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Prisoner_Number_Six Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:02 AM
Original message
BBC NEWS: Private craft rockets into space
Private craft rockets into space

SpaceShipOne, the first private manned spacecraft, has blasted away from its carrier, White Knight, on the next part of its historic space journey.

The craft was carried to 50,000ft (15km) by White Knight for an hour, at which point it was unleashed. It fired its rockets to continue its trip.

The craft, built by aviation pioneer Burt Rutan, is aiming to reach 100km (62 miles), space's official boundary.

No private craft or civilian pilot has ever been further.

More at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3811881.stm


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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. So exciting!!!
My deepest congratulations to Burt Rutan and Michael Mellvile.......

If anyone can do it, I knew Burt could....

This is a historic moment.

I am thrilled.. :D

Heyo
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Jacobin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Burt Rutan is a genius
I love that guy.
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cspiguy Donating Member (679 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
13. why do I get the queezy feeling that
* and * 2004 team will use this to trash big government, wrap themselves around this real genius and hero, and end up with a big stinking ticker tape parade that ends up at the rose garden.

This is not good news.
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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #13
21. How you can drag politics into this....
Is beyond me......

I hope these guys down down in history in the same caliber as the Write Brothers did... when you are able to take a sub-orbital space flight in 10 or 20 years or so.. you can thank Burt Rutan for it..

How you can say this is bad news is beyond me..... I feel bad for you, that you see anything and everything everything through that political prizm....

Nothing about today's event says "politics"

That is counter to the spirit of the entire project.

Heyo
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Southsideirish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #21
40. Politics is in everything. Just wait - the conservatives will soon be
crowing about this guy and how "we don't need government to do everything." And it was the Wright brothers.
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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #40
48. I don't know.. (or care)...
....what conservatives or liberals will say...

but I fully agree agree with "we don't need government to do everything"

no matter who says it.

Heyo
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #13
22. I disagree
this is GREAT news. It could revolutionize travel someday, making the world "smaller" and help to bring about a true global nation.
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nodictators Donating Member (977 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #22
45. It's much ado about next to nothing
Besides, it was done my the military more than 40 years ago.

The rocket plane was carried to 50,000 feet AGL, and released. This doesn't seem like a way to "revolutionize travel."
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. Shortsighted
You sound like a former head of the US Patent Office..."Everything that will be invented, has been."
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Emperor_Norton_II Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #46
50. Accurate
The accomplishments of Scaled Composites have indeed been done before by the Air Force and NASA, 40 years ago.

Google up the long and glorious history of the X-15 for further information.
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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. That's exactly the point.....
"done before by the Air Force and NASA"

By the air force and NASA.....

Nobody is claiming this has never been done before..... it's that it has never been done by a non-governmental civilian agency before.

That is the acheivment...

Heyo
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meisje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #13
32. doom and gloom... the world is ending...
some here tend to cry and cry
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Ganja Ninja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
3. It's a start but ...
they haven't really achieved orbit or orbital speed. Thus no heat shield is required for re-entry into the atmosphere. Putting something into orbit will be the next big challenge.
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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #3
28. To all the people....
Who are complaining about the privitization and so called "commercialization" of space...

So you think that only the government's hand picked and military people should be allowed to go into space?

Do you think NASA is going to let you ride on one of their vehicles into space? Of course not. If that happens, it'll be a private company that does that.

You think that no private citicen should have the right to have access to space? Or do you think they should only be allowed to go if that have 20 million dollars to pay the Russions to go on a Soyuz?

I say, open up space to the rest of us... the government has had a monopoly on space expolration for too long....corporations will do it cheaper, I believe they will do it safer, I believe they will do it more efficiciently, since they have to be self sufficient not dependant on tax dollars.

I'm not saying the government shouldn't do space, I am a HUGE supporter of NASA. I believe they are best utilized for deep space and planetary exploration missions. The Spirit/Opportunity rovers and the Cassini mission, all very exciting stuff, all stuff I totally support.

But it's been since the sixties since man walked on the moon, and we haven't done much with manned spaceflight since then. I love NASA but it has gotten a bit stagnant, with the exception of MER and Cassini/Huygens.

It's time to give the rest of us a chance to get into LEO at least.

It's a good thing all the way around.

Heyo
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. Well said,
Look what commercialization of the air did for us.
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Ganja Ninja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #28
37. I'm not against the privatization/commercialization of space travel.
My only point is that this flight is a far cry from putting something in orbit. Doing that will likely be a lot more expensive and will remain beyond the reach of private citizens for at least another decade or more.
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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #37
47. Well......
Partially true... but it CAN and will be done.....

