FVTu134 From Russia, joined Aug 2005, 173 posts, RR: 1 Posted (8 years 10 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5448 times:
Sorry if it's been reported before....
BBC article gave some more details about the upcoming SpaceShipTwo which is being prepared for Virgin Galactic. All pretty standard up until the moment I read the mother ship (EVE) is going to be the size of a 737 and SS2 will be the size of a Gulfstream V.
Read for yourself... that's a huge leap forward from what it was (unless I was on another planet when the news broke)
DfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 968 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5434 times:
Quoting FVTu134 (Thread starter): Read for yourself... that's a huge leap forward from what it was (unless I was on another planet when the news broke)
Well, it depends on your perspective.
In terms of the commercialization and democratization of public space flight, this is a huge leap foward. This could be the DC-3 of suborbital tourism.
In terms of space exploration, this is a long awaited trickle-down of 1960s technology. Virgin Galatic is essentially offering what the X-15 and Mercury missions demonstrated decades ago.
Quoting FVTu134 (Thread starter): All pretty standard up until the moment I read the mother ship (EVE) is going to be the size of a 737 and SS2 will be the size of a Gulfstream V.
Well you want two things in a suborbital tourist ship. A vehicle about the size of a G-V makes sense:
(1) Large cabin volume so people can float around. How fun is zero-G with 1 cubic meters of personal space?
(2) Large surface area and low mass to ease re-entry heating.
My thoughts on the approach taken by Scaled Composites:
- I would use a kerosene-LOX system rather than hybrid engine used on SS1. A kerosene system would allow for a powered landing, which IMO, would dramatically improve safety for commercial flights. You will have to do a go-around at some point. You can't count on glide energy alone when flying (paying) human cargo.
- Rather than design a new vehicle, why not just use a 737 for a tow vehicle? Drag the "SS2" to altitude via cable like a glider. There are pleanty of 737 available in aftermarket, and the 737 can cruise at 35-40,000 feet. Furthermore, a 737 with cargo floor/door could be used for revenue purposes (freight, Zero-G parabola flying) when not towing the suborbital vehicles.
Areopagus From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5301 times:
A towed SS2 would have to have a nose wheel rather than skid. And the gear would have to be beefed up to handle takeoff weight, not just landing weight. The 737 can't fly as high as White Knight or Eve.