downturn.

Re:and NASA (5, Insightful)

Forge (2456) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414849)

True. Just like in the old days it was tough to stay in the shipping business after your ship sank.

Understand that once you start the countdown on a rocket most of the money has already been spent (90% to 99% in my estimation) If that blows up without delivering the results that get you payed (satellite in orbit etc...) your business is dead and your creditors crying. That's life.

What is a real problem is that NASA got to be so large and wealthy a bureaucracy that they were able to under employ most of the best rocket scientists for over a generation. Then put their ideas throgh such rigorous scrutiny that nothing new got built. Until finally rickety old space trucks (Challenger etc...) blew up and took people with them.

Re:and NASA (2, Insightful)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414967)

Then put their ideas throgh such rigorous scrutiny that nothing new got built. Until finally rickety old space trucks (Challenger etc...) blew up and took people with them.

I am trying to fathom how you can lambaste Nasa for being too rigourous with their safety scrutiny in one sentence, then complain that they blew up (insinuating that they weren't rigourous enough) in the following one.

Re:and NASA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29415177)

I think the issue here is NASA "appeared" to be rigorous with safety, but it was really just bureaucracy pretending to care while not really doing anything to improve conditions/equipment.

Re:and NASA (2, Interesting)

hachete (473378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415187)

Hating NASA is like a religion these days. Anything NASA does is bad. No matter. Kinda makes you look a fool, though, when you start letting it warp your logic.

Re:and NASA (1)

whopub (1100981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418209)

Hating NASA is like a religion these days. Anything NASA does is bad. No matter.

That's what they get for using MS software.

Incidently, I gotta ask, what comes after Karma: Terrible, even when harmless jokes are involved?

Re:and NASA (1)

Z1NG (953122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418753)

iirc isn't it recommended that moderation be primarily positive and disagreeing with a comment isn't grounds for modding it Flamebait. Sometimes I see a comment modded like this and realize that it must be a sad little power trip for someone.

Re:and NASA (5, Insightful)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415227)

He is implying that, by vetoing all new ideas by way of ridiculously over-optimistic design standards, they've been stuck using ancient technology for far longer than is safe, economic, or reasonable.

The irony of the situation shouldn't be lost on anyone.

Re:and NASA (4, Informative)

Forge (2456) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415849)

Thank you.

I was going to respond but you cleared it up better than I ever could.

Space travel is inherently dangerous. (Do I have to spell out why on Slashdot?). By trying to force enginears to eliminate rather thasn mitigate the danger NASA has taken far longer than it should to design an improved replacement for the shuttle.

By Improved I mean:
0. lower Construction cost
1. lower cost for throwaway components (boosters etc...)
2. Lower fuel consumption per payload/passenger pound.
3. Lower cost of serviceing between missions.
4. Shorter prep time for flight.
5. Larger cargo bay.
6. Less likely to blow up under stress. etc...

It's not that nobody came up with anything better than the existing shuttle in those years. It's just that none of the improved models met NASA's upgraded standards. Put another way, You are stuck driving an old Corolla because the best replacement anyone has proposed is Camry and your bosses want nothing less than an Armored Roles Royce Limousine that runs on solar and has a self driving AI.

Re:and NASA (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416101)

Similar to the reason that we don't see many new power plants these days. Old plants were grandfathered in after safety and environmental laws were enacted. New plants are held to much higher standards.

So we just have to get by on the old and busted plants which spew tons of junk in the air.

What? (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417329)

No new powerplants? They are going in daily, just new designs that don't burn coal. They are called windchargers and the commercial ones are a megawatt to 2.5 megawatt, and they are designing even larger ones, both for onshore and offshore use. Going up all over the planet. And they are building a variety of both solar thermal commercial sized plants, and even a few quite large solar PV plants, and who knows how many smaller home sized systems go in daily, which will give us eventually millions and millions of points of production, not just a thousand controlled by bigelectroco.. These are new paradigm powerplants, just like all these new private space projects are pushing the envelope there as well.

When it comes to both energy, and space travel, and biotech, these are *exciting times*, after being stuck in the doldrums for a few decades.

Re:What? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418227)

Wow!

2.5 MW.

That's really going to replace those 1,000 MW single nuclear reactors.

Do you think we can fit 1350 of those windcharger things into Lower Alloways Creek Township?

Re:What? (0)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418725)

I use 1MW a month at home, so I'm not terribly impressed by wind farms either.

I use electric forced-air heat, and it's running me $120 / month. Cheap cheap cheap!

