With the finale' of the X-Prize coming up, there has been lots of talk about how the it will affect the space industry. I would like to here some opinions on this. Will the effects be as good as predicted? What would they even be?
It will encourage investors to pour some money into small space companies like XCor or Canadian Arrow. As soon as the regulatory barriers come down (could still happen this year with the CHASE act, formerly known as the Commercial Space Act or HR:3752) we will see vehicles being developed to serve the space tourism market.<br /><br />However, I don't think the X-prize will have much of an effect on the aerospace giants or the way they do business, at least not in the near term. But with SpaceX planning for a first launch of the Falcon I this November I see some tough competition for Boeing and Lockmart in the years ahead.
Perhaps one of the first effects will be that we space keeners will have to get used to not knowing what’s going on inside the walls of our favorite space businesses. The search for competitive advantage will lead to trade secrets, surprise announcements, and the like. I hope I’m wrong, in a way.<br /><br />But that’s not a fun answer . . . <br /><br /><b>It</b> won’t so much “affect the space industry” as it will create its own <i>kind</i> of space industry. What is <b>it</b>?<br /><br /><b>Barnstorming.</b> The X-prize also-rans will jockey for position in the adventure tourist market.<br /><br />Dare I try to invent a new word?<br /><br /><b>Blackstorming</b><br /><br />We are entering the Blackstorming phase of space development, where the adventure tourism market is established, providing the financing to develop CHATS (Cheap Human Access To Space).<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
The possibity of civilians going into space at any time without the government's approval opens up all kinds of possibilities. I would like to see a lottery where the winner gets to go up. I think we need some of our great writers to go up and tell us about it. I want children in space. <br /><br />This means everything to the imaginitive side of human nature. Finally, we get to see the frontier, not the government.
> <i><font color="yellow">With the finale' of the X-Prize coming up, there has been lots of talk about how the it will affect the space industry.</font>/i><br /><br />There are far too many unknowns to be confident about any prediction, but for fun, here are the lists of unknowns and predictions.<br /><br /><b>Unknowns</b><br /><ul type="square"><li><font color="yellow">Will someone actually win the X Prize?</font> It isn't simply a factor of who will be first; the prize expires this coming January 1st. If SS1's engine doesn't have enough power to reach the altitude with the load of 3 people, the prize may go unclaimed.<br /></li></ul><ul type="square"><li><font color="yellow">Will the tourists show up?</font> There have been several surveys showing a potential market for tourists paying $100k for a suborbital flight, but there is a big difference between <i>saying</i> you will and <i>actually paying</i> for it.<br /></li></ul><ul type="square"><li><font color="yellow">Will the X Prize have a follow on?</font> The X Prize organizers used to talk about an annual competition following the original X Prize (the X Prize Cup), but I haven't heard anyone say who is going to actually put up the money. I did a quick check of their recently redesigned web site and could no longer find the material for the follow on prizes.<br /></li></ul><ul type="square"><li><font color="yellow">Will Congress and NASA embrace prizes in more than a token fashion?</font> NASA designated a very small put of money for prizes, but Congress didn't even fund that.<br /></li></ul><br /><br /><b>Predictions</b><br /><ul type="square"><li><font color="yellow">The tourists will show up.</font> There will be an initial surge at $100K per flight, but that will drop quickly after a few months. However, the sweet spot will be when the price drops to $50K for a suborbital flight, and then sustained tourism will take off.<br /></li></ul><ul type="square"><li></li></ul></i>
I don't think it will affect the industry much in the short term, but if someone manages to launch a craft into orbit for less money than the established companies then maybe things might get rolling. I see the market for suborbital tourism as being too small. I think the paying public will want to go into orbit instead and get tired of suborbital once the novelty wears off.