Rutan vs. Benson

Speaking of the Journal, the front page of today’s issue has an article about the lingering beef between Burt Rutan and Jim Benson. (Yes, subscription required. Blame the Journal, not me.) As many readers are already aware. SpaceDev, founded by Benson, built the hybrid rocket motor used by Rutan’s SpaceShipOne, but the two had a rather public falling out, which included threats of lawsuits by Rutan (which, the article states, were not followed through “to avoid the expense and distraction of litigation”.) The two now, of course, are rivals, with Rutan leading the development of SpaceShipTwo for Virgin Galactic and Benson starting a new company to help fund development of SpaceDev’s Dream Chaser concept. For those who have followed this issue over the last few years, there’s not too much new here, although reported Andy Pasztor does get comments from both Benson and Rutan.

One other item of note in the article: Benson tells the Journal that he is planning “a nationwide competition to hand out free rides aboard his spacecraft” that will be formally announced in the next few weeks.

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