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   Undertoad  Tuesday Apr 22 01:23 PM

4/22/2003: Private space vehicle designed



Voila, the SpaceShipOne, or SS1 for short. It looks small, but it carries three people.



And there's the whole load of what will be needed to shoot that bugger into space, including the White Knight (WK), the catamaran-looking plane behind the SS1, and some humans to show you the scale of it all.

This is all designed by famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan. A lot more photos here of the whole thing. (Warning, those photos are HUGE.)

The concept is that the plane carries the SS1 as high as they'll go, 50,000 feet, and then the SS1 will separate and ignite the big-ass rocket to carry itself up to 62.5 miles. That's high enough so you're in space.

You don't spend much time there before heading back down; the whole trip is supposed to be only 30 minutes. You don't enter orbit - you just get way way up there.

If it works, it'll be the first private vehicle to make space and will collect a private $10M prize.

(I ain't going anywhere in that thing myself. It looks too much like a toy.)

Hat tip to 'spode again for pointing to it. full story here.



CharlieG  Tuesday Apr 22 01:33 PM

Re: 4/22/2003: Private space vehicle designed

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
...snip...(I ain't going anywhere in that thing myself. It looks too much like a toy.)...snip...
Burt Rutan is well known for successful designs (the Beach Starship excepted) If he says this is going to work, I'd believe him


Griff  Tuesday Apr 22 01:34 PM

Re: Re: 4/22/2003: Private space vehicle designed

Quote:
Originally posted by CharlieG


Burt Rutan is well known for successful designs (the Beach Starship excepted) If he says this is going to work, I'd believe him
I'll take the second ride.


Elspode  Tuesday Apr 22 01:41 PM

Don't forget Rutan's Voyager, which carried his brother Dick and his then-S.O. around the world, nonstop and unrefueled.

Burt is a bright boy, I'd climb in anything he designed without hesitation and ride it for all it is worth.



arz  Tuesday Apr 22 01:45 PM

What's that thing on the trailer in the left front of the "family" photo?



Elspode  Tuesday Apr 22 01:52 PM

The nitrous oxide/tire rubber fueled engine, I believe.



blowmeetheclown  Tuesday Apr 22 01:58 PM

Looks like a GulfStream to me. That's where Rutan keeps the in-laws.

I like those ads -- "GoRVing." "What the hell is gorving?" heheh.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Apr 22 02:02 PM

Quote:
"I want to go high because that's where the view is," Rutan said.
Now there's a logical man.


arz  Tuesday Apr 22 02:10 PM

I think that thing - the Airstream - is the fueling tank, maybe...?



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Apr 22 02:15 PM

Quote:
"What the hell is gorving?"
It's a song, man (warbleing like a wood chipper)....
Gorving, on a sunday afternoon.


MachineyBear  Tuesday Apr 22 06:14 PM

Why do I want to call this thing the "RocketCow"?



novice  Wednesday Apr 23 12:18 AM

I wonder what Burt's aim is here. It can't be all about a lousy 10 million. He's not really achieving space travel, pictures can be had from a number of web sites and the shuttle is too small to allow a true appreciation of weightlessness. Where does the 62.5 mile high trajectory figure come from. I wish he would collaborate with Moller and give us the practical, affordable flying cars science fiction has promised us for decades.



Elspode  Wednesday Apr 23 12:22 AM

Suborbital is a reasonable baby step to full orbital, private, reusable vehicle spaceflight, I think. Plus, it is likely to be the thrill ride of the next decade if all goes well. Burt *will* make money, over and above the $10 Million prize being offered.

Sometimes, people just do it because it is interesting to see if it can be done. Sometimes, they do it for that AND money.



novice  Wednesday Apr 23 02:56 AM

Why not give the 10 million to the NASA r&d dept. Surely they're way ahead of the competition. Let them come up with a design, drawing on their vast experience of what does and doesn't work, then sell it to privateers along with exclusivity rights. If all he wants is a view he can go to Russia and buy one.



Elspode  Wednesday Apr 23 09:32 AM

NASA would chew up $10 million in ink and paper costs alone for such a project. Besides, the prize is specifically designed to stimulate *private* space access. Some people feel that the government shouldn't have sole control of space, and I tend to agree.



Griff  Wednesday Apr 23 09:46 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Elspode
NASA would chew up $10 million in ink and paper costs alone for such a project. Besides, the prize is specifically designed to stimulate *private* space access. Some people feel that the government shouldn't have sole control of space, and I tend to agree.
If we didn't think NASA was the poster child for waste and fraud before, I'd say this shuttle situation should drop the scales from our eyes.


