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Airplane bias?

Posted by: Earl Colby Pottinger - Fri Sep 05, 2003 6:33 pm
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Airplane bias? 
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Post Airplane bias?   Posted on: Fri Sep 05, 2003 6:33 pm
I really did not like that last writeup about the X-Prize. They made it sound like Burt was the only person competing for it. Also what is this about a small shop? Scaled Composites is famous worldwide and has been in business for twenty plus years. A win by Burt does not make the average joe think that they too can do it.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Sep 06, 2003 12:04 am
I also don't want Rutan to win. The prize would be far more successful in demolishing the prevailing attitudes of spaceflight (that it must be some super expensive, huge undertaking) if a bunch of amatuers working in their spare time were able to send people to the fringe of space. Even though Carmack is well funded, I still think a win by Armadillo would be more apt to send the message that one doesn't need huge teams of engineers, insane government contracts, and absolute bleeding edge technology to get people into space.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 06, 2003 11:52 pm
I wouldn't know... the progress reports from various teams seem to rather be testaments of the great difficulties of space exploration rather than the opposite.

Here's the way I see the Rutan issue; while Scaled is an internationally well known, it's not considered a huge company. Moreover, their fame is more based on the innovative and somewhat eccentric designs rather than being a major aerospace manufacturer. In fact, many people associate Scaled (or, at least Rutan) with homebuilds! But it really comes down to "what next"-issue. If the WK and SS1 are mothballed after the X-Prize flights, it might well get dismissed as some wager between few rich old men. On the opposite end of the spectrum though, the SS1 could be possibly considered as a homebuilt Space Shuttle.

But on a similar issue, there IS a team that gets me the wrong way. badly. It's the Kelly Space and Technology. They're practically boasting about their NASA/USAF/Government ties, and also their approach seems very, very cumbersome. How many could afford a Boeing 747 to launch three people onto a ballistic trajectory...?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 07, 2003 3:05 am
Yes, finally another Rutan supporter! Although I agree that it would be a problem if/when he recives the X-Prize because he's already announced that he plans on making 30 weekly scheduled flights and then putting down the project. Unfortunately SS1 is WAY to complex to become a kit plane, and intrest could soon fade.

On the other hand, Canadian Arrow seems very promising. Right now they're offering tickets abord their modified V2 for a refundable $8,000. If I had that kind of money (Not likely on a $5 per week allowance) I'd definately go for it. Perhaps they could be the first real space tourism company! Another boon would be if Scaled started selling SS1 launch systems to other private ventures, including Canadian Arrow. It could become the first commercial spaceliner! Imagine that, spaceplanes parked on the flightlines of spaceports in varous cities around the world in various spaceline liveries (Okay, I'll stop injecting space- into random words, but the point remains). The future is now, godspeed, Burt Rutan!

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 07, 2003 3:06 am
Yes, finally another Rutan supporter! Although I agree that it would be a problem if/when he recives the X-Prize because he's already announced that he plans on making 30 weekly scheduled flights and then putting down the project. Unfortunately SS1 is WAY to complex to become a kit plane, and intrest could soon fade.

On the other hand, Canadian Arrow seems very promising. Right now they're offering tickets abord their modified V2 for a refundable $8,000. If I had that kind of money (Not likely on a $5 per week allowance) I'd definately go for it. Perhaps they could be the first real space tourism company! Another boon would be if Scaled started selling SS1 launch systems to other private ventures, including Canadian Arrow. It could become the first commercial spaceliner! Imagine that, spaceplanes parked on the flightlines of spaceports in varous cities around the world in various spaceline liveries (Okay, I'll stop injecting space- into random words, but the point remains). The future is now, godspeed, Burt Rutan!

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 07, 2003 10:22 am
The idea of SS1 being sold as a homebuilt was a bit of exaggeration, I agree. On the other hand, there are homebuilts with turboprops, pressurized cockpits and retractable landing gears, so who knows...

There really are bigger and meaner fishes in the game than Scaled. There is a team that has a NASA meatball on their first page. I really don't think that does any damn good to the X-Prize ideals.


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Post Every effort helps!   Posted on: Fri Oct 17, 2003 9:21 pm
Keep in mind that Burt Rutan is attracting the venture capital necessary to accelerate development, precisely because of his reputation as possibly the most innovative ENGINEER in aerospace today.

