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Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:03 PM

Branson has developed access to space without the need for a heavy lift vehicle...

...that's a technology jump. The trips he'll get people to pay for will help develop large vehicles that can go higher and carry more.

63 replies, 1842 views

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Reply Branson has developed access to space without the need for a heavy lift vehicle... (Original post)
brooklynite Jul 12 OP
The Magistrate Jul 12 #1
hatrack Jul 12 #3
dalton99a Jul 12 #4
Happy Hoosier Jul 13 #43
MerryHolidays Jul 13 #44
Happy Hoosier Jul 13 #45
The Magistrate Jul 13 #54
Silent3 Jul 12 #2
MerryHolidays Jul 12 #5
Silent3 Jul 12 #9
MerryHolidays Jul 12 #15
Happy Hoosier Jul 13 #46
MerryHolidays Jul 13 #50
MineralMan Jul 13 #40
Silent3 Jul 13 #58
MineralMan Jul 13 #59
muriel_volestrangler Jul 13 #60
RandiFan1290 Jul 12 #6
spanone Jul 12 #7
RockRaven Jul 12 #8
SoonerPride Jul 12 #10
Happy Hoosier Jul 13 #47
cbdo2007 Jul 12 #11
brooklynite Jul 12 #12
MerryHolidays Jul 12 #19
brooklynite Jul 12 #20
MerryHolidays Jul 12 #22
brooklynite Jul 12 #24
MerryHolidays Jul 12 #25
muriel_volestrangler Jul 13 #38
The Magistrate Jul 13 #63
Wounded Bear Jul 12 #13
brooklynite Jul 12 #14
Wounded Bear Jul 12 #16
brooklynite Jul 12 #21
Wounded Bear Jul 13 #29
Happy Hoosier Jul 13 #48
GulfCoast66 Jul 12 #18
brooklynite Jul 12 #23
GulfCoast66 Jul 12 #26
MerryHolidays Jul 12 #28
muriel_volestrangler Jul 13 #62
Happy Hoosier Jul 13 #49
greenjar_01 Jul 12 #17
brooklynite Jul 12 #27
Wounded Bear Jul 13 #30
muriel_volestrangler Jul 13 #32
muriel_volestrangler Jul 13 #31
pwb Jul 13 #33
DFW Jul 13 #35
pwb Jul 13 #36
DFW Jul 13 #39
MerryHolidays Jul 13 #42
DFW Jul 13 #52
MerryHolidays Jul 13 #41
DFW Jul 13 #51
MerryHolidays Jul 13 #53
DFW Jul 13 #55
MerryHolidays Jul 13 #57
DFW Jul 13 #61
DFW Jul 13 #34
Act_of_Reparation Jul 13 #37
Caliman73 Jul 13 #56

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:07 PM

1. He Has Put Together A 'Limo' X-15, Sir

Hardly a breakthrough....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:11 PM

3. Branson 7/11/21 - 82.2 kilometers; X-15 91 8/22/63 - 107.9 kilometers

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-57797297

X-15 Flight 91 was an August 22, 1963 American crewed mission, and the second and final flight in the program to achieve sub-orbital spaceflight—a flight over 100 km in altitude—which was previously achieved during Flight 90 a month earlier by the same pilot, Joseph A. Walker. It was the highest flight of the X-15 program.

Flight 91 was the first flight of a reused spacecraft, as Walker had also flown plane number three on the previous sub-orbital spaceflight on July 19. The air-launch of Flight 91 occurring from a modified Boeing B-52 Stratofortress support plane over Smith Ranch Dry Lake, Nevada, United States. Walker piloted the X-15 to an altitude of 107.96 km and remained weightless for approximately five minutes. The altitude was the highest crewed flight by a spaceplane to that time, and remained the record until the 1981 flight of Space Shuttle Columbia.

Walker landed the X-15 about 12 minutes after it was launched, at Rogers Dry Lake, Edwards Airforce Base, in California. This was Walker's final X-15 flight.

EDIT

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-15_Flight_91

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:24 PM

4. +1

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 12:40 PM

43. As someone who works in aerospace, I beg to differ.

There are many differences between the X-15 and Spaceship Two, the most important of which is the pressurized cabin suitable for a shirtsleeves instead of a pressure suit.

Spaceship Two is, of course, intended as the first step in practical sub-orbital transportation. X-15 was strictly a research effort.

The fact that it was developed privately is a big deal as well. It's one thing to develop a suborbital capability with all teh resources of the U.S. Government behind you. It's another to do it without that.

