MARS OR BUST; MOM-AND-POP ROCKETEERS AIM HIGH.Byline: Jim Skeen Daily News Staff Writer
When some couples go into business together, they open a flower shop, or an accounting office or maybe an advertising agency.
Not Roderick and Randa Milliron.
They've invested a chunk of their own money into building a rocket ship rocket ship
A spacecraft powered and propelled by rockets. - and they hope to conquer space with it.
``Our desire to personally travel in space is one motivation,'' said Randa Milliron, a community college radio and television instructor whose husband is a chemistry professor and former aerospace engineer. ``The romantic aspect of this is we both want to walk on Mars before we're 70.''
There's a more pragmatic reason, as well.
The Millirons are part of what is turning out to be the start of a space gold rush - the push to develop spaceships that will dramatically lower the cost of getting goods and people into space.
``There's a lot of money to be made from this,'' Roderick Milliron said last week. ``Even if we all succeed there still won't be enough to satisfy the need.''
The Millirons, 48-year-old space aficionados who met while attending the University of Pittsburgh, estimate they have invested $80,000 to $100,000 into Interorbital Systems Interorbital Systems Corporation (IOS) is an American aerospace company based in Mojave, California. It was founded in 1996 by Roderick and Randa Milliron, who also co-founded Trans Lunar Research. - most of the money they earned by fabricating the propane tanks used by balloonist Dick Rutan Richard Glenn “Dick” Rutan (born July 1, 1938) is an aviator who piloted the Voyager aircraft around the world non-stop with the assistance of Jeana Yeager. He was born in Loma Linda, California, where he gained an interest in flight at a young age. on his failed round-the-world venture.
They spend three days a week at Mojave Airport, working in a 6,000-square-foot hangar. A 1-acre rocket-engine test site features a hardened underground blockhouse blockhouse, small fortification, usually temporary, serving as a post for a small garrison. Blockhouses seem to have come into use in the 15th cent. to prevent access to a strategically important objective such as a bridge, a ford, or a pass. , gantry Gantry
A name for the couch or table used in a CT scan. The patient lies on the gantry while it slides into the x-ray scanner portion.
Mentioned in: Computed Tomography Scans and horizontal engine one the piston of which works horizontally.
See also: Horizontal test block big enough for liquid- and solid-fuel rocket A solid rocket or a solid-fuel rocket is a rocket with a motor that uses solid propellants (fuel/oxidizer). The earliest rockets were solid fueled, powered by gunpowder, used by the Chinese in warfare as early as the 13th century. engines with thrusts up to 150,000 pounds.
Their work force is composed of about a dozen people who have real jobs at places like the China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center The Naval Air Warfare Center was a former U.S. Navy military installation located in Warminster, Pennsylvania and Ivyland, Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Navy purchased the grounds to establish this facility from the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation following its bankruptcy in the . They volunteer their time for the Millirons, working strictly for the thrill of being involved with a space project.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. California officials, there is a potential $10 billion market over the next decade for launches of satellites that could transmit cell phone calls, navigate cars, measure environmental conditions or even tell farmers when to plant or fertilize.
Large companies such as Lockheed Martin For the former company, see .
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is a leading multinational aerospace manufacturer and advanced technology company formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta. and small entrepreneurial start-ups like Interorbital are trying to bring the cost of getting a payload into space from $10,000 a pound to under $1,000.
At least seven California companies are developing space launch systems - some rockets, some aerospace planes that would fly into space - all with the idea of being cheaper than the space shuttle or conventional disposable rockets.
``We're really anticipating an explosion in the space industry,'' said Andrea Seastrand, executive director of the California Space and Technology Alliance, the state's spaceport space·port
An installation for sheltering, testing, maintaining, and launching spacecraft. authority. ``It's a shift in paradigms. Most people think in terms of government-driven (space programs.) As we enter the 21st century, it is an explosion of this market, of the new space services industry.''
Bigger and better rockets
Before traveling 35 million miles to put on their Red Planet walking shoes, the Millirons' more immediate goal is to launch their Tachyon S rocket this spring, though the launch site hasn't been picked.
If all goes well, the 24-foot-long rocket will be propelled 90 miles up, coast for a few minutes in space and then come tumbling back to earth a few miles from the launch site.
