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200 comments

gay niggers.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799034)

just feasted on my junk

eek (4, Informative)

iosmart (624285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799038)

<I>While the highest criteria to issue a
license is public safety, applicants
must undergo an extensive pre-
application process, demonstrate
adequate financial responsibility to
cover any potential losses, and meet
strict environmental requirements.</I>

this might put a lot of people outta the runnings

Re:eek (2, Insightful)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799060)

only if they launch out of the US (which i believe most of them actually are... correct me if i'm wrong) but i'm betting that if they need to all they have to do is make it to international waters, right where they held the secratariat v. tadum fight anyway

FAA authority (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799204)

Only a team that did request FAA approval (i.e., get a license) would be recognising the authority of the FAA.

Legally, a case could be made that the FAA has no authority to regulate any team that did not specifically get a certificate from the FAA.

As a bureaucracy, the FAA does not automatically get to make its own rules binding on everyone in the U.S. (Only Congress can do that!)

Re:FAA authority (4, Informative)

Sergeant Beavis (558225) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799723)

No, Congress have them the authority late last year. If they are flying in US airspace, they can be regulated by the feds.

Re:eek (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799083)

demonstrate adequate financial responsibility to cover any potential losses

Can you imagine the call to the insurance company to get a policy? I don't think "saving a bundle" is one of the options.

Lloyd's of London (5, Informative)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799203)

would probably be the underwriter of choice, not Geico. They have insured almost anything. For instance, some examples [bankrate.com] .

Re:Lloyd's of London (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799482)

Bet their (both the individuals you mention that Lloyds covered, and Scaled Composites) rates would be higher if they add a Love of the Game clause [google.com] in their contract with the insurance company. :)

Re:Lloyd's of London (5, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799528)

So they say. However, I have a friend (also a Slashdot reader) who recently started a business in New York, and Lloyds actually refused to provide him with liability insurance for his business. Mind you, this business is somewhat risky, but it is a legitimate business, and he's making quite a bit of money now.


The thing is that Lloyds is actually a marketplace of "syndicates", not exactly a monolithic institution (at least, this is how he explained it to me). So you have to have a broker who really knows Lloyd's to figure out who the right people to approach are. And as far as I can tell, they may like taking fairly crazy sounding but actually low risk bets on actresses thighs or singer's voices, but they don't like taking higher stake bets on businesses that are hard to assess or known to be risky.

Re:eek (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799086)

stupid dropdown menu?

Re:eek (4, Insightful)

in7ane (678796) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799105)

Potential financial liability is likely to be covered by insurance (which will be costly no doubt), which anything that can reasonably be expected to fly and has adequate funding to get it to outer space should be able to afford.

Keep in mind that stuff like this will not be launched form populated areas (deserts, etc. probably) so any liability only comes in if it can make it far enough to hit something, which in itself is a sign that it has potential, and so is more likely to be sufficiently safe. Think of it this way: conditional on it being able to make it as far as a populated area the probability that it will crash it low.

Re:eek (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799328)

While the highest criteria to issue a license is public safety, applicants must undergo an extensive pre-application process, demonstrate adequate financial responsibility to cover any potential losses, and meet strict environmental requirements.
this might put a lot of people outta the runnings
And frankly, that's a Good Thing. While I applaud and encourage the small company and backyard inventor, they should not be allowed to endanger the public any more than the big companies should. (In theory all are equal before the law, but sadly the size of the bankroll sometimes tips the scales a bit.)

In addition, if the thing isn't safe enough to test without endangering the public, it's nowhere safe enough to fly in actual service. The thousands of homebuilt and homebrewed aircraft flying legally every day shows that safety and experiments are not mutually exclusive requirements.

Re:eek (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799394)

not necessarily - friends of mine got one for a CATs prize launch a few years back (the first one ever for a non-govt launch site.

The paperwork sucks - and you have to calculate how many people you will kill (statistically) and show yopur reasoning - I think in their case it was 0.00000001 people - that's what you have to get insurance on ....

