...But At What Cost?

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While venturing into suborbital flight is exciting and pioneering for the private sector, many have questioned the safety aspect of performing privately funded space exploration. Others critics claim the financial risks of private funding are just as high. Burt Rutan claims the risks are prevalent in government and private ventures, but the calculated risk is necessary. "Safety, of course is paramount, but minimum cost is critical. I strongly feel that, if we are successful, our program will mark the beginning of a renaissance for manned space flight," he said. Armadillo Aerospaceís John Carmack supports Rutanís assertion. Carmack has said, "The X-PRIZE is stimulating the re-examination of a premise that has gone almost unchallenged for decades -- that 'rocket science' can only be undertaken by governments and corporations with billions of dollars at their disposal."