I know a lot of people want to poo-poo this effort. But the efforts of Space-X, Virgin Galactic (and maybe eventually Blue Origin) really are game changers for making space cheaper, more efficient and safer to access.

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Response to Happy Hoosier (Reply #43)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 12:44 PM

44. Thanks for that!

It's good to have an industry perspective.

Do you know what kind of taxes these passengers and companies will pay? How is damage to the environment, use of ATC, space debris handled domestically and internationally. I really don't know, so I am asking with genuine curiosity.

I am all in favor of advances in space exploration. But when NASA did it, it benefited the USA. Will these flights benefit Americans?

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #44)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 12:55 PM

45. ...

I don't anything about the tax issues... I would assume that there are the usual corporate taxes.

The FAA would require certifications and there are costs associated with those, and some fees required for flight planning (so-called "overflight fees". In addition, most airports have fees associated with departures and arrivals.

Since this launch used the mothership, it is unlikely they had to have the same kind of no-fly zones as typically required for sounding rockets or satellite launches. This launch did not produce any permanent space debris, so no issues there. Both Space X and Blue origin intend to have reusable launchers, as well, though I think both may have second stage elements they jettison in orbit. Those are usually designed to fall back into the atmosphere and burn up on re-entry.

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Response to Happy Hoosier (Reply #43)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:34 PM

54. Don't Try And Teach Grandma To Suck Eggs, Sir

I am well aware the device is an advance on the older machine. I presume you recognize the 'limo' reference, that in the very earliest days of powered flight there were occasionally machines produced with enclosed, glazed cabins intended as passenger accommodation. They were one-offs, displayed as prestige products at pre-war aviation fairs, and were often referred to as 'limousines'. Here are a couple of quickly snatched up pictures of Etrich's taube limo, one of my favorites on this line.





On the occasions these were flown, they were certainly more comfortable for a passenger. Indeed, you could fly in shirt-sleeves and even a top-hat, if so inclined.

It is unclear to me what your point in denigrating the X-15 as a mere 'research project' is. Nor do I see any great magic in private versus public monies paying for a project. Public monies founded the aerospace industry and produced the body of knowledge on which anything done on that line today is based. This, again, goes all the way back to the earliest days of powered flight. Even before the Great War, this was so. Governments deliberately fostered aviation manufacturers, and military contracts fed capital into their enterprises.

Mr. Branson has achieved sub-orbital flight, with a device borne aloft by an aeroplane. That was done some sixty years ago. A certain family resemblance can be discerned. Whether the one is the ancestral form, or this is a case of convergent evolution, I cannot say. But the distance between them is not nearly so far as that between a Vickers Vimy and a B-29.

Having been informed as a youth that by 1975 people would vacation on the moon, you may forgive how little I am moved by the prospects you spread before me of future developments to flow from this thrill ride.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:10 PM

2. It's good to see someone posting here with something other than the knee-jerk...

...anti-space tech BS we've been getting, as if this technology stands in the way of, or sucks too many resources away from, other important things we obviously need to do in this world, which actually aren't mutually exclusive.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:26 PM

5. This was done by the US in 1961

And see the other post about "space planes."

What precisely was so novel about this except that Sir Richard is going to be charging $250,000 per passenger? Perhaps that's it: NASA didn't charge its passengers.

I wonder how many planes had to change course, how many air traffic controllers had to observe, how much in the way of poisonous and other harmful gases were emitted. And what is the US's benefit? Nada, AFAIK.

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:47 PM

9. Those were much more primitive vehicles

Only in very crude, broad-brush terms is what Branson is doing alike.

What was done in 1961 wasn't designed for re-usability, fast-turnaround time, lift capacity... or a great deal of safety either.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:19 PM

15. It was done 60 years ago...by definition it was crude. Back then it was cutting edge.

and NASA technology has been and remains the world leader in space exploration. Remember that so many of the great moments in US space history was a joint effort by NASA and private contractors like Boeing etc.

I fail to see how charging folks $250,000 for a joyride benefits anyone except those who can pay and those who are paid. In the meanwhile key issues of pollution, aviation safety and air traffic control, space debris etc are the results which we, as taxpayers, will fund.

Perhaps if this is heavily regulated and large taxes are imposed to cover the damage to the earth and its people, maybe this is ok. But they shouldn't literally and figuratively be allowed to give free rides at the expense of US taxpayers.

