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Space Transportation Science

Designing the World's Tiniest Manned Suborbital Vehicle 153

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the more-fun-than-a-roller-coaster dept.
cylonlover writes, quoting Gizmag: "Generally speaking, companies developing suborbital manned vehicles brag about how much elbow room their spacecraft will provide passengers. They say there will be plenty of room to float around during the weightless portion of the flight, that there will be no fighting for windows, that passengers will comfortably endure the high-g portions of the flight ... and then there's Copenhagen Suborbitals' Tycho Brahe. CS's Tycho Brahe is a one-passenger capsule intended for a purely ballistic flight to a peak altitude approaching 100 miles. The passenger is just along for the ride, with no mechanism to steer or otherwise pilot the capsule."
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Designing the World's Tiniest Manned Suborbital Vehicle

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  • by icebike (68054) * on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @12:31PM (#40078293)

    Looks so small you haven't even got room to put you hands up to cover your eyes, let alone wipe your breakfast off the glass.
    One can only hope the canopy is made of Peril Sensitive glass [hhgproject.org], and you get the option of editing any inflight videos so your friends don't get to see you screaming like a schoolgirl.
    I hope they subcontract with Depends, because you know someone's going to need them, especially since the parachute is at the bottom, and the final descent should be sufficiently terrifying that you wouldn't want anything else floating around your screaming mouth.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @12:33PM (#40078335)

    One can only hope that the next one will be named "John Gabriel".

    • by tinkerton (199273)

      The next one will be called the 60 mile high club. It will be a bit wider and have room for two people.

  • "ballistic" (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tifer (2644417) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @12:36PM (#40078361)
    I think I'd be too caught up with the "human projectile" aspect of the flight to ride this myself. Science!
  • an average adult male build and a weight of 70 kg (154 lbs)

    Americans need not apply. This is "SMART CAR" sized not "SUV" sized.

    • by icebike (68054) *

      The smart car has better engineering.

      • by vlm (69642)

        But much poorer vertical acceleration. Possibly lower range per fuel tank too. Its an apples and oranges thing. "Better" also needs some clarification.

        Remember that aerospace works under the opposite optimization scheme from cars and consumer goods. Simplify and add lightness, that sort of thing. From a design standpoint they are not directly comparable.

        • by bkmoore (1910118)

          But much poorer vertical acceleration....

          But with the right rocket motor and maybe a good kicker-ramp, the Smart car would have excellent vertical acceleration.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Also just about anyone who works out on a regular basis.

      Just because someone is heavy, that doesn't mean that they are fat.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        You are honestly going to claim more people are on the high end of the weight scale because they exercise so much?

        • You are honestly going to claim more people are on the high end of the weight scale because they exercise so much?

          71kg+ is too much for this rocket.

          But 71kg+ isn't especially heavy as humans go - I'm 188 cm tall, and haven't massed as little as 70 kg in close to 40 years.

          And no, I'm not overweight as such things are measured these days....

        • by Jeng (926980)

          No, but it is a significant amount of the population.

          I haven't weighed less than 160 lbs since sophomore year of high school. I've never been described as fat, most people guess my weight around 20-35 lbs less than I actually weigh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BradleyUffner (103496)

      an average adult male build and a weight of 70 kg (154 lbs)

      Americans need not apply. This is "SMART CAR" sized not "SUV" sized.

      That's "average"? Last time I had a physical my doctor said I was UNDER weight at 165lbs. Maybe the average weight of an adult male midget.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        How tall are you?
        At 5' 7" I am not a midget and I go under 154lbs. I would say I am on the short side of average, but not outside the normal high range for a White male.

        In short, you sound fat.

      • by hackula (2596247)
        You are correct. The average american male weighs around 190lbs. It was around 165lbs in the 1920s, but that ship has sailed.
    • by berashith (222128)

      average for where ? I am not fat, but at my height I will not be able to get down to this weight. I am also not that tall compared to some northern European or Nordic men.

