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Space Access '04 Conference Review

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the space-is-no-place-for-bureaucrats dept.

Space 12

savuporo writes "The annual Space Access Society conference was held last week, with most of all the alt.space heavyweights being present. Speakers included people from XCOR, X-Prize, Armadillo Aerospace and even NASA. The review is available at HobbySpace. In contrast to last years conference, private space transportation is now literally off the ground and the focus of discussion has gradually shifted from hardware designs to regulation, liability and legislation which remain the roadblocks to be cleared on path to outer space."

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hmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8996865)

did they hire william hung to sing rocket man at the convention?

Wrong Department (1)

mdielmann (514750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8996994)

On the contrary, space is a perfect place for bureaucrats, so long as they have limited life support...

DUDE! (1)

Rhinobird (151521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8997483)

so long as they have limited life support...

Dude, you are far too generous...

Re:DUDE! (1)

mdielmann (514750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8999970)

Well....limits approaching zero are more cost-effective...

sure... (2, Insightful)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8997135)

Of course, no one can go anywhere or do anything without someone deciding they can't go there until they get a license or permit or something to that effect....

At least things are moving again, even if just a little

Carmack's out of the race (2, Informative)

jayrtfm (148260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8997191)

Alan Boyle reports [msn.com] that Carmack is not going to make an X-prize attempt this year.

Re:Carmack's out of the race (2, Funny)

dpilot (134227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8998003)

Which will happen first:

An Armadillo Aerospace launch
or
The Doom3 product launch

Enquiring minds want to know.

Interesting Article (2, Interesting)

Syncdata (596941) | more than 10 years ago | (#8998290)

Simply obtaining factory floor insurance, so-called "slip and fall" policies have been very hard to obtain for the launch companies. The mere word "rocket" scares them off. (One company has been turned down by 22 insurers so far.)

When I think of difficulties faced by these companies, I think of engineering hurdles. Getting insurance is one of those things that I didn't think about, but imagine it from the insurance companies perspective.

Well sir, I think you'll find X-COR will be well served by the policies we have to offer. Now, what kind of workplace hazards would you say you deal with regularly? Rocket fuel you say. Well I'm certain we can work...and this is for what now? Orbital flight you say..."

I imagine that meeting OSHA standards alone would be a non-trivial barrier to starting such a company

Re:Interesting Article (3, Interesting)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | more than 10 years ago | (#9001422)

When I think of difficulties faced by these companies, I think of engineering hurdles. Getting insurance is one of those things that I didn't think about,
It's nice that things have progressed to the point that insurance is now a major problem in comparison.

Our previous problems were a lot harder...

...but imagine it from the insurance companies perspective.
Insurance is a barrier, but it's one manageable either with time, location, or money.
  • Time: Work with insurers in depth to make them familiar with the environment
  • Location: Fly out of the Mojave airport, which already has civilian supersonic aircraft and rocket activities (or, somewhere else which is pushing to open up to such activities, such as the spaceport opening up in Oklahoma)
  • Money: Other insurers will give you a million in third party liability for ten times what Xcor paid, without too much hassle. It took me about 5 hours work over 3 weeks to get an insurance quote for a commercial rocket development program elsewhere in California.

If you are poor and far from Mojave, however, it can get hard.

I imagine that meeting OSHA standards alone would be a non-trivial barrier to starting such a company
I don't know of anyone in the industry who's working with seriously toxic materials or propellants.

We're just crazy, not insane.

Bureaucracy at its finest (2, Funny)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9000592)

..and the focus of discussion has gradually shifted from hardware designs to regulation, liability and legislation which remain the roadblocks to be cleared on path to outer space.

But the plans have been on display for months in the public affairs office, in the basement with no lights, in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door that says "Beware of the Leopard"!

Bureaucracy will be the end of the human race. Some impending catastrophe will show up with little warning, like an asteroid headed toward Earth, and we will be too busy recounting votes and figuring out OSHA regulations to react before it hits us.

Natural selection at work. I guess the good news is that it means surviving life in the universe won't be plagued by burearcracy...

some more (4, Informative)

savuporo (658486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9001114)

A couple more SA'04 trip reports from attendees:
Michael Mealling blogged the conference almost live over at RocketForge [rocketforge.org]
Alan Boyle at MSNBC's Cosmic Log [msn.com] writes about both the conference and whats yet to come this summer. In a followup post he also mentions an X-Prize team [msn.com] that has has made some significant progress while remaining under the media radar.
Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings [transterrestrial.com] also has a short post on SA'04 first and then some significant insights [transterrestrial.com] into legislative aspects.

The Bureaucratic Mind (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 10 years ago | (#9006878)

It's simple, really. It's about control.

The bureaucratic mind functions(?) on the premise that "what isn't specifically legal is therefore illegal". That is, for everyone except the bureaucracy. That is why cops enforce gun control with guns. That is how "unlicensed driving" became a crime, when the law was written only to apply to commercial use of the "public" roads.

We are in the same position with space. Since it exists, the bureaucrats regulate it. If they do not have a specific regulation, then obviously it's illegal for private people to do it.

The sooner we get off this rock the better. How I loath bureaucrats.

Bob-
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