Re:eek (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799940)

The key legal principle is that licenses are only needed if you're doing something that's otherwise illegal. Launching rockets into space isn't illegal, so a license is quite unnecessary. In countries with restricted freedoms (eg. US of A) the opposite might be true, however.. haven't looked into that one.

Good luck to Rutan with getting into orbit :)

Awesome (5, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799040)

At least the government isnt getting in the way. Im for one am glad to see the X-Prize might actually have a chance of revolutionizing the space industry!

FUCKING SHOVE IT, FATTY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799062)

up your fucking retarded fat geek ass
thx
---homosex

Re:Awesome (5, Insightful)

Fuzzy (87584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799237)

My bet is that this is the first of MANY applications that the "government" will approve. Space belongs to those who are willing/able to go there!

The Moon, the planets, and the great unknown beyond should not be 'owned" by a government. Like the unexplored world that existed in the 1400's, they should belong to those willing to make the sacrifices, and devote the resources to explore and colonize the unknown!

My bet is that the "governments" of the world will get out of the way and allow the exploration and colonization of the known and unknown universe. To do otherwise implies a vision and long range planning capability that does currently exist in ANY govenment that I know of.

Space, like the "old West" of the US [my appologies to the Native Americans], belongs to those who are willing to go there!

John [looking for Ringworld] Miller

Agree.... (2, Interesting)

vwjeff (709903) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799375)

We are at the beginning of a new revolution. Space travel for the average person is now within reason. Sadly I will never have the opportunity to travel to a distant planet but I may get to experience space travel :)

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

dspeyer (531333) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799994)

Why does everyne think the X-prize will revolutionize space?

Just because someone's doing something for money they will necessarily do it well. Microsoft does stuff for money. It's not like the X-prize will turn space into a real industry -- real industries aren't dependant on private philanthropy.

I'm all for throwing more resources into spaceflight, but having many small teams keeping secrets from eachother doesn't sound like a big improvement on having a few large teams that work together. Having many small teams that work together might be better still, but probably not by much. Remember, improvements in spaceflight will be built by engineers -- no one else. If the engineers are serious about what they do (and any who revolutionize spaceflight would have to be) then they'll concentrate on the problem at hand and ignore where their funding comes from, be it government, corporate, private, academic or bank fraud.

It seems to be an article of faith among many slashdotters that anything the government does it will automatically mess up. It might be worth remembering that all achievements in space flight so far have been government-funded, and that the so-called commercial airlines exist only because of government supsidies.

Crock of Shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799044)

What? We need government approval to use the sky!!

Re:Crock of Shit (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799113)

Yeah anybody should be able to fly wherever they want. It's our air, too. Who cares if a few they cross through flight paths. What's a few near misses amongst friends.

Dumbass.

Re:Crock of Shit (1)

benna (614220) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799172)

Shouldn't that be near hit? Near miss sounds like they hit. "Look those two planes nearly missed."

Re:Crock of Shit (1)

Lazyhound (542184) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799232)

Shouldn't that be near hit? Near miss sounds like they hit. "Look those two planes nearly missed."

Near is an adjective describing "miss", as in "the miss was near".

Re:Crock of Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799244)

And that was supposed to be an AC post. Oh well.

Re:Crock of Shit (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799263)

Nearly: 1. Almost but not quite: The coat nearly fits.

Near: 1. To, at, or within a short distance or interval in space or time.

YHL. HAND.

Re:Crock of Shit (3, Funny)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799143)

The Department of Energy banned larger bowled toilets so frankly we need government approval for more than the skies.

In a practical sense, you don't need there stupid aircraft hitting another aircraft, so it really is best to check. Without governement regulation on the sky it might be a little more difficult to get from point A to point B, because idiot C has a hot air balloon, near an airport and causes plane D to be flameball E.

Bush doesn't want us on the moon (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799351)

Bush doesn't want us on the moon. Why? Think of the evening news stories: "Today, Apollo 59 landed on the moon again, costing taxpayers $155 trillion dollars, drilled some tiny holes in rocks, took several pictures, discovered NO WEAPONS of mass distruction and found 6 more votes for Al Gore."