Orbital energy is far greater than what was acheived today.. but all you have to do is scale it up to carry enough fuel. (that may be oversimplifying a bit, but that basically it)

The hybrid fuel they used seems to work very well...

So you're right they have not yet reached orbital velocity.. but today is still a milestone, and the day will come when orbital velocity is acheived. I won't be surprised if Burt Rutan is the one who does it, too.

Heyo
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
4. now safely landed n/t
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dave29 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
5. Saw it on CNN
:) So good to see the Space race opening up.
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LibLabUK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
6. Hmm...
The commercialisation of space has begun...

To bastardise the words of Jim Henson..

"Corporations in Spaaaa-aaaaace!"
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. bingo!
One small step for private enterprise. One giant leap for corporations being what rules the world instead of national governments. We just took a high tech leap back into the feudal system.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Bingo, indeed.
Well said, havocmom. I don't welcome the privatization of space any more than I welcome its militarization.
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LibLabUK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #12
18. Hmm...
I read a lot of William Gibson as a teenager... I hope his stories remain fiction.
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Immad2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
7. Quite thrilling!!
The start of a whole new era in space! :thumbsup:
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
8. CNN this morning, I saw lots of military in the background
I watched part of the piece on CNN this morning, just as the main plane was taking off. It was interesting that there were people dressed in military uniforms in the background, like they were guarding the site. They seemed to be carrying weapons.

Which leads me to wonder if there isn't more to this than meets the eye. I recall that Howard Hughes had a ship built in the 1970's, the Glomar Explorer, that was supposed to be looking to mine mineral nodules from the ocean floor. At least, that is what the press claimed at the time, and there was substantial press. It turned out later that the real purpose of this vessel was to try to lift a sunken Russian nuclear sub from the ocean floor. The other story was a cover story, and the CIA and Hughes were working together.

http://www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/jennifer.htm

Anyhow, seeing the military in the background made me wonder about this mission. I don't know what the military's interest would be, but the phrase "hiding something in plain site" comes to mind, which is what the Glomar Explorer was up to.

They mentioned the cost being in the 20 to 50 million dollar range. It this technology does become available commercially (and prices would drop with commercialization) it would come comfortably within budget of a figure like Ossama Bin Laden. Alternatively, countries could purchase the technology and use it for a cheap ballistic warhead delivery vehicle. It is built to carry a payload of three humans, which would put it within the capability of a small nuclear weapon, I think. I don't know how well a craft of this type could be defended against. Perhaps that accounts for the apparent military personnel in the background - the military may want to ensure that the technology is within their capacity to track and intercept.
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LibLabUK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. I'd imagine...
A sub-orbital bomber would give the US military quite a strike capability. Cuts down the time it takes to reach any point on the globe.

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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Yeah, and a sub-orbital Carlisle bomber woud be even more fun
Corporatization of space will not be a good thing for the general population of planet earth. More spy satilites which have no constraints of laws by men. More debris falling back into the atmosphere, were some won't burn completely up.

How long before a big mylar sided billboard shows up to compete with the moon? I know there was talk of it ten years ago.

Oh, and let's not forget well funded terrorist. Yeah, the privatization of space is a grand idea, NOT.
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. You are exactly right N/T
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
23. Also, cuts out the problem of overflight of uncooperative countries
I think it does anyway. I recall during the Reagan era bombing of Libya, the French did not give permission to the U.S. or U.K. to overfly French territory, so the bombers had to go the long way around, avoiding French airspace. With sub-orbital flight, they could probably get around that problem by overflying the uncooperative country in space.
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jackstraw45 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #11
27. BINGO!
You hit the nail on the head.

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Emperor_Norton_II Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #11
30. Nah, not really.
ICBMs are cheaper than a manned bomber. Or even an unmanned bomber.

But don't let me interrupt your paranoia.
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. ICBMS
don't carry conventional weapons, unlike bombers. Therefore, ICBMs are not likely to be used in a conflict, unlike bombers.

Don't let me interrupt your ignorance of modern warfare.
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Emperor_Norton_II Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #31
34. Oh, of course.
Because, as we all know, there's a huge demand for low-payload, non-precision manned suborbital bombers.

In which case, the current crop of strike aircraft are already available.

(Oh, and as an aside, the Air Force toyed with the idea back in the 1960s. They abandoned it. Look up the Dyna-Soar program.)
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. The Air Force
is already looking to replace the B-2 which, BTW, drops precision bombs. Which Air Force bomber is "low-payload, non-precision?" Maybe you have not heard of JDAMs, the bomber weapon of choice? The point is, a suborbital bomber can get anywhere in the world in a manner of hours, drop several dozen precision SDBs, stay out of harm's way, and does not require overflight approval.

