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Flight Testing Of Burt Rutan's X Prize Entry

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    • Am I the only one who wouldn't ride in the black armadillo because of this section:

      The crushable, aluminum nose cone neatly and systematically collapses into itself, decelerating the vehicle to a stop. The capsule then falls on its side to end the mission.

      So let me get this straight. You're going to fire this thing into space and then it's going to land and crush like a beer can? Pass.

      • by RabidOverYou (596396) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:04PM (#6041406)
        But ... but ... but ... according to your sig, you're a street walking cheetah, with a heart full of napalm. You're the runaway son of a nuclear A-bomb! Of course you'd do it! Else, you must retire your sig. No, I insist.
      • here [armadilloaerospace.com] is a link to info about it and a link to a video [armadilloaerospace.com] of the tests.
        • Oh man, that's just great. After the first test I thought, "They're going to to put a person in that?!" Then comes out a guy in t-shirt, jeans, and a helmet...

          Priceless.
        • That is a really neat design....

          until the vehicle comes down anything other than vertically. Hope they try to land on a day with zero wind.

          In my not-quite-expert opinion..."Yikes!"
      • To be fair, it does have a parachute as well, it's just that even with a parachute you tend to be going at a reasonable speed (say, 20mph or so) when you land. This is why all the Apollo space capsules landed down in water.

        I think the crushable nose is a good idea to soften the landing, if you're going to be landing on land.
      • by kinnell (607819) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:21PM (#6041731)
        The crushable, aluminum nose cone neatly and systematically collapses into itself, decelerating the vehicle to a stop. The capsule then falls on its side to end the mission

        This is why I'm rooting for armadillo aerospace - if they win, the history videos of the future will show a fat, cheap looking rocket crashing head first into the ground then falling over. It's about time history got a little comic relief :o)

      • but because of X-Prize pressure, they are scraping that plan for now. John Carmack said in one of his diaries, that if someone else got the X-Prize before AA, then they'd go back to a powered landing (true VTVL SSTO).

        -Malakai
      • After reading on Armadillo's plane for trying to win the X-Prize, I think I'll pass on this idea, too.

        What happens if ALL the parachutes fail, something that is not impossible? The resulting landing would kill the pilot and two passengers almost instantly from the impact forces.

        At least with Rutan's White Knight/SpaceShip One combination, SpaceShip One will fly a fairly benign flight regime, and the vehicle will glide to a safe horizontal landing between Mojave Aiport and those big dry lake beds at Edward
        • What happens if the wings break off?

          It's always possible to have a mission-failure point in a design. Good engineers identify those points, and design redundancies and fail-safes. That's why we pay engineers lots of money.

          I hope. Anybody want to hire me? : )
          • It's always possible to have a mission-failure point in a design. Good engineers identify those points, and design redundancies and fail-safes. That's why we pay engineers lots of money.

            In that case thank God Burt Rutan's company is building the White Knight/SpaceShipOne combination. =)

            I believe right now Scaled Composites has the best chance to win the X-Prize because Rutan has applied his innovative use of strong, non-metallic aerospace materials to win the prize. Also, Rutan has given lots of thought
        • > What happens if ALL the parachutes fail, something that is not impossible?

          While that is a good point, I don't think they are too worried about the landing. Look at it this way: What if the heat tiles fell off of a NASA space shuttle? Oh, they did? Not everyone needs or expects 100% safety, especially when going into a new field.
    • it operates in a manner which can only be described as "ground breaking."

      IANARS, however, I do believe there are breaking methods that that I would prefer if I was going along for the ride.

  • by inertia@yahoo.com (156602) * on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:33PM (#6041268) Homepage Journal
    1. Build nifty spacecraft for $20,000,000US
    2. Maybe win $10,000,000US X-Prize
    3. ???
    4. Profit!
  • Try it yourself (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrubInCan (624096) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:34PM (#6041278)
    X-Plane [x-plane.com] v7.0beta has both aircraft (apparently Scaled Composites used it for their simulator)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      mmm...I don't fly in a airplane which is called X-Plane V7.0 BETA. Sounds pretty flakey to me.

  • X-Prize & Surreality (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Merovign (557032)

    Memorial day (observed) appears not to be the best time to be serious around here.

