Friday, April 09, 2010

Space Access 2010 - XCOR Aerospace / Jeff Greason

Jeff Greason reflected a bit about his last twelve years. It has been rough, but he is glad he took the plunge.

Jeff worries that the dinosaurs (NASA) are dying faster than the new space industries are ready to step up. He encourages us to get along with the other players.

Jeff wants the United States to have a successful, profitable space transportation industry. Need to have markets. We are getting closer to moving people into space.

Ten years ago Jeff thought the best approach was to go with a two stage rocket. He wanted to move a pound into orbit for less than $100 a pound. The first stage needs to return and so they decided to add wings.

Jeff showed a video of a rocket they built for Rocket Racer. XCor built it for Rocket Racer. They no longer have a business relationship with Rocket Racer, but would be happy to build more rockets for Rocket Racer. The video showed the turn around time, in eight and a half minutes. They did seven flights in one day. Jeff said the rocket racer rocket was a the kiddie car compared to the Lynx.

I counted about 130 people in the room.

He showed a video, it was similar to this one:

Jeff says that it takes time to design a rocket. You can’t speed up the process by throwing lots of people at the problem. There are design issues that are solved better when a small group of people are working on the overall design. Things are a lot cheaper when you catch issues in the design. They have changed the design again and again and again. They have changed the configuration of the nose.

It is looking like they are getting there.

Business wise it has been rough the last two years. They are not self funded. They use to get more money from the federal government. Things are looking better now. They are getting more phone calls. NASA’s plans to put $75 million into the industry reassures investors.

Jeff says that in a rational universe companies would be willing to buy things like engines from “competitors.”

The full agenda for Space Access 2010, with links

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