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SpaceShipOne Wins $10 Million ANSARI X PRIZE

Posted by: Sigurd - Tue Oct 05, 2004 8:15 pm
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SpaceShipOne Wins $10 Million ANSARI X PRIZE 
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Post SpaceShipOne Wins $10 Million ANSARI X PRIZE   Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 8:15 pm
http://www.xprize.org/press_room/press_ ... icleID=130

For the latest news: http://www.xprizenews.org/

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Last edited by Sigurd on Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Burt Rutan in Austin Oct. 29   Posted on: Mon Oct 25, 2004 3:43 pm
Burt Rutan will be giving a presentation at the LBJ library in Austin, Texas this Friday, October 29.
See:
http://www.eaa187.org/Calendar/calendar.htm
and:
http://www.eaa187.org/
The public is invited and admission is free. I plan to be there.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 29, 2004 8:15 pm
I just got back from the Rutan seminar. It was AWESOME! Some highlights are:

He started by asking how many pilots were in the room. Lots of hands, maybe 1/4 of the room, a big, packed auditorium. He asked how many had flown a spacecraft. No hands. He asked how many want to. All the same hands again.

Anything that is going to be a breakthrough is nonsense. You need confidence to pursue the nonsense.

35 of the first 1000 pilots died in aircraft accidents. We need to accept that risk.

When early aircraft designs crashed, they were discarded and new designs tried. This is in contrast to space craft. The only currently operational spacecraft in America (shuttle) is the most dangerous. There were no fatalities (in flight) in all the rest of America’s space program.

If the government ran the only airline in the US, nobody would fly it.

Instead of wasting money on the shuttle and international space station we should have spent that money on developing affordable orbital flight.

Our goals need to be driven by future business needs.

Boring our kids is a bad thing. We need to get today’s kids excited so they can make the future.

There will be lots of aerospace jobs created, more than during the space race, and none of them will be government funded. Those future engineers are now about 10-12 years old.

After Mercury Atlas flew, the Mercury Redstone never flew again. After Gemini flew, no more Mercury. After Apollo, no more Gemini. If we did the same with airplanes, the only airplane currently flying would be the B2 bomber.

When Burt asked one of the Huntsville old timers why we don’t have 10,000 Redstones flying, he said a tear came to his eye.

We should not ignore sub-orbital flight. He showed a picture out the window of the shuttle side by side with one out the window of SS1. They looked pretty much the same. The goal is the F word. Fun. Fun to enjoy the view.

He had started Tier 1 as a flight research program and never intended to produce a certified vehicle, but that is now his primary focus. He never certified an aircraft but he will produce the first certified spacecraft, unless someone else does it first!

The only difference between a rocket motor and a bomb, is a rocket motor has a hole on one end.

The SS1 rocket motor has nearly a million pound seconds. It starts out at about 18000 pounds thrust on a 6800 pound airplane, which is a lot of fun.

Some people had criticized Paul Allen for throwing his money away, but he will make a profit due to the Virgin Galactic deal. And he would be collecting a check covering 40% of the costs next week. And there will be other customers licensing the technology.

Just painting the Virgin logo on SS1 was worth millions of dollars.

When the billionaires see that there is money to be made, and it is fun, then look out! It will be a very exciting next few years.

Starting in 3-4 years they will fly 10 people a week. Within another year it will be 10 a day. In about 15 years our children will know that in their lifetime they can afford to go to orbit if they want to. Burt wants to see affordable travel at least to the moon before he dies. He knows that can happen once we start doing it.

Safety will start out better than the first airlines. We can't start as safe as the current airlines because thay have had 70 years to mature the technology.

He predicted that large percentage of us in the room would be able to afford a sub-orbital flight when the technology matures in 10-15 years. It will take that long to recover the startup costs.

Until now, everyone in space has had a detailed checklist and a ground crew to make sure he follows it. Imagine what ideas we could come up with if thousands of people could do whatever they want in space.

He showed detailed videos of the three SS1 space flights and narrated them all.

They included actual sound inside SS1. You could hear the rocket motor and M&Ms hitting the sides.

The reason the pilot wears an oxygen mask to direct his exhaled breath through the water vapor absorber to keep from fogging up the windows.

Mike holds the record for vertical rolls in a aerobatic airplane. The old record was 4. The new one is 29.

The white layer around the middle of SS1 on the last flight is insulation because the oxidizer tank was full with little or no ullage. It was removed just before takeoff.

The high-G supersonic entry is very smooth. The buffeting does not start until the subsonic phase lower down in the atmosphere.

The international space station has a sound level of 87dB, due to fans and other equipment. SS1 is totally quite after the rocket shuts down.

The wheels and brakes are the same ones used on his homebuilt aircraft and the nose skid is hard maple wood.

OK, this post is long enough now!


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 04, 2004 10:52 pm
That is awesome. I would love to go to Burt Rutan seminar!

That you for sharing your experience with us. I enjoyed reading about it.

Quote:
OK, this post is long enough now!


It could be longe? Is there more? :D


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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 05, 2004 2:45 pm
I used a digital sound recorder and transcribed the highlights. Unfortunately it did not have enough storage capacity for the whole 2 hour event, so I had to fill in the end from memory. I guess I could have transcribed the entire recording word for word, but that would have been WAY too long.

Here is a bit on space hotels I left out before. He said there could be a clear dome at one end of the space hotel where you float all by yourself and experience the view. Or you with your lover. (big laugh) You should not be afraid to try new things. (bigger laugh.) I didn't mean THAT. (even bigger laugh).

Mere words cannot convey the excitement and optimism generated by just being there. I really came out of there flying high!


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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 01, 2004 9:44 pm
I had the opportunity to hear Burt's lecture last night. He is an entertaining speaker, that's for sure! Here are a few points not mentioned above (that I noticed) which have been raising questions here.