Re:What? (2, Informative)

CecilPL (1258010) | more than 4 years ago | (#29419087)

I use 1MW a month at home No you don't. You use 1MWh per month, or 1.4 KW. A watt is a measure of power - ie, the rate at which energy is being used. A 60 watt bulb uses 60 watts when it's on and no watts when it's off. A watt-hour is a measure of the total energy used (one watt for an hour), which is what you're billed for.

A 2.5MW plant running at capacity a month produces 1.8 GWh of energy (roughly $180,000 worth where I live).

Re:and NASA (0)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415311)

The point was that NASA continued to use the Shuttle far beyond it's intended service life because it was a nice safe tried-and-tested system, rather than developing new and untested (and thus 'risky') launch systems to replace it. And nowit;s bitten them in the ass with the Shuttle feet becoming unmaintainable in it's old age (a bolt recently got stuck between two window panels. This may permanently ground that shuttle as they have no way to replace or repair the windows if they prove unable to remove the bolt or if too much damage has occurred already) and with nothing sufficient to replace it.

Re:and NASA (5, Informative)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415445)

I fail to see how the Challenger disaster can be attributed to using the shuttle far beyond its intended service life when it was merely 3 years old... As for the bolt, the shuttle in question is Atlantis. The bolt has already been removed and the window certified safe for flight. But good work with the uninformed hysteria.

Re:and NASA (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415647)

If that blows up without delivering the results that get you payed (satellite in orbit etc...) your business is dead and your creditors crying. That's life.

That's life if you're a private company. If Inter-orbital has some catastrophic failure that sinks the whole company, it's not that big a deal in the big picture. Failure is an option for a private company - it's just not a very attractive option.

Re:and NASA (3, Insightful)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415481)

Private enterprise and investors can't survive the impact of things going wrong.

I agree with you, but I've been very impressed with SpaceX's persistence. I think that most of the private launchers will fail, but the lucky/persistent ones might actually pull it off. Presumably, each of them is convinced that they're the lucky ones.

Re:and NASA (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416703)

It works both ways though - the harder it is to make it happen, the bigger are usually the payoffs when you make it because competitors can't copy you easily. It's after all a big cost/benefit decision under uncertainty.

Re:and NASA (3, Insightful)

RockyPersaud (937868) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415539)

That's right. Businesses have never killed people in the pursuit of profit.

Re:and NASA (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415743)

When the business is the people who are paying you it's not a very good business practice to kill them off. Collateral damage/killing is completely different.

Re:and NASA (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418355)

When the business is the people who are paying you it's not a very good business practice to kill them off.

Um ... tobacco? Alcohol? Fast food? Automobiles? The corporate world has never shown any aversion to killing its customers if it thinks it can get new ones to replace the ones who've died.

Re:and NASA (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416099)

Stuff happens. The first automobile wrecks may have delayed what we see today by a few years. The first trucking companies to experience disastrous wrecks may have slowed things down - a few months? The wrecked aircraft of yesteryear caused government to get involved in licensing and so forth. But, stuff happens.

I am thrilled that people are actually doing something that should ultimately prove useful. NASA is a dinosaur that failed to live up to it's expectations. Let's move forward.

Re:and NASA (-1, Flamebait)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417027)

How much of a pathetic 'libertarian' do you have to be to think that NASA has 'failed' and that Interorbital are going to 'move forward'? Please put your money where you mouth is, and book a ride on the rocket that private enterprise built. Your eulogy will be a fucking hoot.

Re:and NASA (3, Informative)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415837)

Trust me on this, NASA is dying laughing on the inside. 'Interorbital Systems' are a joke amongst serious minds in the space industry; they are constantly making grandiose claims yet have never fielded any hardware that couldn't simply be bought off the shelf. They are always a short amount of time from some 'amazing' breakthrough - but to put this in perspective, their nominated 'first teenager in space' is now in his twenties.

The idea that private enteprise is simply 'better' - an idea rubbished by experiences with healthcare, banking, transport, energy supply, and many other things - is blinding you to how clearly absurd these people are.

Re:and NASA (3, Interesting)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418269)

While I'm not going to address you argument about the private space endeavors - they were and are a bit grandiose in their claims - but the industries you chose as examples of private enterprise are probably four of the most regulated industries in the US economy. Saying that the results of these industries is representative of a free market is laughable.

FWIW, I work in transportation, and it is becoming less regulated over time - and it is more stable than any of the other three.

Re:and NASA (1)

Carbaholic (1327737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418285)

NASA usually contracts private contractors to do their work.

They don't design or build much of anything themselves.

