Speaking of Armadillo’s John Carmack, in his team’s latest update, he provides his own unvarnished assessment of the various companies in the suborbital spaceflight sector. The Scaled Composites/Virgin Galactic partnership “is the safest bet for success”, but cautions that Virgin may need the field to itself in order to make a profit on SpaceShipTwo: “If a more highly operable vehicle is competing, SS2 probably won’t ‘earn out’.”
Some other summarized assessments:
- Blue Origin: “It looks like they want to play in the orbital space, and perhaps don’t want to get bogged down competing in suborbital space. I think that is a mistake.”
- Rocketplane Global: “They have burned through tens of millions of dollars of funding, and nothing has ever left the ground. Would another ten or twenty million dollars do it? I doubt it very much.”
- SpaceDev: “I also think the hybrid powered VTHL DreamChaser is about the worst design for commercial suborbital flights. They aren’t going to build it on their own dime, and it looks like it would be a very expensive development project that would end up with quite high operating costs if it was ever completed.”
- XCOR: “I think they can probably do it” with Lynx.
- Astrium: “Oh, please.”
And his own assessment? “I still think there is a chance we might be first, depending on how Scaled chooses to play things.”