Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Not with a bang, but a yawn?

A quick thought before dashing out the door to help a friend move...

For SpaceShip One's first flight, the space community migrated en masse to Mojave. For today's flight, nobody seems to have gone, preferring instead the virtual experience of webcasts and CNN. In the first hours after that flight, the* newsgroups, the and the blogosphere comment pages were filled with exuberant postings.

After today's flight, the atmosphere seems much more subdued. Is this because of the (pilot induced we know now) roll problems? Is it because the recent announcement of Virgin Galactic creates a feeling that the deal is done?

In the past various writers on space issues have made much of the fact that media coverage of space flights, and the apparent public interest, dropped after Apollo 11. (The 'live' TV broadcast from Odyssey during Apollo 13 is often cited as the poster child of this effect.) Yet here we have seemingly the same effect with commercial space flight... Among the various folks that have in the past professed the most interest.

First Prize flight - early impressions

Early results indicate that the 100 kilometer was reach, and passed, by SpaceShip One. However, the roll control problems experiences on the earlier altitude flight appear to have returned with a vengance.

[Update 08:37]
The craft is safe and on the ground.

[Update 08:52]
Watching CNN's coverage, it appears that the roll problems were at the end of the burn, rather than beginning as on the previous flight. They were however far more severe. I await the debrief and the results of the Prize commitee with bated breath.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Team Arca flies.

A report was sighted on and in the Ansari X-Prize forums that ARCA Space has sucessfully tested their Demonstrator 2B vehicle.

It's interesting to see the other teams continuing to forge ahead despite the race being seemingly a done deal.