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Thread: Virgin Galactic SS2

  1. #1
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    Virgin Galactic SS2

    I couldn't find an appropriate thread to update, especially since they are all so old.

    But; I saw this in the news today.
    Virgin Galactic Makes a Switch in SpaceShipTwo's Rocket Motor

    They say it won't delay the project and from what they say in the article, I have no reason to doubt them.
    But; when this craft was unveiled, it was supposed to be flying passengers in 2011.

    They are also dropping from 62 mile target down to a 50 mile target.

    This is why anytime I hear "we will X by the year Y" I get very skeptical. In human spaceflight, it rarely happens.

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    From a metric point of view, I'd really would want to go above 100km. 50 miles is not my edge of space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    They are also dropping from 62 mile target down to a 50 mile target.
    So, in other words, not even officially in space.

    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher
    This is why anytime I hear "we will X by the year Y" I get very skeptical.
    Yep.

    CJSF
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    So, in other words, not even officially in space.


    Yep.

    CJSF
    Drat, that's a disappointment.

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    Well, the Russians stopped the MiG-25 Foxbat rides even before current chilly relations--so this or nothing.

    I'd rather have a balloon ride myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    So, in other words, not even officially in space.


    Yep.

    CJSF
    Not exactly. The international standard is the 100 km (~62 miles) Karman line, but in the U.S, civilians that reach or exceed 50 miles get astronaut wings, which I suspect would satisfy most of the passengers.

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    By the way, this was an issue with X-15 pilots. Only one reached the 100 km limit, but a number were awarded astronaut wings because they reached or exceeded 50 miles. Of course, both of these limits are arbitrary, and were chosen the same way.

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    Sorry, but if space exploration (even for "tourists") is an international endeavor, then the "arbitrary" measure should be the internationally accepted number. Otherwise, a company could jigger some "research" into saying that 42 miles (or some other number) is space and target that. Sorry, I think it's a cop-out for underperforming space hardware, or unresolved safety issues, IMHO.

    CJSF
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    That would be 50 nautical miles so 90km.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glom View Post
    That would be 50 nautical miles so 90km.
    I make that 80km (1.6km = 1 mile)

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    I make that 80km (1.6km = 1 mile)
    That would be *Kevin Spacey clip*.

    1.85 km = 1 nautical mile

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glom View Post
    That would be *Kevin Spacey clip*.

    1.85 km = 1 nautical mile
    Forgot there is such a think as nautical mile but the quote above was "They are also dropping from 62 mile target down to a 50 mile target."

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    WhiteKnightTwo took off on the 30th of June. 1st time since Jan 17 but it flew without SpaceShipTwo

    http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/06/...-mojave-today/

    Virgin Galactic Tweeted that Federal Aviation Administration inspectors have signed off on the mother ship’s annual inspection. This is the aircraft’s 150th flight.

    Virgin Galactic officials said they planned to fly WhiteKnightTwo again sometime in June. They met that deadline with about 11 hours to spare. Tests of SpaceShipTwo are scheduled to start up again later this summer. Parabolic Arc’s sources indicate the SpaceShipTwo tests could occur in August.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Forgot there is such a think as nautical mile...
    Exactly.
    The article didn't state statute miles, but the statements of km and miles makes it perfectly clear.

    Glom; why did you bring that up?

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    I looked it up, and apparently the FAA will only gives commercial astronaut wings to pilots and crew that reach or exceed 50 miles altitude. Passengers won't get them whether they go up 50 miles or 100 km.

    See:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/12/sc...astr.html?_r=0

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Sorry, but if space exploration (even for "tourists") is an international endeavor, then the "arbitrary" measure should be the internationally accepted number. Otherwise, a company could jigger some "research" into saying that 42 miles (or some other number) is space and target that. Sorry, I think it's a cop-out for underperforming space hardware, or unresolved safety issues, IMHO.

    CJSF
    Both the 50 mile standard originally picked in the U.S. and the 100 km standard were picked arbitrarily. 50 is just is an easy number in miles, 100 is an easy number in kilometers, and there isn't really much difference between them. People have gotten astronaut wings that didn't get up to 100 km (the X-15 pilots I previously mentioned), so it's not just a number that the *company* picked.

    Anyway, it looks like the Virgin Galactic 50 mile/100 km thing is a bit more nuanced. See:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/vir...estion-n107836

    It says that 50 miles is what was always specified in the contracts, and they are targeting 100 km or higher, but aren't promising that to start:

    It's the 50-mile definition, rather than the 100-kilometer definition, that's written into the formal agreements for Virgin Galactic's customers. "Fifty miles has been in there from the start," George T. Whitesides, Virgin Galactic's chief executive officer, told NBC News on Friday. [...]

    Whitesides said Virgin Galactic is targeting the 100-kilometer altitude and beyond, but added that "we have to prove that out in our test program."

    "Just like everything else, we'll get better over time," he said. "We're trying to invent a new industry from scratch — we need to do that by stages, and we need to do it informed by safety."