Yes, the Air Force toyed with the idea once before...looks like they will again.
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. And yet, the Air Force still has bombers
Given a choice, the military will always want both.
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #33
36. Especially since bombers are multi-functional
and ICBMS are not.
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Capt_Nemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #11
38. This thing does not have what is required for a sub-orbital bomber:
Edited on Mon Jun-21-04 12:00 PM by Capt_Nemo
speed and heat shield.

It flies at M3. To get a global range you need something that flies
at least at M12-M14 (anithing short of such range is not worth the
cost for already the existing technology spreads destruction with
utmost efficiency).

To reenter at such speeds this thing would need a heatshield.
Well the aerodinamic configuration of "spaceship one" with
that tilting wing would not be the thing I want for handling
the re-entry stress. The whole concept it's pretty much useless
for a sub-orbital bomber.

OTOH a craft like the EADS Phoenix project is much closer to what
a sub-orbital bomber would be like (still not fast enough for the
required range and without a sufficiently robust heatshield for such
job).

http://www.space.eads.net/web1/press/press_release.asp?...
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #38
39. You gotta crawl
before you can run...the military is very interested in this, and other technologies, that will LEAD to advanced weaponry.
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Capt_Nemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #39
41. problem is that other people all over the world are already
Edited on Mon Jun-21-04 12:02 PM by Capt_Nemo
working on concepts much closer to what would be a sub-orbital
bomber:

http://www.space.eads.net/web1/press/press_release.asp?...

Trying to make it out of Spaceship One's technology would make sure
that the USAF would be the last in that arms race (but it would
undoubtedly be the lightest and the one with most advanced materials!)

They could be looking at the concept for ideas, like the configuration
of the carrier craft, (the aerodynamics of the separation are tricky)
but other than that, I doubt it very much...
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. I'm not suggesting that they are
trying to make one OUT OF Spaceship One's technology. I'm suggested that they are very interested in ELEMENTS of Spaceship One's technology. That's all.

The USAF is rarely last in ANY arm's race.
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Capt_Nemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. Well then I do agree with you
And as I edited to insert the above post: If the USAF wants their
craft to be the lightest and the one with most advanced materials
they have to ask Burt Rutan to do it! ;-)
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. You're right again
He's a brilliant man.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
52. Wearing military uniforms does not make you military
I was on a walking trail and saw three people dressed in military-style cammo.

They were birders.
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #52
54. Possibly they weren't military
It is possible that they were paintball aficionados that just walked into the cameraman's shot.

They seemed to be armed, though, so if they weren't military they might have been private security. I don't see any shots like that on the CNN website, so one would have to watch a rerun of the pre-launch newscast to see them again.
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Prisoner_Number_Six Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
9. We should have colonies on Mars by now
Do you realize Man first walked on another world in 1969? That's 35 YEARS we've wasted screwing around in close earth orbit. I used to think Man had more on the ball than that!

It sucks sometimes, being an optimist...
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:43 AM
Response to Original message
15. Lots in the weekend papers about this..
http://www.xprize.org /

What is the ANSARI X PRIZE?

The ANSARI X PRIZE is a $10,000,000 prize to jumpstart the space tourism industry through competition between the most talented entrepreneurs and rocket experts in the world. The $10 Million cash prize will be awarded to the first team that:

* Privately finances, builds & launches a spaceship, able to carry three people to 100 kilometers (62.5 miles)
* Returns safely to Earth
* Repeats the launch with the same ship within 2 weeks

There's a bunch of teams working on this right now.

Sid
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Zech Marquis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
17. impressive!
way to go SpaceshipOne and Burt Rutan. I hope NASA is taking notes on how to do something RIGHT and SAFE the first time :bounce:
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. You mean the first shuttle launch
crashed and burned? It wasn't a success?
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LibLabUK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. Boy...
I remember watching the launch of Columbia all those years ago. I was about 6 and in hospital after surgery and my dad bought me a black and white portable TV specially to watch the launch.

It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen... The shuttle is one of my favourite machines... up there with Concordea and the Spitfire as one of the greatest publicly funded engineering acheivements.
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Redhead488 Donating Member (547 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. Mine too...
A great achievment...too bad we didn't progress from those early days.
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disinfo_guy Donating Member (171 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
19. Privatizing space is a really good idea
Round up all the CEOs and put them on a mission to Mars! :bounce:
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LibLabUK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #19
25. GAh!
How can you suggest polluting Mars in such a callous way!

:)
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LisaM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
49. Well I have a couple of questions about this
does it cause pollution and sonic booms?
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #49
53. Good questions
I think there is also concern about depletion of the ozone layer caused by combustion products from rockets or very high flying aircraft (i.e. in the stratosphere). If spaceflight did become routine via private companies this would most certainly be an issue to consider.
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