Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Space

Spaceport America Gets FAA License 61

Posted by kdawson
from the fly-the-friendly-spaces dept.
DynaSoar writes "Spaceport America received an early and double holiday gift this week: first, the expected (positive) FAA environmental impact report, and second, the hoped-for but not immediately expected 'launch site operator's license.' With this license, and with the previously accomplished creation of a tax district, two of three pieces are in place as required by the New Mexico legislature to receive its funding package. The third, a lease with a space services tenant to use the facility, may come this week also, in the form of a contract with Virgin Galactic. While timing is impossible to predict, the contract is a virtual certainty. The New Mexico Spaceport Authority fully expects it, and so has projected late 2010 for completion of hangar and terminal facilities. Virgin Galactic also seems confident, as they have already screened and submitted their first 100 customers (called the Virgin Galactic Founders) to their contracted medical and training supervisor. They are busy screening their second 100 'spaceflight participants' (NASA and RKA having decided that only those who can tack 'career' on the front of it deserve to be called 'astronauts')."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Spaceport America Gets FAA License

Comments Filter:
  • space shuttle pilots will have to be geniunely authenicated before launch?
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @06:06AM (#26143273) Homepage Journal
    ...to name it after Robert Heinlein.
    • why heinlein of all people? there are lots and lots of better sf authors.

      • by Fished (574624)
        Perhaps (although I could argue the point.) But I doubt there are many SF authors who were more consistent in advocating civilian space exploration, and of those who did none were nearly so popular or influential. (Ben Bova, for example, reads like "Gosh I wanna be Heinlein when I grow up" in his novels that touch on this sort of space exploration.)
        • try "tales of pirx the pilot" sometime. this is imho the most realistic (except of computer technology) discription of private human spaceflight out there.

    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      ...to name it after Robert Heinlein.

      I can see it now...

      "The Pompous Windbag Commemorative Spaceport"...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Comercianauts? Touranauts? (damn I hate touranauts...)

    Matt

    • by Goffee71 (628501) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @06:30AM (#26143359) Homepage
      Hopefully, self-loading freight. The same thing the aviation industry calls passengers.
    • Tourists? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fantomas (94850)

      Well, probably "space tourists" til the first couple of hundred go up and down successfully and the astronauts wings given out go from being solid steel with gold plating down to plastic clip on models made in taiwan in toy factories... then I think the media will just call them "tourists".

      Last time I went to the USA people called me a "tourist" not an "airplane tourist" or a "USA tourist".

      • by ookabooka (731013)
        I think I like spacefarers better. Once it becomes commonplace enough, you can drop the term and say "I finally got around to going to the deep black" or some other (more) catchy term without branding people who have been there. We once had the term seafarer but how often do you use it when you go on a cruise?
    • What will the media call them? Comercianauts? Touranauts? (damn I hate touranauts...)

      Well, if they want to get technical, it will be Spaceflight Participant. [wikipedia.org] It's a term already established by AST (the space launch license portion of the FAA) to refer to people on board spacecraft who are not part of the crew, but unlike commercial airline passengers, have gone through some training and have given informed consent [faa.gov] (sorry, that's a Word doc).

    • by David Gould (4938)

      (NASA and RKA having decided that only those who can tack 'career' on the front of it deserve to be called 'astronauts').

      See, this is what happens when we start having the government declare what "The Definition" of a word is. I say, if some people want to go to all the effort and expense of going into space, they should be able to call themselves "Astronauts".

      I know the advocates of "Traditional Astronaut-age" are claiming that this would somehow undermine the institution as they know it, but frankly, I just don't get their argument. I mean, nobody's stopping them from going into space their way, and if they privately consid

  • by retech (1228598) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @06:39AM (#26143387)
    Until it gets a duty free shop... it's just a meaningless landing strip.
  • I'm I missing something or does this spaceport not actually connect to anything? Ironically you would be travelling the most distance in your life and end not going anywhere. Anyway, hope this will bring actual space travel to the moon, planets, I would even settle for a station on Earth orbit, closer to most people.
    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:04AM (#26143489) Homepage

      Ironically you would be travelling the most distance in your life and end not going anywhere.

      Wasn't it Robert Heinlein who said that once you're in orbit, you're halfway to anywhere? In any event, getting into orbit makes it faster to reach any other point on Earth than with traditional jet aircraft. In his 1996 novel Firestar [amazon.com] , the first volume of a future history on the development of private space travel, Michael Flynn foresaw FedEx being one of the first patrons of spaceports, so that it could deliver urgent parcels faster. That was always an unreasonable expectation, and with the economic downturn it's even less likely, but perhaps other needs for getting into orbit to get elsewhere will arise.

      • I imagine they will start packaging peoples ashes to be jetisoned into space, im sure that would be popular for a lot of vain people who have grandiose funeral plans.
        • by Chrisq (894406)
          Who'd go up to check. Just send the bill and say you have, you could charge thousands of people for one container of ashes.
      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:25AM (#26143569) Homepage Journal
        I live in Australia and I work for a European software company. We spend a lot of money on business class tickets between our sites.

        Long flights are expensive because you have to pay the labour for the crew for more than a day. Sea transport was more expensive than air transport for the same reason.

        If a semi-ballistic transport can be made reliable then a lot of money will be saved on time alone. The problem is that going half way around the Earth uses almost as much fuel as going into orbit, so you need a complete shuttle stack to do it.

        SpaceX have been making progress with their liquid fueled engines lately. I wonder how you would go connecting the guts of one of their rockets to something more like a spaceplane?
        • If a semi-ballistic transport can be made reliable then a lot of money will be saved on time alone. The problem is that going half way around the Earth uses almost as much fuel as going into orbit, so you need a complete shuttle stack to do it.

