More From ISDC
A few more tidbits from the International Space Development Conference in Dallas. Rocketplane Kistler plans a vehicle based upon a Learjet 25 with rocket engines. The 25 is the only Learjet certified for single-pilot operation. To save weight, most of the planned suborbital vehicles will have only one pilot.
Virgin Galactic's COO revealed that they are in talks with Bigelow to build Virgin Galactic hotels from Bigelow's inflatable modules. Spaceship Two is reportedly "coming together" at the Scaled Composites factory in California. SS2 will not be able to reach orbit, so a new generation of vehicles would be required to serve orbiting hotels.
Over the weekend it was realised that the new Benson design resembles the ship in George Pal's WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE. It also resembles concepts from Wehrner Von Braun and Willy Ley. This design was the result of a suggestion by Hoot Gibson, who has plenty of experience with a delta-wing shuttle. Benson Aerospace is aiming for one design capable of both suborbital and orbital flight.
The director of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate repeated that they are in the market for commercial space services. "If somebody says 'I have this really great way to extract water ice from the lunar regolith that I've developed on my own dime' we would be interested. If we could be in a commercial relationship with somebody who has the capability that's fine because in many cases they can do it for less money than we can." Orbital Outfitters announced that their prototype Suborbital Space Suit 1 will be delivered by the end of the year, if they can get the money. Whether NASA will buy from private developer will be tested soon.