Space, The Final Frontier

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quicksilver-wsr
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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:08 pm

News breaking that Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo space-tourism craft has been destroyed in a flight-test accident over California in which one of the two crew-members appears to have been killed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-29857182

A tragic setback for this bold space venture. I reckon this will cost them several years, just when things were finally clicking into place after successive delays year on year :(

I sincerely hope they don't chuck the towel in.

Nigel

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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:43 pm

Amazed that so many media sources are referring to Virgin Galactic's space endeavour as having been, thus far, "a ten-year venture" ...

It's been going way longer than that. The prototype SpaceShipOne made its flights to suborbital space 10 years ago -scooping up the 10-million-dollar Ansari X prize into the bargain - and those flights were the culmination of a three-year development programme, so that's 13 years for starters. Burt Rutan's ideas for the project began as long ago as 1994, so it could more accurately be said to be "a 20-years-and-counting venture."

These things take time to come right.

Nigel

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Renegadenemo
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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by Renegadenemo » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:18 pm

They're now talking about an uncommanded deployment of the feather - that'd soon pull its wings off. And is Mike Melvill still alive? I well remember his first bid in Spaceship One when he got it in a really fast roll and just hung onto it - made me feel sick watching it. I heard somewhere that he died recently but the Interweb doesn't seem to know for sure.
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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:33 pm

As far as I know he's still alive. I've not heard anything about a fatality.

Will be interesting to see what comes out of this NTSB investigation. Already, as you've seen, things are emerging.

Investment is going to be the big challenge going forward. I hope they hang on, because someone's got to make a go of this business, and they had got so damned close.

Nigel

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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by Renegadenemo » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:00 pm

If they have a spare vehicle they ought to get away with it but I think Spaceship Two was a one-off. Having said that, it's a relatively inexpensive system to develop because Whiteknight is classified as a 'first stage to launch' and not a normal civil aircraft and the space-plane has some other peculiar classification that means they don't have to jump through a fraction of the FAA hoops. They made all their control cables and fuel lines out of carbon, for example, and to get that sort of thing flying in a Boeing or an Airbus would take a zillion years and as much money but Scaled did it because they could.
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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:38 am

As far as I am aware, there is nothing legally preventing Virgin Galactic resuming flight-testing without pause if they so wish. Although I'm sure they won't - the absence of a replacement spacecraft being just one reason.

If it was an uncommanded geometry change that caused the in-flight break-up, as seems to have happened, it might be something as straightforward to fix as a flaw in the software of the flight-control system. Time will tell.

Nigel

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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by Renegadenemo » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:11 am

Has anyone else been keeping an eye on this?

http://lunar.xprize.org/about/overview

I never did see the point of going to the moon and I still don't but there's some serious effort going into getting back there. Mind you, whether it can be done by December next year after which the bet is off remains to be seen.
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes

Voltaire's apology when he wrote a long letter: "I didn't have time to make it shorter."

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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:51 am

I guess it gets Google loads of publicity - and it's publicity with the right "emotional values" for their profile - so that part makes plenty sense. A great piece of marketing, ticking all the boxes Google would want ticked.

Presumably, the teams that are likely to put in a bid for this were already well on with their projects when the prize was first announced. I hope they've got their launch slots booked!

Whatever your views on lunar exploration, the Moon must be the best learning ground we've got. The more I hear about the plans for Mars, the more mind-blowingly difficult and science-fiction-like it all seems. The earthly problems we currently have have only pushed Mars further and further away.

Talking to some of the newer astronauts when the Shuttle first started flying regularly, some - Mary Cleave comes to mind - expressed a desire to "stick around until the Mars missions". That was the early-1980s. It genuinely seemed more likely then than it does now. Needless to say, that generation of astronauts has long since moved on and found more achievable things to do.

Nigel
Last edited by quicksilver-wsr on Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Renegadenemo
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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by Renegadenemo » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:04 pm

Whatever your views on lunar exploration, the Moon must be the best learning ground we've got. The more I hear about the plans for Mars, the more mind-blowingly difficult and science-fiction-like it all seems. The earthly problems we currently have have only pushed Mars further and further away.
I'm fully aware that it's just me but I never saw the point of trying to get to a rock in space and going to Mars is just crackers. We don't even know what's on the bottom of the Indian Ocean where MH370 is reputed to lie so we've still a bit to do down here before we go messing about in the other direction.
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes

Voltaire's apology when he wrote a long letter: "I didn't have time to make it shorter."

quicksilver-wsr
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Re: Space, The Final Frontier

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:08 pm

Heck - you'll be popular at NASA! :lol:

N.

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