JEWS AND NIGGERS BANG GOATS FOR FUCKING FUN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799048)

kill them all
homosex
homosex
homosex

We all know how it really happened... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799054)

"One of these days Alice.. Bang, zoom! Straight to the moon!"

He was just using space travel as a metaphor for beating his wife.

what happens? (5, Interesting)

hellmarch (721948) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799066)

what happens if i were to build a big rocket and launch myself into space without telling anyone? would i get shot down by the military when they pick me up on radar?

Re:what happens? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799090)

Only if the ICBMs could hit you.

Re:what happens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799312)

Only in the USA do they fire an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile at a aircraft.

Re:what happens? (5, Insightful)

Jjeff1 (636051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799107)

After reading about the problems Carmack and Armadillo Aerospace encountered trying to get H2O2, I don't think you'd be able to get enough fuel or parts to build anything un-noticed.

Re:what happens? (1)

OtakuHawk (682073) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799182)

well... maybe. but not in any REASONABLE amount of time. And a lot of lieing.

Re:what happens? (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799937)

Depends what you use for fuel. LOX and petrol can be used; and neither are tightly controlled.

Re:what happens? (5, Interesting)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799191)

No. after you came down, you'd be fined by the FAA.

Remember that story [snopes.com] about the guy who rode a lawn chair with weather balloons into the sky? He was fined something like $4000 for his unauthorized flight. I think they'd hardly take military action, and they could hardly intercept in the time the flight would take place. (from what I've read all these X-Prize style trips would be less than thirty minutes, I could be wrong)

Anyways, I'm glad the FAA did this. Go SpaceShipOne!

Re:what happens? (1, Interesting)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799361)

No. after you came down, you'd be fined by the FAA.

No disrespect to the FAA, but shouldn't something like this that potentially affects other countries involve the ICAO [icao.org] or another internationally recognized body?

Please, no flames. I am American and am in no way saying that we should subordinate to others. But something that could impact others really should involve those others. Really, anything (especially not military) approaching orbital altitudes should not be done unilaterally.

Re:what happens? (2, Interesting)

voidptr (609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799826)

We're talking about a flight soley in US airspace, which extends up to the orbital threshold, even if we don't routinely send aircraft that high right now. Why would it be in international jurisdiction?

Re:what happens? (2, Interesting)

the pickle (261584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799363)

This happened pretty recently [9news.com] in Colorado, too. Some genius in a hot-air balloon decided it would be fun to try to set an altitude record without bothering to tell the FAA he would be drifting through Denver International Airport restricted airspace.

Assuming you (grandparent poster) *had* a pilot's licence that would make it legal for you to operate a manned rocket, you *wouldn't* have it after you got done with that little stunt.

p

Re:what happens? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799897)

Well then, the solution is obvious. Don't come down.

Re:what happens? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799500)

"Remember that story about the guy who rode a lawn chair with weather balloons into the sky?"

A guy with balloons tied to his lawn chair wouldn't have a ballistic flightpath and wouldn't reach altitudes that would get NORAD's attention.

On the other hand, you should be able to land relatively alright so long as NMD hasn't been finished yet.

Re:what happens? (1)

VikingBrad (525098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799862)

They even made a movie inspired by it

Danny Deckchair [imdb.com]

Cheers
VikingBrad

LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799075)

Is a farce. Now that Asscroft is trying to ban porn and the FAA has jurisdiction over private space travel. What next Amerika?

Re:LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799096)

I wish to commend you on the use of the word "Amerika."

A good thing. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799097)

Corporate and private interest in space is always a good thing. The driving force behind alot of innovation in the last half of the 20th century has been, for better or worse, corporate greed. Innovation in space travel is A GOOD THING, and so this IS A GOOD THING.

Re:A good thing. (1)

benna (614220) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799124)

I do not believe anyone was argueing otherwise.

Re:A good thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799679)

SHUT UP THIS IS A GOOD THING!