Uryoces  Wednesday Apr 23 02:42 PM

I'd like to see NASA return to a small crew transport vehicle, like Apollo. Russia is/was able to put up several Soyuz to our one shuttle launch. If Rutan can help out, I'm all for it. The Vari-Eze is what I remember Rutan for.



Bitmap  Thursday Apr 24 10:13 AM

Quote:
Where does the 62.5 mile high trajectory figure come from.(?)
62.5 miles is 100 Kilometers and is also the Height that Alan Shepard reached back in 1961.
The $10 mill is the X Prize wich will be awarded to the first privately funded team to reach that height. and They have to do it twice so making it reuseable would be key. " The X Prize backers are gambling that their $10million carrot will inspire free-thinking, fast-moving, risk-taking entreprenures to creat a shuttle equivalent for the masses."(Popsci) The award was announced in 1996 and runs out in 2004.


<i>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No i'm not that smart i just read alot, specificaly <a href="http://www.popsci.com/popsci/aviation/article/0,12543,444888,00.html">Popular Science</a>.</i>


xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Apr 24 05:20 PM

Quote:
to creat a shuttle equivalent for the masses.
Maybe for NASA too?!


argonaut  Thursday Apr 24 05:50 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by novice
Why not give the 10 million to the NASA r&d dept. Surely they're way ahead of the competition. Let them come up with a design, drawing on their vast experience of what does and doesn't work, then sell it to privateers along with exclusivity rights. If all he wants is a view he can go to Russia and buy one.
Riiiiight, because NASA has developed how many new space launch systems in the last 25 years? Zero?

Of course, they did blow through over a billion dollars on the X-33 and X-34 reusable launch vehicles, which were never completed and never will be.

Read about the $10M X-Prize and its real purpose at http://www.xprize.org/

Private enterprise is the true fountain of innovation.

argonaut


tw  Thursday Apr 24 06:30 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by argonaut
Riiiiight, because NASA has developed how many new space launch systems in the last 25 years? Zero?

Of course, they did blow through over a billion dollars on the X-33 and X-34 reusable launch vehicles, which were never completed and never will be.
Actually the Delta Heavy and I believe the fifth version of Titan - both complete new designs - were developed since Challenger. Also a number of smaller rockets. In the meantime, France is into, I believe, its fifth version of Arianne - the world's most successful commerical launch vehicle.

NASA's problems are not based in NASA. They are directly traceable to government. So the many calls from White House that are suspected to have pushed for a Challenger launch for Reagan's "Teacher in Space" speech in the State of the Union address. Or function of a Space Station Freedom, also ill conceived by a White House more interested in image than in science. X-34 was necessary for that space station. But suddenly government was no longer interest in spending money now that the Cold War purpose of a Space Station was redundament.

Even Space Shuttles had no productive purpose. Disposible vehicle technology was quashed by Reagan Administration that ordered all domestic launches to be put on Space Shuttle - even though that was stupid, technically naive, and expensive. So when Challenger exploded, the US inventory for launch vehicles was almost bare. Then a Titan exploded. Then the "always works every time" Delta exploded. NSA was said to be down to their last spy satellite because available launchers were zero.

And if that were not enough reasons to point fingers at Reagan's White House - then there was a private company in TX trying to get into the low cost launcher business. Reagan administration put the death knell into that venture as well.

Much of NASA problems are directly traceable to strategic objectives force upon it by political government officials who could not see science if it was put up their nose.

In the meantime, a science project that had serious and necessary objective - Super Collider particle accelerator in TX - was trashed by the George Sr adminstration so that money could be put into a useless Freedom Space Station.

And did we happen to mention Reagan's Hypersonic Airplane. At least when Kennedy directed this nation to great scientific accomplishments, he first made an effort to learn if it could be done. NASA is a victim of technically ignorant politicians whose legalized bribery is more important than the advancement of science. Science is what a properly directed NASA is suppose to be about - not political boondoogles and pork.