    That being said, it's nice to see some progress on the X Prize, which is essentially a prize for the first successful civilian reusable space vehicle.

    Personally I think the Rutans are going about this the wrong way, but they could still get the prize.

    The pluses to the design are the high-altitude launch (elegant), and the low-speed entry (elegant).

    The minuses as I see it are the relatively complex design, lack of carg

    • by Moofie (22272) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:18PM (#6041469) Homepage
      Complex design? Airborne launch is well-proven technology. The spacecraft is very cleverly and elegantly designed. The vehicle has enough "cargo" space to carry three people. Or two people and 200lbs of cargo. It carries a lot more than my Miata, and my Miata is a damn useful vehicle. Although I don't want to hold up the Shuttle as a great design, it obviously does fine with unpowered landing. Carrying fuel for re-entry and landing is insanely expensive in terms of weight and vehicle size. Unless there's something mission critical that requires fuel during the landing evolution, you /really/ don't want to waste weight with it.

      What do you base your cost estimates on?
    • by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:29PM (#6041524) Homepage Journal
      The pluses to the design are the high-altitude launch (elegant), and the low-speed entry (elegant).
      Agreed.
      The minuses as I see it are the relatively complex design,
      Compared to what? X-33? Personal jetpacks? NCC-X? Sure it could be brute-forced with a big block of steel and a coupla nukes but this whole thing is about design. Indeed this one looks simpler then most of the others once one gets over it not being designed by a T-square.
      lack of cargo space,
      It's not intended to be a tug. Rather it's a demo meeting the X-Pride criteria put together privately in two years. Pull out the seats if you want luggage. Besides, where would it bring cargo to?
      cost,
      Cheaper then most anything else. Heck, privately financed at that.
      unpowered landing.
      This is the beta version. Ruttan's got a long history with aircraft including unpowered or marginally-powered ones, I'm sure it'll land fine, seems to have worked well for the 99 ton SST.
      Oh, and the fact that it is very, very ugly.
      Oh, well yeah, that it doesn't jibe with your sense of aesthetics means it hasn't a chance. Howzabout you post your photo and the rest of us can predict your odds of success?
      A similar re-entry vehicle, but larger with powered maneuverability on re-entry,
      Why? 'Cause you want a commercial passenger service on the 1st flight? You've got some bias against unpowered landings?
      with a high-altitude balloon as a "first stage" would rock.
      Why? Kewler? I think the first flight succeeding would rock, not your backseat redesigning.
      And be cheaper.
      How? Helium costs y'know. And that balloon & helium wouldn't be recoverable. Plus the first meter off the ground under a big balloon is really hazardous, a heck of a lot more then a glider landing.

      Besides, the White Night is also the trainer for the spacecraft. Yep, you heard me, they load a profile on computer in the WN and it flies the same as the spacecraft! Double duty saving lots of money.

      I'm not really sure how huge a balloon (hydrogen or helium) would have to be to drag something that big to the requisite altitude, especially if you intended to go beyond 100km.
      Big. The math isn't that hard for a rough but trust me, big. and expensive. And non-reusable. And a hazard afterwords.
      The second stage would be heavier, unless you had a new fuel or more efficient use of the fuel.
      Yeah, well now that you've pretty much trashed all the other engineering now you want, what, super rockets? Sure, we'll just use the ones off your Voltron doll...

      How about just come out with it and admit you want Star Trek teleporters, forget this nasty uncomfortable dangerous test vehicle stuff? Hell I bet the thing doesn't even have in-flight service with a decent bar cart!

      Frankly you come off as the the exact sort of useless US holiday poster you mention. Lots of inane second guessing, apparently no homework before reading one article, coming up with ridiculous requirements: Cargo? For a test vehicle? Meeting X-Prize criteria? Have you EVER been around ANY sort of engineering project?

      Score you -3 for silly whiner.

      • Sure, we'll just use the ones off your Voltron doll...


        Maggard, you are my hero. I havn't laughed so hard in ages.
      • with a high-altitude balloon as a "first stage" would rock....And be cheaper.
        How? Helium costs y'know. And that balloon & helium wouldn't be recoverable.

        Just in the interest of accuracy, it is worth noting that at least one X-prize team thinks that balloon launch platforms will be reusable:
        IL Aerospace Technologies [xprize.org]
      • powered landing is a long way away. Simple reason being: Aero Engines weigh alot.

