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Lack of escape systems could haunt X-Prize

Posted by: Guest - Wed Apr 07, 2004 1:01 pm
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Lack of escape systems could haunt X-Prize 
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Post Lack of escape systems could haunt X-Prize   Posted on: Wed Apr 07, 2004 1:01 pm
Da Vinci has a separable capsule which I suppose could count as an escape system, but in the Rutan vehicle survivability seems to depend on the vehicle coming back as one piece.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:39 pm
This is not NASA.

All of the competitors accept that fact.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 07, 2004 9:12 pm
DJBREIT wrote:
This is not NASA.

All of the competitors accept that fact.


Indeed. This is why I imagine most entries will utilise the ballast option in their attempts.

The real question is whether the general paying public will accept that fact. I think they will. Until something goes wrong.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 07, 2004 9:56 pm
<rant>

Franklin: Reality Check™. Ever driven a car or flown in an airplane? Think about it for a second. And yeah, they are just as dangerous.

Has anybody realized that this is SUB-orbital flight? The heat incurred is very little, and thermal protection systems are more for passenger comfort than structural integrity. Rutan's entry is designed to fly, and the rest of 'em are supposed to drop like rocks anyway. Your argument is like saying that all jetliner passengers need to be supplied with parachutes.

Look: early aviation was dangerous. Early astronautics will be too. Get over it. You design your vehicle as best you can, hope and pray that it doesn't fail, then fix it when it does. Test pilots play a perpetual game of Russian roulette -- and that's the exact reason they're test pilots.

If you don't feel safe, fine. Don't go. I'll be glad to take your spot in the cockpit.

Oh, and Pete: just because a few Boeings crash doesn't mean that people stop flying. They'll accept it. Actually, they'll embrace it. Americans are getting bored with leading such a humdrum life, which is why we've seen such an increase in violence and perverted sexuality (not just regular sex, but the weird stuff) on television -- both graphic and implied -- and through other more underground media. Americans especially love risk. Hell, we're the ones that invented the image of the Gunslinger -- something that never existed in real life. They'll flock to it simply because it IS risky. Justchu wait an' see, boys an' girls, justchu wait an' see.

</rant>

<edit>:shock: I just noted the odd fact that the post mentioning sexual perversion is my 69th... Kinda spooky...</edit>

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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 07, 2004 10:39 pm
http://www.house.gov/transportation/aviation/09-24-02/09-24-02memo.html wrote:
In response to the reduced demand for air travel and air cargo after the September 11th attacks, U.S. air carriers reduced flight schedules by approximately 20 percent, and announced plans to reduce their headcount by 94,000 over the coming weeks and months


spacecowboy wrote:
Oh, and Pete: just because a few Boeings crash doesn't mean that people stop flying.


That probably wasn't the best example.

spacecowboy wrote:
Americans especially love risk. Hell, we're the ones that invented the image of the Gunslinger -- something that never existed in real life. They'll flock to it simply because it IS risky. Justchu wait an' see, boys an' girls, justchu wait an' see.


However this is true. The normal person isn't the target market. As long as you're clearly targetting adventurers, there will always be plenty of demand.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Apr 07, 2004 11:09 pm
I don't recall Nasa ever demonstrating a survival system saving someone. Redundancy saved Apollo 13 but only just.

I always thought it was odd that in the Space shuttle the cabin seemed to nearly survive the explosion both times. What if it had been designed to survive explosion and had its own parachutes?

Canadian arrow has a seperation system too. But I don't think these are the right way to go. What if one of their Jato units fails?

Also that market needs to move to a place where they are meeting a demand. People need airlines. Society today could not exist without airlines. The internet makes up for some of the instanteous load but if you took away airlines the changes would become really obvious inside of a month.

At the moment outside of those who feel the prime directive a personal level (go forth and multiply) there is no need to go to space.

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Post Short sighted and ignorant responses   Posted on: Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:30 pm
If a project can't afford to buy a Russian K-36 seat then maybe they should consider whether they have enough money to do what they want in the first place.

Over 20 years ago a Russian pilot survived with no significant injury ejecting from a Mig-25 doing Mach 2.8 at 60,000 feet.

The X-15 seat was rated up to Mach 4 and up to 120,000 feet.

Joe Kittinger verified in 1960 a bailout parachute system for altitudes of over 100,000 feet.

Colonel John Stapp verified in 1952 that human beings can survive the g-forces of supersonic ejection.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:27 pm
The systems work but astronauts have died anyway. When has a system saved an anstronaut in an emergency rather than as part of a test?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 08, 2004 11:04 pm
Pete wrote:
http://www.house.gov/transportation/aviation/09-24-02/09-24-02memo.html wrote:
In response to the reduced demand for air travel and air cargo after the September 11th attacks, U.S. air carriers reduced flight schedules by approximately 20 percent, and announced plans to reduce their headcount by 94,000 over the coming weeks and months


spacecowboy wrote:
Oh, and Pete: just because a few Boeings crash doesn't mean that people stop flying.


That probably wasn't the best example.


Actually, that was an excellent example -- and you made it even better. I was talking about accidental crashes, due to either pilot error or equipment failure -- which have had almost no impact on air travel.

Intentionally plowing a jetliner into the side of a building has far more drastic effects on the mob psyche -- but 80% of people still had few enough qualms to keep their reservations and even buy new tickets. The fact that it only went down by 20% was astounding, considering the fact that several "analysts" predicted that the airlines involved in the September 11 attacks would go bankrupt. So see? Just because a few Boeings crash -- accidentally or intentionally -- doesn't mean that people stop flying.