Check the approval date! (5, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799098)

Interesting difference in dates:

Press Release
Contact: Henry J. Price
Date Posted: April 7, 2004


But further down:

The license was issued April 1 by the
Federal Aviation Administration's
Office of Commercial Space
Transportation to Scaled Composites of
Mojave, Calif., headed by aviation
record-holder Burt Rutan, for a
sequence of sub-orbital flights
spanning a one-year period.


As fun as it is to slam "the government", somebody was very much on the ball to realize that it would be a bad idea to release this news on April Fool's Day!

Re:Check the approval date! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799209)

As fun as it is to slam "the government", somebody was very much on the ball to realize that it would be a bad idea to release this news on April Fool's Day!

More likely that the government - working with maximum efficiency on this exciting news - takes 7 days to write, approve and issue a press release.

:)

Mis-read (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799109)

Anyone else read this as:

GNAA Grants Sub-Orbital License to SpaceShipOne

Re:Mis-read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799130)

Anyone else read this as:
GNAA Grants Sub-Orbital License to SpaceShipOne


[looks around] No, just you.

License Requirements (3, Informative)

mauthbaux (652274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799110)

I was kinda wondering; what are the requirements for a launch licence for a series of sub-orbital flights over a one-year period? Other than the obvious: being able to get it up that high, and promising not to mess with anything on the way there and back.

Re:License Requirements (5, Funny)

Lazyhound (542184) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799129)

You have to be able to sing "Rocket Man" from memory.

Re:License Requirements (2, Funny)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799310)

You have to be able to sing "Rocket Man" from memory.

So does William Shatner have such a license, then?

Re:License Requirements (1)

sjb21043 (685282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799601)

Actually, I had the same thought, but from the other angle...

Is there really a law somewhere that says "thou shalt not boost anything into sub-orbital flight without a license"? And who enforces it? And what's the penalty for sub-orbital flight without a license?

Kinda Disappointed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799116)

Of all the current XPrize real entries, I was kinda hoping some of the others (like Armordillo Aerospace, or the Canadians with the improved V2) had made it this far first...

Lets face it Scaled Composites and Burt Rutan have got a TONNE of cash and resources, unlike most companies competing...

Re:Kinda Disappointed... (2, Interesting)

codegen (103601) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799655)

There are. There was a recent slashdot story [slashdot.org] about the da vinci group. They are about to announce thier launch date and are in the final stages of approval from Transport Canada. The launch site is only a couple of hundred miles from where I grew up (very close in Canadian terms).

Come on (2, Insightful)

seanmcelroy (207852) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799118)

I heard this story on NPR driving home just a few hours ago. They headlined it as "bringing space flight into the reach of ordinary Americans". Come on... considering raw costs alone, it'll be decades before 'ordinary Americans' can afford this kind of luxury travel.

(Especially if they're all out of work because their jobs went overseas! ;P jk)

Re:Come on (5, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799239)

I heard this story on NPR driving home just a few hours ago. They headlined it as "bringing space flight into the reach of ordinary Americans". Come on... considering raw costs alone, it'll be decades before 'ordinary Americans' can afford this kind of luxury travel.

You might be surprised. One of the main points of the X-Prize is not that it is done by private companies instead of the government, but rather that the craft be highly reusable. You can only change 10% of the non fuel mass of the craft between the 2 launches required to claim the X-Prize, and those 2 launches have to have a quick turnaround time (matter of weeks).

Basically that means once you've built a winning X-Prize craft, the only real relaunch costs are fuel. Compare that to the massive cost of each shuttle launch (between 3 and 5 hundred million dollars per launch), and you're talking about reduing launch costs by a factor of 100 or more.

If they can pull that off, I suspect they can quickly get plenty of funding to push the technology further and make it more efficient. I really do believe basic space travel could be affordable by ordinary Americans (expensive, yes, but affordable) inside of a decade - 2 at the most.

Don't underestimate what a leap an efficiency the X-Prize represents.

Jedidiah.

Re:Come on (4, Insightful)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799332)

Don't underestimate what a leap an efficiency the X-Prize represents.

