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When has tourism become the only reason to fly suborbital?

Posted by: 109Ace - Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:37 pm
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When has tourism become the only reason to fly suborbital? 
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Post When has tourism become the only reason to fly suborbital?   Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:37 pm
What about super-fast trips to remote locations?The flight would basically be a nice parabola, but instead of a sharp one like on 0G space tourism flights, it would be a flatter one. The engine firing time would be longer, speeds would be higher, and most of the mssion profile would be outside of the atmosphere, where no drag is encountered.
New York to Tokyo in 30 minutes anyone? Providing you have a craft capable of taking off and landing at a regular airport?
There were some suggestions in the past, can't recall where, but it all seems to have died down in the excitement caused by the posibilith of generating revenue from space toursim.
Think about it: fast transportation through the fringes of the atmosphere is a mroe practical goal, and would get us closer to commercial orbital flight. Its technical requirements are maybe a little higher than those of merely a joyride in space, safety reguilations would be much stiffer, but hey: I can think of more applications: People would pay millions to have an organ travel between continents super-fast.
A CEO poised to make a billion dollar deal which requires him to show up in person would shell out a few hundred bucks to be the first to shake hands with a prospective business partner.
An epidemic outbreak (well, in an area with rich people, anyway :P) would have vaccines delivered within the hour from anywhere in the world.
Isn't all this worth an invetment-yes, greater than 20 million, on the order of a few hundred millions- to build such a transportation system?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:13 pm
Concorde ring a bell? Wasn't really a succes you know.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:00 pm
It flew for 30 something years. It wasn't very profitable, true, but I would still call it a success.
The Russian supersonic transport though, that was indeed a catastrophe :)


Anyway, back to my post, I think people would pay to have themselves or valuable payloads carried around the world in minutes, over distances far greater than the range of the Concorde, and a lot faster.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:05 pm
There is a reason why people choose 'slow' transportation. Not everything or everyone wants speed. Slow gives good comfort and affordability. If you can start a supersonic business with same comfort and same price, it would be a succes. But something has to be sacrificed in order to get that speed. For now, it's certainly the price and also the comfort. And i dont want to spend 30 minutes above 1G if i have to go from A to B for an 'important' meeting. The people who really need to be there fast, are limited. Thus the market is not big and not very liable.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:54 pm
Then too--there is the medium we are using now.

Sub-orbital flight would give military planes an ability to strike out of the US and return--reducing forward bases in hostile countries--but that would upset the big money men--so it isn't gonna happen soon. Until Britain, France and Germany kick us out--that is.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 27, 2005 7:59 pm
See the point-to-point passenger flight thread in the Public Perception of Privatized Space Travel section.
http://www.xprizenews.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=961


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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 28, 2005 7:17 am
Hello, Stefan,

what you said means that you currently wouldn't be a customer at the markets for such flights mentioned in the initial thread. And there are a lot of other people who currently wouldn't be customers at those markets too. But other people would be customers at those markets. And there will be at least one third group of people who didn't make up their minds yet.

This means that currently the markets are in their initial phase - exactly still there are something like proto-markets only or pre-market processes (Virgin Galactic etc., market-vehicles still under construction at Scaled and so on).

Markets are evolving, growing, maturing and so on - and as the markets evolve and grow people currently not interested in the flight mentions may and partially will change their minds and become customers - not yet today or within a year but may be in ten years. That's not improbable. It's a matter of experiences, improvements, generation of vehicles and so on.

But please - that's the question of demand but not the question of perception.



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Post    Posted on: Wed May 18, 2005 3:51 pm
I think experimental payloads will be a very proffitable section of the suborbital market. The new suborbitals are being deisigned to maxmiize their microgravity time and do so cheaply so there' sno reason to think tourism is the only business. TGV certainly doesn't think so.

As far as Point-A to Point-B, it's a matter of expense. People MAY pay $250,000 for the adventure of spacefairing (For awhile, anyway), but I doubt anyone will pay $250,000 or even $100,000 to get across country at Mach 3. The price would have to come way down, and what I've seen from the prices the fully-funded companies are touting, does not sound encouraging at all.


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Post    Posted on: Wed May 18, 2005 4:03 pm
bad_astra wrote:
I think experimental payloads will be a very proffitable section of the suborbital market.
I can't agree. 30 seconds of microgravity can be had for a very reasonable cost from http://www.nogravity.com/
The extremely high cost of an extra few minutes in suborbital flight is just not worth it. The next step after parabolic aircraft flights is orbital. I recall reading somewhere that rocketplane is no longer considering suborbital scientific payloads as an important revenue source for this reason.


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Post    Posted on: Tue May 24, 2005 8:03 pm
I just read in a Business AViation magazine that there are 2 supersonic business jets projects currently being developed. next step, hypersonic!

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 2:12 pm
Keep in mind: the last X-43 mission (were they awesome or what?) is believed to have started to melt on descent. And that was with the leading edges made out of solid tungsten. We need some serious new materials before we can really do hypersonics.

So let's get those materials engineers off their dead behinds so the next four years of my college education (I'm thinking of specializing in hypersonic airbreathing SSTO systems) don't go to waste

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 4:28 pm
if you don't mind the weight too much, perhaps a beryllium heatsink incased in a diamond-film shell which itself is preoxidized to carbon on the side facing atmosphere. Non-ablative heatshield that will not melt or burn at hypersonic (or lunar reentry) temperatures. Diamond manufacture looks to improve greatly in the next few years.


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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 4:51 pm
Now that's ironic. Here in the "Financial Barriers to Space Travel" forum we are currently discussing the use of DIAMOND as a material for making spacecraft.

Which isn't as crazy as it sounds, of course. Carbon melts at a ludicrous temperature (3551.85 C), and diamond manufacture is actually reasonably affordable (in aerospace engineering terms, anyway)... but the glaring irony just made me giggle thinking about it.


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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 11:46 pm
At 700C Diamond starts breaking down into graphite in a real hurry.

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Post    Posted on: Thu May 26, 2005 3:42 am
The idea behind my graphite-diamond-beryllium sandwich shield (on mayo.. or maybe MECO) is that diamond is a good enough conductor to transfer the heat TO the beryllium before that really starts to happen. The beryllium does the bulk of the work, but it's brittle as well as hazardous so that is why I prosed a diamond heat-transfer shield in front of it.


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