Re:and NASA (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418333)

Yes I fear this has all the validity of the Moller flying car. I am not saying that private enterprise can not do it better and cheaper than NASA but this is at best a pipe dream.
Maybe we need a new saying for the 21st century. Renderings are cheap, hardware is real.
SpaceX is far more interesting. They have flown the Falcon I to orbit and seem to have an optimistic but well thought out test program for the Dragon/Falcon 9.

Re:and NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29415971)

GOOD. The sooner the AmeriKKKans are out of space, the better. Let civilized countries take over.

Re:and NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29417541)

Croatia is the epitome of civilized.

Took them long enough (1)

Ryand-Smith (1488077) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414277)

For private spaceflight, this is a big deal, if this pans out NASA might come a nocking for ISS trips since Japan can move Cargo..

Re:Took them long enough (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414407)

For private spaceflight, this is a big deal, if this pans out NASA might come a nocking for ISS trips since Japan can move Cargo

NASA already has a contract with Space-X and Orbital Sciences to move cargo to the ISS [space.com] . No need to go knocking on IOS' or Japan's door.

Re:Took them long enough (2, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416013)

NASA will be asking the Church of Scientology for a lift before these jokers.

The fact is, the private sector does not have a real role in the ISS; Russia can handle the people and Europe the cargo for less money, and can do it right now, than US private enterprise. The only reason SpaceX got a sniff of a contract (when their unproven Dragon capsule being less capable and less value for money than ATV) is because the US government is pushing NASA to go for US private companies even when they aren't the best at their job; thus negating the supposed advantage of private enterprise.

Re:Took them long enough (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418053)

The Dragon capsule is more capable than the ATV module in two important respects. First, it is designed to ferry people. Second, because it is designed to ferry people, it is capable of bringing cargo down from the ISS. The ATV, the Russian Progress, and the Japanese HTV are all incapable of doing that.

Not Astronauts! (5, Funny)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414283)

Those names don't sound like Astronauts... they sound suspiciously like... Cosmonauts! ;)

Re:Not Astronauts! (2, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414345)

Those names don't sound like Astronauts... they sound suspiciously like... Cosmonauts! ;)

No, according to the TFA, they are "Tweeting Experienced Explorers".

Whatever the Hell that happens to be.

Re:Not Astronauts! (4, Informative)

janek78 (861508) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414389)

Nebojsa is a perfect name for someone attempting a feat like this - it translates as "Fear not".

Re:Not Astronauts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29414481)

It's Neboja, and it does not translate to anything. "Ne boj se" does.

Re:Not Astronauts! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29414625)

Ah, Slashdot, hater and destroyer of non-ASCII characters since the dawn of time.

Let's transliterate: "Nebojsha".

Re:Not Astronauts! (-1, Flamebait)

wiggles (30088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414593)

How ironic that the Russian free market system can produce a feat like this, and our socialist system needs to struggle to meet our responsibilities to the ISS.

Re:Not Astronauts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29415057)

offtopic douche bag. not only does it have nothing to do with the thread, but you are trying to turn this into a political issue, which its not.

Re:Not Astronauts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29415087)

What are you talking about? TFA says: "Mojave, California-based Interorbital Systems (IOS) announced Saturday that it is developing a two-person orbital crew module..."

Re:Not Astronauts! (4, Insightful)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415273)

***gets out the bag of troll food*** What the hell are you talking about?

did you even READ the article?

The company is based in the mojave desert in CALIFORNIA! Just because the people they choose to employ are former members of the russian cosmonaut program does not mean this is a product of a "russian free market"

As a matter of fact, AFAIK so far all the MAJOR private space ventures are HQ'd in the US precisely because of the freedom afforded by the market.

Take your politics elsewhere or save them for political topics. This is about commercial spaceflight.

To be quite honest the post reeks of astroturf probably trying to capitalize on the recent annoucements from SpaceX and Orbital Sciences regarding COTS contracts for ISS resupply.

Also with SpaceX coming off the successful launch of RazakSat in July, and the upcoming Falcon9 test sometime this month(sept 2009 according the to website), the whole submission reeks of "me too" and from what I can tell, InterOrbital has not launched any mission hardware as of yet.

So the more I think about it, I think they are getting a little ahead of themselves here. I suspect that SpaceX will launch Dragon before 2011.

In short, I'll get excited about InterOrbital once they have some actual launches. I don't see how they can expect to get from "we're building the rocket" in 2009 to "we're sending people into space" two years later. Seems unrealistic considering the product life-cycle.

