[FPSPACE] Re: Roton

Jeff Foust jeff@spaceviews.com
Mon, 9 Oct 2000 16:14:40 -0400

> >Recent lamentations of the end of Mir and mircorp mentioned a possibly
> >brighter future for Roton.  Unfortunately, at the AIAA meeting in Long Beach
> >Calif a few weeks ago, there were rumors of the departure of the top three
> >officials from Roton, as well as of at least one of the test pilots?  Any
> >additional insights?
> According to my information, the Roton's sugar daddy was none other than
> Walt Anderson, who is also MirCorp's main sponsor, yes?

Yes, he was a major investor.  There were a few others, including
Tom Clancy, but Anderson was the biggest, I believe.  There was
an article about Anderson in the New York Times Magazine back in
July which mentioned his involvement in Rotary Rocket to some degree.

> Also, according to my sources, Gary Hudson,
> Roton's chief designer. left the company earlier this spring. Much of the
> technical and corporate support staff was laid off late last year.

Gary stepped down as CEO in June; the company even put a press release
out about the change: http://www.rotaryrocket.com/new/000626.html

> In my opinion, Iridium (and ICO, and Orbcomm) killed Roton. Even
> Globalstar, with a much stronger business model isn't helping.

Indirectly, yes, since although Rotary Rocket and other 
entreprenurial RLV companies didn't directly depend on
business from Iridium et al., they were looking for business
from other big LEO constellation to help bootstrap their business.

Jeff Foust