The rise and fall of Rocketplane

Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an extended account of George French and his involvement with Rocketplane, the company that, for a time, was developing both suborbital and orbital vehicles (the latter under a NASA COTS agreement) before running into financial problems and eventually going bankrupt. French had long been interested in space, but it was [...]

Farewell, Rocketplane

Rocketplane Global has been barely hanging on the last couple of years since its orbital counterpart, Rocketplane Global, lost its NASA COTS award and the financial crisis dried up the investment market. The company, in particular vice president Chuck Lauer, has been out there trying to drum up support for a variety of opportunities, [...]

Rocketplane’s Florida opportunity

Chuck Lauer of Rocketplane Global at Space Access ’10

In a presentation at the Space Access ’10 conference in Phoenix on Saturday, Chuck Lauer of Rocketplane Global provided a bit of news about the company’s efforts to develop a suborbital vehicle. That work has been on hold for the last couple of years because [...]

What can Florida, Indiana, and others learn from Oklahoma?

As we noted here last week, Florida’s Cecil Field has its spaceport license but is still in search of customers, thanks to the limited number of companies whose vehicles are qualified to use it and the current state of the industry. Cecil Field will have to compete against a number of other current and planned [...]

Rocketplane’s woes

Anyone who has been following the status of Rocketplane Global for some time knows the company has run into major difficulties because of problems raising money. (See this video interview with Rocketplane’s Chuck Lauer from the Space Access ’09 conference earlier this year.) But the company is getting renewed media attention recently, particularly in Oklahoma, [...]

Rocketplane Kistler: we’re not dead yet

After Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) lost its funded COTS Space Act agreement with NASA to help develop the K-1, the conventional wisdom was that the company was effectively dead. After all, RpK had difficulty raising the hundreds of millions in private financing needed to develop the vehicle even with the NASA imprimatur; it would seeming be [...]

Video: Whitehorn assesses the competition

Below is a brief snippet of Will Whitehorn’s speech at the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference on Friday. In this segment Whitehorn examines some of the other ventures developing suborbital vehicles, including Rocketplane, EADS Astrium, Blue Origin, XCOR, Armadillo Aerospace, and Copenhagen Suborbitals, a little-known Danish firm developing a very minimalist suborbital system. Whitehorn’s theme [...]

Rocketplane “dedicated solely to fundraising”

I spent the day Wednesday at Space Investment Summit 5 in Los Angeles. I’ll provide a more detailed report later, but the brief summary of the meeting is that there is still investment taking place in the entrepreneurial NewSpace field, although the current financial crisis has put a damper on some activity, particularly anything involving [...]

Rocketplane developments

Rocketplane Global, the suborbital vehicle developer, issued a pair of press releases last week (curiously not available on their web site) announcing some personnel changes. David Faulkner, who has been the program manager for the Rocketplane XP vehicle project, is now the company’s CTO. Paul Metz, a veteran test pilot who had been the chief [...]