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John Carmack To Cut Space Tourism Prices 50%

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the everything-must-go-to-space-sale dept.

Businesses 185

An anonymous reader writes "Looks like John Carmack, through Armadillo Aerospace, will be battling Burt Rutan and Richard Branson to make space travel affordable. From the article: 'Space Adventures is going to use an Armadillo Technologies rocket to launch amateur astronauts 62 miles into the sky. Nothing new, except that they will do it at half the price of Virgin Galactic's ticket, and in a real rocket!' Perhaps I'll visit space, after all."

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185 comments

YAY! Now I can afford to go! (3, Funny)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188124)

As soon as I sell my Fijian island.

Re:YAY! Now I can afford to go! (1, Informative)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188172)

Yeah, you'd have to be a real space cadet to fall for this.

100k... Cheap enough for porn industry? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188200)

Hmm. 5 minutes up in the space and 100k. Make it just a tad longer and a wee bit cheaper and I guarantee you that it won't take long for us to see the first porn clip to have been filmed in space.

Anyways, 100k is obviously still too expensive for us regular folk but I wonder what is the price tag at which we'll consider it affordable. 50k is unlikely. 20k? still probably not... 10k? I don't know. For that amount, I might want to visit the space before I die. (Hopefully, not *just* before I die, though)

It'll never get that low. (-1, Troll)

ADHVfFsvjLIViaglKlqo (1766800) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188240)

As soon as it gets even remotely popular, the Government will step and tax and regulate it, and the prices will rise from there.

Re:It'll never get that low. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188316)

The regulations - by the FAA's Office of Space Transportation (AST) - are already in place, and perfectly manageable. They asked John (and everyone else in the industry) for input on developing them, with a mind for both flight participant safety and safety of people on the ground.

Sales tax would seem to apply as well, as well as federal corporate income tax.

Are you under the impression that they'd tax it more than normal business transactions?

Re:It'll never get that low. (0, Offtopic)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188526)

Believe it or not, some people think the gubberment shouldnt regulate businesses, or tax them...

Re:It'll never get that low. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188642)

Those people aren't very popular at the moment...

Re:It'll never get that low. (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189278)

Don't be silly, of course they're popular, they always are. They just aren't realistic, and when they get their way the results are anything but popular.

It's rather like communism, in a way, although neither group is ever happy to hear that comparison.

Re:It'll never get that low. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32189118)

Luckily, the government provides asylums.

Re:It'll never get that low. (2, Insightful)

beernutmark (1274132) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188598)

Yeah, we should make sure it is deregulated. It worked out great for us re the financial sector and oil industries!

Re:It'll never get that low. (3, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188884)

If you think those industries are unregulated, then I would like to see what you consider to be regulated. I mean, once you have governmental control over the money supply, how much a bank can and cannot loan, etc., it becomes pretty hard to call it unregulated. Poorly regulated, perhaps, but not at all left to its own devices.

Re:It'll never get that low. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32189270)

It's impressive someone as ignorant as you managed to turn on a computer, let alone post on Slashdot.

It is inconceivable (I think that word means what you think it means) that someone could honestly say the financial industry was "deregulated". Really the same applies to oil.

Re:100k... Cheap enough for porn industry? (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188408)

No, 5 minutes seems about right to me...

Re:100k... Cheap enough for porn industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188520)

To me too, I just didn't have the guts to say it. :|

-GP

Re:100k... Cheap enough for porn industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188602)

Have they tried intercourse in space yet? Wouldn't the physics of no gravity make it difficult?
But I guess the cum shot will last 30-40 seconds and might fly across the entire craft.

There's a catch... (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188138)

You're paying for a one-way ticket to go up into space. Coming down from space will be free [threepanelsoul.com] .

Re:There's a catch... (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188194)

You're paying for a one-way ticket to go up into space.

Clearly a space terrorist then, make sure his name gets put on the no launch list.

