Monday, November 21, 2005

SpaceDev - Chasing the Dream

Although it looks a bit like a cartoon spaceship, SpaceDev's lifting-body Dream Chaser is an intriguing alternative to capsule-style CEV spacecraft for "safe and affordable crew access to the International Space Station" and other missions. It also looks rather like the proposed (never built) European Hermes spaceplane. Note that the picture here is linked from the SpaceDev site - Dream Chaser is not in Orbiter quite yet (there is an Orbiter add-on version of the Hermes somewhere, but I can't find it online at the moment - OK, here is a lunar mission version!).

Now just a few days later, SpaceDev also announces the results of a study that "Finds Lunar Missions Can Be Completed for Less Than $10 Billion." In the proposed SpaceDev architecture, each mission would position a habitat module in lunar orbit or on the surface, allowing the buildup of some reusable infrastructure for later use. There is also a wild looking lunar-landing rocket chair that looks like a souped-up ejection seat (I guess it more or less is!).

An interesting week - SpaceX plans to launch their first Falcon 1 rocket this Friday. There's a lot going on in commercial space development. Will it all get funded? Will it all work? Probably not. But some of it will. Space is turning into a business with multiple paths and players. It's very dream-worthy in any case. Orbiter add-on builders, start your 3D modelers!

1 comment:

Anthony Kendall said...

The private launch sector is really pretty exciting right now. They are doing innovative things (albeit mostly on paper at this point) and promising very low costs.

In contrast, SpacePolitics highlights the article over at stating that the new James Webb Space Telescope is now over budget by $1 billion this year alone. The prime contractor, Northrup Grumman, just revealed last week that it is over budget by $3 billion on the NPOESS satellite network. When will NASA finally break the stranglehold that the Primes have on them?