private space industry

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pages: 280 words: 74,559

Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

"Robert Solow", autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, computer vision, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, G4S, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, land reform, liberal capitalism, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post scarcity, post-work, price mechanism, price stability, private space industry, Productivity paradox, profit motive, race to the bottom, RFID, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, working-age population

Today marks the anniversary of that event, and Blumenthal couldn’t be happier. Alone in his condo, he watches a Falcon Heavy booster rocket alight somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. Its successful landing not only makes a manned mission to Mars highly likely, but also continues an unblemished three-year safety record for SpaceX, the company which built it. The private space industry, for so long reliant on government contracts and the deep pockets of a few industrialists, is no longer science fiction. Soon rockets, just like this one, will be as familiar as a Boeing 737. After watching the landing streamed on Twitter, Blumenthal – an early stage investor in an asteroid mining company – shares it with a WhatsApp group of like-minded individuals.

Using a new family of Raptor rocket engines, the BFR will finally unseat Saturn V as the most impressive launch vehicle ever constructed. At the same time NASA is working on its Space Launch System which, when completed, will join the BFR in a new super-Saturn V category of spacecraft. Birth of a Private Space Industry Musk forecasts the first delivery of cargo to Mars using the ITS as soon as 2022, two years before the first humans set foot on the Red Planet. While his predictions are often right, Musk is notoriously late in delivery. That is partly a function of his business interests – renewables, electric cars and rockets – being at the cutting edge of industrial innovation.

After Apollo, in order to reduce overheads and enable launches with greater frequency, NASA pursued the Space Shuttle program. Yet even that cost the US taxpayer half a billion dollars per launch, with the system enjoying no more than five flights a year at its peak. Since 2000 and the arrival of a private space industry, however, costs have fallen precipitously. Today a Falcon 9 rocket (much smaller than the Saturn V) costs SpaceX around $61 million to launch, while the larger Falcon Heavy is less than $100 million. Nevertheless, even those figures mean many companies and individuals stand little chance of reaching space, and even if they have the means to do so, there is currently a two-year waiting list for launch.

pages: 376 words: 110,796

Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight by Chris Dubbs, Emeline Paat-dahlstrom, Charles D. Walker

Berlin Wall, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, desegregation, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Shuttleworth, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, private space industry, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, X Prize, young professional

Together with her husband, Hamid Ansari, and brother-in-law Amir, the Ansari name became famous when they made a multimillion-dollar pledge in 2004 to the X PRIZE Foundation for its suborbital challenge. The X PRIZE was officially renamed the Ansari X PRIZE in honor of the gift. Ansari's high name recognition further added to the publicity being generated around the private space industry. As each orbital client flew, it gave them and SA global free publicity through millions of media impressions. At the same time, it reignited the waning spaceflight interest of the general public. Prior to Tito's flight, shuttle and Soyuz flights had become routine. Polls showed that most people didn't even know the iss existed.

An eloquent speaker, he was capable of connecting with individuals in one-on-one conversations or inspiring a fully packed hall of space followers. As a result of that dynamism, the isu was up and running within one year and quickly established itself as the premier institution for training space professionals. Its graduates, from over ninety-five countries, have since occupied increasingly higher positions in both government and private space industries, as astronauts, heads of space agencies, and science experts around the globe. For most graduate students, still in their twenties, launching an international university would have been a crowning achievement. For Diamandis, success only meant that his schedule opened up, giving him time for other challenges, for the next big space for instance, to cofound Space Adventures and Zero-G Corporation, which offered parabolic flight opportunities.

"If we regulate the industry the way certification would require-all the vehicles to be certified, with all the tests and costs-the industry will never get off the ground." You don't have to look too many years into the past to realize what a sea change in attitude this represents for the government. Both the FAA and NASA have redefined their way of doing business to enable the development of the private space industry. NASA, not so supportive at the time of Dennis Tito's launch, has since changed its attitude about commercial space, starting with approval of the iss spaceflight participant requirements that allowed private participants access to the iss. Today, NASA uses commercial companies for its own needs.

pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

When SpaceShipTwo finally has its inaugural flight, Branson and his two adult children, Holly and Sam, will be on board. The Space Futurist “Over the next 20 to 30 years, humanity will establish itself in space, independent of Earth.” Peter Diamandis is sublimely confident that the teething problems of the private space industry will soon be over and we’ll be on our way to becoming an interplanetary species. This isn’t a goal mentioned anywhere in the Space Act that guides NASA. As he put it, “Not since lungfish crawled out of the oceans onto land has this happened!”11 Like Richard Branson, Peter Diamandis is a serial entrepreneur and a Trekkie.