Re:There's a catch... (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188362)

Hush, don't spoil their business model. The ticket is one way... but when you get into space they'll sell you a return ticket. If you don't want one, they'll let you get out and walk home.

It ain't space below 7km/s (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188174)

Most of the difficulty lies in accelerating up to orbit and decelerating from it. Currently, only Space Adventures is offering that by reserving seats on Soyuz spacecraft. Sub-orbital shots require neither powerful rockets nor massive heat-shielding.

Re:It ain't space below 7km/s (3, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188498)

Technically speaking, I can give most folks a sub-orbital flight with my bare hands... as long as there is something I can grab (that won't pull off during the "launch").

Re:It ain't space below 7km/s (3, Insightful)

BiggerBoat (690886) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189048)

It ain't space below 7km/s

Hmm, I guess Alan Shepard wasn't the first American in space after all (considering Freedom 7 had a suborbital trajectory, and had a max velocity of well below 7km/s).

Re:It ain't space below 7km/s (0, Troll)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189128)

He wasn't. U.S. just desperately needed something for its propaganda campaign to counter Gagarin's flight, and sooner rather than later - it couldn't admit that it was lagging that far behind.

Half of 200k is still 100k (1, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188186)

This is still out of the price range of most of the population for a vacation.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188232)

Thanks, genius.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188258)

Do people still need the "early adopter" concept explained to them? We live in a technological society where new gadgets and experiences come onto the market all the time. The early adopters pay top dollar for them, this attracts competitors, and the price starts to drop.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188302)

Perhaps you need some physics or biology explained to you? This is not space, and staying up there is a big no-no for the human body in any case.

Please explain how you expect the price to drop when the cost is fixed:
1) Humans all weigh about the same
2) The height is the same.

Ergo, you'll need the same amount of energy, that is oil, that is money, to get the job done.

Where you gonna cut the price? In the safety? The thickness of the rocket walls?

Also, most people are not in good enough shape for this. Hell, most people in their 30s are already geriatric cases. The way our society works, by the time you make enough money, your body is a piece of crap. Witness the sad, middle-aged paunchy guys on 10000$ carbon fiber racing bikes.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188364)

The cost of the fuel for a flight like this is about $2000.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188552)

Prove it. And how do you transform that fuel into thrust? And anyways, this is as much "space" as me putting my toe in the Atlantic Ocean is crossing the ocean. This is barely sub-orbital. Might as well go in the Vomit Comet.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188662)

That's what they say their fuel costs are.

Turning the fuel into thrust is what the rocket engines do. Those engines and the vehicle cost a few million, thus the price per seat. Once they have paid the cost of the vehicle the price will drop again.

It's suborbital by definition and if you'd like to go on a Zero-G flight it'll cost you about $5000, and give you 5 parabolas of about 30 seconds each of weightlessness. And guess which company you'll buy the ticket from...

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (2, Interesting)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188672)

I've been over Chinese MIG fighter pilots pressure suits and I can tell you that by our definition their pilots are skinny midgets. So I disagree about people being the same.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188322)

Do people still need the "early adopter" concept explained to them?

Jump in early and get burned? I hope it's not literally in this case... somehow I'd wait and have the rockets perfected by experience first...

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188506)

I wish I had mod points to un-troll your post, because you're absolutely right.

The GP is the troll.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188530)

Yes, I expect I've attracted the cabal of feminists-with-mod-points.

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1648748&cid=32176918 [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1648748&cid=32177872 [slashdot.org]

Don't like what someone has to say? Quash their opinion with mod points.

Been a problem with Slashdot since before your uid :)

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1, Troll)

brouski (827510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188596)

Actually, no, it looks like you've just had a rash of shitty misogynistic opinions lately. Hey, maybe they make hormone therapy for that!

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188620)

Whether or not you think you opinions are misogynistic doesn't mean you have carte blanche to abuse the moderation system to suppress them. There is no -1 Disagree.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32189214)

There isn't a -1 Completely Wrong either, but there ought to be. Especially for he comments you're busy whining about.

