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Da Vinci Project Postpones X-Prize Attempt 109

Posted by michael
from the life-insurance-not-paid-up dept.
brainstyle writes "To some people this won't come as much of a shock: the Da Vinci Project's inaugural launch has been delayed. I'm a Canuck, so I'm rooting for these guys, but it always felt a bit iffy. The Canadian Arrow team seems to be doing things a bit more intelligently, so if any Canadian launch works, I'd bet on that one."
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Da Vinci Project Postpones X-Prize Attempt

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  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by kundor (757951) <<gro.fsf.rebmem> <ta> <rodnuk>> on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:38PM (#10344556) Homepage
    I wouldn't put too much stock in Canadian Arrow. The first picture on their home page apparently shows a giant soda cup drowning in the ocean.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

      by xmas2003 (739875)
      Lets just hope they don't end up on the Splatometer [slashdot.org]
    • ...and double-Hmmm.... from the original post:

      I'm a Canuck, so I'm rooting for these guys

      Here in Australia, root has a different meaning, but suffice to say we do it for fun. :-)

  • by rocjoe71 (545053) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:40PM (#10344572) Homepage
    Since it's just as likely as not that a Canadian team won't win, what's to encourage these teams to carry on developing their space programs? With or without an X-Prize, it would still be worthwhile to have a space program we could call our own.
    • by brainstyle (752879) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:47PM (#10344626)
      There's the annual X Prize Cup [space.com] which will hopefully give a number of teams motivation to keep working on what they're doing. Anyways, I doubt that many of the teams would quit just because the prize was won... I mean, I think they all just want to get into space, and they're closer now than they've ever been (even if they're still a ways off).
      • by Nos. (179609) <<andrew> <at> <thekerrs.ca>> on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:53PM (#10344678) Homepage
        Not only that, but I think private industry is watching all the top contenders pretty seriously. I'm sure companies like Boeing and Airbus are watching this and dreaming of selling tickets to orbit the Earth a few times.
        • by Buran (150348) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:20PM (#10344874)
          And did we quit crossing the Atlantic because Lindbergh won the Orteig prize and no money was left?

          No.

          This isn't going away either.
          • Tho most of the population back then wanted to be able to cross the atlantic themselves. I'd venture to say most people now a days is rather apathic about space at best. There are lots who are down right hostle towards space flight. It's not quite the same..
            • by Buran (150348)
              I know a lot of people who are apathetic about air travel, or scared of it (and won't listen when I explain that cars are far more dangerous, yet they have cars!) ... and yet we still have aviation.

              It doesn't matter if there are disinterested people as long as there are enough interested people.
              • Sure, but I'd bet more of the population was for air travel when it was a emerging tech then is for space travel now. I'm just questioning if we have the critical mindshare as a culture to do this yet or if it's going to be years down the road yet.
          • The prize was not for a flight across the atlantic it was for a nonstop flight from NY to Paris. People had crossed the atlantic before Lindbergh. What people do not seem to remeber is that air travel did not take off per say until the goverments got involved. Yes it was airmail that started civil really got air travel going. Including Lindbergh flight. He made his living as an airmail pilot.
        • Why would aircraft manufacturers sell tickets for a space flight? If Boing or Airbus became involved in space tourism, I'm thinking they'd stick to their core business model of designing and building their own vehicles. I'm pretty sure they're not dreaming of shifting their entire business model to become ticketing agents in the space tourism industry.
    • by shawn(at)fsu (447153) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:52PM (#10344672) Homepage
      I think the encouragement is that they put a lot of effort and money in to it already. In many competitions you don't stop because someone else one you keep going to prove that you can finish, like marathons and climbing Mt Everest. Granted you wont get as much publicity or notoriety as the first team to do it but you will still have done it. I really don't think that most of these teams are doing it for the money I think they are doing it because some one put out a challenge.
    • Most of the X-Prize entries don't really lead directly to a "space program". The designs would have serious problems scaling up for orbital launches. (The X-Prize is an excellent showcase and proof-of-concept for the idea of cheap private launches with fast turn-around time.)

      However I'm sure all the designers have folders full of ideas for what they'd like to do next if there's more capital available. Sort of like Wernher Von Braun and his plans for trans-Atlantic bomb^w^w Moon-rockets and space-stations.

    • Since it's just as likely as not that a Canadian team won't win, what's to encourage these teams to carry on developing their space programs?