His father was an engineer, so he was used to getting explanations of how things worked. He built rockets as a kid, but he grew up in South Africa, where there were no premade rockets, so he went to a drugstore, bought the ingredients for rocket fuel, and stuffed them into a pipe. Thirty years later, he was building rockets efficient enough to lead the budding private space industry. He also showed personality traits that would serve him well later and propel him into the top echelon of innovators and entrepreneurs. His mother said he had devoured the entire Encyclopædia Britannica by the time he was nine, and he remembered much of it. She had to check that he was getting something to eat and wearing fresh socks every day.

Spacesuits have changed very little since the 1960s; the Americans, Russians, and Chinese all use bulky and clunky suits that offer safety but limited mobility.9 A spacesuit has to deal with vacuum and temperature extremes; it has to protect against micrometeorites and infiltration by dust; it has to provide breathable air; and it has to monitor the occupant’s vital signs. The private space industry is hiring top designers for a new generation of spacesuits; in response, NASA turned to social media by having the public vote among the final designs for its next spacesuit. The winner, called Z-2, has collapsing pleats and electroluminescent blue patches and looks strangely retro.10 Beyond the style makeover, there are more substantial improvements.

pages: 390 words: 108,171

The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Burning Man, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, obamacare, old-boy network, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, private space industry, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, X Prize, zero-sum game

He went on to thank NASA for its support, saying it helped the company save about a year in development time. This was indeed a tremendous milestone—and huge news, a Henry Ford moment: Jeff Bezos was building a rocket engine. Garver immediately sensed a public-relations opportunity for NASA and the White House. Since they had backed Blue with $25.7 million in contracts, and were supporting the private space industry, she wanted to shout this success to the rooftops. Let all those doubters in Congress, in industry, even in NASA’s own leadership, know that these companies, with help from the government, could succeed. “Your note about NASA’s assistance saving you a year of development time is especially welcome,” Garver wrote to Meyerson.

