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Space Transportation Technology

Spaceport America Begins Construction 95

eldavojohn writes "While a lot of people are wondering if commercial spaceflight will ever make it, Spaceport America is holding its groundbreaking ceremony today. You can watch it live at their site at 11am MST. The spaceport is aiming for a diverse clientele, including the delivery of small national security purpose satellites into Earth orbit as well as research and development for scientific purposes. After getting their FAA license and securing funding, the 27 square mile development project has officially begun. The target date for completion is the end of 2010 — let's all hope for success in the milestone goal!"
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Spaceport America Begins Construction

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  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Friday June 19, 2009 @03:37PM (#28394263)

    Personally, I have only seen one satellite launch as a kid when visiting Florida and I wouldn't mind coming by to gawk at any launches they may have. ;)

  • Back in the 1990s, one of the most realistic-seeming depictions of the rise of private spacefaring was Michael Fynn's future history beginning with Firestar [] . Flynn made it seem as if the biggest obstacle towards getting into space was not gravity and fuel costs as much as government hassles. If Spaceport America has successfully dealt with the FAA, then I would like to think that things are looking up from here (though Flynn suggested companies like FedEx would massively support the endeavour, which seems unlikely now in the age of the internet).
  • The Artist Concept (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qortra ( 591818 ) on Friday June 19, 2009 @03:48PM (#28394435)
    The Artist Concept of the spaceport [] is really quite stunning.
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) on Friday June 19, 2009 @04:12PM (#28394887) Homepage Journal

    I saw every one of the shuttle launches until Challenger blew up. I'd moved back to Illinois by then.

    I loved watching those things take off, especially if I could drive to the cape and see it close up. Man, but those things are LOUD. I thought I was going to miss one as I was visiting my mom in Tampa, but it was a night liftoff and it was still visible.

    Seeing rocket launches is one of the things I miss about Florida. If anyone reading this gets a chance to see one, do so! Damned impressive.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Friday June 19, 2009 @04:13PM (#28394913) Homepage

    Flynn made it seem as if the biggest obstacle towards getting into space was not gravity and fuel costs as much as government hassles.

    While there is surely some insight to the idea, ultimately governments can and do change (for a wide variety of meanings of the word) over the course of only a few years, while the minimum energy required to reach orbit is unlikely to change on any practical time scale. So sure, when you aren't even allowed to get off the ground the government seems like the biggest obstacle, but when that obstacle is cleared the problem of getting out of our gravity well is right there where it always was and it's not going away.

    As far as FedEx goes, I think 'space planes' like Spaceship One are what they would be after more than something that can actually reach orbit. No reason to spend the fuel to get up that high when you can already do same-day shipping to anywhere on earth, probably with a bigger payload too. *shrug*

  • by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Friday June 19, 2009 @04:19PM (#28395019)
    Problem is you have to be at speeds greater than mach 5-6 to ignite a scramjet engine. And the current prototypes have achieved that speed with, you guessed it, rockets.

    So you aren't really saving that much rocket fuel unless we build some kind of super powerful regular jet capable of getting to that speed. At that point though you have a vehicle with a very complex jet, scramjet, and rocket which would probably be so elaborate to design and construct that it would be prohibitively expensive.
  • by recharged95 ( 782975 ) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:21PM (#28397769) Journal
    I don't know, but the Russians cared more about their vehicles than the people/crew. And for some reason they don't have the problems we do with vehicles breaking apart from foam. And their stuff lasts almost forever, and no one gets hurt as a result.


    NASA and the general US/EU space communities are playing too much PR and public opinion vs. getting the job done. Should they're using public money, but how many wars have we had or been involved in since 1960?

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray