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Texas & Florida Vie For Private Lunar Company Golden Spike's HQ

timothy posted about a year ago | from the let's-settle-this-out-back dept.

Businesses 38

MarkWhittington writes "The Denver Post reported on July 12, 2013 that Texas and Florida, already embroiled in a fight over which state will be the venue for SpaceX's commercial space port, are now vying to be the site of the headquarters of a company that, while smaller, has much loftier ambitions. Golden Spike, the Boulder, Colorado based company that proposes to start commercial space flights to the moon with paying customers, is being courted by Texas and Florida to leave Colorado and to relocate its headquarters in either state."

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Wait a bit longer (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44268927)

I'm sure Cape Kennedy will be up for auction shortly.

(Truly, truly wish I could laugh at the absurdity.)

Re:Wait a bit longer (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44269007)

Cape Canaveral

Formerly Cape Kennedy.

Formerly Cape Arbuckle.

Re:Wait a bit longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269017)

After costruction, projected costs/profits, testing, etc,
when can we mere terrestrial citizenry expect to watch the next "moon landing hoaX"?

XXXX

Re:Wait a bit longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269025)

I'm sure Cape Kennedy will be up for auction shortly.

(Truly, truly wish I could laugh at the absurdity.)

It could happen. But there would have to be conditions:

The Government would forever have to indemnify purchaser from all environmental liability.(I can only imagine what was dumped there over the decades.)

The Government would have to pay to remove all that junk from the old space program.

And it wouldn't be an auction. It would be some very well politically connected rich guy who would get all his terms at his price - or even the Government paying him to take over the facility - with all the conditions I mentioned above.

That's how politically connected people do business with the government - get rich and fuck the taxpayers.

Re:Wait a bit longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269523)

Wonder if astronaut Captain Tony Nelson will bring Jeannie in her bottle to the new space port ?

"embroiled in a fight" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44268933)

Does that sentence really characterise what is going on?

Re:"embroiled in a fight" (2)

shikaisi (1816846) | about a year ago | (#44268947)

Does that sentence really characterise what is going on?

I wouldn't be surprised if the Texas National Guard was massing troops on the Florida border even as we speak.

Loftier ambitions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44268945)

"a company that, while smaller, has much loftier ambitions"? Do you really consider lunar tourism a loftier ambition than Martian colonisation?

Re:Loftier ambitions? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44269053)

"a company that, while smaller, has much loftier ambitions"? Do you really consider lunar tourism a loftier ambition than Martian colonisation?

well I'm sure both companies have ambitions to go to andromeda given a long enough timeframe....

golden spike doesn't seem to have much going for it except a board of investors though. they could just as well end up buying the trips from spacex...

Re:Loftier ambitions? (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year ago | (#44270063)

golden spike doesn't seem to have much going for it except a board of investors though. they could just as well end up buying the trips from spacex...

But they have a scrolling marketing blurb on their web site asking for help from interested nations. Let's hope some country with disposable income stumbles onto their site and decides to donate their whole tax return!

Hmm.. Tough choice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269019)

Completely insane state.

Or.

Completely insane state.

I'd pick texas i guess.. I like guns with my insane.

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44269073)

I'd go with Florida - they don't seem to share Texas's uber-macho cowboy thing. No-one ever put a 'don't mess with Florida' bumper sticker on their car.

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44269375)

I'd go with Florida - they don't seem to share Texas's uber-macho cowboy thing.

But they're doing their best to keep up, what with their "shoot a black guy - get a coupon" laws and all.

Remember, once you get about a mile off the East Coast, Florida becomes Alabama right quick. You'll see more Confederate flags than there are spots on an Ocala stripper's butt.

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270269)

Ya, but nobody in texas has tried to eat anyone either. (that we know of).

Florida has had that happen a few times now.

We KNOW not to mess with florida. they're batshit fucking crazy pants on a zebra.

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#44269601)

On a strictly physics basis Hawaii would be the best State. Closer to the equator to get maximum boost from the spin of the earth, and you can get some altitude if you use one of the mountains. Less hurricanes too.

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44270527)

On a strictly physics basis Hawaii would be the best State.

True. But on any other basis it would be a terrible choice. There is no industrial infrastructure, a shallow labor pool, and a sky high cost of living. Nearly everything would need to be shipped from the mainland, adding delay and cost.

you can get some altitude if you use one of the mountains.

Velocity is important. Altitude is not. To escape earth orbit, you need to be going eleven kilometers (seven miles) per second. A few thousand feet of altitude is going to make almost no difference.