This however does not mean that other XPRIZE teams, which may not win the $10 million, are not attracting venture capital of their own. Also all other teams are learning lessons along their own design and development paths. This benefits us all. If we left it all up to NASA or Burt Rutan, it will significantly delay mankind's expansion into space.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 23, 2003 10:50 pm
Reviewing stuff that has been made, Rutan is the only team that seems to introduce some very essential avionics for the later X-plane development stages, namely the Flight Navigation Unit; should the next step be an intercontinental flight, or full orbit, the self-contained trajectory control is essential as there's likely no Mission Control on ground.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:38 pm
Don't underestimate the significance of Carmack's quad-rocket attitude flight control system and software.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 24, 2003 1:39 pm
Irving wrote:
Don't underestimate the significance of Carmack's quad-rocket attitude flight control system and software.


Please, elaborate on the significance? I don't underestimate the good work they've done with it, it's a fine piece of engineering and programming, but I really fail to see it's significance to other than Armadillo project.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:17 am
Vendigo wrote:
Irving wrote:
Don't underestimate the significance of Carmack's quad-rocket attitude flight control system and software.


Please, elaborate on the significance? I don't underestimate the good work they've done with it, it's a fine piece of engineering and programming, but I really fail to see it's significance to other than Armadillo project.


A good question, and one that is no doubt difficult to answer as outside observers. Perhaps you can also expand on the signigicance of the FNU as all I know is what is available at Fundamental Technologies Website? What advance is the FNU over the standard Ring-Laser, GPS, and/or coupled intertial navigation systems that have been flying on space & aircraft for years?

As far as I know, other than the DC-X, I don't know of any other program that has developed a complete flight control system based upon differential rocket throttling than Armadillo. The ability of the system to offer pin-point control and landing offers significant advantage over long runways or takeoff and landings from possible seaborne platforms. I would also consider that it could offer significant advantages for re-entry control. Considering the number of overall rockets and design, there is also the possibility of graceful degredation of control...the loss of a rocket on a multiple rocket system may be compensated for via software and other rockets. The loss of a wing or other major control surface cannot be compensated for quite as easily.


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Post Vertical, powered landings, whats the point?   Posted on: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:45 am
As I understand it, Cheap is the goal here. Inexpensive payload to LEO. That will never be achieved if you trade payload for the fuel required for powered landing. Not when gliding and/or parasail or parachute can be done so reliably and economically. Bringing fuel load back into the aptmosphere presents challenges and dangers that are too easily avoided with other landing methods


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 25, 2003 10:50 am
Irving wrote:
A good question, and one that is no doubt difficult to answer as outside observers. Perhaps you can also expand on the signigicance of the FNU as all I know is what is available at Fundamental Technologies Website? What advance is the FNU over the standard Ring-Laser, GPS, and/or coupled intertial navigation systems that have been flying on space & aircraft for years?


FNU is intended for space applications, with attention paid to features necessary to space flight and maneuvering. Regular aviation INS systems aren't.

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As far as I know, other than the DC-X, I don't know of any other program that has developed a complete flight control system based upon differential rocket throttling than Armadillo. The ability of the system to offer pin-point control and landing offers significant advantage over long runways or takeoff and landings from possible seaborne platforms. I would also consider that it could offer significant advantages for re-entry control. Considering the number of overall rockets and design, there is also the possibility of graceful degredation of control...the loss of a rocket on a multiple rocket system may be compensated for via software and other rockets. The loss of a wing or other major control surface cannot be compensated for quite as easily.


Quad rocket design looks the most damage-critical system to me. Clustering up engines for redundancy adds weight and complexity very quickly. In the event of failure, comparing a loss of an engine to a loss of a wing is absurd; losing a wing would compare to the entire engine section breaking away in a vertical-landing rocket. A vertically-landing rocket would still need a prepared pad, or a desert site, as the exhaust is sure to set any foliage on fire. And what are the merits of a seaborne launch pad? Definitely not cost.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 26, 2003 12:55 pm
"FNU is intended for space applications, with attention paid to features necessary to space flight and maneuvering. Regular aviation INS systems aren't. "

Okay, how so? I haven't seen any info on what they've done specificly, and how it differs or improves upon the 3 inertial systems the shuttle has been flying for some time now. Inertial Navigation and maneuvering are really the same thing aren't they? Inertia works in space, in the air, or under the sea...
From what I can see, the FNU is a coupled GPS & Inertial system...which have been around for at least 10 or so years. Litton & Honeywell were bulding them.

This is not to say that the FNU isn't important...it is, but what's the big advance? What envelope is being pushed?

Oh, a correction...it seems Japan with the RVT-9 is also working on flight control with rocket throttling...


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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:51 pm
"Okay, how so? I haven't seen any info on what they've done specificly, and how it differs or improves upon the 3 inertial systems the shuttle has been flying for some time now."

Shuttle, as in Space Shuttle?

Oh boy.

Shuttle also has better engines. Goes faster too.

So what's the point of the entire X-Prize contest?


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