Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Businesses

2014 Will Be a Big Year For Commercial Space Travel 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Getting into space is a difficult prospect. The commercial space industry has been making steady progress over the past decade, and they're finally getting to the point where they can be relied upon to transport people and important cargoes. This article makes the case that 2014 will be a turning point for commercial space travel, the year that a nascent industry comes into its own. 'We should — finally — start to see the first flights into space by Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, and perhaps the first commercial flights of that vehicle as well, depending on how well their test program proceeds. In addition, we should also see the first test flights, although not necessarily into space, of XCOR's Lynx vehicle in 2014, and possibly even commercial flights by the end of the year if all goes well,' said Jeff Foust, editor of The Space Review. 'If these companies achieve those long-awaited, and sometimes long-delayed, major milestones, it will go far to erase any lingering doubts that suborbital space tourism is a real market, while also enabling opportunities for using those vehicles in other applications, like suborbital research and technology demonstration.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

2014 Will Be a Big Year For Commercial Space Travel

Comments Filter:
  • TFA Headline is (Score:2, Informative)

    by fisted (2295862)

    Will Commercial Space Travel Blast Off in 2014?
     
    Hence, no.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think that 2014 could very well be the year that we must all mourn Slashdot, especially if they go ahead and replace the current site with the godawful beta site.

      We've seen this kind of thing happen before. Just look at Digg v4 for a stunning example of how a web site upgrade can utterly destroy a community. The scariest part is that the Digg v4 site, at its worst, is still comparatively better than the Slashdot beta site.

      The correct thing to do, obviously, is to completely discard the Slashdot beta site.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @05:43PM (#45928267)
    Commercial "space travel" sounds so exciting! Star Trek! Warp Drives! Aliens!

    Reality: A cramped tin can, 10 minute ride to the upper atmosphere, sub-orbital joyride. No aliens, no warp drives, no class-M planets. You're still in the atmosphere, you're still using rockets with the same elements as on the periodic table, no fictional elements or forces. You're not even getting out of the tin can and you're landing right back where you came from.

    So sorry. We don't even have the Concorde anymore and I'm supposed to cheer for the thrill rides of people who've somehow managed to game the system to make money while my real wages have been going down for 10 years?

    • by turgid (580780)

      So sorry. We don't even have the Concorde anymore and I'm supposed to cheer for the thrill rides of people who've somehow managed to game the system to make money while my real wages have been going down for 10 years?

      These things give us an opportunity and means to redress the balance, and relieve them of their dubiously-gotten gains. Their decadence today will pay for (a small bit of) progress.

      Now all we need to do is to think of other ways to part them from their loot so that more of us can benefit...

  • by guanxi (216397) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @05:52PM (#45928311)

    If these companies achieve those long-awaited, and sometimes long-delayed, major milestones, it will go far to erase any lingering doubts that suborbital space tourism is a real market

    How does a successful test of a prototype tell you anything about the demand for it? Silicon Valley landfills are filled with successful prototypes of products you've never heard of.

    They need someplace to go and something to do up there. Until consumers can spend a weekend in orbit doing entertaining activities, it's hard to imagine many people willing spend six figures (?) on the trip.

    (I'm all for commercial space flight, by the way, I just don't see much consumer demand for it.)

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @06:23PM (#45928485)

      If I remember correctly, Virgin have several hundred deposits from customers already. Last I remember, they were talking about getting the cost down to $50,000 within a decade, at which point I'd seriously consider it myself.

      There's clearly demand for these trips. The only question is whether there's enough demand to justify the investment in operating them.

    • I don't know about tourism, but I definetly see a market for flying from New York to Tokyo in a couple of hours. If you need drop everything to meet with executives halfway around the world before a multi-million dollar deal tanks, a couple hundred grand is pretty cheap for a ticket.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      Until consumers can spend a weekend in orbit doing entertaining activities, it's hard to imagine many people willing spend six figures (?) on the trip.

      Zero-gravity brothels? I think that'll do it...

  • Bitcoin is ready for takeoff, and it will take Virgin Galactic along with it!

