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Nov 01 2014

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Prescient article published Thursday comparing the Ansari XPrize to Apollo

Very interesting article that poses the question:

So, why did Sputnik quickly help spark a revolution that would transform life on Earth, while the Ansari X Prize led to 10 years of extravagant promises and desultory results? And what does this tell us about the role of prizes in moving technology forward?

Because it spends a large part of the article recounting Virgin Galactic’s problems with SpaceShipTwo the day before it crashed, it’s both timely and a little bit eerie. It’s definitely worth reading, but I think the article’s attempt to define the Apollo moon landings and the winning of the Ansari XPrize as stunts with little long term benefit is a bit of a stretch:

NASA’s budget was drastically cut after Apollo. Virgin Galactic was swimming in money after winning the Ansari XPrize — their problem was that SpaceShipOne’s rocket engine did not scale up well in the larger SpaceShipTwo. Apollo was a “dead end” because of political will and funding (or lack thereof). SpaceShipOne was a “dead end” because of engineering and physics. Two completely different issues, in my opinion.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/01/prescient-article-published-thursday-comparing-the-ansari-xprize-to-apollo/

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