Not that I disagree with you, just keep one foot in the part of reality that remembers that X-prize isn't going to LEO, and isn't even getting close to LEO. Unless you hit LEO, your reusable spacecraft is just a great ride. :)

Don't get me wrong, though. After they've hit the low target they've set with the reusable requirements they've got I expect the design to be pushed to LEO pretty quickly, pretty much as soon as it gets covered up with funding from both the X-prize itself and all the VCs and other investors that learn by virtue of the X-prize that you have a viable technology.

Re:Come on (5, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799389)

Basically that means once you've built a winning X-Prize craft, the only real relaunch costs are fuel. Compare that to the massive cost of each shuttle launch (between 3 and 5 hundred million dollars per launch), and you're talking about reduing launch costs by a factor of 100 or more.
You are also reducing the capabilities you get for your money by a thousand times or more. The Shuttle is orbital (with all the problems that all orbital craft have), an X-prize vehicle is suborbital. The Shuttle has 60,000lbs of cargo capacity and up to 9 passengers/crew, an X-prize vehicle has essentially no cargo capacity and up to 4 passengers/crew.

Not to mention the fact that the Shuttle launch costs you note covers more than fuel, it also covers all the maintenance, prepation, testing, etc. that a craft in service must have, while a vehicle that only has to fly twice can get away with far, far less infrastructure. (The key to reducing costs isn't reducing vehicle costs as many believe, but in flying the hell out of the vehicle and spreading the costs across many vehicles and flights. Ask the airlines.)

Don't underestimate what a leap an efficiency the X-Prize represents.
Don't overestimate it either. The X-Prize vehicles are highly specialized test and experimental vehicles, it's a long leap from there to vehicles capable of routine operations. (Not just in general concept, but in raw performance.) Consider the long step between the Wright Flyer and the Ford Tri-Motor or the DC-3. That's how far the X-prize vehicles are from useful and cheap space transports.

Re:Come on (4, Interesting)

extra the woos (601736) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799570)

"Consider the long step between the Wright Flyer and the Ford Tri-Motor or the DC-3. That's how far the X-prize vehicles are from useful and cheap space transports."

That's what excites me. Look at how cheap and safe air travel is now. Wright brother's flight was in 1903, right? In less than 20 years you had airplanes EVERYWHERE. In less than 40 years there were jets. (July '42 for the first real jet fighter, yes yes I know there were actually jet engines in the 30's but come on).

Today, 100 years later, I can buy an airplane ticket for a couple day's worth of barely-better-than minimum wage barely-part-time college work.

If this is like the Wright brother's flight, then we're in for one hell of a century, and it's gonna be a good one.

Re:Come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799722)

Consider the long step between the Wright Flyer and the Ford Tri-Motor or the DC-3

Also consider what we would be looking at without the push from the X-Prize. I'd take the 30 or so years between the Wright Flyer and the Dc-3 over what we would have had before any day.

Re:Come on (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799977)

Yeah, but the Shuttle is a crappy design. The ceramic tiles are widely recognised to be a big mistake.

That's how far the X-prize vehicles are from useful and cheap space transports.

I think the X-prize vehicles are about 1/3 of the way to orbit. Not in terms of delta-v; but in terms of sheer mind share. It opens people's eyes to the fact that this rocketry stuff really isn't that hard; that the underlying costs are potentially pretty low, and that businesses really can sensibly tackle it, not just governments.

Throwing stuff into space ... legally. (5, Interesting)

j_cavera (758777) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799123)

> what happens if i were to build a big rocket and launch myself into space without telling anyone? would i get shot down by the military when they pick me up on radar?

Yes. Having worked with a (unmanned) launch services firm, getting permission can be the most difficult part of the process. Building the rocket and payload is just rocket science. Getting permission is *legal-stuff* .

Six years ago, we had estimated that launching a satellite required permits, lawyers and insurance in excess of twice the cost of the launch vehicle. The gov't is truly being kind to Mr. Rutan.

Re:Throwing stuff into space ... legally. (1, Funny)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799160)

And what exactly are they going to use to shoot down your rocket travelling at hypersonic speeds?

