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Space Race 2: Flying High Beyond The Sky

Posted by: gladiator1332 - Wed Oct 27, 2004 3:43 pm
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Space Race 2: Flying High Beyond The Sky 
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Post Space Race 2: Flying High Beyond The Sky   Posted on: Wed Oct 27, 2004 3:43 pm
Space Race 2: Flying High Beyond The Sky

Huntsville AL (UPI) Oct 26, 2004
Burt Rutan cast an eye around the crowd pressed into Moontown Airport's biggest hangar Saturday night. There was not much room - the seats had been filled since 7 - and the rain kept folks pretty tightly packed inside.
The crowd represented Rutan's past and future: aviation enthusiasts and private pilots, who frequent the grassy strip airport, located 25 miles east of Huntsville, and rocket scientists, most of whom work at the NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center at the other end of town.

Rutan, who has been averaging better than one new aircraft design every year for the past three decades, confessed he is finished with airplanes for a while. The mission now for his Mojave, Calif., team is to create 3,000 new astronauts a year, beginning in four or five years. That is per departure point, Rutan quickly added, and per ship.

Mojave is not going to be the only place in the world where there will be a place to buy tickets and fly a spaceflight, Rutan told the audience. He said it is mystifying why rocket-builders have been ignoring the most obvious and lucrative payloads in their quest to beef up business.

You carbon units, he said. You who are easily replicated by unskilled labor. You are the most valuable payloads. Other payloads are very expensive to build and launch, but you all will pay for your ride.

Next week, Rutan and his business partner, Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft Corp., collect on a $10 million prize won for flying a three-person, privately developed craft into sub-orbital space twice within two weeks.

Even before the competition was over, Rutan had found his next partner, Richard Branson. The British tycoon and flamboyant chief of Virgin Group in London has pledged to more than quadruple Allen's $20 million-plus investment in SpaceShipOne. In exchange, Rutan promised to deliver a fleet of spaceliners to carry passengers beyond the atmosphere.

The backbone of the Branson venture, called Virgin Galactic, will be five ships, each capable of flying at least five and more likely around eight people at one time. SpaceShipTwo will not look anything like its predecessor.

For one thing, Rutan must fix a stability problem caused by SpaceShipOne's high upswept wings. For another, Rutan and Branson plan a ship of luxury, with service and amenities that at least match Virgin Atlantic's upper-class travel service. And that, as any airline flier knows, starts with leg room.

Rutan said SpaceShipTwo will have about the same diameter crew cabin as a Gulfstream V business jet, which measures slightly more than 6 feet in height and 7 feet in width (1.9 meters by 2.2 meters.) Seats will fully recline so that even elderly passengers - Rutan plans to fly his 88-year-old father - will be able to handle the expected force of six times Earth's gravity upon descent.

The G-forces are higher than what SpaceShipOne's pilot experienced, but that is because Rutan is aiming for a top altitude of between 84 miles and 87 miles (135 kilometers and 140 kilometers), rather than the 62-mile, (100 kilometer) target required to win the Ansari X Prize competition.

The extra altitude will add about another 90 seconds of weightlessness for passengers to enjoy. Travelers will be able to do more than watch how candy flies around in space - they can fly themselves.

Instead of shoulder harnesses and tight seatbelts we want this roller coaster-type bar that you fold out of the way and you can float around, Rutan said. We think that's important. If you want the view, we have handles there so you can float over and put your nose right against your own window.

Or if you want to pull down your science tray and do whatever you brought along for an experiment - or play with your cat. You have bought the ride.

You paid for it and this experience is going to have very few restrictions on what you can do because these payloads are doing it for fun and every person has a different idea of what fun is, Rutan said. Does that mean that some guy and his girl might want to take the whole ship? OK!

In exchange for some of the extra altitude and about 30 seconds of weightlessness, passengers also may have the option of landing in a different place from where they took off.

The ship could launch not far from Las Vegas and land in Mojave, Rutan said. Or, we could launch offshore, start out over the ocean and then ... fly over the mountains and land in the desert. I think that will add something to the experience.

Rutan said he hopes NASA and other research organizations will take advantage of Virgin Galactic to conduct experiments now flown on sounding rockets at a cost of several million dollars per flight. SpaceShipTwo's seats will be easily removable to support larger and heavier payloads.

