Community > Forum > The Spaceflight Cafe > A better ride than Virgin Galactic?

A better ride than Virgin Galactic?

Posted by: Lourens - Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:44 pm
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 25 posts ] 
A better ride than Virgin Galactic? 
Author Message
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
avatar
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:44 am
Posts: 707
Location: Haarlem, The Netherlands
Post A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:44 pm
It doesn't go as high, and zero-G time is rather limited, but the (reusable) craft only costs $15,000 and per-ride costs are dominated by the cost of getting to the launchpad. It does require more training than getting into SpaceShip Two though. But still, this is just so cool that even if the price were the same, I might still pick it over a Virgin Galactic ride...

_________________
Say, can you feel the thunder in the air? Just like the moment ’fore it hits – then it’s everywhere
What is this spell we’re under, do you care? The might to rise above it is now within your sphere
Machinae Supremacy – Sid Icarus


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
User avatar
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:31 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:38 pm
Thanks Lourens. That was AWESOME!

I'll have to ask my Swiss relatives if they've ever seen anything like that... and if so, would they please sign me up!

_________________
The most promising new channel on YouTube: FargoFX
(in my totally dispassionate and thoroughly objective opinion.)


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:36 pm
Just go buy and ride a fast motorcycle on a mountain road.

There are a few people still trying to make the space equivalent of this, the sub-orbital skydive, happen. But the main problem is as it always has been the costs of getting to apogee and the liability issue crossed with the reality that an extremely small number of paying customers will actually commit to something as dangerous as either space freefall or wing-suiting.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
avatar
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:44 am
Posts: 707
Location: Haarlem, The Netherlands
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:21 pm
Apparently you need at least 200 skydives in the past 18 months to even be allowed to buy one of these suits, and then only if you sign up for a course with a certified instructor. These folks don't seem too suicidal either (although Jeb Corliss is a special case I guess), and quite safety-minded. Still, it's hard to say what would be more dangerous, going wingsuit flying regularly or doing a suborbital space jump once from above 100km.

I'm pretty sure that this proximity flying is a lot more interesting though! Falling from 100km...well you can't beat the view, but for quite a lot of the time you will simply be waiting for something to happen, and you may not even notice that you're falling at all for the first half of the trip down. Racing along, counting on your reflexes to save you from smashing head first into a mountain seems a lot more exciting :-).

_________________
Say, can you feel the thunder in the air? Just like the moment ’fore it hits – then it’s everywhere
What is this spell we’re under, do you care? The might to rise above it is now within your sphere
Machinae Supremacy – Sid Icarus


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:54 am
Apples and oranges experiences really. The only points in common are danger, cost, and falling out of the sky. :lol:

I'll wait until there is a powered version for controlled flight.


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
User avatar
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:31 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:31 am
JamesG wrote:
I'll wait until there is a powered version for controlled flight.

So something like this would be more your style?

_________________
The most promising new channel on YouTube: FargoFX
(in my totally dispassionate and thoroughly objective opinion.)


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:32 am
Yes. I've toyed with building an ultralight that isn't much more than that.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
avatar
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:44 am
Posts: 707
Location: Haarlem, The Netherlands
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:03 pm
I have to say, one thing I don't like about those wing suits is the noise level. I don't really see a solution though. It's the air rushing by at high speed, and you can't slow down without increasing the wing area, which you can't do without making it no longer a wing suit. Perhaps if you made the surface more smooth, with less stitching, but then it would have to be more stiff as well and you'd end up with a rigid shell that's not a wing suit, and that you cannot manoeuvre very well. Hmm.

_________________
Say, can you feel the thunder in the air? Just like the moment ’fore it hits – then it’s everywhere
What is this spell we’re under, do you care? The might to rise above it is now within your sphere
Machinae Supremacy – Sid Icarus


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:37 am
There might be tricks to making it more effective. Either with pneumatics or some of the electro-reactive materials that have been developed for other applications that might be useful for a suit to turn a flexible fabric structure rigid to become a more suitable airfoil.


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Participant
Spaceflight Participant
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:14 am
Posts: 98
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:45 am
I was thinkin something diffrent..a plane that goes up to 80 km ( lowest space ) and releases the space ship for deep space exploration at that altitude..and saves a lot in the fuel.

_________________
http://mesoslaunch.blogspot.fi/

http://solar-flight.60934.x6.nabble.com/


Back to top
Profile
Launch Director
Launch Director
avatar
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:40 pm
Posts: 19
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Sat May 24, 2014 5:28 pm
There are an unlimited number of possible niches in the suborbital space industry, depending on factors like (a)how high you want to go, (b)how long the ride should be, and (c)what kind of view you plan to offer, and (d)if point-to-point transportation will be part of the service.

Right now the most basic are "parabolic flight" trips where specially-oufitted but otherwise ordinary aircraft fly up and do dives for 20-30 seconds of zero g per hop. You don't get a view with these flights because there's nothing to see - the whole trip looks basically the same up and down, so the walls of the cabin are opaque, which just adds to the zero g experience. Tickets cost between $5,000 and $15,000. You can do this today.

Just above that level, which doesn't exist yet, are black-sky air or balloon flights, which take you above the atmosphere but not into space. You don't experience zero-g because you're flying or floating the whole way. XCOR and some balloon companies are aiming at this, and ticket prices would be in the middle-5-figures.

The third level would be suborbital spaceflight, going both above the atmosphere and traveling fast enough to give zero-g for several minutes on a dive. XCOR and Virgin are aiming at this, with ticket prices in the low six-figures.

The highest level of suborbital flight would be point-to-point (p2p) which is basically just spaceflight for transportation between two points on Earth. The experience would be the same as suborbital tourism, but the flight would last longer and end up a different place than it started. The price would probably be high six-figures to low millions, and at first could only be justified on intercontinental hops by the very rich. This is a decade or more away, and more likely twenty years.

Of course, there's always the chance SpaceX could interpolate its orbital infrastructure and simultaneously offer suborbital services while it's building out its much more powerful orbital systems.


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Mon May 26, 2014 2:20 am
Parabolic suborbital flight that gets you above the Kármán line also gets you P2P capability at least regionally. Instead of trying to come back to the same place, you try to hit, err.. sorry, land somewhere else (ie: New York to Los Angeles).

The real next step above that is high-suborbital. 300-400 kms MSL or 3/4th the way around the planet. The DV and energies are nearly the same as full orbital but somewhat less and the vehicle doesn't have to deorbit. Something like just a Falcon-9 first stage and a Dragon RV going for a ride.

But the SpaceX folks are rather busy building bigger and badder rockets. Much like they stopped the F-1 they probably wouldn't be interested suborbital shots. But this SpaceX alum might be.

Once you have everything working, going from sub-orbital to honest space flight isn't that much of a leap. Its just a matter of bringing along enough go to get there. I like to think that once someone finally breaks the reusability/lb. to orbit barrier you'll see a rapid expansion of it. The tech and talent are there, there just isn't the money (its too busy building iPhones, facebooks, and other junk).


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Member
Space Station Member
avatar
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:16 pm
Posts: 335
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Thu May 29, 2014 9:46 pm
I've been thinking about how to put together a manned space program on the cheap, and I think balloons are the way to go...

What I'd do to begin is create a manned airship that can reach 25-30km up. I think that is doable by a group with a budget in the low millions, at most. Following that, I'd like to start drop flights with a plane, to provide freefall flights, then follow that up with a rocket powered version to reach suborbit...


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:15 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Columbus, GA USA
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Fri May 30, 2014 3:32 am
I did the maths on hybrid rocket/LTA craft and, it doesn't add up. Drag is a big problem. And worst of all at the ceiling where buoyancy tapers off, the envelope actually becomes a major hindrance to going any higher. Tens of thousands of cubic meters of even the lightest gas still masses a lot, and moving it takes a lot of thrust, which means more propellant and rocket, which means a bigger lift envelope, which needs more rocket, and... round and round you go.

The only ones who kinda have it solved is JP Aerospace. Their airship is actually a LTA flying wing that gradually accelerates to higher and higher speeds in the thinning air until (theoretically) orbit velocity is reached. But you'll notice that they haven't accomplished it yet...

You can just build a big balloon and float up to 15 miles or so. It will look a lot like space, will kill you just as fast as space, and you can get a minute or so of free fall. There are a couple of companies trying to put that together as a business. Problem is that it doesn't "feel like space", it's not a big noisy fast rocket. And its not "officially Space". I suppose you could make it look like a zeppelin standing on its tail and use a rocket motor to get it going instead of a prop...


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Trainee
Spaceflight Trainee
User avatar
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:17 am
Posts: 43
Location: Planet Earth
Post Re: A better ride than Virgin Galactic?   Posted on: Fri May 30, 2014 10:45 pm
Hi,

The knowledge, talent, technology, and money are here, it is just that no one has put together a practical fully reusable vehicle package that people will buy.....but critical mass is building to make it happen.

_________________
Terry
http://www.theuniversalfoundation.com/uai.html


Back to top
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ] 
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests


cron
© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use