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #15)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 12:58 PM

46. As I discussed in another reply to you...

The impact on infrastructure is very slight. There are some emissions, of course, but that is insignificant to other contributors. The really big plus here is the pressurized passenger cabin. And potentially, how quickly they can turn around the vehicle for another flight. I guarantee you that other scientists and engineers are watching what they did VERY carefully with the intention of one-upping them. That's how technological advancement works.

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Response to Happy Hoosier (Reply #46)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:10 PM

50. No issue at all with advancement

I just want to make sure that things like environmental issues (both earth and space) are regulated so that polluters of all sorts are held accountable. I appreciate VG is sub-orbital, but I hear so much about space junk etc., I am just wondering who is going to clean that up.

By way of example, Space X launching a Tesla into space was a bit much and totally unnecessary, unless you're a shareholder of one of the companies involved. That served no purpose at all except for that company.

At least with the NASA-prime contractor relations with companies like Boeing, etc that was the essence of the success of the Apollo program etc, you had government involvement and a clear benefit to the US etc.

We have fouled up this earth so badly, I think it is a horrible idea to let governments and for-profit private companies foul-up space without regulation.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 12:06 PM

40. And yet, the results are the same, really.

Sub-orbital flight. We've been there and done that. Let's see something new, OK?

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #40)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 02:29 PM

58. Sub-orbital flight with so much more safety, re-usability, greater payload, etc.

... is not "the results are the same, really". That tech should help pave the way for cheaper, safer orbital flight too, and who knows what other innovations.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #58)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 02:45 PM

59. I can't see where the big deal is, though.

It's still just a brief sub-orbital flight. You get a few minutes of weightlessness. I got that in a plane once when I was in the USAF. I was up for an airborne position as a 20331. We got to take lots of tests, and one included a parabolic flight that simulated weightlessness for a short time. I was never assigned to a plane, though, and ended up in Turkey to use my Russian language training.

Elon Musk is way ahead in all of this. Virgin is an airline company. It may, and I emphasize "may," offer some "edge of space" flights for people who can afford them. I don't know if what's-his-name's ambitions go much beyond that, though.

So, the bottom line is that half a dozen people got a brief flight that almost went out of the atmosphere, but not quite. The craft they were in was not designed for orbital operations, and depended on gravity and atmospheric sources for its control mechanisms. It was a very high-flying rocket plane. 1961 reimagined a little. the X1 reimagined a little. That's all it was, which is exciting enough for tourists, I suppose, at least for now.

I'm not greatly impressed, though.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 03:41 PM

60. The 'much more primitive' vehicle reached 4,500 mph and 350,000 ft

Branson's vehicle reaches 2,500 mph and 300,000 ft.

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/multimedia/imagegallery/X-15/X-15_proj_desc.html

It was designed for reusability. Turnaround time could be under 2 weeks. Admittedly, not designed for safety, but Branson isn't perfect in that area either.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:29 PM

6. These tourist trips are not going into orbit, yet

That takes much more power.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:35 PM

7. X-15 flew into space w/o HLV

The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond

the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6.




https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/north-american-x-15/nasm_A19690360000

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:35 PM

8. Meh. Suborbital flight. Max velocity of 3000 mph from what I read.

That's a far cry from the 17000 mph of the ISS (or other low earth orbit things) or the 25000 mph of Earth's escape velocity.

In some ways he's closer to Chuck Yeager's X-1 than he is to sustained spaceflight.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:53 PM

10. Access to space ? Not exactly.

Limited access to weightlessness, yes.

But his little joy ride can’t get to actual space.

It doesn’t have the power to reach orbit or escape earth’s gravity.

It does nothing but give rich folks a thrill.

Which is fine I guess. But I’d rather just take that money from them as taxes and spend it one the greater good.

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Response to SoonerPride (Reply #10)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:02 PM

47. AS a practical matter...

Spaceship Two is at best a chance for very rich people to go to space, and for Branson to defray some development expenses on the way to his NEXT vehicle, which could be a full blown orbital vehicle, or perhaps a suborbital transport. LA to London in less than hour would appeal to some, if the costs could come down.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 09:57 PM

11. Thats because he isn't leaving the atmosphere...

They are going to very low "space" which doesn't require heavy lift for tourism/publicity. They are NOT developing actual space vehicles like Space X is. SpaceX is doing thr major technological breakthroughs in this space.