Instead of spending millions to sign a contract, they can just buy a ticket like everyone else. That's the way it ought to be, Rutan said.

Initially, the cost of the flights - estimated at about $200,000 per ticket - will be too high for most people to afford. However, within 10 to 12 years Rutan told the audience he would expect between 20 and 40 percent of them would be able to go.

The demand for sub-orbital space travel will continue to grow until orbital spaceflight becomes a real possibility, in perhaps 23 years to 24 years, Rutan said.

Once it gets started, it won't need to be pushed, because it's going to be pulling us, he said.

The best part of all, Rutan added, is that 15 years from now, every kid in here who dreams, 'Wouldn't it be cool to fly in space?' will know that in your lifetime, you are going to go to orbit. You will know that, not just dream that. I think that is the neatest thing about the whole program.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:51 pm
Awesome article! A goal of 3000 new astronauts per ship per year, thats a lot. If Rutan can accomplish that it would be awesome!

Landing alsewhere from where you tookoff is also great! I want to do it!

BTW do you have a link to the source of the article?


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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:00 pm
What's interesting too is that the altitude aimed at is that altitude Nautilus will be installed at. I don't conclude something from that fact but it's interesting.

Remarkable too is the size.

Where is it to be read in the www?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:40 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
What's interesting too is that the altitude aimed at is that altitude Nautilus will be installed at.


Where'd you see that? I can't imagine Nautilus being placed in a 135-140km orbit -- even for testing purposes. At that altitude -- the orbit is extremely unstable and will re-enter within a day or two without nearly continuous corrections (i.e. lots of propellant). The 400km orbit of ISS is about as low as is feasible. Lower orbits require progrssively larger uses of propellants (which must then be periodically resupplied).

Re-posting the list from another thread where you were misunderstanding orbital mechanics:

At 100km your orbit lasts about an hour.
At 150km your orbit lasts about a day.
At 200km your orbit lasts about a week.
At 250km your orbit lasts about a month.
At 300km your orbit lasts about a quarter.
At 350km your orbit lasts a bit under a year.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:52 pm
Unless you have an ion drive on the lower side of your station, when things change a bit.

Also be careful, those statistics sound like the orbital period, rather than the time for the orbit to fail :)

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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:25 pm
Sev wrote:
Unless you have an ion drive on the lower side of your station, when things change a bit.


A better option would actually be an electrodynamic tether -- 100% propellantless. This was considered for extending the life of Mir, but wasn't implemented in time. However -- it, like ion drives, is fairly low-thrust, so the orbit would *still* have to be one of the more stable ones. If the mechanism fails -- they're going to want more than a month or three to come up with a solution before the space station becomes a great ball of fire.

Sev wrote:
Also be careful, those statistics sound like the orbital period, rather than the time for the orbit to fail :)


Um -- not even close. Check out the NASA calculator at http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/academy/rocket_sci/orbmech/vel_calc.html

It won't even calculate orbits less than 185 km because they're not stable enough.

At 200km your orbital period is 88.49 minutes.
At 250km your orbital period is 89.51 minutes.
At 300km your orbital period is 90.52 minutes.
At 350km your orbital period is 91.54 minutes.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:40 am
Hello, mrmorris,

I refer to an article under www.xprizenews.org weeks earlier reporting that Rutan and Bigelow were talking to the pubic together. According to this article they talked of a space station at 130 or 135 km altitude which was an orbit Rutan that time thought of as a goal for the first private orbital flight.

I don't know title and date of that article right now but I suppose it is still somewhere at the site.

Concerning orbital mechanics I never were misunderstanding something - I'm used to think of them to a high degree from being an amateur astronomer in my youth. I remember the posts a little bit but I had to look for them and read them another time. But what I remember very good is that there was a misunderstanding between you and me - and this misunderstanding might be the source that you are believing I would be misunderstanding orbital mechanics.

I remember the ISS orbiting at 200 km altitude - but I will check that. It may be that there are misunderstandings because of the units - km vs. miles. Additionaly I remember a graphic at the former XPRIZE website showing the typical trajectory of suborbital flights. This graphic included for illustration the orbit of the ISS and the Space Shuttle - this orbit has been marked to be at 200 km altitude. But I will check it - perhaps some errors have to be corrected regardless of who has been in error.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)

EDIT: Concerning the altitude of ISS I had a wrong informations recently and correct informations until 2003 at least - the altitude is 400 km. ISS is orbiting once in 90 minutes - there was no doubt on this never.