        And pounds you put in for aero engines is that much less weight you can carry to orbit (or edge of space, as is the case here). For small craft, putting in a single aero engine would mean ditching the crew and all their luggage entirely.

  • Just Ducky! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:38PM (#6041296)
    "Mommy, what is that duck doing to the other duck?" [bbc.co.uk]

    Seriously... you go, Burt - and all the other X-Prize teams, too.

    On behalf of all of us cubicle-bound geeks looking at the stars, may you all show NASA what teams of dedicated engineers can do if given an environment in which... well, an environment in which dedicated engineers can do what dedicated engineers have always done in such an environment.

    • may you all show NASA what teams of dedicated engineers can do if given an environment in which... well, an environment in which dedicated engineers can do what dedicated engineers have always done in such an environment.

      Ow! You just broke my head!
  • Optimism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tancred (3904)
    What a great thing, the X-Prize. Space flight will eventually be dominated by private enterprise anyway, and this accelerates it. I think it's important as a way to get younger generations excited about the future in the same way past generations were in the early days of space programs.
    • It'll be about private industry until United Spacelines and American Spacelines start losing too much money, and the space-citizens of the United Space-states of Earth have to shell out billions of space-dollars to keep them afloat. I mean, in orbit.
  • by knobmaker (523595) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:41PM (#6041317) Homepage Journal

    Maybe I'm just early here, but it astonishes me that no one has posted a comment, except for trolls and ACs.

    It's stuff like this that gives me hope that I'll live long enough to get a trip into space before I die. The government, as it usually does with everything it attempts, seems to have completely screwed up the exploration of space. It's been over 30 years since we sent a human being to another world, for heaven's sake.

    I'm writing in Rutan for President in 2004. At least he's actually built something other than a portfolio.

    • It's been over 30 years since we sent a human being to another world, for heaven's sake. Remind me, what world did we visit? I know we visited a satellite of earths called the moon, but I don't remember humans ever going to another world.
    • by isorox (205688) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:17PM (#6041465) Homepage Journal
      It's a sad fact that most slashdotters cry DARWIN at the first wound of anything thats slightly risky. They claim to want to progress in to space, but then when someone tries it, they just laugh. Perhaps its envy.
      • It's a sad fact that some slashdotters still think slashdot is one homogenous group where every voice represents the whole. Perhaps its human nature to have risk-seeking-mutants and scoffing, scared-shitless-mutants in the same genepool.

        --

    • by Julian Morrison (5575) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:19PM (#6042031)
      My only disagreement is with "Rutan for president". It's an insult to this great man to lump him in with an organization, government, whose whole existence is predicated on force and which can only fund itself by theft.

      To the contrary it's the efforts of Mr Rutan and others like him which will finally put our species out of the reach of government.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:48PM (#6041345) Homepage
    Rutan has a very good track record in aircraft design, and can probably bring this off. He's designed many strangely-shaped aircraft, and they all fly well.

    Of course, there's the problem that maybe he can, but nobody else can. This happens. Paul MacReady made human-powered flight work two decades ago. Nobody has done it since. Gregg Williams designed almost all the really small jet aircraft engines - he did his first one in the 1950s, and he designed the engines for cruise missiles, and he's still designing them. One person, Ed Kleinschmidt, designed all the mechanical teletype machines from the 1930s to the last one in the 1970s.

    • by Sanity (1431) * on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:28PM (#6041517) Homepage Journal
      Paul MacReady made human-powered flight work two decades ago. Nobody has done it since. Gregg Williams designed almost all the really small jet aircraft engines - he did his first one in the 1950s, and he designed the engines for cruise missiles, and he's still designing them. One person, Ed Kleinschmidt, designed all the mechanical teletype machines from the 1930s to the last one in the 1970s.
      Clearly all of these people subscribe to the Perl doctrine of job preservation: "If nobody else can figure out how it works - they can't fire you".
      • Clearly all of these people subscribe to the Perl doctrine of job preservation: "If nobody else can figure out how it works - they can't fire you".

        Yeah, but you can't be promoted either...

