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Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS

Posted by: gaetanomarano - Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:51 am
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Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS 
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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:43 pm
He's entitled to his opinion and to express it. Just as you are to argue with him.

It is an interesting idea to think about. Most of us (space advocates) tend to be rather caviler about safety in the broad sense.


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:22 pm
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protection against micro-meteoroids and orbital debris... no, this is only one of the reasons... but my #1 concern isn't that the thin SS2 can "explode" in the vacuum but that it can lose its pressurization and kills the eight persons aboard (that will not have a decent vacuum-grade spacesuit)

the SS2 has 18 "holes" (of which 15 are windows) none of them with the same structure of the Shuttle hatch and windows, and, a leak in one or more of them (or other possible structural leaks) can kill the passengers in seconds

can't even compare the stress during reentry... never said that, nor said that the SS2 needs a thermal shield!

SS2 reenters from almost standstill and only then accelerates to Mach 1? 2? ... yes, probably this is its reentry speed but ONLY if and when the (mechanical) "feathered reentry system" works well (another point of risk compared other spacecrafts)

Airlaunch makes it safer, because it is easier to abort ... absolutely wrong! as explained in my article, the airlaunch ADDS LOTS OF RISKS and is incredibly dangerous!!!

that since the SS2 must land at its full weight, gliding, without the help of jet engines, with just ONE good safe attempt, no 2nd chance, its back full of explosive propellants, no ejectable seats, no parachutes... just imagine if, one of its landing gear doesn't go down and the SS2 must land on runway on its THIN belly... a really chilling scenario!!!!! :( :( :(

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Last edited by gaetanomarano on Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:26 pm
JamesG wrote:
He's entitled to his opinion and to express it.

And I would not dare to bar him from either!

The thing that bugs me is that he is trying to back his opinion with "facts" but if you look only a little closer, they are just plain wrong (at least in some cases, I hardly know enough about aeronautics and orbital dynamics to be qualified to prove all of his points). Again that alone wouldn't be enough to drive me nuts IF the intention behind his articles would be to discuss the topic with others, but I don't believe that is the case.

He does not want different points of view. He does not want additional information, facts, background knowledge. He does not want to improve his understanding of the subject.

He believes that he alone knows the truth and everybody else is just plain wrong and not entitled to criticize his articles.

That is where I quite happily pass on my right to argue with him any longer, thanks.

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:31 pm
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SS1 used the same underlying principles and it flew successfully numerous times... the number of SS1 flights has been not so high and the SS1 pilots (that flew WITHOUT a spacesuit) have been very very lucky!!!

pressure vessel of a Dragon Capsule isn't really thicker than the hull of SS2... it's only one of the capsule structural layers then just part of the Dragon thickness

but, with your claim about the Dragon, you contradict yourself... if a vehicle that goes in orbit must be thick like a Shuttle ONLY to protect it from micro-meteoroids and orbital debris... so, are you saying that, the "thin as the SS2" Dragon is TOTALLY UNSAFE to go in orbit with a crew of seven astronauts???

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Last edited by gaetanomarano on Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:39 pm
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Dragons pressure vessel is actually thinner than that of SS2!

then...

a) the SS2 is safe but Dragon is TOO THIN then TOO DANGEROUS to fly in orbit, or...

b) the Dragon (with all its layers) will be thicker than SS2 (then safe in orbit) while the thinner SS2 could be unsafe in the vacuum if something goes wrong

don't even know what a "composite material" is, because you believe that SS2 is made out of "metal" and its parts are welded together... of course, I know what "composite materials" are, but the SS2 seems made of metal parts welded together (and SC hasn't yet released any info or data about the materials used)

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:45 pm
.

He believes that he alone knows the truth and everybody else is just plain wrong and not entitled to criticize his articles.

If I write an article it's logical that, after, I agree with myself! :)

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:28 pm
What is your native language? It is clearly not English because there seems to be a lot of miscommunication between yourself and the rest of the forum...

What do you do for a living? Are you even apart of a technical field? If it is engineering, then what company do you work for?


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:12 am
Probably Italian I would imagine. And his English is pretty good for a non-native speaker/writer.


Marcus Zottl wrote:
He believes that he alone knows the truth and everybody else is just plain wrong and not entitled to criticize his articles.