Orbital) His slides show first civilian orbital launches in 2015. He says he has solved one crucial orbital problem (not identified) but several others remain to be solved.

Fate of SS1) Paul Allen would like to ship it straight to the Smithsonian before it gets dented. Burt would like to fly it a few more times to refine SS2 design issues. He is trying to identify low-risk activities for SS1 to further SS2 as a compromise.

Bigalow) Bigalow was the "co-sponsor" of the talk. Burt repeatedly mentioned space hotels.

Burt described a 40 year cycle in high-speed transportation technology, mentioning the progression from horses to advanced aircraft. He pointed out that by that metric, we are 20 years overdue for the next advance. He seems very focussed on advancing civilian space-flight as far as possible in his lifetime. He wants to produce the innovations and leave it mostly to others to develop them. He repeatedly cited the need for commercial competition, and seemed enthusiastic for other groups to attempt to equal or best his efforts. With active competition, he thinks he will see more progress in his lifetime.

He mentioned that when space tourist industry is mature, sub-orbital flights will be in the $1,000 range and orbital flights in the $20,000 range. !!!


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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:30 pm
Thanks for the interesting info. But i have a few questions, maybe you can answer them.
Did Burt made it clear if he is just designing the spaceship itself or that he is also developing some sort of booster to take his spaceship to orbit? Did he make any mention of the America's Space Prize? Did he say how far along he was in designing White Knight 2 and the suborbital ships for Virgin?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:01 pm
Soyuz wrote:
Did Burt made it clear if he is just designing the spaceship itself or that he is also developing some sort of booster to take his spaceship to orbit? Did he make any mention of the America's Space Prize? Did he say how far along he was in designing White Knight 2 and the suborbital ships for Virgin?


Unfortunately he did not mention any of the above.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 02, 2004 9:06 pm
At the lecture I attended, he described technical details only of SS1 & WhiteKnight. He actually described quite a bit of details. He had just given a lecture to a class of aerospace engineering students and I think he was a bit fired up.

He was specific that he will focus as much of his attention as possible on the sub-orbital Virgin space-liner until it is done. This is called SS2, until he tells us otherwise. He's not going to start development of an orbital craft until he's completed the Virgin contract.

He was specific that Virgin Galaictic would be operating commercially in 2007. He said he was ahead of schedule.

He didn't mention anything about WhiteKnight2. He did say that WhightNight uses the cheapes engines he could find. So an engine upgrade and the extended wing might (I'm guessing) be sufficient for SS2.

No direct mention of Bigalow or American Space Prize except that Bigalow was a "co-sponsor" of the lecture.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 03, 2004 12:00 pm
Burt Rutan never will tell anyone of orbital developments before he has an orbital vehicle ready for test flights because that's the information policy of Scaled the public has experienced for years. He may have secret thoughts connected with the Virgin contract and its completion...



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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:02 pm
Ah, but Ekkehard-san, you cannot know this to be a true fact until after it
happens (or does not happen). By your logic of predicting future actions based
on past actions, there is another X-prize team that we have discussed which will
never launch because in the past they said they would launch and did not.

Please let me mention that 'the information policy of Scaled' has in fact been
changed since prior to the X-prize launches. Burt has been on lecture tour ever
since, and he did not lecture prior.

Finally, I'll add that Burt has hit his pre-announced schedule to within minutes
for all his space flights. He's now stated that SS2 will be available for commercial
use in 2007. So his thoughts on the Virgin contract are not so secret as you say.

But this is not news. Nor is our philosophical debate on the relative nature of reality
relevant to this thread. Nor (very likely) are many people interested. So
why comment?


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Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 05, 2004 5:27 pm
You are right - the contract itself and the advantages of the contract aren't any secret. But Rutan may have in mind to use the contract as a funded step on his way to a project follwing that contract. And that would be a secret comparable to the policy of secrecy Scaled is known for.

The known contract is about a suborbital vehicle as SS1 is a suborbital vehicle. So nothing will be quite new with this suborbital vehicle. The policy of secrecy isn't hurt anyway.

A following project - if there is such a project - may include something quite new. There are articles where a reporter ha ssenn something, asked Rutan after the orbit or something like this and Rutan's only answer was a smile and the words "No comment!". Regardless of what he is doing or what he is not doing - we only will get informations about a project of constructing something new if he has it ready for tests.

I didn't have in mind philosophical considerations writing the last post here - I had in mind that Rutan is to be expected to surprise us one day. The number of seats and the weight of the Branson-vehicle is similar to one of the ASP rules. We simply don't and cannot know what he's planning and working on in his head and on paper only.

Nothing more I wanted to remark. It didn't have anything to do with other discussions.



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

EDIT: I have to add something Rutan himself has said according to an article under www.xprizenews.org quoting him. Rutan has made a schedule including LEO and "above LEO". He was six months ahead of this schedule when he was three months working as scheduled.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:27 am
In terms of schedule, Rutan is an anomoly. The rule that seems to be almost always true for the space industry is that you never never meet or beat your schedule. Even Musk has mentioned that he's now a 'schedule-skeptic'.
But I agree in that Rutan has surprised everyone before and will no doubt surprise everyone again with what he achieves. I think that genius is probably a bit of a stretch but certainly inspired engineer he is without a doubt. I particularly like his wanting to produce a 'certified' aircraft/spacecraft. This comment provides insight into what must be a change in direction for him from pure research to commercial production. I think this is a good thing overall as this means that he will have to consider problems that he wouldn't face in a purely research capacity.
Thanks to you all for sharing your experience of listening to Rutan. It was great mate :D

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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:23 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:

There will be lots of aerospace jobs created, more than during the space race, and none of them will be government funded.


:roll:


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