          The problem with semi-ballistic, or sub-orbital hops, is that you more often than not end up wearing your breakfast - which businessmen do not like to do.

          There is scope for intercontinental flights to become faster, but there is also a balance to be met between speed and passenger comfort./p?

          • by russotto (537200)

            The problem with semi-ballistic, or sub-orbital hops, is that you more often than not end up wearing your breakfast - which businessmen do not like to do.

            Ha. Cut a few hours off their Crackberry-free time, and they'll grab some Dramamine and sign right up.

          • by khallow (566160)

            There is scope for intercontinental flights to become faster, but there is also a balance to be met between speed and passenger comfort./p?

            Cutting half a day or more off your travel time is worth puking for. You will find customers. Whether there'll be enough of them to cover the costs of the suborbital flight is a different story.

        • by khallow (566160)

          SpaceX have been making progress with their liquid fueled engines lately. I wonder how you would go connecting the guts of one of their rockets to something more like a spaceplane?

          Hmmm, they might need to create an intermediate engine. SpaceShipOne had a thrust of around 70k N. The Kestrel does 31k N and the Merlin does over 600k N. For a larger vehicle than SpaceShipOne with more fuel, you're going to need a lot more thrust, but maybe not 600k N worth.

      • by coofercat (719737)
        Didn't one of the courier companies actually state they were interested in this sort of thing? The quote I remember was "give us the parcel by 10am and and we'll deliver it by 5pm the day before" (although I might have got the times wrong, completely misquoted or indeed be talking complete rubbish).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lordsid (629982)

      You think the first airport had an opposite?

      What were they thinking when they built those airplanes with no place to go?

      Silly aviators. //They really should have named it after Heinlein.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by geist3b (1396925)
      If you are born and die in the same room is that pointless? Regardless of the experienced of what happened in between? I guess it might be. (Puts on Allan Rickman voice) Thats so depressing.
    • by DynaSoar (714234)

      I'm I missing something or does this spaceport not actually connect to anything? Ironically you would be travelling the most distance in your life and end not going anywhere. Anyway, hope this will bring actual space travel to the moon, planets, I would even settle for a station on Earth orbit, closer to most people.

      You're not wrong. Just like SS1, SS2/Virgin Galactic is strictly an up-and-down same place ride. SS2 is not capable of an orbital trajectory or even significant gliding distance, by design. SS3 is intended to be orbital. Then we'll be going places.

      One giant leap at a time.

    • Ironically you would be travelling the most distance in your life and end not going anywhere.

      Perhaps if you're from SE Asia. Space Ship One goes more or less 100km straight up and then straight down. Some people commute more in a day.

  • From TFA:

    The Federal Aviation Administration will issue a final decision on an environmental impact statement for the $200 million project and issue a license for the site.

    ...I understand this to mean that Spaceport America/Virgin submitted their application to the FAA based on a cost estimation of 200 mio $...

    The third condition was that the project not exceed $225 million, a condition spaceport officials assure will be met.

    So, does this mean as soon as they have 10% cost overrun their license is revoked?
    I mean, surely no project ever has 10% cost overrun!
    Either this means this is not a hard limit at all or there won't be a spaceport. Or the article is wrong. Or I didn't get it. Please someone explain.

    (Also, please be sure to point out that 200-->225 is not a 10% overrun o

    • by Andr T. (1006215)

      So, does this mean as soon as they have 10% cost overrun their license is revoked?

      Man, it took me a while, but I figured it out: it's 12.5%.

      (Also, please be sure to point out that 200-->225 is not a 10% overrun or your geek-license will be revoked.)

      Done.

  • Yes, astronauts (Score:3, Informative)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @10:28AM (#26144791) Homepage Journal

    They deserve to be called astronauts, even if that dilutes the brand.

    The definition of astronaut is anyone who travels into space. Space is defined as as certain altitude above the earth. According to Wiki [wikipedia.org]:

    The criteria for what constitutes human spaceflight vary. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) Sporting Code for astronautics recognizes only flights that exceed an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 mi).[3] However, in the United States, professional, military, and commercial astronauts who travel above an altitude of 80 kilometers (50 mi)[citation needed] are awarded astronaut wings.

    There have been cases where, like in the Challenger disaster, they were not technically considered astronauts since they didn't cross the threshhold into space. So far there's been 489 astronauts under the international standard, and 496 by the US standard of 50 miles.

    • by kickdown (824054)

      They deserve to be called astronauts, even if that dilutes the brand.

      The definition of astronaut is anyone who travels into space. Space is defined as as certain altitude above the earth.

      Ah. So you are one of those spacey-space-tourists who paid a couple of million USD to brag with "I'm an astronaut" to get laid and now you cry because you are being taken away your brag rights. My sympathies.

      • And you must be one of those people who cheered when Pluto was no longer listed as a planet.

        I'm asking for consistency here, not a sudden rewriting of the definitions

    • by pimpimpim (811140)
      Similarly, not everyone sailing with a ship called Argo [wikipedia.org] becomes an Argonaut.
      • by russotto (537200)

        Similarly, not everyone sailing with a ship called Argo becomes an Argonaut.

        How about if it's a cargo ship in the wool trade?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      So we should change the definition because that one is stupid. In my opinion, the name of the career is astronaut and even ones that don't get into space should be called that. There can be another name for people that go X miles high... or there doesn't have to be a name at all. They are just the people that have been X miles high, or "in space".

    • by schlick (73861)

      No not astronauts.

      I don't know where you got that definition but I think it is wrong.

      -naut comes from the Greek word for sailor. Not every one who travels by boat is a sailor. A sailor is crew. An astronaut means crew of a space faring vessel. Passengers are not crew.

  • New Mexico spaceport, You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany.

The only difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is that the car salesman knows he's lying.

Working...