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Response to cbdo2007 (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:00 PM

12. Yes they are...

They are exceeding the US measure of space. You can argue whether the trip is "worth it" or not, but that will be a question for prospective customers to decide (If the cost became more reasonable -- as it likely will in time -- I would definitely consider going)

How many people do you think said "10 feet off the ground?" to the Wright Brothers?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:34 PM

19. It should also be taxed/regulated to benefit the US

I have no idea how much pollution yesterday's flight unleashed, but I surely hope Branson's company is accountable for that. How many flights were diverted from the area yesterday to let Sir Richard have his joyride and for his paying customers in the future for their personal fun? AFAIK, there's no benefit to US taxpayers.

Charge these companies and their passengers a steep federal tax, much like Disney, Six Flags, or Universal Studios have to charge for customers coming to their theme parks. That all this is: a very cool Space Mountain ride

For Space X, I think it is grotesque that a Tesla Roadster was in orbit around the earth and Mars and now is junking up space. How did US taxpayers benefit from that?

We've polluted and damaged this earth so much. I hope companies will not be allowed to do that in space or near-space without serious consequences, responsibility, and oversight.

If there are folks with knowledge about the accountability that private companies have under US space law and international space treaties, perhaps these issues have already been addressed. Apologies in advance if there is.

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #19)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:38 PM

20. Do you have evidence that Virgin Galactic doesn't pay corporate taxes?

Richard Branson's personal fortune isn't the issue, as he's a citizen of Great Britain.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:41 PM

22. Do you have evidence that it does? That's why I asked the question in my post.

I couldn't care less what country Sir Richard is a citizen of (the Sir kinda' gives it away, though).

I am specifically talking about his company and the fare-paying passengers who will be on the launches from and overflights over the US. They are the ones who are using the resources of the US and the earth.

I take it neither of us knows?

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #22)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:43 PM

24. Virgin Galactic is a publicly traded company (SPCE).

I'm willing to bet that they report tax payments to their shareholders.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:46 PM

25. Oh, and I'm not taking about corporate taxes

I am talking about a sales/use tax for the passengers, much like airline passengers (or perhaps, more accurately, theme park patrons) pay.

In addition, corporate taxes don't take of the damage to the environment from rocket fuels/exhaust etc. I am not sure how carbon credits work for Virgin Galactic. That needs to be an additional charge.

I sure don't want my tax money paying for amusement park rides.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #12)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:17 AM

38. The Wright brothers were not a big thing for some years

The Wrights sent a telegram about the flights to their father, requesting that he "inform press".[37] However, the Dayton Journal refused to publish the story, saying the flights were too short to be important. Meanwhile, against the brothers' wishes, a telegraph operator leaked their message to a Virginia newspaper, which concocted a highly inaccurate news article that was reprinted the next day in several newspapers elsewhere, including Dayton.[45](pp271–272)[69]

The Wrights issued their own factual statement to the press in January.[45](p274) Nevertheless, the flights did not create public excitement – if people even knew about them – and the news soon faded.[citation needed] In Paris, however, Aero Club of France members, already stimulated by Chanute's reports of Wright gliding successes, took the news more seriously and increased their efforts to catch up to the brothers.[70]

An analysis in 1985 by Professor Fred E.C. Culick and Henry R. Jex demonstrated that the 1903 Wright Flyer was so unstable as to be almost unmanageable by anyone but the Wrights, who had trained themselves in the 1902 glider.[71] In a recreation attempt on the event's 100th anniversary on December 17, 2003, Kevin Kochersberger, piloting an exact replica, failed in his effort to match the success that the Wright brothers had achieved with their piloting skill.[72]
...
They invited reporters to their first flight attempt of the year on May 23, on the condition that no photographs be taken. Engine troubles and slack winds prevented any flying, and they could manage only a very short hop a few days later with fewer reporters present. Library of Congress historian Fred Howard noted some speculation that the brothers may have intentionally failed to fly in order to cause reporters to lose interest in their experiments. Whether that is true is not known, but after their poor showing local newspapers virtually ignored them for the next year and a half.[73]
...
The only photos of the flights of 1904–1905 were taken by the brothers. (A few photos were damaged in the Great Dayton Flood of 1913, but most survived intact.) In 1904 Ohio beekeeping businessman Amos Root, a technology enthusiast, saw a few flights including the first circle. Articles he wrote for his beekeeping magazine were the only published eyewitness reports of the Huffman Prairie flights, except for the unimpressive early hop local newsmen saw. Root offered a report to Scientific American magazine, but the editor turned it down. As a result, the news was not widely known outside Ohio, and was often met with skepticism. The Paris edition of the Herald Tribune headlined a 1906 article on the Wrights "Flyers or liars?".
...
In 1906 skeptics in the European aviation community had converted the press to an anti-Wright brothers stance. European newspapers, especially those in France, were openly derisive, calling them bluffeurs (bluffers).[84] Ernest Archdeacon, founder of the Aéro-Club de France, was publicly scornful of the brothers' claims in spite of published reports; specifically, he wrote several articles and, in 1906, stated that "the French would make the first public demonstration of powered flight".[85] The Paris edition of the New York Herald summed up Europe's opinion of the Wright brothers in an editorial on February 10, 1906: "The Wrights have flown or they have not flown. They possess a machine or they do not possess one. They are in fact either fliers or liars. It is difficult to fly. It's easy to say, 'We have flown'."[84]

