From: X Prize Foundation
Posted: Tuesday, February 8, 2005
Leaders from the newly emerging Personal Spaceflight Industry today announced their intent to organize an industry federation to design and uphold the standards and processes necessary to ensure public safety and promote growth of the personal spaceflight industry.
The group also resolved to set up a Voluntary Personal Spaceflight Industry Consensus Standards Organization to develop Industry Consensus Standards to implement the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004. Membership in the proposed federation would be open to all US non-profit and commercial entities developing suborbital commercial passenger travel.
To date, there have been three successful suborbital spaceflights, which operated under an experimental license granted by the Federal Aviation Administration. Looking to the near future when these new space vehicles will carry passengers and crew, the new Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in December 2004, empowers government to provide for the safety of the uninvolved public through launch licensing, as well as establish Industry Consensus Standards to provide for the safety of passengers and crew on these new vehicles.
The group of entrepreneurs believes that adherence to new and rigorous safety standards that go beyond the letter of the law will be essential to promote the safety and growth of the industry. Accordingly, the group has expressed its intent to initially focus on standards and procedures in areas critical to vehicle safety, medical requirements, and training for passengers and crew.
"Just as the personal computer revolution dramatically increased performance and lowered the cost of computing, the market for Personal Spaceflight promises to transform the economics of space operations," said Gregg Maryniak, Executive Director of the X PRIZE Foundation and spokesperson for the new Personal Spaceflight Federation.
"The only way to reduce the cost of spaceflight is to do more of it," Maryniak continued. "In 2004, there were only 15 worldwide commercial space launches because there were only 15 commercial satellite payloads.(1) Personal spaceflight promises a much larger market and will provide the demand that the industry needs to grow and economize."
Recent market studies indicate a strong and consistent demand for personal spaceflight, with some 70 percent of respondents in the developed world responding that they would be willing to buy a ticket to see the Earth from space when such trips are commercially available.
Several "new space" US companies currently are developing the vehicles needed to meet this demand for human suborbital spaceflight. Public belief in the Personal Spaceflight Industry peaked following the recent award of the $10 million ANSARI X PRIZE, won by the Mojave Aerospace Ventures Team with the two successful flights of SpaceShip One on September 29th and October 4th, 2004.
Space entrepreneurs working to create the new federation include: John Carmack, Armadillo Aerospace; Burt Rutan, Scaled Composites; Elon Musk, SpaceX; Alex Tai, Virgin Galactic; Jeff Greason, XCOR; Dr. Peter Diamandis, X PRIZE Foundation; Gary Hudson, t/Space/HMX; George French, Pioneer Rocketplane; Stuart Witt, Mojave Spaceport, Eric Anderson, Space Adventures, and Michael S. Kelly, Chairman, RLV Working Group of COMSTAC, the Department of Transportation's industry advisory committee. Gregg Maryniak and Diane Murphy, executives of the X PRIZE Foundation, will facilitate the organization's liaison efforts with industry, US Government and media. (1) January 2005 Launch Report, Futron Corporation, Bethesda, Md.
X PRIZE Foundation
Diane Murphy, 703-527-3310
// end //