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Space has always fascinated me...
Beautiful pictures, there.
The company was founded by John Carmack. Ah, was wondering why you posted this.
A lot of prominent Astrophysicists, like Neil deGrasse Tyson, believe the future of space travel lies in the private sector with companies like Armadillo Aerospace because the U.S. government lacks interest. Personally, I'm not so sure (like Lawrence Krauss) but it's better than nothing!
Suffice to say I've been exchanging rocketry-related emails with Carmack since the late 1990s (long before he started Armadillo), so yeah, I'm a bit of a fan.
And I confess that I agree that the future of space is in the private sector. Mind you, that doesn't mean I believe in orbiting hotels or anything like that. Rather, I believe that if anything is going to change regarding space the revolution that is required is on the cost front... And NASA has repeatedly shown that they are not interested in dramatic cost reductions. After all, if tomorrow NASA found a way to get to LEO for 1/10 the cost, do you think they'd start launching 10X as often or do you think congress would cut their budget by 90%? I don't think there's a person out there who doubts that the budget cut is the more likely scenario. This, combined with a risk-averse culture means that NASA isn't truly interested in aggressively pursuing lower cost technologies.
Mind you, Armadillo (and others) are under contract with NASA so they (NASA) are hedging their bets, but they aren't pushing the low cost tech like it was an actual priority.
If it's the case that NASA doesn't get more funding to perhaps plan for moon missions that explore the technology required to set up temporary living facilities there or on Mars, I agree with what you say about the private sector.
I admit I take this straight from Phil Plait when I say that I personally believe NASA wouldn't (and shouldn't) save to fund such missions from their current budget like Gingrich probably believes. Perhaps NASA should be doing more LEO missions, deGrasse Tyson believes there's still much to learn from them and I assume he is probably correct, but if it was between half a dozen LEO missions or the Juno mission or another Mars rover I would prefer the latter options. Though that might be selfish of me if it meant the half dozen LEO missions got us a step closer to going to the Moon/Mars.
Whether the private sector gets to the stage where they can attempt a fair number of manned LEO missions so that NASA has less learning to do when it comes to future space travel or if these private sector missions will get NASA to pull their finger out with the help of Government funding, I guess such companies like Armadillo can only be doing good for the space industry.
Imagine what NASA could do on a war-like budget
Which basically means that the "future" is centuries away.
Small startups can do simple things like perhaps put satellites into Earth orbit. What they can't do is anything of significance relating to a manned mission to the Moon or Mars or anywhere else. The economics simply can't support a mission like that. Since any trip beyond earth orbit has zero proven financial value it is unlikely that anything will get done.
The only reason we went to the Moon was because of the Cold War and the (not clearly thought out) concept of the military "high ground". If in the early 60's the Russians had been the US's best buddies Apollo would have never happened.
That's the way I see it too but It's possible that these small contributions by private companies can help NASA when it comes to future missions by discovering new technologies that can be used for manned space travel.
Also true. What I'm holding out for is for either China or Russia, or both, to over-take the U.S. as the dominant superpower and for some scary policies/politicians from those respective countries to shock the U.S. government in to planning a Mars mission or similar to reassert their power.
It's a long shot, but there's a chance it could happen when 99942 Apophis comes close to Earth in 2029 and the American public learn just how far off the West coast it was likely to hit in 2036 (if it had passed through the gravitational keyhole) and that only Russia had bothered to think about implementing a plan on the off-chance it was going to hit and that Russia asked if the US wanted to be a part of this plan even though the asteroid impact wouldn't effect their country.
Well it's either that or the American science/engineering/technology industries are forced to hire more foreign people than US citizens due to a long-term dwindling interest in those areas by children in the school system. Actually, why doesn't NASA just lie and tell everyone Mars is 93% oil?
@D_Hall, do they have any plans to try for orbital velocity any time soon? Putting things into orbit or servicing things in orbit is where the money is.
That depends upon your definition of "the future."
I see manned space as primarily limited to LEO. I don't buy that we'll *ever* leave this solar system and if you want a "life boat" in the event of an asteroid impact on Earth there are MUCH cheaper and more effective ways to go about it than space travel.
In other words: I don't believe there will ever be a permanent Mars colony no matter who is paying the bill or how far into the future you want to look.
Not to my knowledge. I gather that there's a sizable market for suborbital flights. Even unmanned ones that do nothing but haul experiments around for universities and such. This is doubly true if one can perfect the suborbital shot that is quick, easy, and cheap to fly again. So far, nobody has done that. NOBODY. However, Armadillo has close as anybody has and I believe that's their near term business plan: To develop a suborbital vehicle capable of 100 miles altitude with a useful payload capacity that can use the exact same hardware to fly time and again; just repack the parachute, refuel, and go!
Couldn't you use your influence to become the next Gerald Bull? (without the getting-assasinated-by-Mossad bit of course )
http://www.universetoday.com/51532/hydr ... it-wvideo/
I envy you D_Hall !! Mr Carmack is a genius! I've been following Armadillo aerospace's videos for a long time, and played every game he (and others) wrote as IdSoftware!
Wanting to work as a propulsion systems engineer is partially due to Mr Carmack.
However, I do believe that in a relatively close future (200-500 years), man will decide to expand its horizons. Some very interesting research is conducted on low-cost hig-efficiency plasma thrusters (Hall effect, PEGASES, VASIMR) that I believe will make it through to space one day or another and allow for high-speed space travel (at least, faster than todays conventionnal solid/ liquid thrusters).
I did an intership in a CNRS lab last year in Orléans (France) in the lab that tested the first 1N+ thrust at 23.5kW input power in late 2011. IU think the future looks dark for the close future, but maybe a lot brighter after !
(Please tell Mr Carmack he has a fan!! )
"J'mets mes pieds où j'veux, et c'est souvent dans la gueule."
Heh I agree completelly...
Though it isn't exactly rocket science
Children are the future
unless we stop them now
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