Did you really think that you were contributing something useful to the conversation with those statements? If so, you are seriously deluded.

ps: shouldn't you also be complaining about the moderator abuse that gave this comment extra points? Or was that one of your sockpuppets?

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189246)

I don't have sock puppets. You think I really could post any more comments than I already do?

There isn't a -1 Completely Wrong either, but there ought to be.

So you've completely missed the point.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32189312)

Wow. I mean WOW. Are you really 'disgusted' by people who don't make the same medication choices you would make? There is a '-1, flamebait'. That crap deserved it.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32189358)

He's saying people who go off their prescribed medication are being insensitive to the people around them. It doesn't sound too unreasonable to me, but his delivery sux.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32189398)

I think you're being way too kind ... his statement is that women who don't choose the medication he's in favor of are 'ignorant or negligent'. This comment does a nice job of explaining just how delusional he is: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1648748&cid=32177756 [slashdot.org]

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (2, Insightful)

Shark (78448) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188428)

Well, it's nice to see that competition in a market can drive prices down. Now the trick is to prevent them from forming a cartel.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188810)

Well, it's nice to see that competition in a market can drive prices down. Now the trick is to prevent them from forming a cartel.

You don't have to worry about a cartel.
The aerospace giants will buy up the smaller companies in order to keep their oligopoly in place.
/That's how the free market fixes these kinds of disruptions.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (2, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188462)

Even it it were a hundred bucks, 5 minutes isn't a vacation ... at best it's a quickie.

Re:Half of 200k is still 100k (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188774)

We can always nuke the oil leak in the Gulf and put half the planet into orbit.

Think it's expensive now? (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188840)

Just wait 'till someone gets hurt. Inevitably, there's going to be an accident. And then the lawyers and bureaucrats get involved.

I think the notion of "space tourism for everyone" is going to go the way of jetpacks and flying cars, a nice dream that just never comes to real fruition.

Rocket jumping. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188188)

What the subject said...

Re:Rocket jumping. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189110)

oh snap.
I would be game (with the addition of a human flying squirrel suit I imagine I may be able to cover quite some distance. Dunno about how much O2 I'd have to carry though...

Huh (2, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188212)

I see that it's Space Adventures not Armadillo Aerospace that's boosting this particular advertising payload. While I applaud the optimism and enthusiasm displayed here, I must add that I'll believe it when I see it. It also seems to me that they missed a chance to have a flight to space for $99,999.99.

Re:Huh (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188314)

Armadillo Aerospace is a rocket company, not a ticket selling company. Just like Scaled Composites is a plane company, and Virgin Galactic sells the tickets.

And yes, I too will be waiting until I see it.. to see it I guess I'll have to do that :)

Just a thought (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188214)

Doesn't Mark Shuttleworth feel like a sucker now?

Re:Just a thought (5, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188420)

Doesn't Mark Shuttleworth feel like a sucker now?

No, because Mark went into orbit in a fair dinkum Russian spacecraft, which he got to fly (partly) himself. The vehicle being discussed here won't go into orbit.

Re:Just a thought (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188548)

Doesn't Mark Shuttleworth feel like a sucker now?

A quick name change to Mark Rocketworth will change that, no prob.

Let me get this straight (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188248)

The ones that haven't done it yet are undercutting the price of the guys that have done it before by 50%? Gee do we get a refund if it crashes? I think you get what you pay for is appropriate here. Maybe they can pull it off but would you want to be on the first ship?

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188546)

The ones that haven't done it yet are undercutting the price of the guys that have done it before by 50%? Gee do we get a refund if it crashes? I think you get what you pay for is appropriate here. Maybe they can pull it off but would you want to be on the first ship?

This is an adventurous thing to do. Since when was adventure risk-free?

