Poll

Will commercial space companies be able to conduct manned space flights (i.e. above 80km) in 2018?

Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic will send people to space in 2018.
19 (19.6%)
Blue Origin will send people to space, but Virgin Galactic won't.
29 (29.9%)
Blue Origin won't send people to space, but Virgin Galactic will.
4 (4.1%)
Neither company will send people to space, BO will launch unmanned NS rocket, VG will have powered rocket flights
35 (36.1%)
Neither company will send people to space, only BO will launch unmanned NS rocket
5 (5.2%)
Neither company will send people to space, only VG will conduct gliding or powered tests.
2 (2.1%)
Neither company will send people to space - total hiatus, only ground activities, no flights at all.
3 (3.1%)

Total Members Voted: 97

Voting closed: 02/03/2018 01:05 PM


Author Topic: Will commercial tourist companies conduct manned space flights in 2018?  (Read 4801 times)

Offline Svetoslav

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Here I go... In this chapter I will include Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, the companies who plan to start tourism space flights. As of December 2017, neither of these have conducted a suborbital manned spaceflight.

Offline Svetoslav

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Much thanks to Chris Bergin for fixing my poll :) Now everyone can vote.

Offline ZachS09

For some reason, I think tourists will be more likely to fly in Blue Origin's New Shepard rather than Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.
« Last Edit: 12/05/2017 01:22 PM by ZachS09 »
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

I think we will see a manned NS by the end of the summer, a month or so before the first crewed Dragon mission. Because testosterone  ;D

Only unmanned tests for VG
Failure is not only an option, it's the only way to learn.
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Offline Svetoslav

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Only unmanned tests for VG

VG never conducts unmanned tests. All of the tests are conducted in manned mode. Perhaps the only company that does this.

Online gongora

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So does a VG flight with just the test pilots count as a manned flight, or do we require other passengers?

Offline Svetoslav

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So does a VG flight with just the test pilots count as a manned flight, or do we require other passengers?

Yes. We're talking about the first manned suborbital flight since 2004.

Only unmanned tests for VG

VG never conducts unmanned tests. All of the tests are conducted in manned mode. Perhaps the only company that does this.
Ops. I thought the gliding tests were unmanned. I'm going to vote for no actual manned suborbital space flights then :D
Failure is not only an option, it's the only way to learn.
"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the custody of fire" - Gustav Mahler

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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I think both will day suborbital crewed test flights in 2018, but I doubt either will fly paying passengers until 2019 (assuming no major failures).

Offline high road

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I went a little negative on that one. Maybe VG surprises me, who knows.

Offline Svetoslav

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I have to admit, I also voted negative. I don't believe they will do it, but maybe VG will surprise me too. I think November 2018 is earliest for manned spaceflight

Offline SweetWater

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So does a VG flight with just the test pilots count as a manned flight, or do we require other passengers?

Yes. We're talking about the first manned suborbital flight since 2004.

Based on this definition, I voted that both will send humans to space. I think we see manned test flights of both vehicles in 2018. Flights with paying customers, however, will not happen until 2019 or later.

Offline Svetoslav

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To sum it up : Blue Origin is about to resume NS flights next week.

Meanwhile SpaceShipTwo appears to be in a hiatus (although White Knight Two was seen flying several days ago).

Apparently 2018 is going to be a very interesting year.
« Last Edit: 12/18/2017 04:35 PM by Svetoslav »

Online hop

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Voted both doing power flights but not crew to space. I think VG will be close, less of an idea how close BO is. Wouldn't be very surprised by any of the options, though I'd slightly lower odds on "neither flies anything"
« Last Edit: 12/10/2017 10:51 PM by hop »

Online spacenut

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To me suborbital is a trip to nowhere.  If I was a billionaire, I would rather orbit the earth, than have a 15 minute joyride.  I guess it is a start though. 

Offline Paul451

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If I was a billionaire,

Suborbital is meant for non-billionaires. Rich enough to throw away $200k, but not rich enough to throw away $20m.

Offline Svetoslav

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To me suborbital is a trip to nowhere.  If I was a billionaire, I would rather orbit the earth, than have a 15 minute joyride.  I guess it is a start though. 


