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DaVinci Launch???

Posted by: mick101 - Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:00 am
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DaVinci Launch??? 
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Post DaVinci Launch???   Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:00 am
Does anyone know when exact launch time is for DaVinci. I found out that parking begins @ 2:00am local time.
ALSO
Does either team (Scaled Composites or Da Vinci) have to give a certain amount of notice before they have their 2nd launch???

thanks


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Post    Posted on: Thu Aug 12, 2004 7:43 pm
I don't really think they are going to fly at all. If the will, this is a suicide. Even SS1 would have crashed and killed its crew if launched powered on the first flight (it was a tail control bug identified in glide test and fixed). SS1 was a $30m program, here we have 2 magnitudes less costly effort. I think it was just a propaganda


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:50 am
I can't think of anyone who isn't suicidal getting in an untested rocket that will be pulled up to 80,000 feet by a balloon. Even if they think it's going to work, I seriously doubt that they'll get a pilot, muchless 2 passengers.

I guess we'll see.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 13, 2004 5:42 am
The team leader is supposedly going to be the pilot, and they don't need any passengers - just some extra dead weight.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 13, 2004 8:41 pm
After thinking about this a bit more I'm really wondering exactly what kind of testing da Vinci has done. While it's pretty certain that they haven't done the flight testing other teams have, they have test fired their engines a lot. Maybe their upcoming attempt (if it happens) isn't as big a risk that it appears to be. It's not like they've got weekly updates to document their progress, so it's pretty hard to guess just how risky any flight will be other than 'too risky' I think.

To be honest, I wouldn't fly in the da Vinci rocket any time soon. On the other hand I'd have no trouble getting into SS1 or an Armadillo rocket if they ok'd passengers.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 13, 2004 9:17 pm
TJ wrote:
While it's pretty certain that they haven't done the flight testing other teams have, they have test fired their engines a lot.


The 'DaVinci Project' hasn't testfired *any* engines. The Kerosene/LOX engines that were originally put forth as the engines of choice for the project were developed and tested by Microcosm. The test firings that were done were in support of Microcosm's Scorpio launcher -- not DaVinci's rocket. The current hybrid engines are presumably from eAc -- or at least the photos shown on DaVinci's site are from eAc test firings. Again -- those tests had nothing to do with DaVinci -- but were in support of other eAc projects.

DaVinci's site makes no mention of either vendor beyond the photos themselves, and neither Micocosm nor eAc make mention of DaVinci on their website.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 14, 2004 1:33 pm
That's what I get for not paying too much attention to da Vinci. :oops:

Although I really hope they succeed or at least not get anyone hurt, I'm definitely part of the crowd that thinks they're insane to try a manned launch first.

One other thing I'd like to know about da Vinci, do they recover the balloon?


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 14, 2004 4:41 pm
They have to be able to, the X Prize Foundation has clarified that if a balloon is used during launch, the balloon envelope, if destroyed, will count towards the 10% limit of mass that can be disgarded between flights.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 14, 2004 4:46 pm
Hello, mrmorris,

your information means that the engine has been tested. That might be sufficient if the engines alone are considered. The da Vinci Project only had to do a quality test - not a test to check results of development acticities because these have been done as your information says.

A test launch of the entire vehicle might be a problem - of general safety, control etc. - because at has to take place in an altitude of 25 km.

I'm no engineer and cannot argue based on know how but I'm occupied in an informatics department. If software bought at the market is to be applied only quality tests are taking place but self-developed software applications are tested intensively for weeks and months

May be eAc is to be considered to be responsible by law - in Germany this would be so - then this is working as a sufficient guarantee to have got an engine that works satisfyingly.



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Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 14, 2004 5:42 pm
eraurocktchick87 wrote:
They have to be able to, the X Prize Foundation has clarified that if a balloon is used during launch, the balloon envelope, if destroyed, will count towards the 10% limit of mass that can be disgarded between flights.


If they're only counting the balloon envelope that may very well fall well within the 10% limit. Even if they do go about recovering it, they might get a much faster turn around time by having two balloons. That could be something for them to think about if they're serious about winning the $10 million, especially since they've scheduled their first flight a few days after SS1's first attempt.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 14, 2004 6:18 pm
I suppose that is true however the balloon is made to be reusable:

"The da Vinci Project's novel rocket design will be launched from the world's largest reusable helium balloon at an altitude of 80,000 feet (24,400 meters)...

The rocket will be launched from below a large balloon, suspended in place by a long tether cable, and the initial launch angle can be varied...

