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  • Virgin Galactic unveils model of SpaceShipTwo

    Aha! I smell cheap composites stuff! R.

    SOURCE: New Scientist citing Reuters
    DATE: JAN 23, 2008

    Virgin Galactic unveils model of SpaceShipTwo

    Entrepreneur Richard Branson on Wednesday unveiled a model of the spaceship he hopes will be the first to take paying passengers into space on a regular basis.

    SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers and two pilots on suborbital trips to the edge of space at an altitude of about 100 km. The trips are expected to take about 2.5 hours, with about five minutes of weightlessness. The $200,000 space trips will launch from a spaceport to be built in New Mexico, US, and test flights are to begin later in 2008.

    Before firing its engine to reach space, SpaceShipTwo will be carried to an altitude of about 15 km by an aircraft called White Knight Two, which was also unveiled on Wednesday (scroll down for illustrations). Both craft were designed by Burt Rutan, whose SpaceShipOne collected the Ansari X Prize for privately funded spaceflight in 2004. Branson teamed up with Rutan shortly afterwards to design a suborbital spacecraft for Branson's company, Virgin Galactic.

    "We really do want to have a situation where hundreds of thousands of people who want to experience space travel are able to do so," said Branson at a media event at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, US.

    "Even though the dollar isn't worth much anymore, $200,000 is still too expensive for the majority of people," he said. "Within five years of launching, I would hope the price would come down fairly dramatically."

    Vision of the future


    Virgin Galactic now has more than 200 people signed up for the ultimate sightseeing trip, stumping up more than $30 million in deposits. Passengers getting ready for the suborbital trip include physicist Stephen Hawking, former soap star Victoria Principal and designer Philippe Starck.

    About 100 of Virgin's reserved passengers attended Wednesday's unveiling, to get the first glimpse of the spacecraft's design.

    "It's like something out of Thunderbirds," said Trevor Beattie, a British advertising executive, referring to the 1960s TV series. "It's what we as kids in the 1960s thought the future would be like." Beattie, who co-runs the Beattie McGuinness Bungay advertising firm in London, UK, said he bought the flight instead of splurging on a Ferrari, as he can't drive.

    Richard "B J" Bjorklund, a portfolio manager for Citigroup's Smith Barney unit in Dallas, Texas, US, said the trip would be his only chance of experiencing space travel after failing to get into the US Air Force's astronaut program years ago.

    Satellite launches

    "I figured I would never have a chance to go into space again," said Bjorklund. "I'm thinking somewhere toward the end of 2009 (for launch). But I want them to be safe, so I'm ready to go whenever they say it's time to go."

    Virgin Galactic says White Knight Two, the world's largest carbon composite aircraft, might be used for unmanned launches, as well. It could potentially carry rockets into the atmosphere, where they could then ignite and loft satellites into orbit while using less fuel than they would have if they had launched from the ground.

    Work on SpaceShipTwo's engine was delayed last year by an explosion that killed three people during a test. Rutan's company, Scaled Composites, was cited and fined for safety violations last week.



    Virgin Galactic is only one of several high-profile contenders in the new commercial space race. Others include Europe's EADS Astrium; Blue Origin, started by Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos; Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX), created by PayPal founder Elon Musk; Rocketplane Kistler, and hotelier Robert Bigelow.
    AD.info? Rings a bell somehow...

  • #2
    Already posted, see

    http://forums.jetphotos.net/showthread.php?t=42183

    .

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by aardvark2zz
      Sorry, didnt see. Trying to get up to speed here (lots of backtracking since JAN 18 ) and stumbled over it... And as this is the mil av & space forum...

      Lets see about the Origami one, hopefully first posted here...
      R.
      AD.info? Rings a bell somehow...

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      • #4
        Sorry if I am so ignorant..but anyone can explain to me why there are so many windows in those fuselages?
        One thing I know: too many windows will create a problem later on...cracks on the fuselage, just like in the old jetliners..Comet, DC-8, Convair 880..etc.


        A Former Airdisaster.Com Forum (senior member)....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by AVION1
          Sorry if I am so ignorant..but anyone can explain to me why there are so many windows in those fuselages?
          One thing I know: too many windows will create a problem later on...cracks on the fuselage, just like in the old jetliners..Comet, DC-8, Convair 880..etc.

          Comet yes.
          DC-8, Convair, etc. NO!

          The only aircraft to suffer window cracks of any significance was the Comet.
          Don
          Standard practice for managers around the world:
          Ready - Fire - Aim! DAMN! Missed again!

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          • #6
            It survived a tailstrike at least, http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...il-strike.html
            "The real CEO of the 787 project is named Potemkin"

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            • #7
              Seem like the 24th (can anyone confirm this #?) was the 1st with the WK2 and SS2 flying together.
              http://www.virgingalactic.com/news/i...-first-flight/
              "The real CEO of the 787 project is named Potemkin"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AVION1 View Post
                Sorry if I am so ignorant..but anyone can explain to me why there are so many windows in those fuselages?
                One thing I know: too many windows will create a problem later on...cracks on the fuselage, just like in the old jetliners..Comet, DC-8, Convair 880..etc.

                The multiple widows are to provide lots of views of space and Earth during flight for the passengers.

                The Comet had squarish windows (like preceding aircraft) and it was a combination of fatigue, pressurization, and stress concentrations that caused the accidents. The widows were modified and Comet derivatives (Nimrod) is still in service. Later aircraft incorporated lessons learned from the Comet accidents. One of my college professors had worked on this problem (I attended Hatfield College across the road from the De Havilland factory).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Highkeas View Post
                  The multiple widows are to provide lots of views of space and Earth during flight for the passengers.

                  The Comet had squarish windows (like preceding aircraft) and it was a combination of fatigue, pressurization, and stress concentrations that caused the accidents. The widows were modified and Comet derivatives (Nimrod) is still in service. Later aircraft incorporated lessons learned from the Comet accidents. One of my college professors had worked on this problem (I attended Hatfield College across the road from the De Havilland factory).
                  Multiple widows?
                  On topic, 62th flight was plagued by technical problems and the SS2 couldnt be released,
                  62 flights for the WK2 total time 187,26 hours, longest 7,5 hours and 10 drops of the
                  SS2 for glidflights. Still a long way until first passenger flies on it.
                  "The real CEO of the 787 project is named Potemkin"

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