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Space United States Science

FAA Setting Up Commercial Spaceflight Center 113

coondoggie writes "The FAA this week took a step closer to setting up a central hub for the development of key commercial space transportation technologies such as space launch and traffic management applications and setting orbital safety standards. The hub, known as the Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation, would have a $1 million yearly budget and tie together universities, industry players, and the government for cost-sharing research and development. The FAA expects the center to be up and running this year."
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FAA Setting Up Commercial Spaceflight Center

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  • by MZeora ( 1707054 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @08:57PM (#32024852) Homepage
    I understood it as using 1M to gather up groups (unis and such) to gather together and use the joint gathered funding to build the place and get it running.
    So yeah, 1M to gather groups together to work on it MIGHT maybe. Get 2 Big Unis with some clout. Or 4 or 5 smaller Unis together to help. But still 1M in comparison to the Ivy League Schools that might actually have some powers to make it happens to mean little to nothing.
  • Re:1 miilion?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmythe@jws[ ] ['myt' in gap]> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:35PM (#32025196) Homepage Journal

    Maybe, but they had already slated Edwards AFB to be the American spaceport for commercial ventures. There's no mention of Edwards in the article nor the associated pages, so this may be yet another great waste of time, where one department didn't realize that they had set aside resources towards their goal already.

        Edwards has been the defacto second space center in the US, with many space shuttle landings there. White Sands is a third US landing site, but from what I understand the dust made the shuttle rather messy.

        There were a whole bunch of other emergency landing sites too [].

        Ya, $1 million won't buy enough land and the first construction trailer, much less a spaceport. $1 billion would be a good start, but that isn't even enough. It sounds like they're hoping to get other companies and universities to foot the bill. Good luck with that.

  • by Jarnin ( 925269 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:08PM (#32025908)

    1) There is nothing in space.

    This is probably the stupidest argument against exploring space I've ever seen, and it keeps being repeated like it's a valid statement. Guess what? There was nothing on Antarctica prior to 1905 either. That's when the first research station was built there. Private industry has been sending cruises with tourists for the last 60 years.

    There are hundreds of thousands of destinations out there, just in our system alone. Only a tiny fraction has been explored and as far as anyone can tell, it's all raw resources up for grabs. The big expense in space expeditions is the cost of sending everything up there. What we need is a place where we can start to manufacture things from the resources available, and that's not all that far off.
    Things like 3-D printers and Fab-Labs are just the beginning when it comes to what we'll be able to do with manufacturing in the near-future. Sure, anything we build up there will still need regular supplies, but I would assume that a corporate sponsored space station or colony's "second order of business" would be to become as self sufficient as possible in order to cut expenses. Once we have the capability to manufacture things like station modules and space craft in space the costs will drop dramatically, just like they have for every industry before.

    So yeah, there's not a lot of nearby cheap destinations right now, but they're coming and they'll continue to grow in number as long as there's a market for it.

  • by ibsteve2u ( 1184603 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:20AM (#32027558)

    ...but then I realized that, while there were the predictable rants to the effect that government having anything to do with "commercial space flight" was a bad thing somehow, there were no observations on the irony of "commercial space flight" being reliant upon existing and massive taxpayer-funded infrastructure and the continued maintenance and improvement of same.

    How "private" is a venture that depends upon the preexistence of a trillion dollar taxpayer investment to ensure that they don't get a free colonoscopy from a bolt or other bit of space debris that is traveling at 22,000 MPH??

    I am still waiting for the "commercial space flight venture" that starts out in a truly "private" manner by building ground communications and tracking stations around the planet - to include a facility equivalent to the Air Force Space Command's tracking site at NORAD.

    "Commercial space flight" is not so much a "venture" as it is a new and fascinating form of wealth transfer. Pat yourself on the back: If you have paid any Federal taxes in the last 50 years, you're helping somebody else explore the possibility of getting extremely wealthy through the use of the facilities you built.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.