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Concept images of Virgin Galactic space station?

Posted by: NeuronExMachina - Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:56 am
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Concept images of Virgin Galactic space station? 
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Post Concept images of Virgin Galactic space station?   Posted on: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:56 am
(cross-posted to the sci.space.policy newsgroup)

Virgin Galactic's web site has a (new?) computer-generated promotional
video available, which shows the full flight profile of the Virgin
Galactic craft. It's available for streaming at the bottom of this
page:

http://www.virgingalactic.com/news.asp

I took the liberty of capturing just about all the key frames from the
video, and posting them on the web:

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~neilh/virgingalactic/

The most interesting images are seen right after the question "What
Next?" flashes on the screen. These are images of what appear to be a
Virgin Galactic space station, with a SpaceShipOne-style craft docked.
Of course, they're probably complete vapourware for now, but they
certainly look interesting:

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~neilh/virgi ... 002175.png
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~neilh/virgi ... 002215.png
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~neilh/virgi ... 002260.png

Any ideas on what the red/green craft in the 2nd image and the large
torus in the 3rd image could be?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:51 am
Nothign new, if you saw the documentary Black Sky, Burt rutan allready showed these images, they are ment for Tier 2 'project'.

The red/green thingy looks like exhaustplume of a pod of some sort.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:11 pm
Yeah, these frames are from Rutan's notorious "Black Sky" Tier2 description.

[Commentary]Note: Please understand that all of this is my best guess based on the images, what I know about space vehicle and structure design (which isn't all that much), and a few near-random inferences. Please take with several grains of salt.

Well, a torus is a space station, simple as that. People go to space to experience 0g, hence the long can that the SS2 is attached to. However, if they are simply going to orbit so they can transfer to a cislunar (I think that's the right word) or interplanetary ship, then they want to be in some sort of "gravity" for as long as possible (Example: Mars has about 0.75g, and is at best a month away, travel-time). So basically, the tube-looking station is an orbital resort, while the torus is the crew/planetbound quarters.

I'd say the red and green things on the cone-looking vehicle are navigation lights: big blinkers that tell everybody else where you are. They take practically no power, and so are pretty handy on the off chance that your radios get knocked out. I'd also say that the cone-looking vehicle itself is a combination crew transfer/exchange vehicle (CXV), and escape pod, in best NASA "MM&B" style.[/Commentary]

Oh, and just as a side-note: that in-flight animation you're seeing for the first part is almost certainly from Rutan's highly-modified version of X-Plane we've all been hearing about. No other sim I know of can do those kinds flight dynamics that well.

I close with a final question: why couldn't Branson have used that for the SuperBowl ad?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:48 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
I close with a final question: why couldn't Branson have used that for the SuperBowl ad?


Because the people will think that they are promoting a new spacegame based on the unfamiliar x-prize :P


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