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44271487)

Your other arguments are valid, but the mountain launch does actually have merits. It's the same reason Colorado itself is a less-terrible launch site than you might think (Denver cuts a nice mile off the hardest portion of the launch, though the inclination is still a pain).

I'm guessing you're not *that* familiar with space launches... the higher you launch from, the closer you are to space. The number you quoted is based on instantaneous velocity at the Earth's surface, with no additional thrust (and no drag from air). If you're already at the gravitation midpoint where the attraction from earth equals that from the moon, the velocity needed to reach the moon approaches positive zero.

It's true that the few thousand feet (or a bit more, once you factor in equatorial bulge) from launching off an equatorial mountain doesn't substantially reduce the effect of Earth's gravity - we're already a few thousand miles from Earth's center of gravity - but it's that much less distance you have to carry the fully loaded (fuel is heavy!) spacecraft up through. Also, you really can't ignore drag; starting where the atmosphere is already thinner helps (and it thins rapidly).

Oh, and to put it in terms of escape velocity, the velocity needed to reach two kilometers (not a terribly impressive mountain) from the surface is approximately 200m/s. That's a couple percent saving in launch fuel, or that much more cargo you can carry. At the start of the launch, a bit less distance is a big deal.

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44270201)

And neither Texas nor Florida have something that makes Colorado the best US state for space travel activities.

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44270715)

A landlocked state further from the equator? A smaller industrial base? Smaller population?

Re:Hmm.. Tough choice... (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44271537)

A landlocked state further from the equator? A smaller industrial base? Smaller population?

You forgot good diplomatic relations with the Tok'ra.

Has the world gone mad? (2)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#44269089)

What sane legislator would seriously want to associate themselves with the hucksters at Golden Spike?
They've as much chance of getting you to the moon and back as the YMCA.
Look at the linked site, it's mostly full of invitations to contribute cash and otherwise "contribute"...

On the overall cost and technology, it's suspiciously thin, apart from saying it can pretty much be done with available, commercial technology. Kind of. Yeah right.

I'd love to go to the moon, but I don't have a spare 20 billion lying around, (the rough cost of each previous moon landing).
My guess is few people do.

Re:Has the world gone mad? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44269213)

I'd love to go to the moon, but I don't have a spare 20 billion lying around, (the rough cost of each previous moon landing).
My guess is few people do.

This lady does apparently [wikipedia.org] , she's on the board of directors [goldenspikecompany.com] .
I had a similar line of thought when I read the summary, and wanted to see what kind of people were actually backing this venture. Two venture capitalists and a bunch of ex-NASA VIPs on the board. The funny thing about this company is the board of advisors, stuffed full of Hollywood leftovers, among them apparently a set designer on Star Trek; that's interesting.

Re:Has the world gone mad? (2)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44269533)

This is clearly a company set up for the sole purpose of getting a NASA sub-contract for moon exploration. These types of companies are setup all the time to help fleece the American taxpayers. They stuff their board of directors and advisor lists with well known folks with political connections and shake the trees in Washington D.C. until the money "leaves" come raining down. To help them hire lobbyists and last long enough to actually get sub-contracts, they are currently attempting some crowdsource funding techniques (probably having tapped the VC community dry).

The only other plausible explanation is that if you are one of those that believe that a significant number of people believe the moon landing was faked, it might not be so hard to believe that there's money to be made in faking a moon landing from the viewpoint of a "customer". Sort of a Capricorn one, and Disneyland Rocket to the Moon hybrid (rocket really goes to the moon, the people stay on earth, but think they are going to the moon). That's about all they could accomplish based on their current funding.

Re:Has the world gone mad? (1)

JeanInMontana (2020420) | about a year ago | (#44269759)

by Bearhouse What sane legislator would seriously want to associate themselves with the hucksters at Golden Spike?

Why should any legislator, sane or insane associate themselves with this in the first place? This is a private sector business. As for costs your numbers seem a bit high even for Government funded projects and really have nothing to do with this one since it is private and on a smaller scale I'm sure. No $400.00 hammers etc. :-)

Re:Has the world gone mad? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44271311)

What sane king or queen would seriously want to associate themselves with the hucksters at Mayflower Enterprises?

They've as much chance of getting you to the New World and back as Delft Pottery Barn.

Look at their Sunday sermons, it's mostly full of invitations to contribute cash and otherwise "contribute"...

On the overall cost and technology, it's suspiciously thin, apart from saying it can pretty much be done with available, commercial technology. Kind of. Yeah right.

I'd love to go to the the New World, but I don't have a spare 200,000 lying around, (the rough cost of each previous landing).
My guess is few people do.

Grifters (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44269151)

It's not coincidental that Texas and Florida are the home of some of the worst land speculator rip-offs in history.