Launch videos of Armadillo; "real" rocket (4, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188304)

I linked to this is a previous slashdot submission, but for the curious you can see video of some of Armadillo's launches in the past year here:

http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armadillo/Home/Gallery/Videos [armadilloaerospace.com]

Youtube version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsdpB6UmrAw [youtube.com]

There was also a rather cool news update back in January describing in great detail what they've been up to for the prior 8+ months: http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armadillo/Home/News?news_id=369 [armadilloaerospace.com]

Also, I disagree with the summary/gizmodo's claim that Armadillo has a "real" rocket while SpaceShipTwo isn't a real rocket. Armadillo has a VTVL (vertical take-off, vertical landing) while Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is an air-launched HTVL (horizontal take-off, vertical landing). Both are "real" rockets.

Finally, NASA recently put out a request for proposals for a testbed for lunar lander demonstrations, which I think will be right up Armadillo's alley. They'll probably be competing with companies like Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems (Lunar Lander Challenge winner, currently working on their "Xogdor the Meltinator" vehicle), and Unreasonable Rocket:

http://spaceprizes.blogspot.com/2010/05/shoulda-had-tfftb-prize.html [blogspot.com]

ETDD is for smaller technology development and demonstration projects. Expected subjects for ETDD include in situ resource utilization, autonomous precision landing, advanced in-space propulsion, closed-loop life support systems, advanced EVA, radiation shielding, human-robotic interfaces, efficient space power systems, EDL (entry, descent, and landing) technologies, high-performance materials and structures, and participatory exploration.

The new ETDD RFI is for several technology demonstrations. The subjects of these demonstrations include:
* In-Situ Resource Utilization: This is to demonstrate a prototype ISRU system in a vacuum chamber that can simulate lunar temperatures and that can contain lunar simulant. Later, there would be a flight demonstration at the lunar surface on a robotic precursor mission. Of course this plan brings to mind several lunar space prizes: the Regolith Excavation Challenge, the MoonROx Challenge, and the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
* High-Power Electric Propulsion System for human spaceflight
* Human Exploration Telerobotics: This involves ISS-to-ground telerobotics, ground-to-ISS telerobotics, and large-scale participatory exploration
* Fission Power Systems Technology
* Autonomous Precision Landing: This involves demonstrations on Earth of autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technologies. The long-range plan is to use the technology on a robotic lander on the Moon or other large body. The technology "Must be capable of flying on a variety of lunar lander precursor missions". The two major parts of this demonstration are the Terrestrial Free Flyer Test Bed and the Hazard Detection System.

The Terrestrial Free Flyer Test Bed deserves special attention. This test bed needs to be able to carry 100 kg of sensor/electronics payload as well as supporting mass for other subsystems, fly up to 1 km, translate horizontally, land at various angles ending in the last 30-50 meters with vertical landing, and fly for at least 210 seconds with the payload. I didn't see anything in the RFI about propulsion, but I imagine rocket-powered vehicles would have a bit of an edge.

Slingshot? (1)

Gunfighter (1944) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188326)

"and in a real rocket" as opposed to.... what?

Re:Slingshot? (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188366)

An integer rocket.

Re:Slingshot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32189316)

Imaginary rocket

Pretty soon... (2, Funny)

Warclock (1695222) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188344)

Carmack will offer to bring back creatures from hell at half the price from other competitors. I always wanted my very own pet Baron of Hell [wikia.com] .

Re:Pretty soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188608)

try getting married

and they still make a big markup/ profit (2, Interesting)

youn (1516637) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188376)

it makes you wonder about nasa prices for each missions... and also wonder why this has not happened before

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188464)

it makes you wonder about nasa prices for each missions... and also wonder why this has not happened before

NASA don't fly these missions at all unless you count unmanned sounding rockets.