Re:Not Astronauts! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415337)

How About calling them Spacenauts. Give a different name for private space pioneers.

Re:Not Astronauts! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417537)

Bah. Luxemburgish Weltraumonauten are the best! (As soon as Luxemburg will have a space program... in 2355...)

Re:Not Astronauts! (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418093)

One's a Serb, one's a Croat. May I suggest "ethniklashinauts [theonion.com] ?"

Quite seriously, good for them.

$800,000 PP (1)

Tobenisstinky (853306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414331)

But what does the launch actually cost? I mean, vs a shuttle or soyz launch?

Re:$800,000 PP (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414401)

Shuttle missions cost an average of $450M to launch. I don't know about Soyuzes (What the hell is the plural of Soyuz? Soyez?) but I think that private individuals have purchased seats on the Soyuz ride to the ISS for about $20M.

Re:$800,000 PP (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415171)

>>>What the hell is the plural of Soyuz?

Soyuzlent Green? It's People!

Re:$800,000 PP (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415435)

last I heard, a shuttle launch cost ~ $1bn, all told. Dunno about a Soyuz

Re:$800,000 PP (1)

Lavene (1025400) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416155)

But what does the launch actually cost? I mean, vs a shuttle or soyz launch?

About $150 [slashdot.org]

I would really like to see it happen (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414383)

But I would give next to zero chance. But good luck, guys. It takes a decent amount of money to get something off the ground, let alone get it up there and back.

hypergolic main engines? (1)

h.ross.perot (1050420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414415)

From the website: Common Propulsion Module STATIC Engine Test Rocket engine ignition is hypergolic. I wonder what fuels they use?

Re:hypergolic main engines? (3, Informative)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414891)

From the Interorbital Systems [interorbital.com] site, it says, "Storable, high-density white fuming nitric acid (WFNA) and Hydrocarbon-X (HX) are the rocket's primary propellants." I'd presume "Hydrocarbon-X" is some sort of kerosene-like blend of petroleum distillates.

Re:hypergolic main engines? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415877)

Sounds to me those fuels aren't as safe as they'd love us to believe. Though it makes for a cheaper rocket to use them...

Anybody find any links to the specific impulse of those fuels?

Re:hypergolic main engines? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417529)

I'd presume "Hydrocarbon-X" is some sort of kerosene-like blend of petroleum distillates.

Naw. Hydrocarbon-X is just a combustible version of Chemical X which was used to make the Powerpuff Girls.

Their rocket should be quite spectacular.

Re:hypergolic main engines? (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417745)

I thought it might be urine from Racer X, who, unbeknown to Speed, is really his brother...

I've got a better solution: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29414429)

And the solution is called Energia [energia.ru] .

Go Soyuz !

Yours In Akademgorodok,
K. Trout

private vs. public (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29414433)

So I guess now that this is out of the hands of "big government", we can expect spaceflight to become cheaper, safer, and more accessible, right? Just like healthcare?

I'm not holding my breath.

Color me skeptical (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414455)

While there's certainly room for improvement over NASA's methods, a two order-of-magnitude improvement from a startup seems absurdly optimistic, no matter what modular rockets and other mission design innovations they use.

However, I wish them the best of luck, and even if costs creep up to $8 million a person, then it will still be a worthwhile endeavor.

Space-age companies (3, Funny)

Kelz (611260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414615)

Am I the only one extremely excited to hear a company name like "Inter-orbital Systems?" All of my geek-neurons register glee.

Why this matters... (2, Interesting)

Fished (574624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414661)

Okay, so personally I think this particular company doesn't seem to have much chance of succeeding. They don't seem to have the funding or the infrastructure. But what's important is this: for the first time ever we're seeing private companies trying to develop launch capabilities. And not just one or two, and not just so they can resell to governments (like SpaceX), but a bunch of them, with many different business models. You throw enough paint at the wall, some of it might stick. And, eventually, I think it is possible to dramatically reduce launch costs this way--which makes things like solar power satellites and space tourism practical.

In 50 years, the space industry could be transformed by this sort of thing into an actual, profit-making enterprise. And it's only once there is profit to be had that the ideal of true multi-planetary life can become a reality.

SpaceX is already profitable (4, Informative)

Sir_Dill (218371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415359)

SpaceX has been profitable since last year according to the website.

OrbitalSciences also looks as though its been profitable for a while (NYSE:ORB)

The space industry is going to move faster than I think anyone expects. We have China and India getting into the mix pretty heavily now as well. I think we could see space become bigger than it was in the 60's both politically and commercially.

