Human Tended Suborbital Space

Human Tended Suborbital Space

January 12, 2009 Blog, Opinion, Our Non-Policy Voice

I was wondering if anybody here attended the Human Tended Suborbital Space workshop at Ames in December.

If you are unfamiliar with this visit

  • Are they likely to get any real funding?
  • Can this be a significant market for the rocket companies?
  • Is there anything we can do in support of this?
  • Is ther anybody who might fund any such effort?


  • Edward.Wright says:

    The new economic stimulus bill includes a lot of NASA spending for global warming and Earth observation. That likely indicates the focus of White House space policy for the next few years. So, I would recommend looking at ways of using suborbital for environmental orbservation.

    Another possible area to look at is aeronautics. Obama will probably restore all or part of the aeronautics funding that was raided by Ares during the Bush Administration. Once they have funding again, some of the aeronautic researchers will be looking for new projects. Jim Muncy once suggested that suborbital flight should be made a focus of NASA aeronautics research (harkening back to NACA days). I’ll second that idea and add that this research could include, and should include, flight experiments on suborbital vehicles.

    NASA could bulk purchase flights, or flight options for vehicles that are already development. Or better yet, create vouchers that can be exchanged for flights. Teachers in Space has experience buying flights on vehicles that are still in development, so we could advise on that. NASA could give the flights or vouchers to aeronautical researchers inside of outside of NASA. The same thing could be done for Earth science researchers.  


  • Bob Werb says:

    Reading this week’s Space News has me thinking about this some more. (They did a half page on the meeting.) I think that we should be able to cook something up to push this forward in a significant way. Isn’t it analogous to Teachers in Space? If Teachers in Space works, it will both expand the market for sub-orbital spaceflight and advance NewSpace by putting lots of astronaut/teachers back into the classroom. What can we do that fulfills the needs of scientists in a way that expands the market for sub-orbital spaceflight and advances NewSpace? Is there somebody at NASA with a pile of study money that would give us some to figure this all out?