We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Now it can be told…

As I am now part of the core engineering team on a spaceship, I am much more limited in what I can say on certain subjects than I was as a consultant assisting on early stage projects in the previous decade. Here is a picture of our baby, the XCOR Lynx, as it sits in our hangar. My job is its ‘nervous system’, the sensor systems and onboard data collection and storage and use.

XCOR Lynx Spaceplane under construction

XCOR Lynx Spaceplane under construction

27 comments to Now it can be told…

  • No way, that is for the impending Star Wars movie, right? 😀

  • Well, how cool is that?

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    You too can fly on it. We’re much cheaper than the high price spread, we take off from the runway and go… well, straight up for all practical purposes. Just you and an astronaut pilot on your left space suit elbow. And yes, our space suits will be real, not just survival suits.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    Just go here to sign up 🙂


  • Laird

    When will they be ready to fly?

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    Current goal is to fly passengers next year. Reality is, we fly when we can place our hands on hearts and say its soup.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    EM drive. The skeptic in me wants to see a lot more testing. I’d most likely be convinced by having a test satellite placed in High Earth Orbit, outside the Van Allen Belts and then run for a few years to see what it does. Accelerations of these things tend to be pretty small so you don’t want to be losing energy to atmospheric drag faster than you are adding to it. So I am not in a flat ‘no’ camp. But I am also not holding my breath. Now I am a bit more positive on the Woodward work for which he actually has the equations and has not invented new physics, but it also needs a lot more proof.

  • Dale,

    So far simulations show that the dive force goes up exponentially with power. Up to about 50KW of input power. Experiments (too few so far) show this as well.

    I’m with you. More testing. It is posited that 50KW should give in the range of 1000 Newtons.

    I like Polywell Fusion for long range missions. Either ion rockets or this gizmo. But first it has to be made to work. I’m working on it

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    Well, I intend to stow away in the wheel locker. Don’t worry, I’ll wear a jumper! I know how cold space can get.
    As for long-range missions- didn’t NASA talk about finding some zones with anti-matter particles? Just use those!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Go to it, Dale — awesome!

  • George Atkisson

    So. Effing. Jealous.

    I doubt I could understand a tenth of what you are doing. You are an integral part of making the future happen. Right before our eyes.

  • Mr Ed

    Would it be right that the major problem that you face is regulatory, not technical, in terms of who lets you take off and under what conditions?

    I don’t expect that there would be much hope for your operations to be permitted in the UK, but if they were, there is a nearly 10,000ft runway at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in Leicestershire, England, with some ground-running English Electric Lightnings that got as close to the edge of space as you could hope in a British aircraft back in the day. Sadly grounded by safety considerations, the CAA (Can’t Allow Anything) will not allow them to fly over UK airspace.

    And for those interested, the next Cold War Jets day is Sunday 24th May 2015, ground runs for those wishing to be deafened by a Victor and Lightnings running around.

  • Paul Marks

    May you have good fortune Dale.

    Yours is a noble enterprise.

  • “Fascism” is a word that is often misused, but it does have a good meaning: businesses and government working together to achieve the nation’s goals.

    Merely believing in the existence of national goals doesn’t make you a fascist. But believing in national goals and that businesses and government must work together to achieve them does.

    Of course what those goals are depends on who is being asked. For Jeff Greason, founder of XCOR Aerospace and Dale Amon’s boss, the colonisation of space is a national goal.

    Here’s a quote taken from that Jeff Greason article:

    “Rather than being adversaries, the government and commercial sectors must cooperate, each in its own sphere, to achieve our national goals.”

    I look forward to being told that opposition to fascism is a piece of unhelpful “libertarian purism”.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Rocco (Strict Liberalism)
    May 11, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Rocco,’fascism’ lies not in business and industry working together to achieve national goals, but in their working together to squelch any competition or criticism of either of them.

  • Russ in TX

    ::slow clap::

    I’d love to work in space.
    Sadly, there’s not much demand for early-middle-aged liberal arts majors, for some BIZARRE reason, even if they CAN file and organize and do expense reports like a fiend.

    Thanks for helping build my kid’s future.


