A reporter takes a close look at Virgin Galactic and Spaceport America in New Mexico and comes away very skeptical.


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Failure to launch? A reporter takes a close look at Virgin Galactic and Spaceport America in New Mexico and comes away very skeptical.

Read it all. The view might be pessimistic, but it is important to keep an open mind. Richard Branson’s effort, as sincere as I think it is, might not succeed.

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6 comments

  • Pzatchok

    Just compare Virgin Galactic to Space X.

    Both have access to the same amount of cash.

    Both started about the same time.

    Both have access to the same tech.

    But yet one is moving ahead and the other is stagnant. Stuck in first gear.
    Why?
    Why can one make innovations and adjust to meet its goals but the other is still hammering away at the same problem thinking that it will magically fix itself and finally work.

    The main difference? The head honcho.
    One is working at delivering a service and the other is still selling phantom rides on the Vomit Comet at the county fair. Zero G rides you can get for longer and cheaper through another company..
    And the ride doesn’t even work yet.
    And now he wants to tart a new county fair(space port) over in some foreign land.

  • Orion314

    EXACTLY , The failure of leadership is bad leadership.Such a simple point, yet many otherwise “smart” people fail to see it. Branson needs to get out of his own way, I think he’d be much happier having a spot-o-tea with the Queen….talking abount his next title.

  • Kelly Starks

    > David Beaver is wary of these selling points. “It appears that the Overview Effect has either become marginalized by
    > some of the more esoteric of the astronauts’ experience, or minimized as simply thrilling or aesthetic experiences.”
    > Beaver, it seems, wants the view to be about social and political change, which he figures can’t happen if it’s sold
    > as either religion or entertainment or some amoral combination of the two.

    Its a tourist flight. Folks are going to see the view and float around in the cabin. Expecting that will cause social and political change, is like expecting folks coming to gawk at the Grand Canyon to then have a social and political change.

  • Kelly Starks

    Bransons the one pushing this. I’m sure if he dies or retires, the SS2 folks will get pink slips and the Space port American facility will shutdown.

  • Kelly Starks

    Just compare Virgin Galactic to Space X.

    > Both have access to the same amount of cash.

    Really? When did NASA and the DOD (or new Mexico) drop a billion plus into Bransons hands to develop his ships?

    > But yet one is moving ahead and the other is stagnant. Stuck in first gear.

    To be fair the SS2 folks did get to enamored of the hybrid engines and Rutans design. That cost them years. Beyond that, they needed capacity for vastly more frequent operations and at least hundreds of times safer craft, certified for passengers.

    >.. Why can one make innovations and adjust to meet its goals but the other is still hammering
    > away at the same problem thinking that it will magically fix itself and finally work.

    A bit confused here. SS2 is a more innovative design with new tech — but hardly enough to mater. So could you explain this?

    > And now he wants to tart a new county fair(space port) over in some foreign land.

    The intention was always to have several sites operating to serve local clients who want to see their chunk of the world from space. Assuming the customers are there though.

  • Pzatchok

    Read the article.

    New Mexico is paying a huge chunk of the spaceport.

    Branson could have went commercial like Space X. and when his ships were proven capable, reliable and safe for commercial cargo could have made the then smaller step to passenger flights.

    But he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t make a try into commercial service because is ship design and overall business plan never included making an orbit. Let alone being able to reach a space station.

    He spent all his investors cash (and he has billions to spend on their money) on designing a high altitude low volume Vomit Comet. His passengers won’t even have the room to get out of their seats.

    In fact another company is already stepping into the growing market of Zero-g simulation flights.

    Being innovative does not mean exclusively making something totally new and never before seen.
    It normally means taking old tech and applying it in new ways.
    As for making innovations to reach his goal.
    He hasn’t changed his plans one iota. He’s still pushing for a hybrid rocket system. Even though its killed a few people already and doesn’t have the endurance or power to do what he needs. Thats not innovation.
    Branson chose the wrong old tech. It has already been tested and found unreliable. 50 years ago.

    Gluing two big planes together to make a carrier ship? What a waste of cash and time. The dang thing can’t even be rented out to other groups to help them make space or defray the cost of the plane.

    He could have bought an already proven and tested rocket system and used that instead to push his fiberglass glider into low low orbit.

    it was questionable if he reached his first X prize goal and he has not reached one goal after that.

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