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Wes
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Inside THE BOX
Insane since: May 2000

posted posted 10-04-2004 08:34

I can't believe I almost missed this.

On Sept. 29 the first of two required flights was made to qualify for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million reward for the first privately funded, privately built craft to reach space. SpaceShipOne will make its second flight into space Monday morning, just hours away.

On the 27th, Virgin Galactic (yep, as in Virgin Atlantic) signed a deal with Scaled Composites, creator of SpaceShipOne to license the technology to develop the world's first commercial space flights.

This is it, folks. The sky is about to get a whole lot bigger.

What is the Ansari X Prize?
Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne

Oh, and you can watch the flight live somewhere on Ansari's confused Web site, or on the Science Channel, which sadly, I don't get.



(Edited by Wes on 10-04-2004 08:47)

WebShaman
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 10-04-2004 10:03

Great stuff, isn't it?

It could be the start of that which a lot of us have waited and dreamed about - the opening of space, for the common person. Surely, if this commerical venture succeeds, others will follow. The Skies are ours!

WebShaman | Asylum D & D | D & D Min Page

Wes
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Inside THE BOX
Insane since: May 2000

posted posted 10-04-2004 17:17

They've done it!

Would've posted an image, but I couldn't figure out how to screen-capture a video overlay.

The unofficial word is they exceeded the minimum altitude and even broke Walker Joseph's X-15 altitude record set in 1963. The X Prize folks just have to confirm it officially and the prize is theirs.

So, who's second in line to buy a ticket?

Iron Wallaby
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: USA
Insane since: May 2004

posted posted 10-04-2004 17:25

Awesome! I wasn't sure if they'd do it.... that's great.

I vote ticket too.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -- Arthur C. Clarke
"Any sufficiently arcane magic is indistinguishable from technology." -- P. David Lebling

mas
Maniac (V) Mad Librarian

From: the space between us
Insane since: Sep 2002

posted posted 10-04-2004 18:42

its absolutely awesome. i also just read it on slashdot. isnt it nice to see that a private company made it up to outer space?

B | T | E | P | L

Lord_Fukutoku
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Back in West Texas... How disappointing
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 10-04-2004 19:10

That's beyond cool. The Discovery Channel had a 2-hr program on SpaceShipOne last night that showed how they built it and documented most (if not all) of their test flights. Absolutely amazing. Thursday night they have another program on the Discorevy Channel which will cover this mornings flight.

You can still go watch the webcast on Ansari's site if you missed it.

::stands in line for a ticket:: ... Well, as soon as I have some money...

[Edit: Just heard while watching the webcast from this morning: tickets cost about $98,000 a piece right now uch:

(Edited by Lord_Fukutoku on 10-04-2004 20:08)

poi
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: France
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 10-04-2004 20:32

Great news!!!
I heard the flight with Virgin Galatic would be around $160.000 for, only, 3 hours at ~100Km of altitude.
Whatever the price will go down with the time. Remember that the one week in the SOYUZ costs ~$15,000,000 and you need to go through many months of training.

Finally with a bit of luck I could probably buy a ticket for a flight, or better a honey moon ... on the moon, in the next 60years

Actually I had a little crush for the Armadillo aerospace team.

metahuman
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: meme-contagion
Insane since: Aug 2003

posted posted 10-04-2004 21:02

Notice how it takes less time for a private company to create a spacecraft and launch it than NASA.

poi
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: France
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 10-04-2004 21:19

Yeah, and that also amazing to notice that the Ansari X-Prize began in 1996, and it took only 8 years to get a winner.

mobrul
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

posted posted 10-04-2004 22:05

I don't mean to bring down the festivities. This is a truly amazing thing that has been done. It will be remembered far into the future as one of the great leaps of science...
That being said, metahuman, to compare this to anything NASA has done is to seriously misunderstand what NASA does.

To put someone up just out of the atmosphere is so significantly different from putting someone into orbit. Low-orbit speeds are greater than 17,000 mph (> 27,000 km/h). This is much greater than the "mere" 2200mph (3500 km/h) recorded by SpaceShipOne.
Furthermore, SpaceShipOne recorded a maximum altitude of 112 km. The Space Shuttle regularly orbits at approximately 320 km or so above the earth's surface.

