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Space Science

SpaceShipOne to Try for Space on Monday 282

Posted by michael
from the life-insurance-paid-up-i-hope dept.
CommanderData writes "The first piloted private space flight will occur Monday at 9:30AM ET. SpaceShipOne is planning to ascend to the 62 mile (100 Km) mark and return to land at its takeoff point over the course of 90 minutes. With only a pilot (unnamed at this time) on board this does not qualify as a run for the Ansari X-Prize. If the flight is successful they will likely try for the prize soon afterward..." An anonymous reader adds: "Scaled Composites also has this page about the event."
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SpaceShipOne to Try for Space on Monday

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:28PM (#9468029)
    Or namely, if they had a pilot and two weights that approximated humans.
  • Re:Hrm? (Score:3, Informative)

    by gradedcheese (173758) on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:29PM (#9468045)
    they have room but this flight will be just the pilot. later thay will carry the 3 people needed for a prize attempt.
  • by cmowire (254489) on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:32PM (#9468073) Homepage
    They are not even trying for an X-prize run this time around. They haven't notified the judges that they are going to make an attempt.

    Which, given that they are in the lead, I iamgine that they are going to draw things out a little bit.

    I mean, if they are confident in the design, they may fly it crewed and allow a few honored folks to ride passenger (Burt Rutan, Paul Allen, etc) for the actual prize flights.
  • Re:Hrm? (Score:2, Informative)

    by SaDan (81097) on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:32PM (#9468081) Homepage
    It has the capability to carry three people, but only one (the pilot) is going on this flight.

    You have to have three people IN the thing to qualify for the X-Prize.
  • Re:Fun ride (Score:4, Informative)

    by cmowire (254489) on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:36PM (#9468133) Homepage
    Last time he hit 3.5Gs. I doubt that they will want it to go too much more than that operationally, because it's not good for the pilot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:39PM (#9468159)
    The technology used in this launch is going to be reused by SpaceDev to put satellites up for only $5 million a piece. This illustrates the direct effect of the X-prize.

    Currently, satellite launches can cost in the hundreds of millions.

    Now if only their were more prizes.
  • Re:Hrm? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:40PM (#9468171)
    For the prize, you need to carry one person, and ballast and volume for 2 more, and repeat without replacing more than 10% of the dry mass within 2 weeks. The Xprize committee needs to be notified 30 days before the first attempt.

    There was not a 30 day notifiction, and the flight will not carry the extra ballast.

    This is not a prize attempt. But the next flight probably will be.

    See rules:

    http://xprize.org/teams/guidelines.html
  • by bani (467531) on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:57PM (#9468337)
    ...there is nothing radical or unusual about their engine. it is tried and tested technology. fwiw so is just about everything else about their vehicle. they're just the first to put it all together in one package and actually do it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @06:59PM (#9468357)
    The engine used in this mission is going to be reused by SpaceDev as an upper stage to put things and maybe people into orbit. Without SpaceShipOne, this wouldn't have happened. Rutan is very talented. I expect that he already has more designs ready.

    http://www.spacedev.com/newsite/templates/subpag e_ article.php?pid=475

    Look at the bottom of that article.
  • Re:Planet Express (Score:5, Informative)

    by spurious cowherd (104353) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:00PM (#9468366)
    http://ast.faa.gov/aboutast/701complete.htm

    more detailed PDFs also at

    http://ast.faa.gov/lrra/stats_notices.htm

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:00PM (#9468368)
    http://scaled.com/projects/tierone/info.htm

  • 6:30 AM Pacific (Score:5, Informative)

    by richmaine (128733) on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:14PM (#9468490)
    If you do intend to go, you might note that, while the cited 9:30 ET time is corect, the launch site is not on Eastern time. Might be easy to miss that
    and assume that the cited time is launch site local. If you arrive at 9:30 local time, it will be long over. :-(

    That's 6:30 AM Pacific (local) time.
  • Yes ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:17PM (#9468514)
    Yes ... [scaled.com]
  • Re:On TV Live? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @07:22PM (#9468569)
    On CNN
  • Stratofox has put together a page with advice for SS1 launch attendees...

    Quick summary:

    • Bring extra bottled water to share with others.
    • Bring an ice chest for yourself or your group.
    • Get all your supplies before entering the Antelope Valley.
    • Have patience - don't expect to get on the airport grounds.
    • Cell phone service may be strained.
    • Bring a radio scanner.
    • Bring binoculars.
    • Wear a hat.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @09:14PM (#9469339)
    "Now if only there were more prizes"

    NASA has suggested giving out prizes:

    NASA was advised to turn over most launch responsibilities to private firms, offer financial incentives and prizes for innovation, and foster small, entrepreneurial aerospace firms. Although the space agency now contracts many functions to private contractors, the panel said that arrangement had only produced a constellation of vendors rather than an independent industry.

    (Moon to Mars Commission released on the June 16th)

    Essentially, NASA is going to become completely private in the coming years. This is going to open up a large market that was never there before, like what happened to the airline industry.
  • Re:Fun ride (Score:2, Informative)

    by rv8 (661242) on Friday June 18, 2004 @09:50PM (#9469614) Homepage
    In an aircraft, excessive g forces cause blackout because the eye and brain need a certain minimum blood pressure to function. The heart creates the blood pressure, and the pressure at the eye and brain is lower (assuming they are higher than the heart). If you pull some g in an aircraft, the blood pressure at the eye and brain decreases. The eye is more sensitive to low blood pressure than the brain, so if you slowly increase the g, you start to get lose colour vision, get tunnel vision, and then lose vision completely, but you are still conscious. Pull more g and you loss consciousness.