      Well, the Canadian Arrow team is planning on developing an Extreme Skydiving [canadianarrow.com] industry.
    • Northern lights reach down
      to pull us up

      shifting patterns reflected
      on the purity of snow
      will be our solace, eh

      we are already on top of the world

  • by nizo (81281) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:44PM (#10344605) Homepage Journal
    Also don't forget to remind them about all the beer they could buy with the X-prize money.
    • I hope Spaceship One is first, but I hope the Canadian effort is successful too. Best of luck to whomever wins. Here's hoping both make it into space and back in one piece with lots of smiles and cheers on landing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:45PM (#10344609)
    4...3...2...1...Take off eh?
  • Canadian Arrow...? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:47PM (#10344625)

    I'd never heard of the Canadian Arrow before it was mentioned on /. [slashdot.org] a while back. I can't find the answer on their webpage, so I'll ask if anyone knows: was the name "Canadian Arrow" chosen with the Canadian Avro Arrow [www.exn.ca] in mind?

    If so, that would be cool. If not, I hope it's a happy coincidence and not a prophetic one. Just don't let "US" steal the idea this time, guys.

    Free flatscreens. [tinyurl.com] Proof here. [freeipodguide.com]

  • Whats missing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by satterth (464480) on Friday September 24, 2004 @05:48PM (#10344640) Homepage Journal
    Contributing factors to this revision were availability of a few key components and their integration into the overall space flight program.
    I wonder what if anything is not available. Too bad, and i was even planning on driving out and watching the launch.
  • ...although no one actually does. To the date the success of both of the projects are quite reasonably doubtable...
  • Just so wrong... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I understand the need for corporate sponsorship, and welcome it if it helps bring about the success of an effort like this one, but still, The da Vinci Project, officially called the Golden Palace.com Space Program powered by the da Vinci Project hurts just to read it.

    Let's all (hopefully) welcome noted online casino Golden Palace.com into the pantheon of world space agencies. I'll be first in line to play at the LEO blackjack tables.

  • by mcguyver (589810) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:00PM (#10344745) Homepage
    I'm glad they are delaying their attempt because the glue gun in this picture has me worried.

    DaVinci project and glue gun [davinciproject.com]
  • by Spencerian (465343) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:04PM (#10344769) Homepage Journal
    I'm all for concept stuff to make an achievement, but which one, if offered to you, would you fly in; the da Vinci rocket, or Rutan's SpaceShipOne?

    The Tier One system is by far the more aircraft-like of the two, has many abort modes that offer you some level of safety in a still-dangerous adventure, and appears to have plenty of money to ensure the design is not contrived.

    IANARS, but it also appears that the Tier One design is highly scalable. Just make a large enough plane that can achieve a high altitude that can carry a large enough orbiter and fuel, and this thing can become a new LEO personnel or unmanned shuttle, or the much-lamented spaceplane.

    At the least, quite a few of us would pay a few thousand to ride the thing like a rollercoaster to get our astronaut wings, experience weightlessness, and see the Earth in a way few of us have ever seen it.

    But using a balloon and a cylinder? Hm.
    • by metlin (258108) * on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:24PM (#10344886) Journal
      But using a balloon and a cylinder? Hm.

      Garage rocket scientists, perhaps? I'm not saying that their design is scaleable or good - just that sometimes, ordinary people tinkering around such stuff may lead to greater revolutions in science than a high-profile well known project.

      Why? Because they are willing to take the risk. Their loss isn't as much as that of someone whose invested significantly more.

      Their design may not be good or scaleable, but it might open up avenues in other areas we would not know about unless we tried it. That's the best part about engineering these things - you do not really know what's going to happen.

      But that's just me.
    • by david.given (6740) <dg.cowlark@com> on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:29PM (#10344920) Homepage Journal
      IANARS, but it also appears that the Tier One design is highly scalable. Just make a large enough plane that can achieve a high altitude that can carry a large enough orbiter and fuel, and this thing can become a new LEO personnel or unmanned shuttle, or the much-lamented spaceplane.

      Alas, it can't; there are fundamental reasons why SpaceShipOne or any similar vehicle can't get into orbit. This principally boil down to not being able to get enough delta-V from that rocket technology, and no thermal protection system for reentry. Changing the propulsion system and adding a TPS would involve a fundamental redesign from scratch.

      What it is is a good technology demonstrator. They're getting experience in dealing with multistage vehicles, rocket propulsion, freefall attitude control, supersonic flight, etc; all well worth while, and all necessary on the path to a real orbital vehicle.

      Plus the PR benefits are huge, too --- you could probably write the whole Tier One programme off as advertising. Think how much publicity Scaled Composites has gotten out of this...

      • Changing the propulsion system and adding a TPS would involve a fundamental redesign from scratch.

