Tag: private spaceflight

Poll Reveals Public Skepticism of Government and Private Human Spaceflight

SpaceShipTwo powered test flight
A poll found 58 percent of people said private companies like Virgin Galactic should be allowed to send people to space, which it plans to do via its suborbital SpaceShipTwo vehicle (shown during a powered test flight). Credit: Virgin Galactic


Excerpt from spacenews.com

WASHINGTON — The American public is skeptical that private ventures will be able to launch “ordinary people” into space in the coming decades, and is split about spending money on government-led human space exploration, a new poll indicates. 

 The Monmouth University Poll results, released Feb. 16, showed that a majority of Americans believe private companies should be permitted to launch people into space, but also that they did not believe it likely those companies would be able to do so in next 20 to 30 years.  In the poll, 58 percent of people said private companies should be allowed to launch people in space, versus 37 percent who said that human spaceflight should be left to governments alone. 

However, 55 percent thought it was not likely that “ordinary people will be able to travel regularly” into space in the next 20 to 30 years, while 44 percent said such travel would be somewhat or very likely.  Most people also said they were unwilling to fly in space themselves: 69 percent said they would decline a free trip into space, while 28 percent said they would accept it. The poll did not specify what kind of trip — suborbital or orbital — was offered.  The poll revealed a sharp difference in gender, with men more willing than women to believe private ventures should be allowed to fly people in space. Men supported private over government-only human spaceflight by a margin of 71 to 26 percent. 

Women, though were, more evenly split, with 44 percent backing private human spaceflight and 49 percent supporting government-only efforts. MoonFifty percent of those polled said the U.S. government should not spend “billions of dollars to send astronauts to places like the moon, Mars, and asteroids.” 

The public is also divided about spending money on government human space exploration. Asked if the U.S. government should spend “billions of dollars to send astronauts to places like the moon, Mars, and asteroids,” 50 percent said no, while 42 percent said yes.  As with private spaceflight, there was a strong gender split, with 50 percent of men, but only 36 percent of women, supporting spending on human space exploration. There was, by contrast, little difference by party affiliation.  

The poll showed greater support for government spending on space in general. Asked if increased spending on the space program in general would be “a good investment for the country,” 51 percent agreed and 43 percent disagreed.  The poll is based on a telephone survey of 1,008 people in December, and has an overall margin of error of 3.1 percent.
WASHINGTON — The American public is skeptical that private ventures will be able to launch “ordinary people” into space in the coming decades, and is split about spending money on government-led human space exploration, a new poll indicates.
The Monmouth University Poll results, released Feb. 16, showed that a majority of Americans believe private companies should be permitted to launch people into space, but also that they did not believe it likely those companies would be able to do so in next 20 to 30 years.
In the poll, 58 percent of people said private companies should be allowed to launch people in space, versus 37 percent who said that human spaceflight should be left to governments alone. However, 55 percent thought it was not likely that “ordinary people will be able to travel regularly” into space in the next 20 to 30 years, while 44 percent said such travel would be somewhat or very likely.
Most people also said they were unwilling to fly in space themselves: 69 percent said they would decline a free trip into space, while 28 percent said they would accept it. The poll did not specify what kind of trip — suborbital or orbital — was offered.
The poll revealed a sharp difference in gender, with men more willing than women to believe private ventures should be allowed to fly people in space. Men supported private over government-only human spaceflight by a margin of 71 to 26 percent. Women, though were, more evenly split, with 44 percent backing private human spaceflight and 49 percent supporting government-only efforts.
Moon
Fifty percent of those polled said the U.S. government should not spend “billions of dollars to send astronauts to places like the moon, Mars, and asteroids.” Credit: NASA
The public is also divided about spending money on government human space exploration. Asked if the U.S. government should spend “billions of dollars to send astronauts to places like the moon, Mars, and asteroids,” 50 percent said no, while 42 percent said yes.
As with private spaceflight, there was a strong gender split, with 50 percent of men, but only 36 percent of women, supporting spending on human space exploration. There was, by contrast, little difference by party affiliation.
The poll showed greater support for government spending on space in general. Asked if increased spending on the space program in general would be “a good investment for the country,” 51 percent agreed and 43 percent disagreed.
The poll is based on a telephone survey of 1,008 people in December, and has an overall margin of error of 3.1 percent.
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Microsoft co-founder’s company may fund space-bound passenger plane



Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser


thespacereporter.com


Stratolaunch Systems, a commercial spaceflight startup company, might purchase a three-passenger version of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser in a bid to implement its goals of putting both satellites and people into orbit beginning in 2018.
Sierra Nevada recently filed a complaint against NASA for awarding commercial spaceflight contracts to its competitors, Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to develop vehicles to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in three years, ending American dependence on Russia’s Soyuz capsule for the task.
The Colorado company is arguing its proposed vehicle, the seven-passenger Dream Chaser, would cost $900 million less than Boeing’s vehicle.
A decision on Sierra Nevada’s complaint is expected to be issued by the U.S. General Accountability Office in early January.
Stratolaunch, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, envisions using a smaller version of the Dream Chaser as part of a space transportation system it is currently developing.
Its plans include construction of a huge airplane with a 117-meter wingspan that will carry both satellites and passengers into space. The airplane,which will be powered by six 747 engines, will be capable of carrying satellites of up to 6,124 kg.
The Dream Chaser, which will have its own upper stage motor, could ride on top of the airplane, which will be capable of launching objects as high as 2000 km over the planet.
While Stratolaunch has not made a final decision on the purchase, the company’s executive director Charles Beames publicly expressed confidence in Sierra Nevada’s vehicle.
“Dream Chaser seemed to be the logical way to go. We feel pretty good that we have enough analysis there,” he said.
Allen plans to make a decision by year’s end regardless of the outcome of Sierra Nevada’s complaint against NASA.
An infusion of funding from Stratolaunch could give new life to the Dream Chaser in the wake of its failed contract bid.

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