Monday, July 20, 2015

Virgin Galactic, The First Ten Years by Erik Seedhouse - Book Report #139

Not to distance myself too far from my science fiction roots my next book to help restore my faith in humanity was the story of Virgin Galactic.

You may have heard about Richard Branson's next way-out business venture; after the success of the Ansari X Prize Branson invested in Scaled Composites to create Spaceship Two and sell tickets to space.

The book tells the story of suborbital flight from it's beginnings and of all the challenges faced with this type of flight.

But the author also delves deeper into the challenges of the first ten years of Virgin Galactic up to and including the tragic crash of October 2014.  Getting this business off the ground (take the pun if you want) requires patience, bravery and deep pockets.  Luckily Branson has all those qualities but I fear that the entire project is in danger of being abandoned - How much more money can he put into this?

Given that I grew up watching the Apollo program, I really want this project to succeed.  As far as I am concerned there should be moon bases all over the place and we should be on Mars by now. Opening space to commercial ventures is the only way space will be truly explored.  Why?  Because there is money to be made up there!

Back to the book - found it odd.  Don't get me wrong, I liked it very much and got more from it than I expected, it's just that it felt like I was reading a paper-bound version of a Wikipedia page.  Maybe it was all the website links listed at the end of each chapter, maybe it's the output the author, I can't put my finger on it. 

And speaking about the author, Seedhouse should be wearing a cape!  Author, astronaut, ultra-long distance athlete, master's degree in medical science, paratrooper -  how can a person like this not be genetically engineered?  Maybe he will simply explode from doing so much.

I kid, but really, this guy is a modern day version of Doc Savage.

Virgin Galactic

http://www.virgingalactic.com/

X Prize - Ansari X Prize

http://www.xprize.org/

http://ansari.xprize.org/

Scaled Composites

http://www.scaled.com/

Erik Seedhouse


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