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 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 [...]

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 [...]

Herrington leaves Rocketplane

Rocketplane Global vice president and chief test pilot John Herrington has left the company, according to an Associated Press report, which refers to a press release issued by the Chickasaw Nation, of which Herrington is a member. Herrington left the company on December 21, although his departure was announced only this week. Herrington gave no [...]

X Prize Cup press conference recap

I’m in the media building at Holloman AFB, having gotten out of a press conference a little while ago about the X Prize Cup and related announcements. A few highlights:

Rocketplane Global, as expected, unveiled its new design for the XP suborbital spaceplane. The company is no longer using Learjet hardware for the vehicle, deciding [...]

Gearing up for the X Prize Cup

The X Prize Cup gets started today with an education/media day at Holloman AFB that’s not open to the general public; the full event (open to the public and with free admission) is Saturday and Sunday. There’s a press conference scheduled for late this morning with several announcements planned:

An unspecified announcement by the Teachers [...]

ISPS Day 2: Spaceports, business models, and astronauts

Above: a panel of space travelers discuss the spaceflight experience on Thursday afternoon. From left: Jeff Hoffman, Jay Buckey, Michael Lopez-Alegria, Anousheh Ansari, Dan Barry, Janice Voss, and John Herrington.

The second and final day of the International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight started off with a focus on spaceports (actually, it started off with [...]

ISPS Day 1 wrap-up

(The picture above doesn’t have anything to do directly with the conference, it’s just a nice view of the Moon rising around sunset Wednesday as seen from the conference site in Las Cruces.)

Yesterday’s sessions of the International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight didn’t have any groundbreaking revelations, but there were still some interesting developments [...]

Rocketplane’s uncertain future

One of the big topics that will likely come up during the ISPS and X Prize Cup will be the future of Rocketplane Inc. given its loss of its funded COTS award earlier this month. (Rocketplane president George French and VP of business development Chuck Lauer are both scheduled to be on the first panel [...]