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (3, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188478)

NASA isn't doing "tourism", it's doing science. A big part of what it does is continuous improvement and modification of the mission capabilities of their systems. These guys won't be able to afford that. They'll have to do one or two rounds of refinement then lock it in place for several dozen "missions" in order to break even, because if they don't break even, they go bankrupt and stop flying. NASA breaks even by getting the science done, wowing the taxpayers, and getting approved for another year of funding.

BTW, NASA invented almost all of the stuff that these guys are now using, but these guys don't have to pay NASA a nickel in royalties. If they did, these tourist flights would be an order of magnitude costlier. NASA's successes paid for Carmack's profit projections.

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188756)

NASA invented almost all of the stuff that these guys are now using, but these guys don't have to pay NASA a nickel in royalties.

Not only did most of the basic research come from people like Goddard and Von Braun, and both Mercury and Gemini use rockets designed by the US military, but most of the NASA hardware was developed by private companies for NASA (does the name 'Rocketdyne' mean anything to you?).

If NASA had never existed then we'd have skipped over the unaffordable boondoggle era of space travel and right now companies would be competing to be the first to put people in orbit and land them on the moon.

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189068)

Yep, NASA just put out the contracts for Apollo, Boeing, Grumman, Martin, Rocketdyne and thousands of others invented the technologies.

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (2, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189144)

which, to come full circle, they likely would not have done without the assurance that they would not lose money trying to. Thus NASA still is the source for all this neat stuff. And while it was made by an NGO, it was made under contract to a GO, thus is PD.
-nB

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (1, Interesting)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188834)

M ... It's the other way around buddy. Carmack both personally and through his companies has been paying for NASA's research for a long long time.

If you are paying for it with your taxes, you have (or at least you should have) the right to do whatever you want with anything your employees at NASA discover with your money without paying any royalties.

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188852)

it makes you wonder about nasa prices for each missions... and also wonder why this has not happened before

Well, given Carmack's proposal isn't even in the same league as the average shuttle launch, I suspect the cost differential is pretty understandable. After all, last I checked, NASA didn't bother with piddly little missions to send people just barely past the boundary of space (which is 62 mi/100 km) and then immediately bring them right back again. The delta between that and a real orbital mission is massive.

No, this is but a very tiny step toward real, commercial spaceflight. And the step from this to real commercial space flight is much much larger.

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189166)

No, this is but a very tiny step toward real, commercial spaceflight. And the step from this to real commercial space flight is much much larger.

I think you are not giving them enough credit. While this may be a small step for a space flight, it is a giant leap for non governmental funded commercial space flight. (thanks Neil)

Re:and they still make a big markup/ profit (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188976)

The space shuttle flies ~300 miles higher than this ship. Not really in the same league.

price, time, early adopter risk, and risk of death (2, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188482)

I'm not rich (I'm a community college professor), but this is a price I could afford if I made it a priority in my life and planned my finances around it. Some people who make the same amount of money I do make it a priority to own a car that costs roughly this much.

Arguments against:

  1. It's $100,000 for 5 minutes of entertainment.
  2. Related to point #1, it's possible that in 10 more years, you'd be able to pay the same amount of money to spend a week in space. A week in space would be a lot more fun. This is one of those risks you have to worry about when you're an early adopter: maybe with hindsight you'll have bought at the wrong time.
  3. It's probably impossible to quantify the risk of death. The risk would probably be considerably higher than the risk associated with a space shuttle launch and reentry ... which is actually quite high.

Re:price, time, early adopter risk, and risk of de (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188790)

The thing that would bug me is that, by waiting ten years, you can go twice as high, for twice as long, for half the money. ... But only if enough people ignore my advice to wait.

Catch-22.

Choice: paying double for Scaled Composites, or... (2, Interesting)

TwineLogic (1679802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188492)

paying half-rate for a no-track-record was-video-game-developer who is excited to be using much more explosive to get me there...

I would pay double for the Virgin Galactic vehicle. Rutan's Scaled Composites have made a few vehicles for a few customers, and have a long record of high-quality vehicles. With SpaceShip One, they actually flew into some definition of "space" on three occasions. So the Virgin Galactic vehicle program has a few successful flights to its record.