Concerning the article talking on 130 km to 135 km altitude orbit to be aimed at here is it:

www.xprizenews.org/index.php?p=418 Tuesday, 17th August, 2004

"A one-person version of Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne that reaches an orbit of 130km (81 miles) to rendezvous with an orbiting hotel may form the next stage of Burt Rutan’s private manned spaceflight plans. ..."

"... In his lecture, Rutan referred to plans by Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace, to develop a space hotel based on NASA-originated inflatable habitat technology. ..."

The second quote shows that I wasn't completely right - Rutan was referring only to Bigelow but not talking publically together with him.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:49 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
According to this article they talked of a space station at 130 or 135 km altitude which was an orbit Rutan that time thought of as a goal for the first private orbital flight.


Rutan may have been misquoted or mistaken. In any event -- that is too low for a space station.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Concerning orbital mechanics I never were misunderstanding something - I'm used to think of them to a high degree from being an amateur astronomer in my youth


If you ever thought that 135 km is high enough for a space station, then you were misunderstanding orbital mechanics... period.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I remember the ISS orbiting at 200 km altitude - but I will check that. It may be that there are misunderstandings because of the units - km vs. miles.


ISS altitude data is available at the following site:
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/osf/station/viewing/issvis.html

It ranges from about 340km (211 miles) to about 404km (251 miles).

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
But I will check it - perhaps some errors have to be corrected regardless of who has been in error.


Generally when someone points out that I've made an error -- I check my facts *before* replying rather than after.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Concerning the article talking on 130 km to 135 km altitude orbit to be aimed at here is it:

...The second quote shows that I wasn't completely right - Rutan was referring only to Bigelow but not talking publically together with him.


Reporters tend not to be technically proficient and seldom check their facts. For this reason -- it's not a good idea to use technical information from media articles without checking it first. Reporters *like* implying big things in their articles -- they want it to be exciting. I wasn't at the event in question, so I don't know what Rutan did or did not say. I would not put it past a reporter to quote him out of context to make it appear more interesting. In any event -- the fact of the matter is that 135 km is too low for a stable orbit... period. This is a physical fact and remains true whether you're Burt Rutan, or a space reporter, or an amateur astronomer.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:42 pm
The intention of my post was NOT to insist that I or my sources were right or something like this - the intention ONLY was to answer your question "Where'd you see that?" on Monday, 1st of November at 7:40 pm o'clock.

I don't claim these sources to be correct, right or serious but that time I'm responding to posts and questions I cannot check these sources because I'm posting a little bit in parallel to my daily work (no time left to check the articles then) - so I refer to them as people reporting something. I do this to provide a hint that time - nothing else. No conclusions from that to my own knowledges etc. are valid.

If an article is reporting something like that orbit of 130 km altitude I myself might be wrong if I had come to the conclusion that that orbit is impossible.

Regarding miles vs. km "404 km = 251miles" shows that this may have been the source of my error - which occurred to NASA's engineers too who were in error regarding yard vs. meters concerning one of the robots sent to Mars.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)

EDIT: There seems a couple of misunderstandings to be involved repeatedly.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:11 pm
mrmorris,

to explain my thoughts a little bit more detailed:

When I read the initial post of this thread I remembered the article I referred to and delivered the link to because both the post and the article are talking of similar or identical altitude in very different context.

Having in mind that Rutan is an entrepreneur who has to keep low costs, take care of his financial ressources and to make good use of his investments I considere to be possible that Rutan is going to use a synergy.

The order from Branson is a possibility to increase the altitude he consideres to be relevant too concerning his goal to reach the orbit. That means that he is getting payed for something that otherwise would be a risky investment into a test vehicle that would be a step to that orbital vehicle only.

This is valid too if he has ben quoted wrong - the number doesn't weigh in the context of these considerations. What does weigh is the increase itself.

So my thoughts had and have an economical sense - not a physical one. I applied Economics - not Physics or Engineering. The topic of the initial post isn't restricted to one of these disciplines.

