Monday, February 19, 2007

SpaceDev Dream Chaser: Let's Get it Straight

Jim Benson dropped us a line last week, suggesting we might have been unfair in pointing out he has no hardware despite a plan to start sending paying customers to space in a few short years.

Fair enough. As he points out no one else does either, except SpaceShip One, which utilizes a hybrid rocket engine designed by SpaceDev, the same company responsible for developing Benson's SpaceDev Dream Chaser.

While the SpaceDev Dream Chaser project has no publicly displayed hardware, it certainly does have an impressive lineage: Vertical take-off and landing capability has been repeatedly successfully tested by NASA; It's lifting body design has been successfully tested by the Soviet Buran program; and the fact SpaceDev rockets have a very good success rate.

There are currently at least a half dozen commercial sub-orbital space tourism companies promising flights will begin in a few years or so. Of them all, Virgin Galactic is probably closer than anyone else, simply because they are using an already proven method for space insertion.

Benson Space Co. and the SpaceDev Dream Chaser are a close second place simply because of the proven concepts behind their project.

We stand slightly corrected, though still firm believers in the adage "the proof is in the pudding"...


Ed said...

Hi, I maintain the Space Blogroll, a list of all the space-/astronomy-/rocketry-related blogs that I can find. I recently added your blog to the blogroll; including yours there are now 172 blogs on the blogroll. If you would like to add the Space Blogroll to your sidebar, you can find the necessary code for that here. If you don't want to add the space blogroll, that's ok too, you're on the blogroll regardless.

I also run the Space Feeds aggregator, which brings together the 50 most recent space blog posts from over 120 blogs (including this one), the 50 most recent news stories from three dozen space news sites, astronomy picture of the day, NASA TV, astronomy podcasts, and loads of space-related links. You might find it a useful tool.

Pat said...

I believe there are other companies that have progressed almost as well as Virgin Galactic. Blue Origin's The New Shepard has already undergone some initial test launches and SpaceX has launched the Falcon 1 too. Not to mention their current deal with Bigelow Aerospace to launch an inflatable habitat into space with the Falcon 9 in the first quarter of 2008.