But I'm sure we'll see a lot of cheerleading around here. From the same people who want to tell us that solar and wind power are just too "out there" to be considered.

Please line up for your deeds to Actual Moon Real Estate!! and HOTELS IN SPACE!1!!

Need Help? (1)

b4upoo (166390) | about a year ago | (#44269193)

Try this one out for size. You need employees. You need customers to visit your company. Now do you think that the Treasure Coast of Florida just might attract people like a magnet whereas Texas, with its difficult climate and barbaric legal system, will attract next to no one at all. And it doesn't hurt one bit that from the Cape to Disney is a minor drive.

Colorado = heaven ... Texas and Florida are ... (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year ago | (#44269265)

... p*ss poor imitations of hades. Complete with infestations of  poisonous rabid lizards and politicians. Yes indeed the Pecos  runs feckin-A green! Does there exist in all of Texas and Florida ... hoe-houses included ... a 1/2 square-mile paradise.on.earth like the **long blues** at Breckinridge ??
No no no  sorry Charlie, but red lame' cowboy boots do not substitute.

Better site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269385)

Florida is a good choice for launching over the ocean if something blows up it hopefully does not fall on land...
Florida does however have hurricanes, sinkholes, and may be swallowed by the ocean the way we used to joke California would be...

third world countries (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44269395)

Unfortunately, if what we are talking about is a legitimate company, both states are not going to be in the running. Both states have set themselves on a path of politics that makes them look like third world countries, focusing on personal needs and wants of the politicians rather than building business in the states. It is no surprise that in Texas, for instance, tech companies have been failing. No one who has a choice wants to move where personal liberties are constantly under attack.

If this is not a legitimate company, i.e. innovates and produces products that must be marketed, then they will probably get some corrupt tax deal by bribing the appropriate officials. Few livable wage paying jobs will be created, the taxpayer will be screwed once again, and several high ranking conservative officials will get new vacation homes.

Equatorial advantage? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#44269407)

I never understood the practical reasons for locating mission control in Houston. Seems to me it was a purely political play by Johnson. Wouldn't you want to be as close to the equator as possible to maximize the benefits of the earth's rotation? Wouldn't that mean Key West? And why wouldn't you consider Puerto Rico?

Re:Equatorial advantage? (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#44270587)

I never understood the practical reasons for locating mission control in Houston. Wouldn't you want to be as close to the equator as possible to maximize the benefits of the earth's rotation? Wouldn't that mean Key West? And why wouldn't you consider Puerto Rico?

Hurricanes.

Re:Equatorial advantage? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#44270995)

And that never happens in Florida or Texas.

Re:Equatorial advantage? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44284875)

I never understood the practical reasons for locating mission control in Houston. Seems to me it was a purely political play by Johnson. Wouldn't you want to be as close to the equator as possible to maximize the benefits of the earth's rotation? Wouldn't that mean Key West? And why wouldn't you consider Puerto Rico?

Why? Mission control doesn't leave earth, so why put it there? Mission control can be anywhere really - since you're already relying on a huge network of remote antennas to communicate and get telemetry, all you really need is a location with good infrastructure. There's very little advantage to being physically close to where the launch site is

Fat chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269855)

You'd have to be crazy to leave Boulder as long as Ball is still based there--not to mention Lockheed Martin's rocket-building headquarters, Raytheon, and Sierra Nevada. Florida and Texas wish they had the manufacturing base to handle commercial launch. At best the company would expand into Florida or Texas just for logistical reasons.

Re:Fat chance (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44270699)

You'd have to be crazy to leave Boulder as long as Ball is still based there--not to mention Lockheed Martin's rocket-building headquarters, Raytheon, and Sierra Nevada. Florida and Texas wish they had the manufacturing base to handle commercial launch. At best the company would expand into Florida or Texas just for logistical reasons.

The obvious rebuttal is that Houston is in Texas not in Colorado. That's by far the largest industrial center of the three states. If SpaceX really does operate a viable launch site in Brownsville, Texes, that would seal the deal as far as I'm concerned. Of course, these people are probably shopping for perks not viable locations so I doubt these considerations matter that much.

More pork farming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44269921)

Sure is easier and more profitable than going to the Moon

Bad choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271129)

Why on earth would anyone move to either state. They are like 4th world countries filled with willfully ignorant people, christian jihadis and pitbulls. Ugly to boot. Colorado is much nicer. If they really need to be near the equator, I'd suggest Ecuador, Cuba or Venezuela.

Although, if Golden Spike is a scam, they'd fit right in in FL or TX and deserve to suffer life there.

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