Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Catch-Up: Jim Benson Dies at 63

Some sad news was released while I wasn't getting updates. Jim Benson, the founder of SpaceDev and Benson Space died of a brain tumor on October 10.

Benson leaves behind a huge legacy. Though Benson Space was dissolved due to Benson's long illness, SpaceDev remains, and is one of the most exciting companies in space equipment manufacturing today. Most notably, in the world of space tourism, SpaceDev designed and constructed the rocket for SpaceShipOne, the first commercial spacecraft. Despite a personal dispute between Jim Benson and Burt Rutan, SpaceDev has also signed a contract to design the rockets for SpaceShipTwo. In addition, SpaceDev is currently designing the DreamChaser, a spacecraft which if built, could be launched into space atop an Atlas V rocket.

Among other accomplishments, Benson was on the board of the California Space Authority, and he founded the non-profit Space Development Institute. And though by all accounts, he tended to be rather blunt in personal conversation, which tended to rub people the wrong way, he will certainly be missed. And with the advances that are continuing to be made toward the goal of space tourism, my guess is that he would not be disappointed.

Progress: 4.03%  Flight Time: 0:06:05

No comments: