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SFS News: SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo Unveiled

Posted by: Klaus Schmidt - Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:35 pm
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SFS News: SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo Unveiled 
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Post SFS News: SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo Unveiled   Posted on: Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:35 pm
Today, Virgin Galactic unveiled their new SpaceShipTwo design. This spacecraft will be lifted up to 15 km altitude by its carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo. Compared to SpaceShipOne and earlier design pictures of SS2, it now resembles the X-20 / Dynasoar space glider from the 1960s.

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SS2 will still be propelled by its hybrid rocket engine and uses the same feathering mechanism that reduces thermal loads on the airframe. Assembling of both, WK2 and SS2, is currently in the final phase with test flights planned from June 2008 on.

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After the test flight phase you can buy tickets into space for $200,000 and experience several minutes of weightlessness. Included will be high altitude flights onboard the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft as preparation for the actual SpaceShipTwo space flight.

Feel free to discuss this article in this topic.


Last edited by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:28 am, edited 2 times in total.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:55 pm
Now that is how spacecraft is supposed to look like! Aside for the complex engineering it's a beautiful ship. :D

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:06 pm
Klaus,

Good call on the Dyna-Soar. :) I actually have this book which hopefully I can read in the near future.

http://www.amazon.com/Dyna-Soar-Hyperso ... 1896522955



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:30 pm
I'm not sure but during that time I think Rutan worked for NASA and perhaps has some data from the X-15 flights and X-20 development.

Personally I like the new design more than SpaceShipOne from a "nice look" perspective.

edit: I wonder if this hm more "streamlined" shape has a meaning regarding higher speeds in the future.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:19 pm
Klaus Schmidt wrote:
edit: I wonder if this hm more "streamlined" shape has a meaning regarding higher speeds in the future.


I was thinking the same when I saw it.... Cut the cabin in half, put in a bigger engine and more fuel... and what do we have?

Yeah, I know I make it sound easy ;)


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:31 pm
Klaus Schmidt wrote:
I'm not sure but during that time I think Rutan worked for NASA and perhaps has some data from the X-15 flights and X-20 development.

Personally I like the new design more than SpaceShipOne from a "nice look" perspective.

edit: I wonder if this hm more "streamlined" shape has a meaning regarding higher speeds in the future.

As far as I am aware Rutan never worked for NASA. I had the pleasure of meeting him on a student trip in 1997. We both graduated from the same university 30 years apart. He told us, and his bio confirms this, that after graduation he worked for the U.S. Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base from 1965-1972. He started his first company in 1974.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:45 pm
I once read that he worked a few years for NASA during the Apollo program. Seems that this was a false information.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:21 pm
Klaus Schmidt wrote:
I once read that he worked a few years for NASA during the Apollo program. Seems that this was a false information.

SpaceShipOne was his first venture into spacecraft. When I met him he told our student group a funny story. He graduated in 1965 as the American Space program was on its way up. He said everyone in his graduating class went to go work in the American space program either with NASA or one of the large government contractors that built hardware. For Rutan his first and only true love was aircraft. He never considered working in the American Space Program. Some of his fellow graduates gave him a hard time, telling him that aircraft were passe and that the future was in spacecraft. Well after the Apollo Program ended many of these engineers lost their jobs. Some of them went to Rutan to ask him for a job in his aircraft company in the 1970s. Rutan found that most ironic. :P

Oh and Rutan doesn't like NASA nor the large aerospace companies and he made his feelings about them known quite clearly to us. He stated at a commencement speech that he would never hire an engineer that had work for more than one year at Lockheed Martin.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:20 am
I just read that Burt Rutan said today, that WhiteKnightTwo is capable of launching a two-stage-rocket with a single seat capsule into LEO.

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Post White Knight II & SpaceShip II   Posted on: Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:23 am
Simply Beautiful. I didn't see any dimensions listed today, but what I heard last year was these ships are twice as large as WKI & SSI.

Another great day for the Mojave Air & Space Port. Awesome work.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:36 am
Regarding the design and look I have some problems to remark any differences to SS1 - may be such differences can be seen when looking at details.

Hello, Klaus,

what you read Rutan to have said yesterday is very interesting. Two-stage-rocket might remind to a QuickReach lighter or smaller than QuickReach2 but heavier or larger than QuickReach.

The entire issue seems to fit into the information that White Knight 2 can launch small satellites. One human weighs just around 80 kg in average if he is as tall as me - 1.83 meters. QuickReach can launch payloads of up to between 400 kg and 500 kg - into LEO.

So it would be interesting to get data regarding the weight of SS2.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:15 am
Hello Ekkehard.. Can I have your weight please? :)

Back to topic: SS1 was hm..how should I describe it.. fat..somewhat ugly..then it had a high wing while SS2 has a low wing.

Image
SpaceShipOne with that "fat" front part


About sizes and for comparison to SS1 shape:
Image

WK2 is capable of lifting about 13.5 tonnes.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:30 am
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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:47 pm
Rocket Scientist wrote:
SpaceShipOne was his first venture into spacecraft. When I met him he told our student group a funny story. He graduated in 1965 as the American Space program was on its way up. He said everyone in his graduating class went to go work in the American space program either with NASA or one of the large government contractors that built hardware. For Rutan his first and only true love was aircraft. He never considered working in the American Space Program. Some of his fellow graduates gave him a hard time, telling him that aircraft were passe and that the future was in spacecraft. Well after the Apollo Program ended many of these engineers lost their jobs. Some of them went to Rutan to ask him for a job in his aircraft company in the 1970s. Rutan found that most ironic. :P

Oh and Rutan doesn't like NASA nor the large aerospace companies and he made his feelings about them known quite clearly to us. He stated at a commencement speech that he would never hire an engineer that had work for more than one year at Lockheed Martin.


I hope you don't mind that i say that that story is the story he tells for the past 3,5 years in all his presentation and the only 'new' thing is a small part about global warming. I know that Burt Rutan is being invited and asked for all over the world, but the ironic thing is that he thinks NASA is not inspiring young people by doing something, instead of all the sub-parts of NASA like teaching kids or something like that. Rutan also should stick to the designing, which he does much better then NASA, and leave the talking to other people. He's kinda extremely repetitive.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:05 pm
Here you can see the change in shape when you compare it to the picture in my post before quite good (they have a damn lot pictures):

Image

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