August 10, 2004
Not Because it is Easy, but Because it is Hard

Ron gets a no-prize he better not try to launch for bringing us news and pictures of Rubicon 1, an x-prize contender, well, not being a contender. New Scientist is carrying this article that summarizes both that failure and Armadillo Aerospace's crash that ocurred shortly thereafter.

While the media are predictably playing up the "total disaster" aspect of the story, this is in fact to be expected. Spaceflight ain't easy folks, and catestrophic failures of what are essentially pretty pipe bombs are just par for the course.

Another huge advantage of private enterprise is that failures like this do not automatically result in monstrous, ponderous committee-driven investigations that take years to complete; they also don't result in public outcries to "stop spending my money on that", outcries that congresscritters naturally scurry around to answer. The press can bleat and blather about "dangers" and "spectacular failures" all they want, because the people involved will be too busy to care and nobody else has any leverage to do anything about it.

Well, as long as interventionist technocrats are kept away from the levers of power, that is.

It seems to me we're going back to the pre-WWII age of exploration and innovation, back when people didn't expect the government to be the primary motivator and innovator. You want it, scrape your money together and give it a shot. If it fails, well, try again. If it doesn't, expect to be richly rewarded for taking such a high risk, and then invest that money back into the markets so some other maniac with an idea can scrape together the money and take a shot at thiers.

To me, that's a good thing.

Posted by scott at August 10, 2004 09:36 AM

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