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Global Flyer ... did Fossett make it?

Posted by: Dr_Keith_H - Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:47 am
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Global Flyer ... did Fossett make it? 
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Post Global Flyer ... did Fossett make it?   Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:47 am
We got some brief news about Fossett's flight on Euronews this morning (30 second spot) ... something about him not having enough fuel to get round the globe without the assistance of favorable winds. The suggestion was that there was some sort of SNAFU (not enough fuel loaded or burning too much in flight).

DKH

Later: Hmmm ... looks like it might be close, they're confident though. By the time you all wake up over there it should be over. I hope he makes it!

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:50 am
I found the updates page for it.

http://www.virginatlanticglobalflyer.com/News/index.jsp

Looks like they had a few interesting things happen on the way.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:05 am
If the nonstop-flight around the planet succeeds - could anyone imagine then the GlobalFlyer to be a first step to a potential future version of the Wight Knight? A Wight Knight that would have the capacity to operate around the world?

At least the engine would have proved to require very few propellant which would mean weight savings at short distances. Fosset said that he could climb up to 16 kilometers.

Would be interesting to derive questions like this as well as ideas for space vehicles...



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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:50 am
I'm sure relevant findings for development will be taken advantage of for the grandchildren of WK/SS1 (among others) ... but I'd like to know why you think that having the ability to circumnavigate the globe on a single tank of gas would be beneficial for a sub-orbital hop launch platform.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:16 am
That ability simply means that very high savings of propellant per km/s are achieved -which translates into savings in weight of propellant.

I guess that the GlobalFlyer consumes much less propellant per km/s than the Wight Knight. So the GlobalFlyer-engine could reduce the weight of propellant the Wight Knight needs if that GlobalFlyer-engine is used at the Wight Knight. The Wight Knight wouldn't need a tank of the current size then too.

This all would result in advantages for the children and grandchildren of SSO. Rutan currently is developing a Wight Knight-derivative and a SSO-derivative for Virgin Galactic - and the GlobalFlyer is an airplane of Virgin Atlantic. So the GlobalFlyer's nonstop-flight-engine and -tank may be considered by Rutan as models or prototypes for the Virgin Galactic-vehicles - and Branson might ask him to do so perhaps.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:45 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
That ability simply means that very high savings of propellant per km/s are achieved -which translates into savings in weight of propellant.

I guess that the GlobalFlyer consumes much less propellant per km/s than the Wight Knight. So the GlobalFlyer-engine could reduce the weight of propellant the Wight Knight needs if that GlobalFlyer-engine is used at the Wight Knight. The Wight Knight wouldn't need a tank of the current size then too.

This all would result in advantages for the children and grandchildren of SSO. Rutan currently is developing a Wight Knight-derivative and a SSO-derivative for Virgin Galactic - and the GlobalFlyer is an airplane of Virgin Atlantic. So the GlobalFlyer's nonstop-flight-engine and -tank may be considered by Rutan as models or prototypes for the Virgin Galactic-vehicles - and Branson might ask him to do so perhaps.


Heh, well firstly, considering that Rutan personally designed both the White Knight and Globalfligher at about the same time, I think he would have used any advantages between the two already :-)

The requirements for the two are completely different - Globalfligher needs to be able to travel large distances using little fuel. The White Knight is basically a high-altitude plane, it's main design requirement was to get to the 55,000 ft where it would launch SpaceShipOne. The amount of fuel that the White Knight uses to do this is minimal compared to the weight of SpaceShipOne, or indeed compared to the weight of the White Knight itself.

The White Knight does actually use the same engines as Globalflyer, although they've been modified to use afterburners; which just illustrates the point that fuel doesn't matter for the White Knight - afterburners are very inefficient, but they can provide a very high power to weight ratio. The amount of extra fuel needed to power the afterburners however, is still too small for it to be significant.

As for the "anywhere in the world" launch capability. Well, I can see that under some circumstances that would be an advantage, but personally I would imagine that a sub-orbital spaceship would always be launched from near a central station, where they would have handling facilities for the tourists - ie, hotels, training facilities, ect. Actually sitting in the spaceship while the White Knight ascends is boring, and frankly, travelling distances would be bad - they just want to get as high as possible, as quickly as possible, so they can launch.

Apples and Oranges in other words, two completely different things.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:00 pm
Thank You Very Much, Sev,

I hadn't recognized yet that Scaled Rutan are the constructors of the GlobalFlyer.

The ability to travel long distances could be interesting if there were the concept to get customers around the world but to prevent them from having to travel to the US. The vehicles themselves could travel to central places per continent or per (large) country instead.

Then the possibility would be required to change the engine of Wight Knight from distance-oriented to altitude-oriented. Is that possible?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:07 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
... I hadn't recognized yet that Scaled Rutan are the constructors of the GlobalFlyer. ...

Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Ekkehard, you might find http://www.scaled.com/projects/index.html interesting (if you have not already found it). This page details some of Burt Rutan's accomplishments as an aeronautical engineer and designer. In the last 30 years and more, he's had a hand in an immense range of aviation-related, record-breaking activities.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:10 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The ability to travel long distances could be interesting if there were the concept to get customers around the world but to prevent them from having to travel to the US. The vehicles themselves could travel to central places per continent or per (large) country instead.

A global pick-up service for sub-orbital customers? Wow, that would be service indeed. However others already supply the current need to bring customers to their fun-filled destinations ... commercial airlines.

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Then the possibility would be required to change the engine of Wight Knight from distance-oriented to altitude-oriented. Is that possible?

I think you mean that the other way around. I guess it would be possible, but I don't think there's reason enough to do it. Like Sev said, apples'n'oranges.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:11 pm
I have had short looks at several parts of Scaled's homepage - but really not at that part.

Thank You Very Much fot the link, author.



Hello, Dr_Keith_H,

I suppose it to be cheaper if the small Wight Knight with the small SSo in captive carry would travel as if the suborbital tourists had to buy intercontinental tickets - intercontinental airplanes need very much more propellent, stuff and equipment then WK/SSO.

It could be interesting under the aspects of marketing, customer's comfortability, customer's total expenditure for suborbital tourism... - there may be customers prevented from buying a ticket because of the airplane ticket. In Germany a ticket to New York had a price of around 1,000 Deutsche Mark in the eighties of the last century. I don't want to discuss such economical relations here - but a technology might be useful under this aspect.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:26 pm
White Knight is specially engineered for launching SSO. The tradeoffs needed make it a terrible passenger airplane. It has no bathroom. It flies much slower than a commercial airliner. There is no room to stand up or walk around. Occupants need to wear oxygen masks all during the flight. Airliners are engineered to be comfortable and economical passenger carriers.
Modify White Knight? In my opinion the best modification would be to do away with it by modifying SSO so it could take off on it's own, more like what http://www.xcor.com/ is planning.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:57 pm
Looks like Fossett's going to make it ... man I hope he can stay awake for the landing. At least Kansas is flat!

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:23 pm
Intresting point. I wonder how Fossett uses the bathroom in globalflyer...

Sorry, massive thread hijack :P

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:01 pm
He just landed.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:54 pm
An amazing feat of flying by Steve Fossett, and Burt just keeps desigining craft that WORK. Really whets the appetite to see what he's coming up with for SpaceShipTwo, etc.

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