NewSpace 09: Suborbital Point-to-Point Panel

X-51 Waverider
X-51 Waverider


Charles Lauer – Vice President of Business Development, Rocketplane, Inc.
Paul Damphousse – Chief of Advanced Concepts, National Security Space Office
Kelvin Coleman – Special Assistant for Programs and Planning, FAA
A.C. Charania – President, SpaceWorks Commercial
Randall Clague – Government Liaison, XCOR Aerospace

Special Assistant for Programs and Planning, FAA

We should get private space travel up and running before we regulate it

FAA – Licenses the operations of vehicles and launch sites –
The agency does NOT certify launch vehicles

FAA’s goal is to support and enable the development of a new sector….

To date, there have been no point-to-point applications
For PTP, there are challenges for companies, but none of them are insurmountable

PTP Licensing Issues

Safety Review
–Expected Casualty analysis – standard is 30 in a million
–Airspace/ATC agreements
–Informed consent from “space flight participants”

Environmental Review

Policy Review

Insurance Requirements
— need to cover maximum probably loss

Current FAA Actions

— Requirements development for integration of future suborbital vehicle operations into U.S. National Airspace System (NAS)

–Reaching out to international organizations and governments to develop common legal approaches (for international and trans-oceanic flights)

President, SpaceWorks Commercial

— Created a group called Fast Forward, a pre-competitive group to look at requirements for cargo shipment…has since expanded to include passenger issues…

–this is an informal, ad-hoc group that meets by telecon every few months….unpaid, volunteer effort….working through issues and developing technical papers, white papers and business development studies….

— Looking at different options, including supersonic and hypersonic vehicles…

Conclusions Thus Far:

1. Cargo market may not be large enough in itself to support business plan

2. Passenger market may add to traffic, make the business case viable

3. Supersonic business jets could offer advantages over hypersonic vehicles on certain routes

Chief of Advanced Concepts, National Security Space Office

SUSTAINuse high-speed PTP to move military forces and equipment anywhere in the world within 2 hours

Activities Thus Far:

–3-day workshop near San Antonio, Texas with ~80 participants, including military and commercial suppliers
–Request for information released
–Developing a report that will be available to industry

Possible Uses:

–Rapid deployment of sensors from suborbital vehicles
–PTP movement of cargo (at first) and eventually military personnel

Government Liaison, XCOR Aerospace

Short range point-to-point is difficult to justify – you can fly LA to SF in an hour on Southwest for about $69


One person pointed out a key disconnect:  most vehicles would need to be launched from remote places (Las Cruces, Mojave) that take a lot of time to reach. So, does it make any sense to drive four hours to an airport to get on a plane that gets you there just a little faster?

Panelists admitted this was an issue they were examining….