</pendantry>

Re:Throwing stuff into space ... legally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799196)

They don't need to shoot you down, the'll just be waiting for you when you get back.

Re:Throwing stuff into space ... legally. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799166)

Keep the rocket, launch the lawyers.

Re:Throwing stuff into space ... legally. (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799245)

Six years ago, we had estimated that launching a satellite required permits, lawyers and insurance in excess of twice the cost of the launch vehicle. The gov't is truly being kind to Mr. Rutan.
No, the goverment is changing the rules slightly to allow for easier acess to licensing for smaller organizations. The X-prize and lobbying work is slowly but surely starting to change and level the playing field.

Some links:There's also been a variety of Congressional acts supporting space commercialization and competiveness.

Re:Throwing stuff into space ... legally. (4, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799270)

Of course, in alot of cases, it may just be easier to launch from a country that isn't so uptight.

Re:Throwing stuff into space ... legally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799397)

Well, that's what the US Missile Defense Shield (former SDI) is for :)

Re:Throwing stuff into space ... legally. (2, Informative)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799913)

If you're an American, it doesn't actually matter. The US government claims jurisdiction over you; wherever you launch from; and that means the FAA (unless you are part of a government department.)

The underlying reason is, is that under international law the country that you are a citizen of is responsible for any damage you do; irrespective of your launch site.

More paper mass to lift than payload! (1)

qualico (731143) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799133)

An extensive pre-application process sounds like they are drowning applicants with bureaucracy.

Isn't the idea behind the X-prize, "cheap" flight?

Why is it we need to bury everything in a mountain of paper?
There is more paper mass to lift than payload.

I like the idea of Niven's Ringworld plants that blow off into the sky. Can't we create some genetically modified plant to do the same?
Then they can grant seasonal licenses for all those pretty annuals.

Re:More paper mass to lift than payload! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799306)

Cheap as in a Piper Meridian is cheap compaired to an F18

Vanity plates? (5, Funny)

falken0905 (624713) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799141)

Gee, i wonder if the FAA issues 'vanity plates'? I also wonder if the license plate will be made of low-drag material. Do they have to display inspection stickers on the windshield? So many questions come to mind. Ponderous.

Re:Vanity plates? (5, Informative)

voidptr (609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799229)

Yes [faa.gov] , they do.

but Salvage One (1, Troll)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799153)

I thought that Salvage 1 [geocities.com] already had a license to launch. Oh, SpaceShipOne.....oooppps.

The Man Who Sold the Moon (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799156)

Who would have thought that the real Delos D. Harriman would turn out to be Paul Allen?

Re:The Man Who Sold the Moon (1)

Monx (742514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799223)

Paul might fund the first private space launch, but Darl's IP strategy reminds me more of Harriman's style. Remember "we own the moon because it passes over us?" Does that remind you of anyone's definition of derivative works? Canopy is even structured like Harriman's corporations.

Re:The Man Who Sold the Moon (2, Insightful)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799395)

Um, sorry to burst your bubble, but this has absolutely no comparison to DD Harriman and company. See, DD Harriman was the guy at the top of the power conglomerate, and as such had much more power than the government itself. Be thankful we don't have that kind of world--yet. He was also an idealist, so I have a real hard time believing he got to be where he was in the story in any fashion that resembles real life corporate politics. ;)

Re:The Man Who Sold the Moon (1)

haraldrbassi (267342) | more than 10 years ago | (#8800011)

Re: DD Harriman and the power syndicate...

He wasn't the person at the top of the power syndicate. In fact, he made his money with silly hair brained ideas to make life easier/ more affordable for the masses especially including building houses. The person at the top of the power syndicate is the one he was forced to sell his soul to in order to fund the last stage of the moon trip. Losing that final bit of control is what kept him out of space until his last days when he bribed some down and out rocket jockeys to drag him to the moon.

His story is actually spread across several books and short stories including oblique references in "To sail beyond the sunset" that refer to his business partner, George Armstrong.