See also Beal Aerospace; Blue Origin; SpaceX; United Launch Alliance; Virgin Galactic Propulsion Module 2, 168–169 Purdue University, 249–250 railgun technology, 23 rapid unscheduled disassembly (RUD), 203 Rather, Dan, 68 real estate market: Andy Beal’s fortune, 30–31 regulating the private space industry, 118, 124–126, 153 remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), 193, 197–198 Ressi, Adeo, 38 reusable launch vehicles (RLVs), 199–200 reusable rockets Blue Origin’s successful launch and landing, 222–224 developing spaceplanes and shuttles, 268–269 fueling private funding for SpaceX, 249 history of, 25 importance of, 24 landings, 3 launch technology, 270–271 Saturn V rocket recovery, 190–191 Reynolds, Alastair, 76 risk as part of the American way, 122–124 rocket technology Beal advocating for private space programs, 32–33 Beal Aerospace, 30–32 Bezos-Musk discussions over rocket architecture, 55–57 Bezos’s fascination with, 21–24 Blue Origin’s development stages, 261–263 Musk’s Falcon 1 rocket unveiling, 42–44 Musk’s goal of improving launch capability and reliability, 40–41 Musk’s projected Mars travel, 242–245 Musk’s rivalry with Bezos over orbital launch, 229–230, 233–235 New Shepard’s self-guiding system, 222–223 origins and growth of SpaceX, 41–43 See also specific rockets and programs Rocketplane Kistler, 137, 140–141 Rohrabacher, Dana, 245 Rolling Stones, 106 Rose, Charlie, 26, 75 Russia Atlas V rocket, 206 costs of the space program, 160 decline of NASA programs, 157–158 Musk’s search for rockets, 40 shuttle service, 173 Rutan, Burt, 79–90, 92–94, 96, 108, 112, 116, 212–213 sabotage accusations: SpaceX explosion, 242 safety concerns Branson’s trans-Atlantic balloon flight, 101–102 informed consent standards, 118–119 Mars travel, 243–244 people’s lack of concern over space travel safety, 113 regulating the emerging commercial industry, 118 space shuttle disasters, 117 SpaceShipOne, 93 Tuckerman Ravine, 119 See also death Sarsfield, Liam, 45–48 satellite technology Beal Aerospace, 31–32 Defense satellite launch contracts, 52–54 launching infrastructure and technology, 268–269 national security responsibilities, 52–53 shrinking size and increasing affordability of satellites, 249 SpaceX explosion destroying satellite cargo, 239–241 Sputnik launch, 59–60 surveillance, 267–268 tracking asteroid collisions, 36–37 Saturn V rocket, 66, 129, 172, 188–192 Scaled Composites, 231 creation of, 80 kinks in the SpaceShipOne design, 93 Melvill’s SpaceShipOne test flight, 87–91 pilot rivalries, 82–83, 86–87 second flight of SpaceShipOne, 87 skepticism of, 86 SpaceShipOne crash, 82–84 SpaceShipTwo crash, 212–214 Virgin GlobalFlyer, 107 See also SpaceShipOne Schatz, Tom, 49 Schirra, Martin M., Jr., 173 Schmidt, Eric, 249 science fiction literature, Jeff Bezos’s love of, 64–65 Scott, Robert Falcon, 103 Seabed Worker (salvage ship), 187–188, 192–195 Seattle Museum of Flight, 254 self-guided rocket systems, 222–223 September 11, 2001, 52, 127 Seveneves (Stephenson), 24 Sex Pistols, 105 Shackleton, Ernest, 119 Shelby, Richard, 160 Shepard, Alan, 274 Shotwell, Gwynne, 48, 132–134, 137, 141–142, 154–155, 229, 240, 248 shuttle programs, 268–269 Columbia explosion, 41, 43, 96, 117 decline of NASA’s program, 85–86, 96, 172–173 increasing reliance on the private sector, 160–161 Musk’s interest in creating, 38–39 NASA’s Space Launch Initiative, 33 Siebold, Peter, 80–81, 86–89, 92–93, 95, 212–214 Simpson, Larry, 20, 24–25 60 Minutes (television program), 68, 106, 204 smoking, 63–64 social media Musk’s rivalry with Bezos over orbital launch, 229–230 rocket landings, 3 SpaceX explosion destroying satellite cargo, 239–241 SpaceX site, 204 See also Twitter sonar search of the ocean floor, 191–192 sonic boom, 22–23 Soviet Union Bezos’s acquisition of artifacts from, 72 Branson’s offer to go into space, 107 Sputnik launch, 59–60 space exploration and colonization as human survival, 32 asteroid habitation, 71 Blue Origin startup, 74 O’Neill’s proposal for, 67–71 See also asteroids; Mars colonization and missions; moon colonization and missions Space Launch Initiative, 33 Space Launch System (SLS), 244–245 space memorabilia, 251–252 space race, early, 235 ‘space’ versus ‘orbit,’ 224–225 spaceplane development, 79–80, 269.

pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, IKEA effect, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, private space industry, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

Tesla’s stamping machines were inherited from NUMMI (adapted to stamp light aluminum rather than the old steel), but the automation that drives them is all new. So, too, for the supply chain. Musk is a zealot about bringing as much fabrication as possible in-house, and he’s got the experience to know how to do it. This is what he did with his rocket company, SpaceX, which is now leading the private space industry. Its basic rocket technology is not much different from what NASA uses, but its production processes are what allows it to get to orbit at a fraction of the cost. Unlike the complex (and politicized) network of contractors, subcontractors, and sub-subcontractors of NASA’s aerospace industry model, SpaceX makes almost everything itself using digital fabrication tools.

pages: 286 words: 77,039

The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America's UFO Highway by Ben Mezrich

Elon Musk, private space industry

Bigelow’s design team had extended this vision; his idea was first to attach modules to the International Space Station, to replace the already existing crew Habitation Module of the International Space Station, and eventually to plant his own space station in orbit, then after that—on the Moon. From the very beginning, Bigelow had believed that the TransHab could be the backbone of the private space industry. If NASA didn’t have the will—or the dollars—to move forward with the space race, Bigelow—along with Musk, and many others—felt that it was up to the private sector to do it. Although NASA held the patents on the device, Bigelow had moved quickly to take over the project. Three years of negotiation and he was able to buy the rights to the idea, at which point he’d discovered that the technology and materials necessary to make the TransHab work were nowhere near as developed as advertised.