Re:Why this matters... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416191)

But what's important is this: for the first time ever we're seeing private companies trying to develop launch capabilities. And not just one or two, and not just so they can resell to governments (like SpaceX), but a bunch of them, with many different business models.

Huh? Where have you been for the past thirty plus years? There's been a steady stream of hopeful startups since the mid 70's at least. More than a few have gotten hardware off the ground, and one (Orbital Sciences) has flown multiple commercial flights. (And that's if you use the all too common screwball definition that doesn't consider companies like Boeing and Lockheed as private.)
 
 

You throw enough paint at the wall, some of it might stick.

So far, none has really stuck per se, though are flowing down the wall really slowly.
 
 

In 50 years, the space industry could be transformed by this sort of thing into an actual, profit-making enterprise.

The space industry is already quite profitable, for those that have survived. You're fifty years too late.

Re:Why this matters... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418193)

And that's if you use the all too common screwball definition that doesn't consider companies like Boeing and Lockheed as private.

To be fair, Boeing and Lockheed developed much of their tech on government contracts, and these remain a major source of their revenue. I get the general impression (and will happily admit to being wrong, if I am) that most of the space tech Lockheed, especially, sells is basically recycled military equipment.

Re:Why this matters... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418441)

"that most of the space tech Lockheed, especially, sells is basically recycled military equipment."
Not sure what you mean by that. Right now Boeing "owns" the Delta, Atlas, and SeaLaunch systems.
The current Atlas has no relation to the old Atlas that was based on the Atlas ICBM from the 50s.
The current Delta has no relation the old Delta that was based off the Thor IRBM from the 50s.
SeaLaunch and Atlas use a lot of Russian tech and the Delta uses the first new liquid fuel rocket engine, the RS-70 developed in the US since the SSME.
Boeing and Lockheed are both big military contractors so I am sure there is a good amount of miltary tech in these launchers but they are not recycled old ICBMs and IRBMS like the Titan, old Atlas, and, old Delta from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Re:Why this matters... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416965)

NASA should just lie when LARCOSS hits and say "OMG THERE'S OIL ON THE MOON!".

The first PLANNED private orbital spaceflight (5, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414677)

They haven't launched yet (and are at least two years from launch according to their plans), so there's no way to guarantee their claims.

If you look at their news page there is a 2004 announcement that they'd be launching a satellite in 2006, but there is no news of an actual launch.

In fact I don't even see news of a flight test of any sort, let alone a full orbital launch.

TBH the website also looks like a pretty fly-by-night operation. You would think that a company with enough money to launch a manned space mission would be able to hire a web designer.

Subject: LOOKING FOR PARTNERSHIP IN BUSINESS (3, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414979)

Engr David Koni.
(BOARD OF CONTRACT AWARD COMITTEE.)
Cotonou Republic Du Benin.

Sir/Madam,

It is my great pleasure to write to you and present my business proposal for your consideration and possible acceptance which you will find mutually beneficial to both parties.

Orbital Fares and the "Free Ticket to Orbit" Option: When regular orbital tourism flights begin, the cost per spaceline ticket is expected to be $5 million, but you now have the option of spending a week in orbit for free. Buy a spaceline ticket now at the special promotional fare of $250,000 (regularly priced at $5 million), and get a full rebate two years after your orbital mission. That's the equivalent of a $5 million Ticket To Orbit For Free! We are selling ten spaceline tickets at this price.

There are currently only eight spaceline tickets left! Tim Reed of Gladstone, Missouri purchased the first "promotional fare" spaceline ticket.

"Promotional Fare" spaceline tickets must be purchased directly from Interorbital Systems or Astro Expeditions, LLC. IOS is the only commercial space company offering advance-purchase tickets for orbital tourism flights. If you take advantage of our special promotional offer, you can spend seven days on an orbital expedition at an up-front cost of less than $25 per minute. Each "Promotional Fare" spaceline ticket holder will fly an orbital mission with three "full-fare" astronaut-tourists and one astronaut-pilot.

As soon as all ten of the "Promotional Fare" tickets with rebate have been sold, IOS will sell orbital spaceline tickets at the regular price of $5 million.

Re:Subject: LOOKING FOR PARTNERSHIP IN BUSINESS (3, Funny)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415365)

Engr David Koni -
Your offer intrigues me. I am very excited to have been selected to receive this offer. It is a great honor as I have always wanted to be an astronaut. It is even better that you are offering me such a great opportunity for free.