      I have no worries about the weight limit though, as there is no way in hell that I would ride on this. I can imagine even best case scenario that you get to orbit facing the wrong way, and get a view of nothing. Or, the thing spins like crazy and you get to see the earth roll past about 3 times a second. Then the inverted descent for long

      • I can imagine even best case scenario that you get to orbit facing the wrong way, and get a view of nothing.

        Best case scenario?

        It's SUBORBITAL - there's no way in hell it'll ever get into orbit, and if it did, there's no way in hell it would be able to survive reentry.

        • by berashith (222128)

          sorry... i meant altitude, not orbit...

          screw the semantics, if you go up really high to get a view that few people have, but have no room to turn and actually take in the view, it would suck if the capsule was facing the wrong way.

          • screw the semantics, if you go up really high to get a view that few people have, but have no room to turn and actually take in the view, it would suck if the capsule was facing the wrong way.

            True enough.

            Frankly, I'm claustrophobic enough that being inside something that size would be enough to keep me from enjoying the view, even assuming I were facing the right direction.

    • that's not how you determine if someone is overweight. this is: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/ [bmi-calculator.net]

      a lot of people weigh more than 154lbs and are perfectly healthy. you compare their weight against their height and adjust for gender. if you're a male 6 feet tall or more then you are underweight at 154lbs.
  • Sounds like you're just riding a bomb.

    • If someone wants to go sub-orbital or into orbit, "riding a bomb" is the only way to get there. When it comes down to it, it's just a controlled explosion, no matter which rocket on the market you pick.
    • by k6mfw (1182893)

      Sounds like you're just riding a bomb.

      unfortunately cannot ride this thing on outside like in the movie. however, changing subject here, build a mock H-bomb (maybe something like this http://frogstorm.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/The-Mk15-Hydrogen-Bomb.jpg [frogstorm.com]), take it to a skydiving center that has a Caribou (jumpship with large rear door). Obviously you need to be experienced skydiver, ride the bomb out the back followed by a videographer. Wave a cowboy hat while in freefall. Add proper soundtrack to video when done.

  • ...to quote Gordon Cooper [wikipedia.org].
  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @12:41PM (#40078437)

    "The passenger is just along for the ride, with no mechanism to steer or otherwise pilot the capsule."

    For here
      Am I sitting in a tin can
      Far above the world
      Planet Earth is blue
      And there's nothing I can do

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @12:43PM (#40078461) Homepage

    From the web site, about an unmanned test flight last year:

    Due to trajectory anomaly the spacecraft was separated and the parachutes had to be deployed during great speed in order to save it. The parachutes were not able to deploy correctly due to the speed but even with a "knot" of parachutes we had a low enough impact on water to recover Tycho Brahe as one piece.

    I think I'll wait until a few more "successful" test flights have been performed.

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      I wish I had mod points, because this is the funniest comment I have read in weeks!
    • Indeed. In addition, and making allowances for the fact that the website copy was probably written in a second language, I have little faith in an organisation which has trouble with degress (degrees), parachtues (parachutes) and minuttes (minutes). (Yes, I'm sure I've made my own mistakes in this very post, but I'm not offering to put humans into space).
      • by amorsen (7485)

        but I'm not offering to put humans into space

        They aren't either -- offering, that is. Peter Madsen is the only one going; although perhaps eventually others in the core team may get to try too. If you get to go, it will be because you have been part of building it, and in that case you have an intimate insight into the risks involved.

    • I don't care for underground railways and caving is my idea of Hell. If I'm going to die, I'd rather do it in the open air, thank you. Perhaps irrationally I don't get claustrophobic in sailplanes, which are hardly very big inside. This vehicle has achieved something I thought impossible: it travels through the air and it makes me feel claustrophobic just looking at the picture.
    • by jheath314 (916607)

      Go ahead and wait, while those who are more adventurous get to live on the edge and pursue their dreams. By the time the nice, safe, comfortable version of civilian space-flight gets rolled out by some mega-corporation, a good portion of the excitement and romance will be gone. There's a reason why the names Wilbur Wright, Chuck Yeager, Yuri Gagarin, and Neil Armstrong are remembered, while no-one will remember my name despite flying multiple times on commercial aircraft.