The balloon trajectory after rocket launch is also of great interest. The balloon will suddenly experience a rapid rise due to the release of a significant portion of the total mass. The balloon is expected to rise up to an altitude of 30km once the rocket is released. This is the maximum ceiling, based on the current 170 000m 3 balloon volume, and may not necessarily be reached if balloon descent is immediately initiated by opening all of the He dump valves. The rapid ascent after rocket launch can cause the balloon to over-pressure if He is not dumped fast enough. Models show that a maximum pressure difference of 300 Pa can occur. This is within the strength limits of the skin material, and will not cause a rupture...

Balloon recovery is another critical issue. To qualify for the X Prize, the launch vehicle must be reusable. This includes the balloon. Unfortunately, most high altitude balloons are simply destroyed after use. They are made of extremely thin plastic, and brought down by ripping a big section of the balloon in order to release the gas within. In order to achieve true reusability, our balloon must be fully recoverable. Helium venting will be achieved through vents installed in the balloon cap, and the balloon will return to earth under a large parachute, with a 6m/s impact velocity. The parachute will be attached to the balloon cap, and pre-deployed on top of the balloon. As the balloon begins to descend, the parachute will inflate with minimum stress on the balloon and at a relatively low airspeed, reducing damage to the balloon during descent. The parachute attachment to the cap will help to gently lay out the balloon upon landing. The ISA will land first, and the rest of the balloon will be slowly drawn out downwind by the parachute. A thicker material for the balloon envelope is also being considered, as well as multiple skin layers. It is critical to reduce damage to a minimum."

Hope that helped a little. It was taken from a PDF file on the da Vinci website:

http://www.davinciproject.com/beta/EADSpaper_n39_2.pdf

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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 15, 2004 3:05 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
your information means that the engine has been tested. That might be sufficient if the enigines alone are considered. The da Vinci Project only had to do a quality test - not a test to check results of development acticities because these have been done as your information says.


I'm sure that both Microcosm and eAc have done credible testing on their respective engines. The only point that I was trying to make in this case is that the DaVinci Project has done no testing -- as the post I was replying to had indicated.

If I were to expand on your software model, however, the analogy isn't quite right unless you include some additional complications. The software development firm has tested their product -- but never on the computer that you'll be running it on. The software might well be 100% reliable -- in the situation for which it was tested -- but still not work at all when loaded onto your computers. Since DaVinci has indicated they'll be doing *no* test flights, then the 'quality' testing you refer to is never occurring.

We'll see what happens in fifty days or so -- but there are just a while lot of things about the DaVinci Project that don't add up.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 16, 2004 1:28 am
Something doesn't smell right @ DaVinci. Has anyone seen clear photos of the ship??? the only one I have been able to find is screen grab from video and it is very low quality Just a grey blob in the background. The have done no testing, only a nut climbs aboard an untested rocket and lights the candle and while I may think a good many things about Brian Feeny, I don't think he's a nut. Of course, everything I know about Rockets (except the little bity ones I fly) will fit in a thimble and still leave room for an elephant.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:39 am
Hello, mrmorris,

I agree to your answer.

My point was the difference between a totally untested engine and a well tested well performing engine as a stand-alone engine - that without question isn't of any use.

If da Vinci were using an engine that stand-alone never was well performing this were a real unbearable risk and it would hurt non-written rules for the XPRIZE being valid I suppose.

So the use of this engine is a hopeful detail.

There was no test of the engine as part of da Vinci's vehicle - this is the real critical point. This might be due to lack of financial resources and perhaps there are safety-mechanisms I don't know. But I remember too that Scaled Composites on its homepage says that they never have done wind channel tests - thex used software. May be da Vinci has used similar ways...

Concerning my comparison to software development you did understand right.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 17, 2004 1:17 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
So the use of this engine is a hopeful detail.

There was no test of the engine as part of da Vinci's vehicle - this is the real critical point. This might be due to lack of financial resources and perhaps there are safety-mechanisms I don't know. But I remember too that Scaled Composites on its homepage says that they never have done wind channel tests - thex used software. May be da Vinci has used similar ways...


It's not certain that they're using eAc's engine. The only thing that is certain is that they have used *pictures* from eAc's website of engine tests. In fact -- the pictures used were of an engine that isn't reasonable for use with WF6 (the picture if from eAc's Hyperion II project -- a small sounding rocket), and the performance specifications given in DaVinci's PDF file are for a much larger engine -- one that I can't find on eAc's site. The specs in fact were for an engine with ~50% more thrust than what eAc produced for Scaled Composites.


As for Scaled not having done any wind tunnel tests -- there's simply no comparison here. Burt has designed *many* airplanes and has an almost instinctive feel for the aerodynamics involved. In addition -- they have since done **numerous** test flights of both White Knight and SS1 -- each getting more ambitious than the previous. Also -- after most of the flights -- they tweaked something. DaVinci is talking about going straight from the 'pretty picture on a screen' stage to a 100% all-up flight. This is ludicrous on the face of it.


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