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Re: yet another launch vehicle project

At 12:52 AM 12/03/2002 -0800, Franklin Antonio wrote:
>Full article at <http://www.space.com/spacenews/archive02/webarch_111802.html>
>Start Excerpt <<<<<
>WASHINGTON ó Elon Musk, a 31-year-old Internet entrepreneur who amassed a 
>sizable fortune during the dot.com boom, has set his sights on building a 
>...a two-stage, kerosene-fueled expendable specifically designed to 
>undercut Orbital Sciences Corp.ís air-launched Pegasus vehicle in the 
>market for the handful of small payloads the U.S. government needs 
>launched each year.
>Muskís pitch?  Roughly speaking, 470 kilograms to low Earth orbit for less 
>than $10 million ...
>"Iím looking everywhere for someone who has a hanger queen [needing to 
>fly]," Gurevich said. "We are also offering an inexpensive way for a 
>commercial entity to test out an untested spacecraft bus."
>first main engine test-firing this winter....vehicle fully assembled by June.
>End Excerpt >>>>>
>Read the full article at space.com .

Both Jan and I talked with Elon at the Small Sat conference.  His program 
looks real to me and appears to have a good chance of success.  His 
business organization model is interesting, a very small group of full time 
management and principal engineers with the detail design and construction 
contracted out.  Keeps overhead burn rate, which many startups die on, very 

>One of the funniest comments in the article...
>"The Russian vehicles arenít having all that much success in part because 
>they are not good marketers and donít know where to look for customers," 
>said Marco Caceres, space analyst at the Teal Group.
>Gee, are we sure it isn't because they blow up a satellite or two every 
>few years?

They have certainly had a failure or two.  But I believe overall their 
success rate across all launchers compares favorably to others.
In my experience marketing is an issue, but a larger issue is the virtual 
impossibility of exporting a satellite from the US to take advantage of a 
foreign launch.


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