However, I am somewhat dubious though, since you state that there are ten spaceline tickets, but only eight left after a Mr. Tim Reed of Gladstone Missouri purchased one such ticket. Perhaps this was just an ambiguity and that you meant Mr. Reed is but one of two sold tickets. So I contacted Mr. Reed in Gladstone, Missouri. He was very surprised to find out that he has a ticket to orbit. He asked me what planet I was orbiting? He must be joking, of course. As such a prominent individual as Mr. Reed must have known that we would be orbiting Earth. Right? Do you offer tickets to orbit other planets?

Also, I am a bit curious about your companies. I could only find a website called "slashdot" ("news for nerds. stuff that matters") that mentioned them. They seemed to scoff at your idea. And, in any case, I assume that this must be a new company because orbital expeditions seem like a new opportunity. So then it would seem reasonable to not yet have a website. So a print out of your website design would make me feel better about your company.

Last question, is it possible to buy a ticket for my cat? I would surely miss my cat if I spent a week in space. Who would feed her? I assume that since it costs merely $25/minute upfront for me that my cat could fly for like $10/minute upfront. Is there are rebate available for her?

With the greatest of respect,
Mr. Reeb MMM

Re:Subject: LOOKING FOR PARTNERSHIP IN BUSINESS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29416149)

$25/min? That's about what my lawyer costs! What a DEAL!!!

Re:Subject: LOOKING FOR PARTNERSHIP IN BUSINESS (2, Informative)

richmaine (128733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417011)

That's hilarious. At first I just thought it was a mildly amusing bit of unsubtle satire. But that was before I glanced around the IOS web site and found that this is actually directly quoted from there. That makes it hilarious.

Re: mildly unsubtle (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418177)

It made me cry. A little.
Is the company described in TFA a bad hoax, a good troll, a Croatian 419?

Tune in next week for more "Pigs in Spaaaaace" ; ).

Re:The first PLANNED private orbital spaceflight (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415243)

TBH the website also looks like a pretty fly-by-night operation. You would think that a company with enough money to launch a manned space mission would be able to hire a web designer.

Hey, I designed that w.....wait.... *clicks View | Page Source*


<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 6.0">
<meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">

Nope. Nevermind. Even I won't go that far for a laugh!

Re:The first PLANNED private orbital spaceflight (3, Funny)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415563)

TBH the website also looks like a pretty fly-by-night operation.

Well, night launches are more spectacular to watch.

Safety? (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414709)

The one thing I have not heard of much is the safety measures that would be put in place for all these privatize space flights. Itâ(TM)s cool and great that there are more and more companies out there developing commercial space flights but one has to wonder about the safety factor of these yet untested manned flights.

Re:Safety? (1)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414929)

Safety would just interfere with adrenaline production from the "tweeting explorers".

Me I'm waiting for the video footage of the liftoff to see if it is recycled V2 footage, or a photoshopped Soyuz liftoff.

"Spaceport Tonga"? Someone did not read enough Jerry Pournelle in the 70s. Everyone knows you put your spaceport in Baja and use Tonga to support your marine research facilities and as a convenient base for your "private" military.

Anti-Safety! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414937)

"Sickonauts"!

We keep assuming that we want world-class important fellas going up. Then we fret over safety. Meanwhile per a post above, we fret about health care.

Let's take non-critical terminally ill folks, train them for 3 months on a simulator, and send them along! Send them at 50-per-batch. I'm positive the hardware should be way lower, maybe $100 million, then divided by a much bigger people load.

"It can't be that hard" if we've had 40 years to improve on 1969 tech. Just build a big-a$$ box that itself can serve as a structural block, triple-bulkhead it, Quad-redundant cheap engines, then make sure 5 of the 50 fellas are WhipperSnappers who can fly it. It's not supposed to come back. You leave it there on the moon. Next one lands beside it. It's Space-Tetris.

What am I missing? (3, Interesting)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 4 years ago | (#29414837)

The Google Lunar X Prize has nothing to do with manned space travel. It's about launching a robot that can deliver HD images from the moon.

Maybe their plan is to go up there and launch the robot from orbit - just seems like an awful waste of energy.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415499)

RTFA. They plan to use this rocket in the Google Lunar X Prize.

Re:What am I missing? (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418363)

Once in lunar orbit, Nebojsa and Miroslav will split a liter of vodka and wrestle to see who will be "the robot". The winner will then paint the loser silver, hand him a HD camera, and strap him into the descent stage.

That's nothing, I am *planning* to go to Saturn (3, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415143)

Pah, they have no ambition. I am *planning* to go to Saturn for 2011. Ok, I have no idea how but I could probably sketch up some Photoshop pictures of my rocket, I've got some technical drawings I made when I was 7 years old.