As for the other reply to the parent, he was playing several ways and covering all his bases, he tried to option the air space of every country on the equator in order to ensure that no other single superpower country could stake a claim and refute commercial claims; yet at the same time he was seeding the idea that the moon belongs to everyone.

Fiction: "Net Assets" (5, Interesting)

Mad Man (166674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799185)

A fictional novel of a privately built launch vehicle, and what the government does to stop it.

Available for free at http://netassetsbook.com/ [netassetsbook.com] . I'd suggest the PDF version (1 MB), since some of the formatting in the HTML version is screwed up, and makes reading some parts difficult (mainly forgetting /I tags).

"Once upon a time, there was an agency of the American government called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was tasked with the exploration and development of space. Being a government agency, it was very bad at the job. But also, being a government agency, NASA made damned sure that no one else would do a better job.

"And then the bureacrats' world came to an end."

Re:Fiction: "Net Assets" (1)

Mad Man (166674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799257)

re: Fiction: "Net Assets" [slashdot.org]

I should also have added that the "Net" in the title is not only a business term, but (I believe) a reference to the Internet. The "Assets" are space enthusiasts. Much of the design work for the spaceship in the novel is "open source" in order to keep costs down. The Launcher Company solicited help on its web site, where the merits were openly debated on the forums. The comany's engineers would read the forums, looking for good ideas. Anyone whose idea was used was paid some type of fee.

Which let him mesh well with Hank. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain," he orated. "Neville's got the idea that this started on the 'Net, and oughta stay there. Wants us to.... opensource everything we do, put it on the Internet for continuous peer review, as it were. Idea's that with millions of people all over the world looking over our shoulders and making suggestions, we're bound to pick up sporadic good ideas. And it's bound to be cheaper than putting several hundred more engineers and techs on the payroll," he finished cynically.

FAA has a sense of humor. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799226)

Issued April 1st. ;) So are they going to say "April Fools!" and laugh like hyaenas?

This is how space will become cheap (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799265)

This is how space will become cheap.. Check this out, boys, creative engineering at work:
http://www.scaled.com/projects/tierone/New_ Index/p hotos/images/800/wind_tunnel_800.jpg

Re:This is how space will become cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799892)

Can anyone get a mirror for the picture that was at that link? It has been slashdotted. It was a pic of some of the engineers at Scaled Composites putting the tail of one of their aircraft on the hood of a truck and driving it as a wind tunnel. Very clever and funny at the same time.

Burt Rutan (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799367)

I first noticed Burt Rutan because of a homebuilt plane that he designed. It was composite construction (fiberglass and foam) and extremely strong. It was a canard (it had a lifting surface on the nose) and therefore very stable. Some time later he built the first plane to fly around the world without refueling.

The guy is a genius and an innovator in a field that does its best to discourage innovation.

If I have understood correctly, lawsuits have basically killed innovation in general aviation. Check it out the next time you are airside: most of the designs of small aircraft are fifty years old. I wonder if we will be saying the same thing about software in fifty years.

www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/GENERAL_AVIATIO N/ rutan/GA15.htm

Re:Burt Rutan (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799851)

This url gives some details of Rutan's problems:

http://www.dailyobjectivist.com/
Heroes/BurtRut an.asp

"In 1972, he founded Rutan Aircraft Factory, which sold plans and kits for Rutan-designed aircraft. His science-fiction-like aircraft designs were considered "risky" by established aircraft manufacturers, who made sure that the regulators of the Federal Aviation Administration were aware of their "concerns."

He successfully sold a number of different unique designs. Then, frustrated by the litigious regulatory environment and absurd liability claims which had put many private aircraft manufacturers out of business, Rutan chose to leave the homebuilt industry and do larger-scale designs for companies. His new firm, founded in 1982, was Scaled Composites.

One of Rutan's new contracts called for him to build a business jet for Beechcraft. Though the performance of the Beech Starship far excelled anything yet seen in business jets, Rutan came under fire from regulators. FAA regulations have focused on conventional designs, and are mind-deadeningly specific: an aluminum spar here, a certain number of rivets there. The Starship, on the other hand, was an all-composite aircraft that used neither rivets nor spars. Non-regulation. Rutan tried to explain this to regulators, but without luck. So the Starship was freighted with conventional design features that hampered its performance, making it little better than conventional aircraft.


