A sad farewell tonight to Len Cormier of PanAero LLC. Len, who worked in the launch business for half a century, was best known as a tireless designer and promoter of reusable space vehicles. He didn't get enough backing to finish his contender for the X-Prize, but it did not slow him down: he kept proposing updated concepts to the NRO, to NASA's COTS program, and to anyone else who might support what he felt was a practical road to more affordable and reliable launch.
His latest design was “Space Van 2011”, a two-stage horizontal takeoff and landing craft that he believed could service the ISS and do other orbital missions for a fraction of the cost of a space shuttle or a Soyuz.
COMMENT: I knew Len only by correspondence, but he was a very helpful person to anyone with space interests, and clearly devoted to his dream of moving us one step closer to a spacefaring civilization. The Earth could use more Len Cormiers. Farewell, voyager.