Someone at NASASpaceflight.com dug up the predictions thread for 2010 that I apparently started on New Year’s Eve a year ago…
Here were my predictions:
What I think will likely happen in 2010:
1- ISS will be extended to 2020 and Shuttle only to 2011 (with one added flight)
2- Ares-I will be canceled, but in order to buy off Shelby and Nelson, some sort of shuttle derived HLV (Ares-I Lite or Jupiter-ish) will be selected.
3- SpaceX will make it to orbit with Falcon 9, but not necessarily on the first try–I’m guessing they’ll have at least one more failure this year.
4- Obama will announce a new direction for the HSF program, with small sops thrown at all parties (anemic commercial crew program, small new tech-dev program, shuttle derived HLV, continuing with Orion, etc). And it will be denounced by all sides as being both too radical and not radical enough.
5- Both Armadillo and MSS will start flying customers to sub-100km altitudes, but neither will have a 100km vehicle in full commercial service by the end of the year (possibly doing some limited flights–but they’ll be test flights that happen to have a payload on board). And there will be at least one TLOV (Tragic Loss of Vehicle) between the two companies, possibly one for both.
6- Blue Origin will start flying something, but still won’t actually tell anyone much about what they’re doing.
7- Scaled will continue to face engine delays with SS2, but will at least start doing captive-carry tests. XCOR will face delays but will have Lynx Mk I partially completed–it will be targetting summer of ’11 for initial flight tests
8- Even if there are some successes on the commercial side, there will still be plenty of people willing to explain how “they really haven’t proven anything yet”.
9- Less than half of these predictions will be anywhere close to true (except this one).
I’m sorry guys, that’s just plain lucky. If I thought skill had anything to do with it, I wouldn’t have posted it.
But it is interesting:
1-Both were approved in the NASA Authorization Bill passed earlier this year.
2-Sop indeed, but at least NASA HQ is trying to do its darndest to make sure that SLS has a fighting chance of not being completely, 100% pork driven (maybe only 95%, but you gotta take what you can get).
3-SpaceX actually exceeded my expectations here. They orbited two F9s, without crashing any.
4-Obama actually did better than I expected here. Still sops all around, but smaller sops than I thought he would have the balls to try suggesting. End result coming out of Congress was a lot closer to what I thought Obama would propose, being something that neither side really likes. So gotta give kudos to Obama for exceeding my expectations in a positive direction.
5-Pretty close to what happened, though neither suborbital vehicle is as close to a 100km capable vehicle as I had expected. Of course, I didn’t predict that Masten would have to handle a huge turnover in its engineering staff, or that Armadillo would run into as many snags as it did.
6-This was the only prediction that looks like I was completely wrong on. Hopefully next year?
7-Scaled was about where I expected, but XCOR sounds like it’s a little behind where I expected. They are back on their feet and making progress again, but I’d really be surprised if they had Lynx to the point where they could start any sort of flight testing before this time next year.
8-Yup. Though admittedly, SpaceX’s knocking-it-out-of-the-park last week shut up the naysayers a lot more and for a long longer than I had expected. Apparently, your average politician must be only 95% completely lacking in shame–they do have their limits. This is good to know.
9-Ironically, it was my safest guess that was wrong.
I’m not sure I’m going to make any guesses for next year. I really can’t do better than I did this time around, and if I keep my mouth shut, maybe you guys will keep thinking I know something…