The question is: what does it mean to be a trip to somewhere? Yes, Blue Origin is seeing New Shepard rocket as a testbed for reusability, and New Glenn and future rockets are meant to be upgrades of this rocket. Virgin Galactic IMO doesn't - the spaceplane is just for tourism is nothing else.

But space tourism is more about entertainment and personal gain and pleasure,  and everything else is secondary - that includes expansion in the Solar System.

Offline deruch

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BO yes, VG no.

Why no listing for SpaceX's circumlunar trip for tourists?  Even though it's not in the poll, I'm voting not in 2018 on that one too.
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline wardy89

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I am being optimistic and saying both will. Although i think that they will occur late in the year.

Offline Johnnyhinbos

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My answer would be "yes" for 2018. However I think it'll be SpaceX that's the first commercial entity to put humans in space (but that wasn't an option in the poll).
John Hanzl. Author, action / adventure www.johnhanzl.com

Online DanielW

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Neither.

I don't think BO even plans on manned flights in 2018, so that counts them out. VG might but color me doubtful. I think blue origin will end up launching customers first and end up with a virtual monopoly on sub orbital tourism. I just think most people will prefer BO's simple elevator ride to virgin's complicated multi-step mission profile.

Offline Craftyatom

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I have more faith in Blue than VG, given that Blue has now basically done a dry run with human-capable hardware.  They don't plan to put humans in their current capsule (which we've been told has ECLSS and abort capability), but they definitely could - so if someone said "$1 billion to the next commercial company to put people into space" I think Blue could slap an intern in one of the chairs and have it done within the next 30 days.  They won't - because they're sensible - but it bodes well for them flying one of their employees in the next 12 months, even if it requires building another capsule that meets their strict human-rating standards.

VG are a different story.  They're on track, but it's one that we don't have a map for, and they're taking it slow because the last time they tried, they crashed.  I was almost tempted to say they won't make it before the year is out, except that - as mentioned upthread - they don't have unmanned capability.  All flights to space will be manned, which means that the question becomes "will a spaceshiptwo go to space next year?"  Given that they're supposedly quite close to powered testing, and there are only so many powered tests you can do before you end up in space, I think they're probably going to make it to space this coming year, and there will have to be at least one human on board.

So I voted both.  Now, in terms of customers, not a chance.  Nobody - not Blue, not VG, not SpaceX - is flying commercial passengers in 2018.  SpaceX may well fly people in 2018, but given that they'll be NASA astronauts, I don't think they count.
All aboard the HSF hype train!  Choo Choo!

Online mme

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I think Blue will conduct a manned test flight but won't begin commercial operations.

I bet on VG not flying at all in 2018 but I hope I'm wrong.
« Last Edit: 12/18/2017 10:41 PM by mme »
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Offline Zed_Noir

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In theory SpaceX could omitted the upper stage from their Falcon 9 stack with a slightly modified Dragon 2 for sub-orbital flight profile in 2018.

Not likely IMO. SpaceX will need a new TEL and new crew access hardware along with several fast recovery ships and dedicated search & recovery air assets.

However, if block 5 cores is used in this role. Then only maybe a pair of cores and a pair of Dragon 2 is all the flight hardware required along with the trunks for the Dragon. The trunks might be recoverable for sub-orbital flights.




Offline Paul451

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so if someone said "$1 billion to the next commercial company to put people into space"

A billion? Virgin is selling suborbital tourist flights for $200k, and that seems to be the appropriate market price (judging by response.) And the Ansari prize was $10m.

Offering $1b for suborbital flights would be just throwing money away. That's substantially more than SpaceX & Boeing will receive for each manned orbital flight.

(Aside: And I'm disappointed that "space flight" has been downgraded to 80km.)

Online hop

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I don't think BO even plans on manned flights in 2018, so that counts them out.
FWIW, Jeff Foust reported on this today http://spacenews.com/blue-origin-a-year-away-from-crewed-new-shepard-flights/
Quote
a Blue Origin executive said Dec. 18 that the company was now about a year away from starting to fly people
So notionally, there's a chance they could fly crew before the end of 2018, but given how schedules move in the space biz, slipping past that seems like a pretty safe bet.

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