        The question becomes whether or not Rutan can do it, and then teach others how to do the same thing....
    • >>Paul MacReady made human-powered flight work two decades ago. Nobody has done it since.

      Ha anyone else WANTED to? Human powered flight is kinda impractical.

      >>Williams designed almost all the really small jet aircraft engines - he did his first one in the 1950s, and he designed the engines for cruise missiles, and he's still designing them.

      from the bits that I've come across, I think that a lot of his basic tech is still classified or isn't allowed for civilian use.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:49PM (#6041350)
    Rutan amazes me.. I mean, he has an interest in aircraft, then goes out and designs builds tons of them, makes a business out of it, sets all sorts of records, and so on. All with sideburns! He rules!

    -J
  • Quote from the BBC Article: "SpaceShipOne will then fire its hybrid rocket engine, fuelled by a mixture of nitrous oxide and rubber, to reach the blackness of space."

    Surely this is a typo? Nobody uses rubber as a rocket fuel... unless this is a new kind of rubber that is completely diferent to the stretchy, boingy stuff?

    • by farnerup (608326) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:01PM (#6041401)
      It's a hybrid: half rocket engine, half rubber band attached to a propeller.
    • Yes! Rubber! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gharlane of Eddore (676106) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:06PM (#6041420)
      From an article on KMSB-TV [kmsb.com] This history of space missions has been written with solid- or liquid-fuel rockets. Solid-fuel rockets are simple, reliable and inexpensive, but thrust at only one speed, can't be shut down, and produce toxic exhaust. Liquid-fuel rockets can be throttled to control thrust and turned off and on, but are highly complex and less reliable. Hybrid technology combines the advantages of both types of fuel, but can be made more cheaply and with more environmentally benign materials, said Brad Linenberger, a senior in aerospace and mechanical engineering. "The components themselves are safer, because the solid fuel is basically tire rubber and the liquid fuel is nitrous oxide, which is just laughing gas" liquefied under pressure, Linenberger said. "The stuff they put in solid rockets to keep them burning, you don't want to be inhaling that stuff."
      • "environmentally benign materials"

        For the sake of the environment burn tires instead :)
      • The stuff they put in solid rockets to keep them burning, you don't want to be inhaling that stuff.

        Whereas nitrous oxide and burnin' rubber, well, shucks, that's better'n air!
        • The stuff they put in solid rockets to keep them burning, you don't want to be inhaling that stuff.

          Whereas nitrous oxide and burnin' rubber, well, shucks, that's better'n air!


          Those of us who are serious hackers of horsepower as well as MIPS have a particular fondness for the combination of nitrous oxide and burning rubber. :-)

          I love that Yamaha commercial set to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", with the "crying" bikers. Or, to ripp off Apocalyse Now: "I love the smell of burning Goodyears/Yokos/Hoosiers in
    • Almost anything will burn if you supply oxygen at a high enough of a concentration/pressure. I remember a college lab were we made a test rocket engine out of a cylinder of acrylic with a hole bored down the center and hooked up to an oxygen tank. I know its sounds odd, but it does work. This seems of be using the same principles with a different fuel/oxidizer.
    • Not quite true: these fuels are used in a hybrid fuel enigine. The benefits are an enigne that isn't very explosive, has easy storage and can be throttled back. Liquid fuel or solid fuel engines don't have both of these properties.
      Rubber is used because of it's high carbon content, nitrous oxide is used because it stores easier than liquid oxide.
      • you can throttle liquid fuel engines, but the plumbing and mechanics behind them are really quite complicated. Many points of failure. You need turbopumps and other things to make it work. Also, the fuel components themselves are terribly corrosive, toxic, and difficult to store.

        Solid rocket motors are fairly easy to store (just don't accidentally light one). However, once they're lit, they burn until they're gone.

        This hybrid seems to use to use the better elements of the two, though I don't believe i

    • urely this is a typo? Nobody uses rubber as a rocket fuel... unless this is a new kind of rubber that is completely diferent to the stretchy, boingy stuff?

      They meant to put flubber.

      • If they used flubber, they wouldn't have any need for fuel. Just make the ship out of the stuff, then drop it onto terra firma from the tow plane; it'll then bounce into space.
    • by Gorobei (127755) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:04PM (#6041959)
      um, what do you think solid rocket fuel (i.e. the stuff used in the space shuttle's booster) is? It's basically rubber with an oxider and some metal powders.