85% of all problems are directly traceable to top mangement.


gossard187  Thursday Apr 24 07:13 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by tw

Actually the Delta Heavy and I believe the fifth version of Titan - both complete new designs - were developed since Challenger. Also a number of smaller rockets. In the meantime, France is into, I believe, its fifth version of Arianne - the world's most successful commerical launch vehicle.
Developed since Challenger? Anyways, Titan IV is the last of the Titan line, leading into EELV (100% success so far), a separate line that will be much cheaper. As for Arianne being the most successful, I'm not sure how you figure. These aren't the most recent numbers, but Arianne 4 was at 96%, Arriane 5 at 67% (well, 1 failure in 3 launches). Meanwhile Atlas 2 and 3 families were at 100%, Taurus 100%, and of course, the shuttle has 2 failures in, what, 95 or so launches, so thats about 98% as well.

Quote:

NASA's problems are not based in NASA. They are directly traceable to government. So the many calls from White House that are suspected to have pushed for a Challenger launch for Reagan's "Teacher in Space" speech in the State of the Union address. Or function of a Space Station Freedom, also ill conceived by a White House more interested in image than in science. X-34 was necessary for that space station. But suddenly government was no longer interest in spending money now that the Cold War purpose of a Space Station was redundament.

Even Space Shuttles had no productive purpose. Disposible vehicle technology was quashed by Reagan Administration that ordered all domestic launches to be put on Space Shuttle - even though that was stupid, technically naive, and expensive. So when Challenger exploded, the US inventory for launch vehicles was almost bare. Then a Titan exploded. Then the "always works every time" Delta exploded. NSA was said to be down to
their last spy satellite because available launchers were zero.
dumping billions of dollars in the ocean and starting over every time is hardly considered productive. The main boosters and the shuttle are both reuseable, thus saving scads of money from every launch. The shuttles problem was that its so expensive to launch, but saying disposable is unproductive is strange at best.

Quote:

And if that were not enough reasons to point fingers at Reagan's White House - then there was a private company in TX trying to get into the low cost launcher business. Reagan administration put the death knell into that venture as well.

Much of NASA problems are directly traceable to strategic objectives force upon it by political government officials who could not see science if it was put up their nose.

In the meantime, a science project that had serious and necessary objective - Super Collider particle accelerator in TX - was trashed by the George Sr adminstration so that money could be put into a useless Freedom Space Station.

And did we happen to mention Reagan's Hypersonic Airplane. At least when Kennedy directed this nation to great scientific accomplishments, he first made an effort to learn if it could be done. NASA is a victim of technically ignorant politicians whose legalized bribery is more important than the advancement of science. Science is what a properly directed NASA is suppose to be about - not political boondoogles and pork.
The difference between Kennedy's push and Reagan's was that Kennedy came into a white house that already had private industry advisors (thanks to Eisenhower's fear of surprise nuclear attack due to a lack of information). Kennedy's push wasn't really based on "whether it could be done", considering he caught the industry off guard by being so forceful that we WILL make it to the moon by the end of the decade (having not successfully launched a human into orbit). He felt it HAD to be done, because he was aware that beating the Soviets to the moon was the only way to save face from them being first to launch a satellite, dog, man, and woman. Meanwhile we were reeling because all of our launches were watched by the media and we kept failing.

Quote:

85% of all problems are directly traceable to top mangement.
Amen. Just don't let them know I agree.


xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Apr 24 07:39 PM

Quote:
85% of all problems are directly traceable to top mangement.
Self evident. If there are problems then the managers aren't managing, are they?


Torrere  Thursday Apr 24 10:09 PM

The Shuttle is hardly the epitomy of reusable. It costs such a tremendous amount of money to refurbish the Shuttle between launches that I've heard that it might actually be cheaper to use disposable capsules.

I have the feeling that NASA is a bureaucracy that is slowly being killed by Congress. Bizarre demands are set, pork barrel projects are demanded, and the cash flow is being constrained. NASA is being hollowed out until there is nothing left but crufty middle-management.



Archer  Friday Apr 25 10:40 AM

Go with what works . . .

Give Jet Blue four or five billion and let them figure it out.

They'll probably go with a european design, but it will turn a profit and the astronauts will ride up in leather seats while watching movies on their own private screens.


Archer



argonaut  Friday Apr 25 12:02 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by tw

Actually the Delta Heavy and I believe the fifth version of Titan - both complete new designs - were developed since Challenger. Also a number of smaller rockets. In the meantime, France is into, I believe, its fifth version of Arianne - the world's most successful commerical launch vehicle.
Absolutely none of the vehicles mentioned above were developed by (or for) NASA. Delta, Atlas, Titan, and EELV were all funded by the Department of Defense and are currently operated by the private sector.

argonaut


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