    An untrained, fit individual will probably loss consciousness somewhere between 3 and 5 g, if the g is sustained for more than a few seconds. Military pilots and aerobatic pilots are taught ways to temporarily increase the blood pressure by straining the leg and abdomen muscles, and "grunting" against a closed glottis. Modern fighter aircraft are designed to manoeuvre at up to about 9g (exact limits vary with different aircraft types). They are fitted with g-suits which fit tightly around the pilot's legs and abdomen. The suit inflates as a function of the g-level, and it helps keep the blood from pooling in the legs and abdomen, and thus helps keep the blood pressure up. But, older fighters, many military trainers and aerobatic aircraft, don't have g-suits. A properly trained and fit pilot can do sustained manoeuvring at more than 7 g. I did a structural loads flight test program on the Canadair CT-114 Tutor many years ago which involved quite a few test points at the aircraft's limit of 7.33g, without a g-suit.

    The g level that can be sustained depends on fitness and training, but also on the axis of the acceleration. For example, if the aircraft accelerates forward, the axis of acceleration is such that it has no effect on the blood pressure in the head, as the acceleration is on an axis at 90 degrees to a line drawn from the heart to the head. So, 3.5 g during the ascent of SpaceShipOne would be of no consequence at all.

    If you have some fluid in a vessel, the pressure varies with the vertical location due to the head pressure from gravity (or acceleration). I.e. the pressure is highest at the bottom of the container, and lowest at the top.
  • Re:On TV Live? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @09:56PM (#9469665)
    MSNBC are planning on providing streaming TV over the net. You'll need windows media player 9, I think. You can find the link buried about halfway down this article:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5236958/
  • Re:Hrm? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Phurd Phlegm (241627) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:13PM (#9469762)
    You have to have three people IN the thing to qualify for the X-Prize.
    I'm amazed at how many people seem to believe this. You do NOT need to carry three people. You need to be able to carry three people. You must carry enough weight to simulate three people. Here's an excerpt from the rules, copied from this page [xprize.org]. The italics are mine:
    3. The flight vehicle must be flown twice within a 14-day period. Each flight must carry at least one person, to minimum altitude of 100 km (62 miles). The flight vehicle must be built with the capacity (weight and volume) to carry a minimum of 3 adults of height 188 cm (6 feet 2 inches) and weight 90 kg (198 pounds) each. Three people of this size or larger must be able to enter, occupy, and be fastened into the flight vehicle on Earth's surface prior to take-off, and equivalent ballast must be carried in-flight if the number of persons on-board during flight is less than 3 persons.
  • by Viceroy (26756) on Friday June 18, 2004 @11:53PM (#9470420)
    I know this because I work at Scaled, but if you read all of the info on the Scaled website about SpaceShipOne, you'll know that SpaceDev only provides a small portion of the rocket to us. The rocket is actually a Scaled design with assistance given to us by SpaceDev on the bulkhead between the nitrous tank and the solid rocket and a lot the hardware and valves. We also manufacture the rocket casings, using a nozzle made by a supplier, and send them to SpaceDev to mold the solid fuel in place.

    Wait till you see some of our future projects which could put a 200lb satelite into orbit for until $750k.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (retawriaf)> on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:44AM (#9470660) Homepage
    More susinctly: SpaceShipOne is as much of a dead end as Mercury-Redstone was.
    Nope. SS1 is a dead end, utterly. It's completely unsuited to fly much higher or faster than it will on Monday. There is no upgrade path to do so either. It's not a matter of building a bigger or better White Knight. It's a matter of replacing SS1 with a nearly completely different craft.

    On the other hand, by replacing the Redstone with an Atlas you transformed a suborbital craft into an orbital one without changing the craft itself.

  • by IllForgetMyNickSoonA (748496) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @07:53AM (#9471683)
    Ummm... there is no "launchpad" for SpaceShipOne. It's launched mid-air, by being disconnected from the carrier airplane (White Knight) in flight. Besides, there is also no launch escape system for Space Shuttle, or even commercial airplanes either, so I don't quite get your point.
  • by RayBender (525745) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @08:50AM (#9471841) Homepage
    No. Most of the work is getting to a velocity of 8 km/sec.

    No!? So sure, are you?

    Yes, actually. The physics of that calculation is trivial. Also, "work" has a well-defined meaning in physics, so strictly speaking that sentence is perfectly true.

    Clue alert - he wasn't talking about energy. Try actually reading his post to discover he was talking about work to solve engineering problems, not how much fucking energy it takes to attain oribital velocity.

    Clue alert - engineering difficulty is closely related to energy in situations like these. With orbital velocities comes a whole range of new problems related to hypersonic aerodynamics, heating, flight control, structural design, etc etc. Look, SpaceShipOne uses hydraulic-boosted (if even that)manual flight controls, and relies of passive stability to maintain the correct flight attittude. You couldn't get away with that for a Shuttle. It also doesn't have a heatshield the way the Shuttle does (it has some re--inforcement, but not even within an order of magnitude). The rocket on SpaceShipOne has a total impulse of maybe 1 km/sec, and the corresponding mass fraction of the vehicle devoted to fuel is maybe 20%. The rest can go to building a robust vehicle; on the Shuttle the mass fraction of fuel has to be closer to 90%. SpaceShipOne doesn't have cryogenic fuels, and the associated issues. I can go on and on, but hopefully by now you've grokked that these are two very different machines, and SpaceShipOne is as close to orbit as climbing Mt. Greylock is to climbing Mt. Everest.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

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