It requires some 35x more force to put something into orbit than it does to put it up 100km. The heat protection required to come back out of orbit is something SpaceShipOne's creators did not even have to think about.

I'll repeat, this was and is a huge task...one that should be applauded and celebrated.
To step on NASA in the process, however, is both unfair and unnecessary.

Lord_Fukutoku
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Back in West Texas... How disappointing
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 10-04-2004 22:30
quote:
The heat protection required to come back out of orbit is something SpaceShipOne's creators did not even have to think about.

I beg to differ. I haven't done any large amount of research on this subject, but the whole purpose of the feathered-wing design was to address the issue of heat and aerobraking on re-entry. I don't know whether or not it would be sufficient by itself for re-entry from orbit, but I'd think it would remain a major component in the process.

Also, suborbital flight vs. orbital flight. Yes, it is a big difference. And during the coverage of the flight this morning, they were talking about Ansari(?) looking for another group to contribute a matching $25 million ($50, million total) for the next 'contest' which is to complete an orbital flight.

Comparing this to NASA is a long stretch though and, I agree, is both unfair and unnecessary.

(Edited by Lord_Fukutoku on 10-04-2004 22:33)

metahuman
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: meme-contagion
Insane since: Aug 2003

posted posted 10-04-2004 22:40

No, the comparison is not unfair and unnecessary. NASA is an inefficient bureaucratic government-run monopoly. To not agree with that is to "seriously misunderstand" the issues.

poi
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: France
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 10-04-2004 22:59

metahuman: The NASA managed to send several men on the moon, send several drones on MARS, run many space observation projects, etc ... it helps to build the ISS. That's not that bad for an inefficient bureaucratic government-run monopoly.

Actually it does a lot of fundamental research, which type of research that has no immediate ROI so by escence this is the kind of enterprise that must be public or run by government(s). See the European Space Agency. Space programs cost so much money that they can only be run by nationnal/internationnal monopolies like it is in the US, Europe, USSR, ... Without the advances and theories elaborated thanks to fundamental research we wouldn't have practical research with quick ROI.

mobrul
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

posted posted 10-04-2004 23:11

Metahuman,
Your original quote was

quote:
Notice how it takes less time for a private company to create a spacecraft and launch it than NASA.


That said nothing at all about monopolies nor bureaucracies. It compared what the creators of SpaceShipOne did with what NASA does. That comparison is, as I said, both unfair and unnecessary. That's like comparing a group of deer hunters with the US Army. They both kill stuff, right?

As for the heat issue, it's a world of difference between 17,000 mph and 2200 mph.
I'll keep looking for temperature data, but I found this at the Space Review website:

quote:
The heating on the spacecraft is also limited during reentry—the stagnation temperature at peak heating is just under 600°C—meaning the spacecraft needs only a limited thermal protection system (TPS).


(emphasis mine)

...and this, from HowStuffWorks.com

quote:
Because it is moving at about 17,000 mph (28,000 km/h), the orbiter will hit air molecules and build up heat from friction (approximately 3000 degrees F, or 1650 degrees C).


(again, emphasis mine)

That's almost 3x hotter for the Space Shuttle than for SpaceShipOne.
I don't know about you, but my thermodynamics professor probably would have called that "significant".

metahuman
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: meme-contagion
Insane since: Aug 2003

posted posted 10-04-2004 23:34

I'm not criticizing the peasants of NASA or the astronauts, etc. I'm criticizing NASA and its history of mismanagement--its proven executive, congressional, and scientific failures.

quote:
That said nothing at all about monopolies nor bureaucracies. It compared what the creators of SpaceShipOne did with what NASA does.

You're obviously not a businessperson. The statement to which you're responding, which I maintain, says worlds about the inefficiency of bureaucratic government-run monopolies. You're reading and responding to something that I did not write or even intend. Private companies are better-run and better-managed than governmental organizations. If NASA is to play any role in the future of science, governmental policy needs to change to allow private companies to pursue ventures into space and NASA's policy needs to be trimmed down and restricted to only research enterprise.

Wes
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Inside THE BOX
Insane since: May 2000

posted posted 10-05-2004 04:47

On a lighter note ...



(Edited by Wes on 10-05-2004 04:48)

poi
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: France
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 10-05-2004 08:40



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