  • lots of articles from 2013 said the same thing
  • ...a year that the nasdaq and s&p500 have a decent correction bucking the almost continuous upward trend of the last few years, so i doubt there will be any major investment by anyone other than reserve banks, and that companies will continue to hoard cash

    why do i predict a stock market correction? because humans are fickle and despite all the talk to stoke confidence in the so-called "recovery", humans are also not stupid... investors aren't in stocks because of confidence in the government or the fed

  • I find myself keep asking this question though answer is govt never thought private companies can do space (actually there was since 1950s, i.e. Lockheed, Boeing, McDonnell, Convair). It took Scaled Composites with Space Ship One and the CNXT (or CXNT) civilian space shot to demonstrate it can be done. Much of what is happening now is suborbital, much less difficult than orbital space flight, but there are customers besides rich people with a few 200K to blow. There are researchers with projects wanting sub

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      But I still ask, how come commercial space didn't happen in 1980s.

      Because it needed a few billionaires willing to throw money at it for years with no returns to make it viable.

    • by Teancum (67324)

      But I still ask, how come commercial space didn't happen in 1980s. Was technology too exotic? There was the Soviet threat but no ITAR.

      You might want to dig a bit into the history of OTRAG [wikipedia.org] to see some of the difficulties that people faced in the early development of commercial spaceflight. The largest problem was mainly a "giggle factor" where regulators and people involved with even permitting this kind of activity happening. It took Ronald Reagan to pass the Commercial Space Launch Act [berkeley.edu] which in turn created the Office of Commercial Spaceflight [faa.gov] and encouraged government agencies to hire private companies to perform services that previou

      • by k6mfw (1182893)
        Yes, I remember the OTRAG and various political problems. Your discussion is a good summary, I had a feeling this was the situation. Or at least one of the best summaries on commercial space I have recently read. Just goes to show technical issues are difficult to solve, very tedious and lengthly process. But political issues, politicians move in mysterious ways.
  • And also, the year of the Linux desktop!

    Try not to confuse wishful thinking for accurate predictors of future trends.

  • Are any of these ventures actually transporting anyone anywhere other than straight up and straight back down to the same spot? Do any of them ever plan to actually get a human from, say, New York to Tokyo? If not, these services create about as much economic benefit as one of those giant bungie powered slingshot chair thingies you see by the side of the interstate.

    On the other hand, the idea of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher, Justin Beiber, and Richard Branson together in a small area covered in their

    • Are any of these ventures actually transporting anyone anywhere other than straight up and straight back down to the same spot?

      A few of them are planning to bring humans from the ground to the ISS and back. Does that count?

      • A few of them are planning to bring humans from the ground to the ISS and back. Does that count?

        MirCorp/Space Adventures already did that, and it was purely for the amusement of their passengers.

        There are lots of plans for space thrill rides [wikipedia.org] - some are even planning to go to the moon. [wikipedia.org] I was inquiring about the "non-amusement park" side of the industry - specifically getting a human from point a on earth to point b on earth. There was a time in my career when traveling from the US to Asia occurred fairly frequently, and it was a nightmare. Correct me if I'm wrong, but so far none of these ventures a

        • I was inquiring about the "non-amusement park" side of the industry.

          I was referring to the "non-amusement park" side of the industry; specifically SpaceX and others of that ilk, who will be ferrying people back and forth to the ISS for work. Space Adventures is a reseller, and MirCorp closed a decade ago, so they don't count.

          There are aerospace companies working on SSTs, but the main reason there isn't a lot of suborbital point to point is that you need to have a lot of horizontal velocity to get anywhere, and that horizontal velocity needs to be nullified. The level of

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:45PM (#45929499) Homepage Journal

    The "big year for commercial space travel" will come right after the "big year for Linux on the desktop".

    First things first, after all.

  • These 3 years are where everything comes together.
    Starting this year, VG will start flying Scaled's SS2 for sub-orbital flights. Within 2 years after that, 2 more crafts (xcor and Blue Horizon's) will join up and offer competition. That will drive prices down to 100K for all 3 companies.

    Then from 2015-2017, 3 companies will fly humans commercially to orbital; SpaceX's Dragon Rider will be first in 2015. Then the next one will be Boeing's CST-100 in 2016, and SNC's DC will be either 2016 or 2017. However,
  • I can't afford a plane ticket to Florida or LA. I don't think I, or anyone I know, will be heading into space anytime soon.

  • Human Space? have we lost our will for anything other than money and thrills?

    We (government and corporate) are going to lose the opportunity to get past low earth orbit due to the minefield of hyper-velocity space junk, now exponentially multiplying by collisions with other space junk. Impact speeds are extremely high - 10Km/sec is not unusual, and at such speeds a sugar cube will blast a hole through most structures. The cleanup, and ongoing orbital insertions (and recapture) needs doing VERY SOON..

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

Working...