Enter the Dragon

Space Geekout. Our civilization has reached yet another important step. A private company was able to launch a vehicle into Earth orbit. I’m talking about the recent successful launch of the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

Why is this important? Well, while I’m really curious what projects like Space Ship Two will do, I can’t shake the feeling that they are doing a huge show about a not very significant achievement. Yes, they have a plane that can go very high… for a plane. It can reach the edge of space (100km) but that’s not what spaceflight is about. Spaceflight really begins in orbit. Low Earth Orbit is at TWICE that height. And not only that, you also need to go at 30 times the speed of sound to stay there. Space Ship Two is nowhere near that. In order to go to orbit, they need to come up with a more ambitious setup. And I’m looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, SpaceX built a dumb, simple rocket. It’s apparently optimized for simplicity and economy. I like that. That’s something NASA just can’t do. It’s an organization with very different goals. And indeed, if you take a look at the photos of SpaceX installations, it all looks so low-fi mundane. Compare their launch setup to the NASA Arex I-X behemoth. SpaceX has some light scaffolding and a couple of sheds. NASA uses a giant transforming fortress of steel.

Falcon9 vs Ares

What do you need all that Junk for, NASA? This isn’t Rocket Science…well it kinda is… but you know what I mean!

To be fair, the Falcon 9 setup in that picture may not be the actual launch configuration. Still, the rocket just LOOKS less complex, less expensive, less intimidating. After all the the years NASA sold us the idea that going to space was so damn difficult, it’s quite refreshing to see a different approach.

Finally, there is one last thing about SpaceX which makes me really exited. I noticed it before but fellow Indie Developer Yacine Salmi remided me recently.

They have a freaking pricing page! http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php#pricing_and_performance

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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