pages: 294 words: 80,084

Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler

Albert Einstein, Alexander Shulgin, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, epigenetics, gravity well, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, North Sea oil, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, private space industry, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, theory of mind, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

So, that day in the diner — despite Peter’s exuberance, despite the fact that, back then, the XPRIZE had no major sponsors and no money in the bank, and despite the fact that NASA had called his idea utterly impossible and the entire aerospace industry had agreed — from where I was sitting, some maverick opening the space frontier didn’t seem too outlandish. Of course, today, with the XPRIZE won, with the private space industry worth more than a billion dollars, none of this may seem incredibly shocking. But it was. In 1997, space was off-limits to anyone but big government. This much was gospel. Yet I left that diner absolutely certain that sometime in the next decade, the far frontier would open for business. I also left the diner a little gobsmacked.

pages: 321 words: 89,109

The New Gold Rush: The Riches of Space Beckon! by Joseph N. Pelton

3D printing, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, Carrington event, Colonization of Mars, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk,, full employment, global pandemic, Google Earth, gravity well, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, life extension, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, megastructure, new economy, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post-industrial society, private space industry, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, Tim Cook: Apple, Tunguska event, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, wikimedia commons, X Prize

Most recently Musk has announced plans to launch in 2018 this largest vehicle to Mars with a “Red Dragon” capsule on board. The objective is to demonstrate the ability to eventually send astronauts to Mars. As Musk has said with serious intent but tongue in cheek: “I want to die on Mars, but not on landing.” This remarkably rapid progress by the private space industry is impressive, but it reopens the tough to answer question: “Why cannot NASA make such remarkable progress at a similar rate and such low cost efficiency?” In fact the latest question that surfaced is, why does NASA need to spend billions to design and build the new Space Launcher System (SLS) if SpaceX’s new heavy lift launcher can go to Mars?

pages: 328 words: 96,141

Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race by Tim Fernholz

Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, business climate, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, multiplanetary species, mutually assured destruction, new economy, nuclear paranoia, paypal mafia, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel,, planetary scale, private space industry, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, trade route, undersea cable, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize, Y2K

It could have been that the satellite link was broken because of too much vibration from the descending rocket, or it might have been another disaster. But when the feed resumed, there it was: a twice-flown booster rocket, standing alone on a calm ocean, as if on a sunset cruise. History had been made. SpaceX—and the private space industry—were no longer simply replicating the successes of the government space programs that came before them. They had taken the risk of doing what no one had done before. “I did have like two boxes of Xanax; I think that might have helped,” Musk joked after the flight. “I was actually, oddly enough, nervous that I wasn’t nervous enough.”

pages: 452 words: 126,310

The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility by Robert Zubrin

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, battle of ideas, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk,, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gravity well, if you build it, they will come, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, more computing power than Apollo, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, off grid, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, private space industry, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment

It should incentivize the development of additional systems, including rovers, habitats, life support, power units, space suits, and so on, the same way. Approached in this way, we can have our first permanent bases established and operating on both the moon and Mars within a decade, for a small fraction of NASA's current budget. We will also have a vibrant private space industry, driving down the cost and advancing the technology of launch vehicles, spacecraft, propulsion, and every other system needed for space exploration and development with all the ferocious creativity that free enterprise can bring to bear. With that, the doorway to the universe will be flung wide open.

How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight by Julian Guthrie

Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, Doomsday Book, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Frank Gehry, gravity well, high net worth, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, Leonard Kleinrock, life extension, low earth orbit, Mark Shuttleworth, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Oculus Rift, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, packet switching, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources,, private space industry, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, urban planning

Within an hour, he knew what the problem was, because he had designed thousands of O-rings and seals. He learned that on the night before the launch, as well as early the next morning, engineers had urged NASA not to launch in temperatures below 53 degrees, and were overruled. “Ten good engineers are better than one hundred,” DeLong had come to believe. He was certain that the private space industry could improve on NASA’s record of one catastrophic vehicle destruction for every one hundred flights.* Looking around the table, DeLong chuckled to himself. He was surrounded by people, like himself, best described in incongruent terms: hard-nosed idealists. The participants presented ideas for vehicles ranging from a modified Learjet to multistage rockets.