To launch they need permission from the Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that sets standards for the air-worthiness of all civilian aircraft, inspects and licenses them, and regulates civilian and military air traffic through its air traffic control , which licenses private launch sites and spacecraft, under legislation passed by Congress in 1984 to regulate, facilitate and promote the American private space industry.
Last year, Congress passed a bill enabling private companies to fly spacecraft back from space, just like the shuttle does.
Tachyon S - tachyon is a theoretical subatomic particle supposedly able to travel faster than the speed of light - will be followed by the larger and more powerful Tachyon L, a 30-foot-tall rocket the Millirons expected to travel 150 miles up.
Neither rocket will be powerful enough to put a satellite into orbit. Like military and scientific research rockets launched in the years before Sputnik Sputnik: see satellite, artificial; space exploration.
Any of a series of Earth-orbiting spacecraft whose launching by the Soviet Union inaugurated the space age. in 1957, the rockets will go into space, then fall to Earth.
Each will be capable of carrying payloads of up to 20 pounds, which would eject at the highest point and parachute to Earth.
The Millirons see customers using their rockets for such things as testing instruments, conducting environmental sampling and zero-gravity experiments.
Pursuing a dream
The Millirons have been married 25 years, and have chosen not to have children. Instead, they are devoting their time to their college jobs and space effort, working seven days and 80 hours a week - four days in Los Angeles, three in Mojave.
``We grew up on hard-core science fiction of the 1950s . . . all of the space stuff, and we always wanted to do this,'' Randa Milliron said. ``It's an obsession.''
Roderick Milliron is a chemistry instructor at California State University, Los Angeles California State University, Los Angeles (also known as Cal State L.A., CSULA, or "'CSLA"') is a public university, part of the California State University system. , and the president of the Pacific Rocket Society. Before becoming a professor five years ago, he worked as an engineer for Grumman Aerospace and General Dynamics.
Randa Milliron is a radio and television instructor at Mount San Antonio Mount San Antonio, better known to most in Los Angeles as Old Baldy or Mount Baldy, is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California, USA and the highest point in Los Angeles County. Mount San Antonio has two summits. College. She also handles public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most for their company, works with composite components for the rocket casing and lends a hand wherever and whenever needed.
The Millirons intend for the Tachyon rockets to serve as a springboard for a bigger, much more ambitious effort: the development of a two-stage, four-pilot orbital launcher called Solaris.
Solaris would launch vertically and have a two-member crew for each stage. The 63-foot-long booster stage would power Solaris to an altitude of about 220,000 feet, at which time the orbiter stage would ignite at half power.
The 53-foot-long orbiter stage would then detach from the booster stage and go to full throttle on its way to orbit. While that was occurring, the crew of the booster stage would glide back to the launch site.
After reaching orbit, the second stage crew would deploy their satellite payload. The crew would then begin its re-entry RE-ENTRY, estates. The resuming or retaking possession of land which the party lately had.
2. Ground rent deeds and leases frequently contain a clause authorizing the landlord to reenter on the non-payment of rent, or the breach of some covenant, when the procedures and glide back to the launch site.
The Solaris would be capable of delivering payloads ranging from 2,400 pounds to 3,100 pounds, depending on the type of orbit, for $500 a pound. It now costs about $10,000 a pound for a space shuttle to put a payload into space.
The Millirons think they can develop Solaris for $30 million, about the price of a jet fighter Jet fighter may refer to:
``A private-sector rocket company that carries out all operations in-house, and avoids doing business with the government-supported prime contractors can drastically cut costs. It can freely apply `minimum cost design' practices and keep its work force small,'' Randa Milliron said.
``A few engineers with superior talent and a creative approach can accomplish more than 10 buildings full of run-of-the-mill engineers for a lot less money.''
PHOTO (1--Color) Roderick and Randa Milliron are working on developing high-altitude rockets.
Shaun Dyer/Daily News
(2--Color--Ran in Bulldog Edition only) no caption (High-altitude rocket)
(3--Ran in AV Edition only) Roderick and Randa Milliron's company, Interorbital Systems of Mojave, is part of a growing drive for private sector space programs.