Seriously, can somebody point me at proof these companies can actually launch human-rated spacecraft? It seems that some fairly large nations are still struggling to make steps towards this. Can anybody explain why it will be any easier for a company like this than India, South Korea, Japan, ESA, etc? at least these companies/organisations have a track record of launching unmanned payloads of 10 -20 tonnes so I can believe they are on the way.

Feels like vapourware to me. What happened to that dozen or so original X-Prizes companies that promised they'd be in space and carrying astronauts by now? I seem to remember it was launched in 1996 and those companies were all promising launches in about 2003?

Re:That's nothing, I am *planning* to go to Saturn (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415405)

Two years is a very short period of time, and do they have any orbital launches to their credit yet at all? I see sounding rockets, that's a far cry from being able to achieve orbit. What is the timeline of an unmanned orbital test?

Re:That's nothing, I am *planning* to go to Saturn (1)

Gunnut1124 (961311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416031)

...proof these companies can actually launch human-rated spacecraft? ...

What the heck is "human-rated spacecraft" other than a bureaucratic term for "rigorously tested until all innovation has been expelled". The statistical improvements in avoiding failure have been small, very small in fact, over a simple engineering consensus. It turns out that engineers realize they are working with human lives and avoid all but the most necessary risks. Everything beyond that is mandated by some paper pusher that read an ISO9000 book and thought that NASA didn't have enough meetings. They then lead NASA into the mess it's in now, going from political gem in Washington to pariah. Funding is nearly impossible and even successful projects are seen as limited and irrelevant (Hubble, Spirit/Opportunity anyone?).

I can't imagine why anyone would NOT look to corporate innovation to lead this program. We just need to give a profit motive and allow competition to do the rest.

Re:That's nothing, I am *planning* to go to Saturn (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418277)

What the heck is "human-rated spacecraft" other than a bureaucratic term for "rigorously tested until all innovation has been expelled". The statistical improvements in avoiding failure have been small, very small in fact, over a simple engineering consensus.

Human-rated (they used to call it "man-rated") has always meant engineering consensus -- and there's nothing "simple" about it. Believe it or not, the people who build rockets to carry other people into space tend to be very, very picky about these things; it has been the case since Mercury that the engineers tend to be more cautious than the bureaucrats, not less.

Re:That's nothing, I am *planning* to go to Saturn (1)

Gunnut1124 (961311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29418805)

Engineers are contributing to the farce that is the "human rated" badge. Take a look at Richard Feynman's assessment [wikipedia.org] of the process used to calculate the risk. Tell me if that looks like a problem created by engineers or by bureaucrats.

"Human Rated" has no engineering meaning. It's a badge for bureaucrats to pin on a project they don't understand so they can call it "safe". Their use of broken statistics and ignorant assessments means that things are far more difficult than required and generally not much safer. All I'm suggesting is that there are far better ways than using NASA-jargon to label risk, such as a strictly engineering decision (I think they'd make the best possible decision), not a bureaucratic rating.

Bah. THAT's nothing! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417435)

I'm planning to go to Alpha Centauri! I've already got a realistic rocket concept [wikipedia.org] , and Sid Meier did the simulation software to train our Assblastonauts (Yeah! They're ten times fuckin' cooler than your ones! That's why they have cooler names too!)

Wohoo! We'll launch at time X-1. Where X is the time when you will launch yours! So we can nuke it right back to earth!

absolutely, definitely a scam (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415201)

They are selling lunar samples from their missions to moon starting 2012 ...

http://www.interorbital.com/Lunar%20Sample%20Return_1.htm [interorbital.com]

Re:absolutely, definitely a scam (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415231)

hate to reply to my posts, but this is funny:

"What is the RIPPER?

RIPPER is an acronym for the Robotic Interplanetary Prospector Excavator and Retriever. It is an automated two-stage spacecraft and Earth Reentry Capsule (ERC) designed to land on and return samples from the smaller extraterrestrial bodies in the Solar System. This includes the moons, the asteroids, and the comets."

"Ripper"... how appropriate ...

Re:absolutely, definitely a scam (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417075)

Robotic Interplanetary Prospector Excavator and Retriever

RIPPER? More like RIPER.

If you MUST have a shitty backronym, at least make the letters and shit match up. All of the following, while still extremely terrible, would have been an improvement.