Luckily its highly unlikely that he is a decision or policy maker. So his criticism is harmless and carries no weight.

Notice I don't argue his points either? ;+)

Except for:

gaetanomarano wrote:
my #1 concern isn't that the thin SS2 can "explode" in the vacuum but that it can lose its pressurization and kills the eight persons aboard


Catastrophic loss of cabin pressure aboard an airliner at altitude will kill you just as fast as at mesosphere. The knowledge of building pressurized structures is quite well known and understood. Of all the things that could go wrong, complete loss of pressure is probably not high on the list.

Quote:
that since the SS2 must land at its full weight, gliding, without the help of jet engines, with just ONE good safe attempt, no 2nd chance, its back full of explosive propellants, no ejectable seats, no parachutes... just imagine if, one of its landing gear doesn't go down and the SS2 must land on runway on its THIN belly


No. SS2 doesn't land with any propellants explosive or other wise. Its rocket is expended on assent. So it comes down with an empty O2 tank and burned out solid fuel cylinder. Quite light actually. And if you'll reference the picture of the SS2's construction on your own site, the lower part of the hull is actually doubled up between the airframe and the pressure cabin.

I could go on and on...

Burt Rutan really does know a *little* about building composite aircraft.


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:20 pm
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Probably Italian I would imagine... true

its highly unlikely that he is a decision or policy maker... true, but, reading the blog counter's log, I can see that MANY important companies, space agencies, universities, labs, etc. weekly read my blog...

loss of cabin pressure aboard an airliner at altitude will kill you just as fast as at mesosphere... true, and, in my article, I've linked the wiki page of a real airline accident due to decompression

it comes down with an empty O2 tank and burned out solid fuel cylinder... the SS2 lands empty only after a successful trip, while, after an aborted air launch, it must land with its full load of rocket propellant

the lower part of the hull is actually doubled up between the airframe and the pressure cabin... SC hasn't yet released any detailed data or drawing about this point

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Last edited by gaetanomarano on Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:35 pm
.

I've just reminded some data released by NASA a couple of years ago about the falling speed (before open the parachutes) of the Shuttle SRBs (jettisoned at 45 km. of altitude) and of the 5-segments SRB of the (now deleted) Ares-1 that was expected to fall from about 57 km. of altitude

the falling speed of a Shuttle's SRB from 45 km. of altitude is Mach 3 while, the falling speed of an SRB-5 from 57 km. of altitude was expected to be around Mach 6

then, the SS2 will fall and reentry in the atmosphere (probably) at Mach 2 but ONLY if the (mechanical) "feathered reentry system" works well (another, high risk point, if compared with other spacecrafts) while, if this aerodynamic braking system would fail, the SS2 falling and reentry speed from 110 km. of altitude, could reach Mach 8, 10 or more, so, the SS2 (that hasn't any thermal shield) will be completely destroied at its impact with the denser atmosphere and, its pieces, will burn like a firecracker, as seen in the Columbia accident

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Sat Nov 06, 2010 4:11 pm
SS2 has an alternate decent profile where they have an high nose up AoA that translates vertical speed into horizontal velocity. It takes much more time to get back to low altitude (it has to do lots of circles to dissipate the energy), but its just as safe as the "shuttlecock" decent. Its planned for if Virgin Galactic decides to start offering sub-orbital point-to-point travel instead of just up and down sight-seeing.

You really should stop digging...


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:34 pm
I feel like I'm going to waste time here, because Gaetano has shown (here and elsewhere) to not be susceptible to logic or facts, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

Gaetano, you make a big hoopla about how the thin hull of SS2 won't be able to withstand the pressure differential between the inside of 1 bar and the outside 0 bar of space. Believe it or not, but a 1 bar pressure difference is not a big deal at all. For example, the pressure inside a soda can reach even 3-5 bar in hot conditions (see e.g. http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2000/SeemaMeraj.shtml or the more scientific http://technologyinterface.nmsu.edu/Spring06/12_Dues-Accepted/index.pdf = result of 10 sec of googling). Have you ever observed how thin the aluminum skin of a can is? It is clearly a small fraction of a millimeter (wikipedia give 90 micrometers, but doesn't cite a source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soda_can). As already stated by others, modern airliners are evolving towards composite designs now that manufacturing techniques for composites are becoming more economical and better for larger parts (A380, 787). Airliners (the absolute safest mode of transportation!) fly at altitudes where the outside pressure is only ~0.2 bar. In other words, the pressure difference is about the same as to the vacuum of space. The typical (aluminum) fuselage thickness is a few mm. You say that SS2 has 18 holes (i.e. windows) in its hull. How many does a large airliner have, a few hundred? Making safe pressure vessels and windows is something that this industry has been very good at for decades already. The fuselage design is more driven by other forces on the structure than the fairly insignificant 1 bar pressure difference. This is basis physics and engineering.