I am not sure, but I don't think Armadillo Aerospace has actually launched any manned or unmanned vehicles anywhere near the altitude that SpaceShip One attained. Armadillo has flown a few VTOL/hover flights near the surface. I don't think they've flown vehicles above Mach 1, but I would be glad to see a correction.

In short, the Armadillo program seems a little over-hyped.

The worse consequence of all the private space program over-hyping of late is that President Obama has decided to rely on these private space companies for human space flight, starting "ASAP." We're going to lose some astronauts to hype, I fear. And we will definitely give up our "lead" in space flight.

I am in favor of private space exploration companies, but I am against over-hyping their capabilities. We are presently making a blunder by retiring the Space Shuttle while we hope that these private suppliers get somewhere quickly.

Re:Choice: paying double for Scaled Composites, or (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188782)

Well vertical launch and landing was done on the moon in the 1960's. Soyuz is a variant of that idea. One could argue that the more conservative Carmack design benefits from experience elsewhere.

The pneumatic variable geometry on Rutan's vehicle is pretty much untested. Sure, it has survived a few flights, but what happens if it fails during a launch. Will the vehicle break up on reentry?

And then if you want to go into orbit the Rutan design is pretty much a dead end. The vertical launch rocket plus capsule scales better and will get you further in the long run.

Re:Choice: paying double for Scaled Composites, or (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189074)

Spaceshipone was very nearly a catastrophic failure. I'd rather go with Armadillo, which has a much more elegant design.

Cool tech, stupid article. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188510)

I don't know if that idiot at Gizmodo thought he was being funny or what, but that jazz about "real rocket launched vertically" was a waste of space.

-jcr

Re:Cool tech, stupid article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188934)

I don't know if that idiot at Gizmodo thought he was being funny or what, but that jazz about "real rocket launched vertically" was a waste of space.

It's a Gawker Networks site. Nuff said. (Any website that requires Javascript to view comments, and then further requires that you click multiple options to get the equivalent of "all comments", and then further requires one-click-per-page to actually paginate the damn comments, isn't worth dealing with.)

Where is Priceline negotiator?? (1)

Harry_Mohan (1386525) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188674)

I am looking forward for priceline negotiator to reduce the prices further :P and once in space I won't ever return back to earth, since I am overloaded with credit card debt! and I believe priceline price I can surely afford from my left over credit :P

Proving once again: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188678)

Private > > > Public

John Carmack *IS* John Galt!

Re:Proving once again: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188948)

This is what his wife thinks, anyways, since she married him and founded a business called "Fountainhead Entertainment"...

1/2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188842)

Half the price of Virgin Galactic, but almost half the distance too.

The picture (1)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32188882)

The picture in the article shows a rocket with NO WINDOWS. Whats the point?

Re:The picture (1)

BiggerBoat (690886) | more than 3 years ago | (#32189152)

The picture in that article is 4 years old (I don't know why Gizmodo chose that one) and not representative of a design intended for suborbital tourism. The final design hasn't been determined yet, as a lot of it will be dictated by the ongoing test program.

Oh John, surely you jest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32188954)

Hi John. Fsck your space missions. I've seen how they end and start. If you start offering tours to Mars I imagine I'll be shuffling around dimly light rooms while souls effervesce into hatred. I don't need some fat blob hitting me.

Either that or I'll end up in some world where I end up riding a conveyor belt while I groggily watch my limbs be sawed off and replaced with bio-mechanical parts enabling me to run faster.

I'm just saying, if I want to take a ride and I *EVEN* think I hear someone whisper "Over here" or "Use us" I'm going to 'splode.

Hey, John, call the space company UAC and make everyone carry a PDA and when you read it you lose all peripheral vision.

IDKFA and SPISPOPD.... and such...

-eg

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