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Space Science

SpaceShipOne to Join Smithsonian Collection 82

iamlucky13 writes "After having inspired space enthusiasts around the world and possibly setting the stage for space tourism by winning the X-Prize a year ago, SpaceShipOne is on it's way to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. There it will join other historic craft such as Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis and Yeager's Glamorous Glennis. The exhibit will be unveiled on October 5th at a ceremony with Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites, the company that built SpaceShipOne, and Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder who funded the project."
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SpaceShipOne to Join Smithsonian Collection

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  • Does that mean Scaled Compisute gives away their currently only successful way to get to space? No SpaceShipTwo Prototype yet? Lost interest in space already?
    • On the contrary, I think that this will only fuel innovation even more. Having this amazing space ship available for viewing in public will help people to believe in space travel, also from a private, consumer perspective. Take an example, a young engineer student, studies its aerodynamic properties at the museum, and can then create new ideas and spur the development himself. I also take this as a sign that the Scaled Composites team has even more and better ships in their space fleet.
      • Speaking of fuel... It's pretty interesting how spaceship one was fueled. It's basically a mix of kerosene and chopped up old tires, but it does the job, and pretty darn well. Another ingenious thing about SS1 is the reentry mechanism. Rather than weighting the craft down with thousands of custom made thermal tiles (like NASA does), it instead raises its wings vertical, which gives a lot of drag on reentry. Essentially, this slows the craft down so quickly that you don't have to worry about it overheat
        • Note, SS1 didn't reach orbital speeds (17,500 mph) and thus didn't undergo the tempratures due to reentry that Shuttle and other orbital reentry vehicles go through.

          It's not that they out smarted NASA, they aren't doing near as much as Shuttle does in terms of speed and reentry.

          When they go to an orbital vehicle then they'll have to deal with that level of speed and temp.
          • SS1 isn't the Shuttle. It's Mercury.

            The important thing is that it's a Mercury program that will be able to survive on profits from the free market, not subject to the whims of some political hacks. This is sustainable, and will continue and be built upon no matter what fools take control of NASA's purse strings.
  • And, considering my birthday is October 5, 1969, the addition to the Smithsonian is doubly appreciated.
    • Wouldn't Oct 4th be a more appropriate day, being the anniversary of the first man made object (sputnik) in space.
      • sputnik (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @06:23AM (#13692413)
        Sputnik was not the first man-made object in space. If the boundary between the atmosphere and space is defined as 100 km altitude, then the V-2 beat Sputnik there.

        Sputnik's real claim to fame is that it was Earth's first artificial satellite.

        Well, that, and also the fact that at it gave red-blooded Americans the heebie-jeebies to have a sinister Soviet satellite beaming out Communist radio signals while whizzing over your head fifteen times a day.
      • That would be promoting a time when a foreign power out-showed America. As a group, Americans don't like to be reminded of such times.
  • What??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FlipSideXp ( 692564 ) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @05:15AM (#13692303)
    How does this affect the star trek timeline? I just don't get it??
  • There will be more (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcraig ( 757818 ) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @06:31AM (#13692429)

    It's not like they've thrown away the blueprints and with all the extra money from Virgin their going to be able to quickly fabricate many more with all the kinks from SpaceShipOne worked out, after all it is a prototype albeit a very good one. I can't wait to see the new version they make that comes with cup holders and leather trim interior.

    Besides they probably felt they had a good chunk of flight data to analyze and could further refine the engine on the ground, traded against the risk of pushing it further to the limits and losing the ship and possibly pilot, at which point everyone would berate them for destroying a piece of history. Nope sounds like they made the right call to me.
  • Virgin Galactic (Score:5, Informative)

    by tm2b ( 42473 ) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @06:31AM (#13692430) Journal
    To the people asking about the reusability of a craft that's being put on display...

    SpaceShip One was the testing prototype. The production models are already being built, for Virgin Galactic [].

