or, What I’m Doing for Summer Vacation. Contrary to popular opinion, my summer employment is not Classified, Top Secret, Need to Know (right now, I have mental pictures of these words stamped in red ink) or anything else that prohibitive and therefore enthralling. There are parts that involve export-restricted and proprietary stuff, though, so for those I’m not going to write anything that isn’t published or publicly available.
Here’s the scoop. There are several companies that are taking on the challenge of commercial spaceflight; among them are Virgin Galactic/Scaled Composites of Ansari X-Prize fame, SpaceX, and Armadillo Aerospace. Also included is Blue Origin, owned and funded by the founder of Amazon.com. In addition to having headquarters near Seattle and a launch site in West Texas, I’ve heard that they also have in their lobby a model of Jules Verne’s projectile-vehicle from his novel From the Earth to the Moon, as well as a door from the set of Battlestar Galactica. Cool. Continue reading