Lehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 22 Reply 2, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 3143 times:
The problem with this competition is that it does NOT futher space tourism. It is not even affordable. It neither carries cargo to nor from, just a teaser flight, there is no destination up there. They're not going orbital so it's safer to a point. I agree with the apparent disassociation with safety and deadlines, maybe they should have their own family as the first 'test folks' to keep them in check.
This will end up along Concorde's fate somewhat. White Knight will be a white elephant and it will be a while before there is a true space plane for the people.
Oddly enough, I'm cheering just to see the pictures and read up on the numbers. I do not want to know what (if!) the media will say anything about it. We all know how they are w.r.t. aviation.
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
Ikarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2 Reply 3, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2972 times:
Actually, as far as I can see, that launch date is for their official attempt. Meaning, they'll either carry more than one person, or ballast to stand in for the others. So June 21st will see their first flight, with a follow-up within the 14 days after that. Meaning by mid-July, the XPrize shall hopefully have been won.
Regarding safety: Theirs is an experimental craft. It is designed for test pilots, with the same risk level in mind. I have no worries whatsoever that it is safe enough for that use - not for commercialization, maybe, but that is not what they are aiming for. Should still be lots safer than the shuttle.
Of course it furthers space tourism. It demonstrates that privately funded, low-cost space programmes are feasible, and it will increase investor confidence. That is the main aim. Besides, the other XPrize contestants plan to commercialize their projects (as does a company that involves Burt Rutan's brother), so within the next 2-5 years, there will be a second programme to offer space tourists: $102,000 for a few minutes in space (some aim for 3-5 minutes, others aim for 20 minutes or more, though not for the XPrize), as well as the $20,000,000 for a week on the ISS. That is already one small step ahead for space tourism. Once that turns out to be profitable, the company with the biggest commercial muscle may well develop a safer, more feasible, more commercial and cheaper (in terms of per-flight cost) space programme than governments, and that would be great progress indeed.
DfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 850 posts, RR: 51 Reply 4, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2766 times:
I agree with the apparent disassociation with safety and deadlines, maybe they should have their own family as the first 'test folks' to keep them in check.
Actually, Armadillo planned to use John Carmack's wife as the test passenger for their first vehicle. They would have gone through with it as well, but she happened to be out of town the week of the test...
Scaled has a very tight window with not much room for technical problems. We all know what happens to safety when there is a deadline.
The vehicle (SS1) is designed with safety in mind. They actually suffered a full electronics failure on their last flight but the test continued without hitch. All flight controlls are manually powered and critical systems are redundant. Rutan likes to keep his pilots aliave
But a shoty landing like the one in December, and they would be in a crunch to repair the damage. Pulling all-nighters for two weeks isn't the best plan B.
MxCtrlr From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 2485 posts, RR: 37 Reply 5, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2734 times:
The problem with this competition is that it does NOT futher space tourism. It is not even affordable. It neither carries cargo to nor from, just a teaser flight, there is no destination up there...
The whole concept of the X-Prize is not to go to a specific destination - space IS the destination - but rather to foster private industry into the space programs. If it can be proven that NASA isn't the only game in town, it is only a matter of time before commercial, reasonably-priced space travel becomes a reality. THAT is the purpose (and a damn good one too) of the X-Prize contest.
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DAMN! This SUCKS! I just had to go to the next higher age bracket in my profile! :-(
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 20 Reply 6, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 1631 times:
Lephron, the X-Prize is designed to foster research into making commercial exploration and exploitation of space through manned spaceflight feasible and affordable.
Everyone knows the current generation craft are prototypes but several of the contestants have already announced plans for larger vehicles with a lower cost per kilogram of payload.
Scaled is in it mainly for the glory, true. But they too without doubt hope their effort will bring them income from continuing the research and providing access to that research to companies willing to use it for putting up a regular commercial service at competitive prices.
Like all explorers, these too are taking risks. They know that and accept that for the potential rewards are huge (plus the glory).
Ikarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2 Reply 9, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1493 times:
L-188: I very much doubt so: The flight is scheduled for 6am, so they hardly intend to wait for the sun to heat up the atmosphere. As a matter of fact, they state they picked that early time precisely to avoid the windier parts of the morning, after the sun heats up part of the desert. They want to launch at dawn, with barely any light and as little wind as possible.
Maybe it's just a coincidence. Or could it be the anniversary of any other important event? Their first supersonic flight was around the anniversary of the Wright Brother's first flight, wasn't it? (Need to look up the dates!)
L-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29513 posts, RR: 59 Reply 10, posted (9 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1498 times:
I didn't think it made much sense either, because the reason Yeager lost that plane is that he had the afternoon flight after the air had heated up and expanded so he had no control authority at 90-whatever feet when he flamed out.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.