      The stuff that reacts with the oxygen in most of these rocket engines is a hydrocarbon: rubber, plastics, asphalt, kerosene, etc.
    • they have more details about the engine. Pretty interesting stuff. Like a liquid fueled engine, it has the 2 components, the nitrous and the rubber. Unlike most liquid rocket fuel, these elements are benign and easy to store.

      Apparently when you mix these 2 together, and combine it with a significant heat source, you get quite alot of thrust.

      Unlike a liquid though, you can't throttle the thrust. I wonder if its possible to stop the thrust though if you remove the heat source, or is it self-sustaining o

      • Re:check the website (Score:2, Informative)

        by physicsnerd (607860)
        Actually, you can throttle them. The oxidizer is in a gasous/liquid form and by changing how much is pumped into the chamber, you change the thrust. Of course you can just have the valve all the way open or all the way closed, that keeps the cost of development down. In that case the system produces a set level of thrust, which works fine for most applications.

        It is possible to stop all thrust with the solid fuel(HTPB in this case) still in the chamber. All you have to do is shut off the oxidizer. Th

        • it says it is not throttleable. The pilot is given 2 controls, an Arm switch, and then a final ignite button to do the burn.
          • This particular enigine isn't, but hybrid rockets in general can be. One of the key componets on the thrust of any rocket is the fuel to oxidizer ratio. By changing this ratio, you can vary the thrust. One of the advantages of hybrids is that the oxidizer is in a liquid/gasous from. You don't get the same level of control that you do with a liquid fuel / liquid oxidizer, but you still are able to change the thrust level. If you're interested in learning more about this I suggest a couple of books.

            The

    • No, it is not a typo. The solid portion of the fuel is called Hydroxyl Terminated PolyButadiene (HTPB), and it is a rubber. It's roughly the consitancy of those rubber bouncy balls when it hardens. It's a very common rocket fuel, and as I recall it's what they use in the shuttle bosters (need to check that to be sure). It's been around for as long as I've been building rockets.

      Physicsnerd

      ------------------

      "Even logic must give way to physics" - Spock

  • by endquotedotcom (557632) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:13PM (#6041448) Homepage
    From the BBC article: "SpaceShipOne will start its mission with a climb to 50,000ft under the twin-engined White Knight. SpaceShipOne will then fire its hybrid rocket engine, fuelled by a mixture of nitrous oxide and rubber, to reach the blackness of space.

    "After experiencing weightlessness at the top of its trajectory, the ship will extend its wings and tail and glide back to the runway that it left 90 minutes earlier."

    Okay, so we have a plane with a "spaceship" under it, and we're going to go up real high and then fling it up into what's just barely "space," and watch it fall down. So you'll actually be in "space" for just a few minutes? No orbiting around and trying to see if you can find your house from up there? How much fun is this really, when the majority of your time is spent screaming your head off as you fall back to Earth? Maybe the inflight meal will be really good.

    • guess which suitably named game will be available for the crew of three to play during the flight onboard John Carmack's Black Aramdillo.
    • That is called proof of concept silly.

      And the interesting bit conceptually is not the spaceship. It is the White Knight.

      Multiple attempts have been made in the past to use planes as a launch platform. Most have gone nowhere because a general purpose plane cannot reach altitude and or speed to replace a proper stage 1 rocket.

      Only exemption seemed to be a project to use russian backfire class supersonic bombers and the second stage of some american missile (forgot which one). Unfortunately it died off due
      • by Gorgonzola (24839) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:44PM (#6042173) Homepage

        Hm, you got your insightful points out of moderator ignorance I suppose. Ever heard of this little launch system called Pegasus? There is actually a commercially viable business around that one. It uses a solid fuel rocket that is launched from a refurbished Lockheed Tristar. Look here. [orbital.com]

        • by Thagg (9904)
          And who builds the wing and tail surfaces for the Pegasus? You guessed it -- Burt Rutan.

          thad
        • Pegasus is a great. You don't even need to own the L1011; the first pegi were launched from a borrowed B52.