    Yeah, that's right. A real company, run by someone who owns a real world-wide airline, will be using these babies for (near-) space tourism.
    • But everyone who's seen Evangelion knows that the test type is better than the production version!
  • Great car (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kaorimoch ( 858523 ) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @06:45AM (#13692470) Journal
    Sounds like a great idea. I can see myself flying to work one day in one of these babies. I can also see myself getting arrested when I land for violating airspace.
  • by chopkins1 ( 321043 ) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:27AM (#13692541)
    This is actually an old story. It had been reported earlier in the year that this was going to occur.

    The SS1 Prototype has actually been at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Annex (Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum (UHASM)) in Dulles, VA since late July / early August awaiting transfer to the downtown Washington, DC center.

    For those who would have wanted to see it there, while it was not on active display, it was there at the west end of the building under a great big blue tarp. They had it under the tarp because the director of the UHASM did not want to allow it on display because he "did not want to upstage the downtown facility's unveiling". For what it's worth, since it was there (and its not hard to recognize it under the tarp), I thought that it would not have hurt to have been not on active display but out from under the tarp and just have a temporary placard stating "Awaiting transfer to downtown facility for official showing".

    Link to Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Homepage: []

    Link to Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: []
  • It's already there (Score:4, Informative)

    by uniq ( 109504 ) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:37AM (#13692565) Homepage
    I took my 4.5 year-olds on their first visit to Air & Space when we happened to be
    near Washington last weekend. SpaceShipOne was hanging in the main entrance hall,
    but it was under wraps. The shape is distinctive, but I was disappointed that we
    couldn't actually see it.
    • I'm just glad to see that the musuems are finally getting some new stuff. I probably go in every 5-7 years since I'm only a half hour or so outside of the city, and for the most part the content is static and nothing really changes.

      I'd say the best trip (most interesting) to DC I ever took was when I went to the House to watch the impeachment proceedings for Clinton. They used to allow anyone into the upper deck seating above the house with a pass from your congressman. I don't think they still do that a
      • Yeah, that was cool. I've done that. (It was really easy to get a pass from your Congressman. Basically, just find his office, tell his people you're from his state, and, tada, pass to the house.)

        The only odd thing was the rule against reading. Huh? No reading while sitting in the house?

  • SpaceShipOne is on it's way to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. There it will join other historic craft such as Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis and Yeager's Glamorous Glennis.

    I am planning a group trip to the Smithsonian to visit this incredibly innovative machine of the 21st century. As I'm sure you know, the noble genius of Burt Rutan has once again improved the American way of life by developing this impressive ship. Soon we will all be traveling to space, and we'll remem
  • The sentence "SpaceShipOne is on it's way to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC." seems a bit inaccurate. A friend of mine who was there a week or so ago said that SpaceShipOne is already there, albeit under a tarp. Doent's seem like there is much traveling left for her to do. Naturally, a throng of people (including my friend) were there looking at the tarp, and probably taking pictures too to show to their kiddies/grandkiddies.
  • I want to say thank you to Paul Allen for the funding first.

    I want to say thank you again for donating the ship to the Smithsonian. For those who don't know, Paul Allen has his own recently-opened Sci-Fi museum in Seattle. It would be very tempting to not give SSOne to the Smithsonian, instead to give it to his museum and loan it to the Smithsonian (so it would mention his museum on the plaque and he could bring it back from time to time) or to exhibit it at his own museum for a while to generate traffic/mo
  • Its not on its way, its been there for three weeks already. Its sitting under a blue tarp near the Navy exhibit at the far end of the museum. They got pretty torqued when I lifted the tarp up and checked it out....
  • I know Voyager is already there, and now SS1. Are any more of his planes at the Smithsonian? GlobalFlyer?
  • I was in D.C. two weeks ago and took pictures of myself and my wife next to it. It's in the aviation wing of Air & Space, at the end, covered with a not-so-opaque blue tarp.

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