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    Last I heard/understood/remembered, VG found that the current design might not reach 50 miles and are changing the design to the target altitude, not changing the target altitude to the design. They know very well that people pay expecting to get astronaut wings, not to go to 40-something miles. The finished product will reach at least 50 miles, it needs to be able to do that as much as it needs to be able to fly at all. They changed the rocket fuel and likely some other things and they wouldn't do that to reach 40-something but to reach >50.

    FYI: SS1 reached >110km on its final flight, and was designed for 100km.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I looked it up, and apparently the FAA will only gives commercial astronaut wings to pilots and crew that reach or exceed 50 miles altitude. Passengers won't get them whether they go up 50 miles or 100 km.
    It looks like there might be a loophole in there.
    They didn't expand on the NASA part, nor what "crew" entails.
    If crew doesn't need to be licensed pilots, then there may be a way. Similar in a way that I was a Disney employee for 2 hours for a performance.

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    SS2 is in the news again.

    https://qz.com/996947/virgin-galacti...two-in-flight/

    "Out in the desert, mornings are typically calm, with winds building during the day. On June 1, at the Mojave aerodrome 90 miles (145 km) north of Los Angeles, the opposite happened: Strong winds in the morning postponed a planned test flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Anxious technicians watched windsocks scattered around the aerodrome, which dispiritingly refused to agree on where the wind was coming from or how fast it was going."

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    SpaceShipTwo is making progress.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/virgin...r-test-flight/

    Virgin Galactic said its SpaceShipTwo rocket plane today executed a successful gliding flight test that was “essentially a dry run for rocket-powered flights.”

    “Our major first today though was that with the exception of the rocket motor fuel grain … we flew with all the spaceship’s principal propulsion components on-board and live,” the company said in a post-flight statement.

    The hybrid propulsion system’s tanks were pressurized with helium and nitrous oxide, and the plane carried a ballast tank filled with a half-ton of water to simulate the weight and positioning of the solid-rocket motor. The pilots even practiced venting nitrous oxide while the rocket plane, christened VSS Unity, was still mounted on its White Knight Two mothership.

    The mothership, known as VMS Eve, carried Unity to an altitude of more than 40,000 feet and released it for flight. Unity then glided back down to its home base at Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

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    And now a 6th successful glide test.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/spac...ne-glide-test/

    "Virgin Galactic announced a sixth successful glide test of its VSS Unity, the company's second version of SpaceShipTwo. The spaceplane will ultimately attempt suborbital rocket-powered flights with customers who will get to fly up into space. This test marks the first time Galactic filled the VSS Unity's Main Oxidizer Tank with nitrous oxide."

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  22. #22
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    The main oxidiser tank was filled with nitrous oxide? Sounds like a barrel of laughs.

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    Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is on the move with powered flight testing

    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018...owered-flight/

    Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has moved into powered flight testing. The test comes early in the 2018 campaign, as VSS Unity was put through her paces with several unpowered glide tests and landings. Thursday’s powered flight – with a partial duration burn – was the first time since the loss of VSS Enterprise in 2014.

    Virgin Galactic hasn’t performed a powered flight since October 31, 2014, when VSS Enterprise experienced a catastrophic failure mid-flight. The tragic accident resulted in the death of one test pilot and severely injured another. However, Virgin Galactic has made significant progress over the last year, and powered flights are expected to resume shortly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is on the move with powered flight testing

    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018...owered-flight/
    Good!

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is on the move with powered flight testing
    See a one minute video of the flight.

    https://www.space.com/40228-virgin-g...ght-video.html

    Even after flying 140 different types of aircraft, the chief pilot on Virgin Galactic's successful powered-spaceship test Thursday (April 5) says being at the helm of the VSS Unity was "something else."
    "This is a major milestone in our flight test program," says David Mackay in a new video from Virgin Galactic posted on YouTube. "When the rocket motor is lit, that's when it really comes alive. We've been gliding it [the spacecraft] so far, but really, what it's designed to do is go into space."

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    A 2 minute video of Virgin Galactic's 2nd powered flight.

    https://mashable.com/2018/05/29/virg.../#TxESP5fTwmqj

    The new Virgin Galactic video of the flight shows Unity being released from its carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo before its rocket engine kicks on, propelling itself under its own power up to an altitude of 114,500 feet and reaching a speed of Mach 1.9 before gliding back to the Mojave Desert for landing.

    This is similar to the flight profile that a typical commercial flight might take once the company starts flying customers in the coming years.

    "Today we saw VSS Unity in her natural environment, flying fast under rocket power and with a nose pointing firmly towards the black sky of space,” Branson said in a statement.

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    A 15 minute audio interview with Enrico Palermo, President of The Spaceship Company (That is Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space fleet).

    https://www.6pr.com.au/podcast/the-z...-era-in-space/

    A UWA-graduate, who was hand-picked to head Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space fleet, has arrived back in Perth to present at a high-level space conference this week.

    President of The Spaceship Company, Enrico Palermo joined Mornings with Gareth Parker, to share some of the exciting space developments he’s involved in.
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