      Don't get me wrong... I like my sa

    • ...and soon the DoD will be funding this project as a way to deliver our best trained special forces to anywhere in the world using human ballistic missile technology. Forget the nukes. They're too messy.

  • It looks very much like a drop pod. It could be straight from this ODST ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzkL-vg8MHE [youtube.com].
  • From TFA:

    Due to trajectory anomaly the spacecraft was separated and the parachutes had to be deployed during great speed in order to save it. The parachutes were not able to deploy correctly due to the speed but even with a "knot" of parachutes we had a low enough impact on water to recover Tycho Brahe as one piece.

    No mention of how badly beat up the dummy was. it did not give me confidence

    • by berashith (222128)

      spacecraft are expensive, and people can heal. Get you priorities straight. If the person cannot heal, there are plenty more where that one came from.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Footnote:

      The interior of the capsule only needed to be hosed out with a soapy water solution and ready for the next passenger...

  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @12:45PM (#40078509) Homepage
    .. after the largest crater on the moon.
    • Worse. Named after an astronomer who made very accurate observations but whose celestial mechanics were comprehensively wrong (he thought that the sun with all the planets orbited the Earth.) Do you want to travel in a space vehicle named after someone who got space wrong?
      • Worse. Named after an astronomer who made very accurate observations but whose celestial mechanics were comprehensively wrong (he thought that the sun with all the planets orbited the Earth.) Do you want to travel in a space vehicle named after someone who got space wrong?

        Don't be too hard on Tycho Brahe. He was no more "wrong" than Ptolemy, and both of them made important contributions.

        Arguably, if your objective is to predict where the planets will be at a certain time, neither of their models is "wrong." It's just that the Copernican model is much simpler and more elegant, and therefore more persuasive in the sense of Occam's Razor.

        Tycho knew that his model was not popular, and pleaded with his colleague Johannes Kepler to give it some consideration. Like many great me

        • It was meant to be a humorous observation. I am well aware that from a purely geometric point of view it makes no difference at all where in the Solar System you take as the reference point. However, there is the awkward matter of why the laws of motion apply. Once we add in the gravitational equation, it is obvious that the centre of the Solar System is a point around which the Sun itself wobbles as the planets move in their orbits.

          The problem with Brahe's interpretation was that it made no sense at all. T

  • Needs room for some way to soak up the urine that will pool at the bottom there.
    • by Jeng (926980)

      Perhaps they'll purchase some of NASA's adult diaper technology.

  • one-passenger capsule intended for a purely ballistic flight

    So, how does one handle landing with that purely ballistic flight? Wouldn't this just be a crater on impact?

    I think this got summed up nicely in Armageddon ...

    Rockhound: Yeah, I remember this one. Its where the, uh, the coyote
    sat his ass down in a slingshot then he strapped himself to an Acme
    rocket. Is that - is that what were doin here?
    Harry Stamper: [under his breath] Rockhound.
    Rockhound: No, no, really, because it

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I would figure it would be a water landing. So you get the pleasure of being a buoy bouncing around in the ocean until you get picked up.

  • If upon reentry you scream.... "BANSAI!!!!!!!"

  • by PPH (736903)

    Circus cannon. Just add more gunpowder.

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:48PM (#40079185)

    Looking at the drawing I can't help but wonder what that "Aero Spike" will feel like as it drives into my skull.

    • Looking at the drawing I can't help but wonder what that "Aero Spike" will feel like as it drives into my skull.

      The lawyers thought the term "Catastrophic Failure Euthanasia Device" might put people off.

  • by Fned (43219)
  • This rocket resembles the Kaiten [wikipedia.org] suicide torpedo.
  • I didn't think so. I want a full whirl or I'm not interested.

  • by isorox (205688)

    With the right range, I'd be happy cooped up in one of these for 30 minutes -- more room than on the tube.

    Now Concorde's gone, the 7 hour trip to New York is a right pain. Something like this would let me leave home in the UK at midday, arrive in NY for breakfast and a full day ahead, leave NY at 6PM and be home before 1AM.

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