Regarding the air launch. You do have a point with having only one shot at a heavy landing after an aborted launch. It will be heavier than after a normal flight, but they will dump all the NOX before landing. The weight of the rubber is significant, but they will test the "heavy" flying characteristics during the test program. They did with SS1, found some handling issues, fixed them and continued safely. The rubber alone will not ignite even if it is significantly heating in a crash. It needs an oxidizer to burn. Note that gliders, skydivers, delta flyers all share the relative risk of having a single landing attempt. It is something customers will be well aware of. These are typically successfull, highly educated people that are very enthusiastic about space. They know what they're getting themselves into.

Furthermore, SS2 will have to be FAA/AST certified, meaning it will have to prove itself in hundreds of flights/hours of operation. The process will be very similar to that used to certify airliners. If SS2 really is as fundamentally flawed as you state, it WILL come up. But trust me, these guys have done their homework on all the "risks" you state. They are not amateurs.

Stating that SS2 is made of metal is just, well, plain stupid. Just google for the SS2/WK2 construction. There are tons of pictures and videos out there that show the exposed fuselage of SS2. If you think that that is metal, you are clearly not a credible source (particularly because you cannot even be bothered to spend a few minutes googling).

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:21 pm
The only dangers that exist with space tourism are:

-Running out of oxygen
-Collision with meteorites, satellites, other spacecraft, etc.
-Radiation poisoning
-Malfunctioning spacecraft components
-Pressure vessel bleeding
-Inability to recognize truth
-Skimping on the required protection

Some people go to the beach to relax and enjoy themselves. This usually doesn't happen during a thunderstorm. I'm being sarcastic if you haven't guessed it by now. My point is that people are more likely to get hurt in a Danger Zone, rather than a Safe Zone. If a tourist is 100% SAFE inside a spacecraft, the spacecraft is acting as the tourist's 'storm cellar'. Shielding passengers from nature's harmful space elements should be an obvious design objective and should no longer be wondered about. If the necessities of safety are not something a person grasps, that person should not be placed in a position to protect life in a container. If the protective systems are glossed over because of, let's say money, then the tourist would be safer in the Middle East, a region of Earth.

Space Tourism has the potential to benefit all life on Earth. Since this particular industry is still in an infancy state, all those who are connected with the business side of space tourism should strive to protect it from the less humane practices that occur daily in the current world economy. Keeping prices low would benefit companies in the long run and provide safety by the masses who now care for space transportation.

If you think something is missing from the list, just add to column along with it's solution. Peace.

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:46 pm
SS2 won't be able to withstand the pressure differential between the inside of 1 bar and the outside 0 bar of space... never said that the SS2 can be "squeezed" like a Pepsi can by pressure! ...the risks, for a so thin structure, may come from the structural strees of the flight

How many does a large airliner have, a few hundred... the risks don't come from the number of windows but from its manufacturing quality, that, looking at the images released by SC, doesn't seem as good as those made for airline jets or the Shuttle

they will dump all the NOX before landing... probably they'll modify the vehicle to do that, but, now, they haven't said that it works this way

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:55 pm
did with SS1... the SS1 was smaller, lighter, with only one test pilot aboard and no paying passengers

gliders, skydivers, delta flyers all share the relative risk of having a single landing attempt... not true, because they are lighter and have larger wings, so, they can pull the plane up and try again... the SS2 will be like the Space Shuttle: a falling rock, with small wings, just one landing attempt and (only the SS2) a big load of propellants aboard

These are successfully, typically highly educated people that are very enthusiastic about space... but with ZERO know how about space technology

They know what they're getting themselves into... I fear that they will believe to fly on something safe like a "suborbital 747" but it's NOT true

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