  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    Mr Ed. Regulatory issues in the US are pretty reasonable, although it requires constant attention to make sure they stay that way. There is a hiatus on formalizing it into a more aircraft like arrangement that was to expire this year but has been extended 5 years with Ted Cruz backing it I understand. Spacecraft and Aircraft are regulated differently. FAA/AST, run by George Nield is the one who deals with our sector. He’s really a good guy. Needs talking to now and then, but he’s reasonable and understands reality. As to the UK, there is Reaction Engines Ltd with their Liquid Air Cycle Engine, a wholly British endeavour. I believe they are a bit optimistic on how long it will take to turn it into a FLYING engine, but eventually they will.

    There are also moves in the UK that could cause something similar to the US spaceship regulatory environment to come about. Also, the CAA does seem to be a fairly level headed bunch these days.

    They have recently pushed historic aircraft regulation into ‘self regulation’ with an organization of the historic aircraft owners and pilots over seeing it. The outcome of this is that you now can buy a ride in the Grace Spitfire and other historic warbirds. In Australia this extends to all of General Aviation; I believe the same will be happening in the UK; there is even talk of doing it in the US. The State regulatory bodies have limited funding and they’d rather spend it keeping commercial airlines safe. Sometimes these bodies go overboard… but there is no doubt in my mind that in the US the combination of the incredible work of the NTSB and followup by the FAA, while sometimes annoying, has for the most part made US airlines incredibly safe.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    As to the other comment. I am not an Anarchist. I do believe there are small roles for government. The problem is keeping them small and that requires ‘eternal vigilance’, something that was on the defensive through much of the 20th century. Fascism is a system of government where the means of production are controlled indirectly rather than directly as in Communism. A set of Aristocratic families are tolerated so long as they know their place and build the ovens they are told to build. I am not going to say that the work of the NTSB could *not* be replicated by a company beholden to the insurance company’s; but that is not the world we have nor are likely to have any time soon. The NTSB is very, very good at what they do and those efforts have run the accident rate in US commercial aviation down near zero over the last 20 years. Every pilot reads NTSB reports or summaries of them because they are full of ‘don’t do that!’ horror stories. It is also the case that they don’t just report on superficialities. If there was pilot error, why was there pilot error? They will dig down into pressures put on pilots by management, incorrect training, failure to follow procedures… and even call out the FAA for regulations that cause people to do things that lead to accidents. I am against Big Government. I am not against small and competent agencies. We could cut 90% of government employee rolls and budget and that would be good. But there would still be some items left that are indeed appropriate.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    I will also note, and then say nothing more, that Jeff understands that he is not the Great and Powerful Oz, able to change reality at a wave of his wand. He is the founder and leader of a tiny (in aerospace terms) company that started from 5 people 15 years ago and has survived and thrived IN THE WORLD AS IT IS. I will say no more.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    Perry can correct me if I am wrong, but the system of government described by one of our posters is not Fascism but Plutocracy.

  • APL

    MSimon: “I like Polywell Fusion for long range missions.”

    So do I, but does it produce energy?

  • Dale Amon

    Note that even the researchers I showing a high level of skepticism and are making no serious claims.


    This is an interesting idea and I am solidly behind people running down whacky ideas because for every million crazy theories there is one that changes our world and you never know which one it will be.

  • APL
    May 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    does it produce energy?

    No one knows the answer to that. I’m working with some people who intend to find out.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)
    May 11, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    If you follow the news or history it seems all authoritarian systems devolve into oligarchy. Why? Because you need competent management. People better at profit than loss. Ironic eh? Motivating people is always the same problem no matter how you are organized. Some organizations make it easier. None make the problem go away.

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    Is the EMdrive an impossible drive, or an Ion drive? There is a difference! It might lead to the faster-than-light Alcubiere drive!
    As I understand the Alcubiere drive, it should create a space-eating ‘mouth'(like a black hole), and have a space-making ‘tail'(like a white hole), by minipulating space, and virtual particles. We are finding ways to manipulate virtual particles (see the Casimir effect), but this kind of engineering is beyond us. However, I wonder if the EMdrive shows how it could be done?