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International Space Development Conference – The opening session

I have been running about madly all day and of course with too little sleep since I met up at the bar with the Aussie contingent last night. just a warm up; the nightly parties do not start until tonight: the Toronto 2009 bid team has the first.

The sea of people in the plenary session was a pleasing spectacle and we had quite a good set of kick off speakers, the most important of which were Elon Musk on SpaceX and Lou Friedman on the future of the Planetary Society’s solar sail project. Lou is talking more about this private project later in the day, so I will try to cover that story seperately.

Elon’s plans are big. Phase I is to dominate the satellite business; Phase II to handle human traffic to low orbit; and Phase III is to provide transportation to the Moon and Mars. He is not in this to just put up comsats more cheaply or to assist NASA in going around and around and around… he wants a space faring civilization.

The Kwajalein fault was wholly a process error and they have made changes to procedures to provide more human cross checking. They have added all the sensors in the health monitoring systems to the abort on alarm status rather than just the critical set. This will lead to more aborts for burned out lights and other false positive trivia but will give more reliability. They have modified some of the section where the tubing was messed up by the final test to make it less possible to bung something up. Ironically, it was the leak test check which caused the leak that caused the shutdown.

Everything worked well other than that. All other systems were 100%; trajectory was within .2 degrees of nominal; virtually all the systems except the upper stage got a good shakedown. Perhaps because of this, his sales are still expanding. They have 11 flights manifested already and because of that are already profitable.

He showed photos of the Falcon-9 testbed. That is one big mutha of a rocket.

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3 comments to International Space Development Conference – The opening session

  • Rich

    Pix of the”big mutha of a rocket” by any chance for us stay at home types?

  • A good Aussie contingent this year?

  • Dale Amon

    There usually is: the Chairman of the board has been an Aussie for quite some time; the fellow running the Toronto 2009 team moved across about 2 years ago; then there are at least 2 others I saw last night. Kirby, myself, an Alabama rocket scientist and a couple others have been a regular bunch of drinking buddies at these events.

    Oh yeah, Will Whitehorn, head of Virgin Galactic wil be around. Last year he joined us after the gala, dressed in his family war kilt…

    Re Falcon-9: I will have to review the photos I have, since I was well back and was snapping the distant projection screen.