          If you check out their record [tbs-satellite.com], major problems in 5 of the first 10 launches isn't quite the reliability record I want for a manned flight. Especially since the x-prize requires 2 back-to-back flights - something that didn't happen until flights 7 & 8. The contest also requires reusability, but that's another story.

          p.s. I shared an office with the original glomr [skyrocket.de]... click click click of the tx/rx r
      • by Moofie (22272) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:57PM (#6042253) Homepage
        Not to pick nits, but I'm not sure why you think that planes haven't been used as successful launch platforms.

        Most of the X-Planes were air-launched, mostly from B-36 and B-52 bombers. Orbital Sciences' [orbital.com] Pegasus rocket is launched from an L-1011 (commercial jet liner).

        The Backfire was a bomber, designed to launch cruise missiles. At one point, I believe that the Backfire was hypothesized to fire the cruise missiles backwards out of the bomb bay. I don't know if this was ever proven operationally, but I have a hard time understanding how it would have been advantageous to do so.

        Some variants of SU-27 can fire short range air to air missiles backwards, but that's a different kettle of fish.

        Anyhow. : )
        • Shooting missles backwards means the cruise missile (which is more like a slow speed plane, than a missile), doesn't immediately experience forward airspeed faster than what it was designed to handle. This was especially important for the Soviet backfire bomber (Tu22M3) which could go supersonic during a bombing run and there aren't too many supersonic cruise missiles, but of course the Tu22M3, never got ALCM (air launched cruise missile) ordinance, and just dropped dumb bombs and short range attack missle
    • You forgot the part about winning the designer ten million bucks, and international acclaim.

      You're the kind of person who believes that Alan Shepard wasn't the first American in space, aren't you?
  • we need a fuel that can burn more efficently, is lighter and provideds more thrust than current fules out there. that way we can have smallercrafts that might be able to employ an all in one solution with a Ram jet taking it up to high altitueds and speeds then the rocket is lite to take it into orbit...perhaps even a high orbit.
  • How much payload would SpaceShipOne be able to take into orbit?
    • According to the X-Prize rules, three people at a weight of 90 kilos. So you can swap people for cargo.
    • SpaceShipOne is not an orbiter.
      It goes straight up, and comes straight back down.

      To reach orbit you need to get going really really fast, as well as reach those high altitudes.
  • Who to root for? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dstrct0 (442821)
    The whole idea of the X-Prize is great, and I love what it is going to do to the space travel industry.

    The only problem I'm having is figuring out who to root for :)

    The Black Armadillo is definitely starting to take shape, it looks a lot better lately than the first time I remember checking it out. Using an environmentally friendly fuel is brilliant, and possibly my favourite thing about the way Carmack and his crew are going about this project.

    The White Knight and SS1 look slick. There's no other word
    • The reason is simple: Rutan has a demonstrated track record of safe, yet technologically-innovative flying machines.

      SpaceShip One is designed for an aerodynamically benign flight profile, and Rutan has designed SS1 so there is lots of safety margins during the re-entry phase.
    • The Davinci Project [davinciproject.com]

      And the

      Canadian Arrow [canadianarrow.com]

      I like Davinci Cause I Think Baloon Launch is a neet way around the masive amounts of fuel problem needed by most single stage rockets.

      But the Arrow is more turist friendly (who wants to sit in a crampt rocket for hours while you raise to 40,000 feet)

      and hey they a both Canadian...:D
  • by chroma (33185) <(chroma) (at) (mindspring.com)> on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:45PM (#6041590) Homepage
    Jerry Pournelle posted some more photos on his web site a couple days ago: http://jerrypournelle.com/view/view258.html#SS1 [jerrypournelle.com]
  • Burt Rutan is a graduate of the AERO department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo! [calpoly.edu] Go Poly!
  • by tycheung (635707)
    Rutan still has some nifty defense dept. contracts. Scaled Composites created the airframe for the Boeing X-45 UCAV, and I'd bet they probably have a hand in a lot of the other UCAV's too. They have more experience than anyone else when it comes to lightweight, composite material aircraft construction.
  • Cackle (Score:3, Funny)

    by jpmorgan (517966) on Monday May 26, 2003 @06:07PM (#6042309) Homepage
    I am the only one who wants to see 'em light up the SS1 without detaching it from the White Knight first? :)

    Okay, so I'm sure it'd probably explode or something. But it'd look cool for a few moments.

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