Monday, February 19, 2007
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"...
Posted by Jerry Battiste at 8:32 PM