This url shows some of the governments efforts to fix the problem. A lot of people think all the suing is killing the economy. This link is from 1997 and I'm not sure if these hearings have actually had any effect.

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/judiciary/h ju 42154.000/hju42154_0.htm

Lawsuits, was: Re:Burt Rutan (2, Informative)

lenski (96498) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799931)

The lawsuit problem is slowly becoming less problematic. The new problem is "security". After 9/11/2001, general aviatioon simply got more difficult to get past government authorities. But general aviation is still present: A co-worker of mine flies a homebuilt aircraft. It's a fabulous hobby, but like anyone whose life is on the line, he takes safety way seriously. (paraphrasing his commentary) Airplanes, even the "little ones" in general aviation, balance many variables. Get one or a few wrong, and you become a Darwin award winner. That's an important reason designs tend to be 50+ years old: They are proven.

Burt Rutan is an amazing engineer surrounded by amazing engineers, and is that rare person who has a demonstrated ability to think outside the box successfully.

more pork barrel fun (-1, Flamebait)

segment (695309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799368)


So the government is allowing space flights with a license or something. I wonder what NASA is going to say about this cutting into their 600million per flight Space Shuttle racket they've got going on. NASA needn't worry though they've got a moonbeam [google.com] coming which means (skits In Living Color classic) mo money mo money mo money. Since when does the United States control airspace anyway? I mean I know they'll blow you out of the sky if you launch anything, maybe even label you al Qaeda or something.

What about Canada? (2, Interesting)

temporalillusion (688393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799529)

Since there's no FAA up here, I wonder what licenses the Canadian entries will have to get.. if any! Considering our government hasn't launched its own rocket into space... Do they go to the CSA? Transport Canada? Do Canadian Content Laws apply in space? ;-)

Cool, private citizens might get into space before their government does!

They should clearly call it... (1)

Stopmotioncleaverman (628352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799535)

Cloudbase. The guy even looks like [isepp.org] something you might see in Captain Scarlet. :P

mo3 Down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8799660)

Deja vu all over again... (4, Funny)

jemenake (595948) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799703)

Is X Prize finally entering the end-game?
Well, seeing as how we're also trying to recruit people who talk like chimps [slashdot.org] , the "payload" is being taken care of as we speak.

Of course, the American chimp-speakers will undoubtedly demand too high of a salary, so they'll probably just teach someone from an Indian call center how to speak chimp as well as they speak English and save a bundle.

license for 312,000 ft? (2, Informative)

kevlar (13509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799704)

My understanding is that anything above 60,000 ft the FAA doesn't care about (nor should they even be bothered with).

I wonder how much money they dished out for a license that they never needed in the first place...

Re:license for 312,000 ft? (2, Insightful)

voidptr (609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799864)

How do you get to 60,001 feet without climbing through the first sixty thousand? If we could just magically apear above restricted (and everything from 1200 feet to 60,000 is restricted to some degree) airspace, it'd be kind of a moot contest.

Ah yes... (2, Funny)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799832)

... but is it compatible with the GPL, if not, we cannot support it.

Range Safety (2, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799871)

A critical part of any effort to launch rockets is range safety. This ensures that the rocket either follows a safe trajectory or the flight is terminated (boom). Part of getting a license is convincing the government that your launch operations are not going to be a hazard to your fellow human beings. The more powerful the rocket, the more danger it poses to other people.

X-Prize and space (4, Insightful)

robert.broome (583624) | more than 10 years ago | (#8799891)

Remember though that the X-Prize is for suborbital flight. The height isn't important-it is the speed. Spaceship 1 won't have to deal with reentry temperatures, making it MUCH simpler to build and fly. If X-Prize was for an orbital flight, or any Mach 25 flight, there wouldn't be any entries. Is it the first step to cheap flight or just a cheap flight? Only a real reentry system will tell.
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