RIPPER (Robotic Inter-Planetary Prospector Excavator and Retriever)

RIPPER (Robotic InterPlanetary Prospector Excavator and Retriever)

RIPPER (Robotic Inter Planetary Prospector Excavator and Retriever)

RIPpER

RIpPER

Don't think so... (5, Informative)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29415423)

This company managed to launch one high powered amateur rocket in the 1990s. That's it. Nothing since then. Complete vapor. The only serious orbital launch company is currently SpaceX. The only serious near term suborbital launch companies are XCOR and Virgin Galactic, with the various VTVL / lunar X-Prize people (Masten, Armadillo, etc.) filling in a different but useful niche down the road.

SpaceX finally succeeded in orbital launch after many millions of dollars of hardware and testing. XCOR has 66 manned rocket flights to its credit (the largest share of manned rocket flights worldwide since 2000.) Virgin/Scaled has SS1, Armadillo and Masten have a large number of VTVL flights under their belt and years of hardware development.

Interorbital has paper and mockups.

Re:Don't think so... (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416233)

The only serious orbital launch company is currently SpaceX.

The companies that have been launching commercial payloads into orbit for years (Orbital Sciences) or decades (Boeing, Lockheed), might beg to differ.

Re:Don't think so... (3, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416851)

I thought someone might say this :)

I needed to have prefaced that with "NEW private space companies" :)

You FAIL It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29416173)

is wi4ed oof and

It'll never get off the ground, Orville..... (4, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416317)

I've built things in my garage, and flown them multiple times and with more power, than the only thing these people have ever had leave the pad vertically. Sure, they've been static testing all sorts of motors. More's the pity -- I don't have to.

These upstart startups are trying to cash in on investment money (though I do credit IOS with selling tubesat and ad space) and behaving at the functional amateur level as though they're professionals. The startups that don't rely on investors (Armadillo, Scaled until the second half of SS1, etc.) accomplish things the others don't. Still, they're spending a lot on R&D that they don't need to.

My money, and anyone's who wants in, says an amateur-built vehicle made from commonly available materials and off the shelf parts could put itself into orbit for under 6 figures. That includes all incidentals and consultancies. The motors, a major development issue with these companies, are available from Loki Research. Their 96" x 152mm 80,000 ns P motors were used in last April's flight of the 1/10 scale Saturn V. The reason he didn't use three was that (> 200,000 ns) would put it in the FAA/OST's ball park and therefore not amateur. Neither would this be, but the point here is to hit the goal, not just go flying with my NAR and Tripoli friends. I ran the numbers on a 3P booster with 1P sustainer using their older 60" x 152 mm 50,000 ns motors. Ground launched it'd break the 62.5 mile 'space' altitude, and balloon launched it'd break 100 miles. The new motors, obviously proven, pack 60% more power. A ground launched 2.5 stage (the 3 x 1 plus 'dart' payload/nose) should do the job.

Somebody's going to do it, before or after one of these startups. It'll be after if nobody tries before. And if it takes money, rather than investors in a commercial endeavor, sell commercials. Rocketman's GoFast, the first amateur rocket to break the space altitude was named for an 'investor' simply for the advertising. And while Dunkin' Donuts isn't likely to jump in (hey, they didn't for Astronaut Farmer, so why now?) there's some who might.

And once a vehicle gets up there, the next step is human flight. A TV commercial costs between $500,000 and $1M to produce and run the first time. For the bottom end of that, using nothing exotic, and if not off the shelf then built from off the shelf components, a truly amateur enterprise could put a person over 62.5 miles. What are the odds that a company used to paying out that kind of money would be willing to have their name on this project, particularly if at apogee that company's catch phrase got broadcast by the amateur astronaut, for instance: "Can you hear me now? Good."

The major difference is on return on investment. The commercial startups need to return their investors' money, plus. An amatuer project only needs to do what it sets out to do. An ad based amateur project only needs to do what an amateur project does, plus acknowledge the source of the funds, and not return anything to anyone beyond noteriety for the accomplishment. If it weren't for the scale of the designs and the lack of available components, Robert Truax would have done this years ago.

Re:It'll never get off the ground, Orville..... (2, Informative)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417649)

I'm confused, first you talk about getting to orbit, then you mention a height of 62.5 miles, which implies you are talking about a suborbital flight with a ballistic trajectory. So which is it?

Production milestones towards orbit (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#29416445)

You can track their progress by checking out their Orbital Launch Simulator. [armorgames.com]

did I miss something (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#29417343)

Looks like vaporware to me. They've not tested anything but a small engine, as far as I could tell (not the current iteration of the company). The legacy efforts they're basing this on... it's too heavy based on what I saw.
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