Los Angeles, December 17, 2003 – The Space Frontier Foundation congratulated Scaled Composites Inc. on breaking the sound barrier with their new space vehicle SpaceShipOne. The Foundation points to this event as yet another indicator that a new commercial space industry is developing in the U.S. that will revolutionize access to space.
“Of all the celebrations and events being held across the nation to commemorate the first flight of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, this flight is the most important, the most appropriate and the most relevant,” stated Foundation Founder Rick Tumlinson. “Like the Wright Brothers, Scaled Composites is opening the next level of flight to the general public, and doing it without government money.”
SpaceShipOne is a prototype for vehicles which will carry paying passengers and payloads to the edge of space on sub-orbital flights. The Foundation has long supported the rise of what it calls the Alternative Space (Alt.Space) firms and activities such as those being carried out by Scaled Composites. The group sees the flight of the vehicle as a breakthrough, and an indicator that the first sub-orbital flights are not far behind.
“Burt Rutan has once again led the way into a new arena of flight, and right behind him are several other firms such as XCOR Aerospace, also in Mojave (and which is also conducting flight tests) TGV Rockets of Maryland, Armadillo Aerospace in Dallas and several others,” said Tumlinson. “This next year is going to be the year space begins to open to the people.”
The Foundation is calling on Congress and administration officials to support this new potential industry by passing legislation that would streamline the regulatory process and allow these experimental spaceships to transition to commercial operations. In question is the fate of the Commercial Space Act of 2003, HR 3245, which is now under discussion on the Hill, and which they believe will do just that.
“As Burt Rutan and the folks at Scaled Composites are showing, the technical challenges can be overcome. But we must act quickly to cut the red tape or these space ships will end up tied to the ground,” Tumlinson continued. “If the Wright Brothers had been forced to jump through the same bureaucratic hoops that face the commercial spaceship industry, they would still be building bicycles. These firms need help now.”