Franklin: One last thing. May I remind you how aviation started? By a couple of high-school dropouts with no engineering skills whatsoever who decided to burn every textbook on the subject (which were written by extremely prominent figures for the time -- such as Otto Lillienthal) and write their own -- with only their own (quite possibly faulty) data to go on. And they not only got the data right, but we can't improve on it by more than a few decimals.

May I remind you that some of the best flight engineers for NASA (including one who saved the Apollo 13 crew) were from specifically non-engineering backgrounds (the engineer in question was a cattle ranch-hand) and who save lives by figuring out how to patch the ship back together with bubblegum, duct tape, and a couple prayers, and get their people back home.

idiom wrote:
Also that market needs to move to a place where they are meeting a demand. People need airlines. Society today could not exist without airlines. The internet makes up for some of the instanteous load but if you took away airlines the changes would become really obvious inside of a month.


Before the 1920s, there was no demand for air travel, not even for mail service. Air mail started after WWI, and airlines didn't really get into the swing of things until after WWII (with the influx of thousands of newly-retired military pilots). There won't be a demand for space travel until there's something to travel to. Start with mines, graduate to colonies, then to terraforming and cities. It's the same reason we have places like San Francisco and New York.

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Post Hypocrisy   Posted on: Fri Apr 09, 2004 12:24 pm
Talking about advancing science and engineering then ignoring for the sake of expediency any science or engineering that you find inconvenient is the height of hypocrisy.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 09, 2004 1:50 pm
spacecowboy wrote:
Before the 1920s, there was no demand for air travel, not even for mail service. Air mail started after WWI, and airlines didn't really get into the swing of things until after WWII (with the influx of thousands of newly-retired military pilots). There won't be a demand for space travel until there's something to travel to. Start with mines, graduate to colonies, then to terraforming and cities. It's the same reason we have places like San Francisco and New York.


here's my <prediction>space travel will start out with a few fairly rich tourists spending 100k-500k to take a suborbital flight. within 5 years, it will graduate to rapid intercontinental mail and passenger service, and, while still being fairly expensive, larger suborbital vehicles will enter service reducing costs some. within another 5 years orbital flight will be opened up to the private sector, followed in 2 years by the first private space station, which clearly would have all sorts of commercial benefits. during this time that orbital flight is advancing, the first robotic asteroid mining missions are undertaken, showing huge profits and leading to developement of ships capable of traveling to the moon/asteroids. lunar colony founded around 2030, manned asteroid mining becomes a major industry 2040, orbital construction around the same time using materials shipped in from the asteroids. the first space city founded 2055.</prediction>

seems kind of far fetched, but if several x-prize teams get off the ground fast, definitely a possibility.

EDIT: note the exponential curve on developement. it's been true for alot of other beginning industries (computing mainly), why not space?

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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:43 pm
Hi Franklin, forgive me for saying this, but you sound like a disgruntled NASA employee, upset that the public will soon have cheap access to space or a member of a 'failed' applicant X-prize team, puzzled by the rate of Rutan's progress!! :lol:

The fact is, one way or another, with or without our support, by the book or not by the book, individuals like Rutan will eventually achieve the goal. Period.

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Post Dumbasses   Posted on: Fri Apr 09, 2004 4:26 pm
Dreada wrote:
Hi Franklin, forgive me for saying this, but you sound like a disgruntled NASA employee, upset that the public will soon have cheap access to space or a member of a 'failed' applicant X-prize team, puzzled by the rate of Rutan's progress!! :lol:

The fact is, one way or another, with or without our support, by the book or not by the book, individuals like Rutan will eventually achieve the goal. Period.


And you, Dreada, sound like a freaking idiot.

I was watching people build and run private manned liquid propellant rocket vehicles with purpose-designed scratch-built motors thirty years ago.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 09, 2004 6:46 pm
Let me put it this way. Safety will be a factor in early astronautics strictly because nobody wants to lose their vehicle, and because it's shitty publicity.

But you can forget all the fancy systems for the pioneers. If I was building one (and flying it -- like most people will be), I'd also remember that the more weight I put on this thing, the more it's gonna cost me to move it. Now, if I could set myself up a little orbital station and build a ship in orbit that was designed from the start never to enter an atmosphere, that's one thing. But a spaceplane is a helluva lot harder, and necessarily a helluva lot more inefficient. Everything will be kept to a minimum to save weight, not just safety systems.

This is not a government project, which has the time and the money to dump into slowly refining their designs. This is private industry. Whether or not it is apparent, there is a new space race happening right now, and the X-Prize is quite literally the tip of the iceberg.

Once the X-Prize is won, the next step is asteroidal or Lunar mining. A single metallic 'roid can hold fifteen *BILLION* dollars (US) worth of Platinum Group Metals alone, not counting the other lower-value metals (from gold to aluminum). Orbital factories can produce things in zero g that Terry plants can't even dream of, including near-indestructible metal alloys (which gives a titanic boost to the space industry)

Whoever gets there first and plays their cards right can be sitting pretty for the next millenium before they have to deal with any competition. This is the ultimate Capitalist dream: every man his own employer, with practically unlimited resources.

People thought there was a land rush when the railroads opened up the Midwest and a gold rush when they found Sutter's Mill.

Y'all ain't seen nothin' yet.

Oh, and Mr. Ratliff: Flaming won't get you anywhere here, except ignored. Dreada had a valid point, and you should have replied to it as such.

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Post Replies   Posted on: Fri Apr 09, 2004 6:50 pm
I gave Dreada's comment all the consideration it was due.


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