        I dont know about you but if anything goes wrong I want as much TPS on that ship as possible, think about it extreeme shifts in G forces? From what I hear they are launching from near a taco bell at free fall you need to wipe quickly..

    • It's not fully scalable. I don't remember the specifics, but for whatever reasons, their hybrid engine begins to experience a rapidly diminishing thrust-to-weight ratio as it's scaled up. Also, the rocket is designed for sub-orbital flight at about 4000 mph (if I remember correctly), not the 16000 mph re-entry an orbital vehicle would undergo. A new design will be necessary to advance this program into orbital space flight.

      The mothership concept is definitely scalable. In fact, Scaled Composites just won
    • which one, if offered to you, would you fly in; the da Vinci rocket, or Rutan's SpaceShipOne?

      Honestly. I'd probably take either if they were offering. Unfortunately, they're not. At least not to me. Which would I prefer? Well, that might be another issue.

      Ah, who am I fooling? I'd take the Da Vinci. Go Canada!

  • In further news, an undisclosed eccentric canadian billionaire has created a similar prize for his country men in an attempt to help them "get off the ground".

    Its called the "eh-prize".
    • Of all the bad 'eh' jokes floating around /. these last few days, this one is particularly rotten. You're not even trying.
  • BLASPHEMY (Score:3, Funny)

    by oneiron (716313) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:11PM (#10344808)
    How can any slashdot reader not root for our collective idol, the almighty John Carmack, and his crew over at Armadillo Aerospace?
  • "so if any Canadian launch works, I'd bet on that one."

    Hey There,

    If you knew which one worked ...
    Why would you need to bet?

    Cheers,
    -- The Dude
    P.S.
    Someone needs to moderate the posted articles!?
  • better links (Score:3, Interesting)

    by baldw1n (743697) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:15PM (#10344832) Homepage Journal
    John Carmack of Armadillo Aerospace also said [google.com] some stuff [xprize.org] about DaVinci. He also wrote a pretty interesting summary [google.com] about his recent zero-gravity experience.
    • At least he did not use a BFG on these Canadians to keep his team in the running, ha ...
    • I know the booties are for traction, but i'm sure they're differently coloured not only to let the minders keep track of their charges but also to appeal to a certain kind of nerd. I didn't see any red members - perhaps it's so as not to make them uneasy on their first 'mission'.

      this image [armadilloaerospace.com] he posted looks like it could be a promotional shot for a new sitcom about the wacky misadventures of the world's first private, zany space company.

      And i think i just saw cnn's thing from that promotional flight. The

  • Very minor (Score:4, Informative)

    by babtras (629678) on Friday September 24, 2004 @06:26PM (#10344902)
    I called Kindersley, where the launch is to take place. They assured me that the delay is "very minor" and the delay is likely to be only about a week. They will give about 7 days notice before the launch.
  • by shlepp (796599)
    I have faith in these fellow Candians. I have a good feeling that they will get that v2 into space.
  • This is worst news except only for space shutle disaster, 1, and 2.

    Everyone, Please pen letter to your governor. Thell them you feel how SPACE progress is essential to long term survival of democracy.

    • Maybe this time they won't pick a weekend where everybody and their dog is trying to get to a football game and we can actually get some buses to go! Seriously, the Physics Students' Society at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon (about 2 hours away) has been working on a trip out to watch the launch, and renting buses has been a nightmare. We basically had to try to book a pub crawl through a local bar that starts at 2:00 AM (to make it out with time to set up for the proposed 5:30 launch). Mayb


  • Im amazed by the number of people supporting the
    Canadian Arrow project.

    But, if you ask me, as a pilot, I would never
    volunteer for that thing. It has too many single points of failure.

    Somthing more like the SS1 has much better chances of failing, and still bringing you back.

    Im not personally against them, and I
    surely wish them good luck. But just look at the
    engine. Just the turbopump is more complex than SS1
    .
    Make no mistake, the few minutes after blast off, at low alt, are its Achilles heel.
  • would be fuelled by beer and back bacon.

    I wonder what kinda isp you could get outta that combination, eh? Mebbe you'd have to substitute summa da water wit hydrogen peroxide....

  • ...on winning the price ?
    Their sponsor [davinciproject.com] is all into gambling, and I am sure that they don't want to make us believe that you can't win with gambling...

    So let's play a little craps guys, bluf your way out, grab that one-armed bandit and cash that prize ! ...

  • The Golden Palace.com Space Program Powered by the da Vinci Project announced that it has revised its October 2nd planned flight to space in pursuit of the Ansari X PRIZE.

    Given that they changed the name of the project to flatter their new sponsor, I find their flight patch [davinciproject.com] graphic rather appropriate.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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