Does that clarify the misunderstanding?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:12 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I don't claim these sources to be correct, right or serious but that time I'm responding to posts and questions I cannot check these sources because I'm posting a little bit in parallel to my daily work (no time left to check the articles then) - so I refer to them as people reporting something. I do this to provide a hint that time - nothing else. No conclusions from that to my own knowledges etc. are valid.


Your original post was:

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
What's interesting too is that the altitude aimed at is that altitude Nautilus will be installed at. I don't conclude something from that fact but it's interesting.


There is *no* reference in there that you are referring to an article. You are making a statement of fact -- an incorrect one.


Ekkehard -- you have written *multiple* retorts to people who have written scathing posts about the DaVinci Project. In effect your posts always consist of some form of a warning to the effect of "You shouldn't make statements like this without knowing the facts". The problem of course is that with DVP -- it's impossible to determine the facts, and so speculation is all that's left. However, in this case -- you've made a statement for which the facts are readily available. You were wrong -- and your defense is that you didn't have time to check your facts before posting.

There's a word for this -- it's called 'hypocrisy'. Google's translator program claims the word is the same in German, so hopefully there will be no misunderstanding.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:23 pm
mrmorris wrote:
There's a word for this -- it's called 'hypocrisy'.

Ooo careful now, in a hagiocracy it's unwise to accuse one of the priests of hypocrisy - you risk accusations of heresy and summary interdiction.

Although, I dare say that Ekkehard is too nice a chap to do that to you!

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:47 pm
I didn't want to retort someone - my warnings concerning the DVP discussions are caused by the sorrow that there may be damages and hurtings to DVP that are not justified by facts. I have problems to find the right english words this moment - often people end up in misery because they were said to do or to have things they mustn't do or have despite in fact they didn't and hadn't these things. That's the reason for my warnings in the DVP-discussions.

The discussion here is quite a different thing and topic - at least until now I don't see any danger that someone could be damaged or hurt. Clearly facts should be the base here too - but I don't claim to be correct allways concerning that. So I feel it helpful to be corrected if I'm wrong concerning facts.



You clarified a misunderstanding in a special short post of mine - sorry for that. It is my post from Monday, 1st of November at 2:00 pm o'clock. That time I supposed that most of us had read the article I delivered the link to. The reason for that assumption was that Rutan is topic of that article - not the only topic but one topic. Rutan is in the focus of the public attention here - so the assumption seemed to be plausible to me.

I am corrected now in that and that is okay completely.



Concerning the "hypocrisy" - I suppose misunderstandings in that or concerning the retorts that I never intended are caused not only by the difference in native language. There often (if not in general) several words for one thing - some words are positive and good, others neutral and others again annoying. I myself don't have sufficient experiences in that - I never lived in the UK, the US or another angloamerican country. For this reason I not only may choose words indicating a hypocrisy that isn't there - it may be too that I don't take something as a joke that really is a joke. Which leads to a wrong reaction or answer - indicating hypocrisy perhaps. That too is a situation in which I find it helpful and positive to be corrected.

I suppose - and fear - that such misunderstandings caused by lingual culture and lingual psychology is involved too. We all know each other by writing posts only - but not personally...

Again - very sorry.



What about the short explanation of my thoughts in my previous post?





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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:35 pm
mrmorris wrote:
Um -- not even close. Check out the NASA calculator at http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/academy/rocket_sci/orbmech/vel_calc.html

It won't even calculate orbits less than 185 km because they're not stable enough.

At 200km your orbital period is 88.49 minutes.
At 250km your orbital period is 89.51 minutes.
At 300km your orbital period is 90.52 minutes.
At 350km your orbital period is 91.54 minutes.


Yeah I know the numbers are vastly different, I meant your phrasing...nevermind :)

The biggest problem with an electrodynamic tether is that no one has tried to deploy one, so it is still untested technology. For a human habitable space-station, you're going to want much-tested technology.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:56 pm
Sev wrote:
For a human habitable space-station, you're going to want much-tested technology.


Put that way -- even ion drives are untested on this scale... :)

However -- certainly with a manned station you're going to want belt-and-suspenders engineering. I can't imagine a manned station not having a chemical booster onboard -- even if they hope never to have to use it because their primary propulsion will be _______.


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