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Virgin Glactic increases size White Knight 2

Posted by: Soyuz - Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:48 pm
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Virgin Glactic increases size White Knight 2 
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Post Virgin Glactic increases size White Knight 2   Posted on: Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:48 pm
According to Flight International:
Quote:
Plans for future, possibly orbital, spaceships has led Virgin Galactic to increase the size of the SS2’s carrier aircraft, White Knight 2 (WK2), which had been described as having the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but will now be the size of a 757.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 21, 2005 7:20 pm
They just need to buy an AN-225.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:06 am
Scaled are also part of Transformational Space, and their proposed Very Large Aircraft (VLA) for air-launching the QuickReach 2 & CXV capsule.

I can't see why they wouldn't develop just the one aircraft to perform both sub-orbital & orbital air-drop tasks.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Dec 29, 2005 9:40 pm
Rutan has no experience in building heavy aircraft. If Branson were to buy an, AN-225 as has been suggested, it could be used as a transport when not in service as a first stage, leaving Rutan to build a HOTOL or MAKS craft that is more compact and more do-able.

Rutan's VLA is going to be of much less all-round utility than AN-225.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:29 am
From things I've read it seems Rutan is focused on (among other things I am sure) safety. This leads me to the question of the safety record of the AN-225. Is this a clearly known factor? The airliner industry created by the former USSR has a reputation of producing/operating aircraft to a safety standard significanly below that of the west (and for operating western aircraft when competing in western markets). Has this changed in the last few years? Is the AN-225 an exception to this? If so, why is that so?

Thanks!


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:18 pm
AN-225 has flown many miles and has moved many tons of equipment over the years.

On the other hand, Rutan's craft get their performance from being built near the point of structural failure, as evidenced in the fragile nature of Voyager that had to be built like an egg-shell to get better mileage.

He simply has no experience in building large, rugged aircraft--where the former Soviets built Ekranoplans almost the size of WW II destroyers.

Now you tell me who would give your a more sturdy first stage.

http://www.airfoyle.co.uk/news/heavy-li ... ?NewsID=85


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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:00 pm
Hey thanks for the link to the article. Every year we help our kids put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and it was cool to read about them being distributed to kids in the Ukraine. And 70,000 shoe boxes in one plane -- it's hard to imagine!

I suppose, with the AN-225 being one of a kind, and a money maker, they give her all of the care and maintenance needed to keep it a healthy, happy and safe flyer.


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Post Why a new plane   Posted on: Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:27 pm
The reason Rutan is designing a new plane may be efficiency. The Antonov is designed to be a transport plane- If you look at the White Night, its a high-altitude glider with jets. I'll bet it costs a lot more to operate the Antonov than a huge White Night.
Additionally, they would have to make modifications to the Antonov, hire a huge ground crew, etc.
In any case, the White Night is a cooler airplane. Imagine one the size of a 757!

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 01, 2006 8:15 pm
Which begs the question: What are the high altitude capabilities of the AN-225?

Also, wouldn't the operators of the current AN-225 be more than willing to provide the bulk of the services required to keep a second unit flight ready? And at very competitive prices?


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:57 am
Rutan ain't going to use the AN-225 and the technical merits is not going to sway him.

He seems like the sort of guy who wants to do it his way and he probably wants complete ownership both IP and manufacturing of the entire launch system.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:13 am
koxinga wrote:
Rutan ain't going to use the AN-225 and the technical merits is not going to sway him.

He seems like the sort of guy who wants to do it his way and he probably wants complete ownership both IP and manufacturing of the entire launch system.

Hey Koxinga,

Thanks for killing an interesting discussion!

Once again, a fun thread of speculation & conjecture stuffed by a single clear and logical point :(

And while I agree with your reasons why they won't buy a AN-225, I agree even more with Publiusr that they should!


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:37 pm
Dual use is why AN-225 is the winner. There are really two AN-225's and the second one just needs assembly according to Mr. Furlonger--registered here on the board.

It can be used for other profitable ventures, and is based on AN-124 tech which is established technology.

Rutan needs to swallow his pride--and convince Branson to have a Virgin AN-225 service--with Spaceship Two but one of its many payloads.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:45 am
It would give the Americans an answer to the A-380, but don't Virgin's loyalties lie with the EU?

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Post    Posted on: Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:49 am
idiom wrote:
It would give the Americans an answer to the A-380, but don't Virgin's loyalties lie with the EU?


Virgin's loyalties, like all big companies, lie with their bank balance.

I would suggest that the reason the second AN-225 is in bits is that there is no market for it, if money could be made out of flying it then it would be in the air. It is not for Virgin as a customer to fund assembly of a plane which it will have to adapt when it can build its own bespoke craft that it would have total access to.

Pride has little to do with which craft Burt Rutan will use as WK2, he (or Branson) will not wish to use a craft that he does not have complete control over for costs and schedules.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:44 am
Hi Andy,
I agree that cost and schedule has a lot to do with it but also Rutan likes being on the cutting edge hence the composite nature of his creations. I think that this is also a factor but in the main, overall control of the project is the overriding concern for Rutan and Branson.

This is also reflected in the efforts of Bigalow and Musk. All three like to do things their way with little interference or interraction with others as possible.

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