Space show or air show?

As expected, the X Prize Foundation announced last week that the 2007 X Prize Cup will move to Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, NM, where it will merge with the air show held at the base on October 27-28. With free admission this year (because the event is being held on an Air Force base), they are expecting as many as 100,000 people to attend, up from the approximately 15,000 people who were at the 2006 event. That sounds like a huge increase, but one person who attended the 2005 air show at Holloman estimated an attendance of 75,000, so 100,000 is not as big a reach as one might think.

The key issue not addressed in the press release is what sort of “flavor” the event will have: will it be a space-oriented show, with some airshow-like events added on, as was the case with the 2005 and 2006 events (which had F-117 flybys and the like), or will they simply graft on the Lunar Lander Challenge and some static displays to an Air Force air show? We’ll have to see how this event comes together in the next several months.

9 comments to Space show or air show?

  • How about a “Flying Show” or “Flight Exhibition?” Nice and neutral not favoring either the air or space aspect.

  • Chuck Lauer

    In major metropolitan area markets, two day airs shows can draw up to 250,000 people each day. The estimates for Holloman do not seem out of line at all. I have always thought that there were some fundamental synergies between big airs shows and the X Prize Cup, and I am glad to see the collaboration with the Holloman show get started.

  • Ferris Valyn

    While I can see why some people would think that a space/air show combination has a lot ot offer, I tend to disagree. Yes, there is the potential for more people, but XPC is really about 1 thing (or rather IMHO, should be) manned spaceflight. Air shows have nothing to do with that.

    We need to break aerospace back up into aeronautics and astronautics.

  • I disagree that aerospace should be split up. Astronautics evolved from much of what we learned in aeronautical research. Even today, astronautics is dependent on research, skill, and technology of aeronautics. Flying is flying is flying regardless of the technique.

  • Ferris Valyn

    Garry – I’d argue that in fact they are very different (I argue that even as I like HTHL vehicles). Aerodynamics, one of THE most important things in aeronautics, really has no role to play in the space enviroment (beyond the limited role in nozzle design). We tend to think they are related, I think, because for so long we’ve been only going between the earth and earth orbit. But we want to get out of earth orbit.

    Flying the Lunar lander was fundimentally different from flying a jet aircraft. For that matter, flying a truely pure space ship (of the like that doesn’t actuallly land on a planet) will have very little to do with flying an type of aircraft

    Clearly, flying isn’t flying.

  • I can see that point. But, a movement through three dimensions of space shares the same physics regardless of interactions involved with the flight, be it gravity or gas or the lack thereof. In three dimensional space, any object will, in order to maneuver, be required similar control inputs. The biggest difference is in trajectories as there is obviously no resistance in a vacuum.
    Between the two (aeronautics and astronautics), craft design must take in similar considerations. Both must provide acceptable shielding from environmental limitations encoutered outside of the crafts, be it vacuum or low air pressure. Again, much is common in such considerations. Both are subject to similar stresses of flight.
    In terms of the flying, I have always felt that pure space vehicle crew should never be qualified simply by having aeronautical ratings/experience. I believe that should be a seperate category much like helicopters, airplanes, and airships are different categories and are licensed and rated seperately. I think it is logical that as pure spacecraft lie on the higher end of the open space movement (ie flight) spectrum, it is logical that someone with experience in the manipulating of a vehicle on the lower end of the open space movement spectrum (ie airplanes, helicopters, etc) is more qualified than someone who has little or no experience in open space movement. Properly certified airlines, for instance, aren’t going to throw a 12 hour student pilot at the helm of a 757 or a shipping line throw a new third officer in command of a gigantic tanker. Also, considering that most pure spacecraft pilots will begin their career as suborbital or orbital pilots, it is a natural career path progression.
    It is called spaceFLIGHT for a reason..

  • Ferris Valyn

    I disagree on many levels, one thing being that a person will go from flying small plans to large plans and then on to space craft. Again, this is predicated on flights from earth’s surface to earth orbit.

    In addition, any and all crafts have some basic similiar requirements – one could argue that there are some great similiarities between a spaceship and a submarine (both have to move in three dimensions, both can’t afford leaks, there are others). But I’d be surprized if anyone actually called for combining X Prize Cup and a submarine show.

    But this is off the main point, to a certain degree. XPC is about space, and space colonization. Any activist out there, whatever he/she comes for, needs to have a tie to space – just being an activist in general isn’t a good reason to come. This prolly sounds somewhat eltist, but you don’t want to be one message among many when its your event.

  • Thomas Matula

    Hi All,

    For its location the Holloman Air Force Base has always had a big crowd. The reason is not only because of the F-117 formation displays (4 F-117’s flying formation with a B-2 is a site to see, as is their attack demo…), unique to HAFB, but also to the many unique craft from WSMR that fly at the show. In the 1990’s I was at a show when the Germans stationed at HAFB were still flying F-4’s. They put on a 4 ship display with them that reminded me of the Thunderbirds before they switched to smaller aircraft. The roar of 4 F-4’s on afterburner flying low over the runway before going into a vertical climb is a sound to remember. Actually the Germans are always good and have always point on a great display. Its one of the things I look forward to this year.

    Given that this is the last year for the F-117 before retirement I expect you will see a larger then normal crowd, probably at least 100 K at least, to say good bye to the Nighthawk. I know that is why I am going as the X-Prize events last year were a disappointment. Just too much dead time while folks were trying to get their machines to work.

    The move is a good idea as it will give the crowd something to do between X-cup events. And expose more folks to activites like the luanr landing competition and rocket racing.

  • Dave

    LOL there was no airshow at Holloman in ’06.

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