NASA - not even in the running
Posted by aogMonday, 07 June 2004 at 15:11 TrackBack Ping URL

I was talking to BBB today about the historic flight planned for 21 June, when the private flight in to space is scheduled to occur. This will not be an Ansari X Prize attempt — presumably that will be later.

What is interesting, as BBB pointed out, is that NASA couldn’t win the prize even if they were a private organization. To win, the space ship must fly twice in a two week period. What vehicle that NASA has ever built can do that? Certainly not the Space Shuttle! Maybe the X-15, although it doesn’t seem likely (average turnaround time between flights: 44 days). So NASA, after decades of work and hundred of billions of dollars, is still unable to compete with the variety of private organizations operating on a shoe string. At what point should this failure be accepted?

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Andrew Duffin Tuesday, 08 June 2004 at 09:58

Your point is clear and taken, but you are perhaps a little unfair to NASA here. Nobody has ever asked them to meet those criteria, whereas the whole purpose and target of the private efforts IS to meet them. I suspect NASA would fail, but this doesn’t prove it: the matter has not been put to the test.

I hold no brief for “public” works, mostly a scam and a fraud as well as grotesquely wasteful, but you are not comparing apples with apples.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 08 June 2004 at 18:05

I remember when the Shuttle was first proposed. This was exactly the kind of thing the proponents claimed would result from that program. What other purpose did the Shuttle program have, except to provide routine access to space? NASA may have used exotic technology, but that wasn’t the goal. Reusable spacecraft were.

End of Discussion