In 1908, after the Wrights' first flights in France, Archdeacon publicly admitted that he had done them an injustice.[85]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #38)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 09:06 PM

63. And Into The Bargain, Sir

They threw away their lead in patent fights with Curtiss, failed to materially improve the Flyer, and ceded the lead in aviation to France. By 1914, the U.S. was a backwater, and Curtiss wound up taking over the Wright firm.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:05 PM

13. He's still a few miles short of being "usefully" in space...

which will take substantially more energy to obtain.

Not sure I'd call it a "breakthrough" yet. The concept is pretty old, only the gadgets used to get there are new. And he's still not "there" quite yet.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #13)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:13 PM

14. Has anyone disputed that this is an initial step?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #14)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:21 PM

16. You seem invested in this. I think it's a bit over-hyped.

It still takes huge amounts of energy to get stuff into orbit. This method really doesn't change that.

It's physics. Larger payloads means more energy to get to escape velocity. Newtonian physics still applies. F=MA.

We'll see.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:40 PM

21. I'm invested in any development (public or private) that expands access to space...

I'm not invested in angry rants about people who have more money than I do.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #21)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 08:52 AM

29. I personally haven't participated in angry rants against Branson or Bezos over this...

I couldn't care less about their space flight fantasies. I'm just not so sure this tourist venture really advances space technology all that much. The energy requirements for lifting meaningful payloads into orbit are set by physics. Unless they come up with some kind of anti-gravity drive, that hasn't and won't change.

For the forseeable future, this is a rich folks playground.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:04 PM

48. I'm in aerospace R&D. I do not think it is overhyped.

It's not exactly the Pan Am shuttle from 2001, but it IS the first step, and it disappoints me to see so many here downplaying it. This is human achievement. We should be celebrating that. If I was one of the engineers working on it, I would consider it a career milestone for sure.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #14)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:28 PM

18. No, but pointed out you need much more thrust to achieve actual space.

The physics don’t change, no matter the method of launch. Unless he can launch a vehicle that can supply that this the will never get to space.

Thrust means fuel and fuel means size. Until he can manage to use his method to launch something approaching the size of the SpaceX rockets he won’t reach true space. Good luck with that.

I agree it’s cool as shit. And rather him spend his money on this rather that election interference like the Cock brothers.

I hope I’m wrong and can figure out a way to get to space. Not seeing it, however.

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Response to GulfCoast66 (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:41 PM

23. The first Mercury flight was also suborbital...

Thank goodness we didn't cancel the program as "not significant enough".

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:48 PM

26. You are correct, of course. Then we built bigger rockets with more fuel and thrust.

Allowing us to achieve true orbit.

Again the physics don’t change.

It take a whole lot of energy to carry something free of the earth’ gravity.

Rocket technology has and will improve. But the basic facts of the energy needed to escape our gravity never will. Until Branson has a vehicle that can deliver that energy he will never get to space.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:53 PM

28. Yes, and that was done 60 years and was a key step in the US space program

It was a logical sequence of flights from Mercury to Gemini to Apollo that was one of the finest moments in US and world history.

I do not understand how Sir Richard's junket and Alan Shepard's bravery 60 years ago are in any way comparable.

Don't get me wrong: I am a great admirer of Richard Branson. He has been an adventurer for decades and has done or attempted a lot of great things in the spirit of adventure. If yesterday was a one-time thing, it's fine. But it's the fact that this is business that is the issue for me. VG and its passengers need to pay and be accountable for their fair share.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #23)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 03:54 PM

62. Mercury was designed to orbit, before the decision to make suborbital flights with Redstone

1958 March 12 - .
The NACA staff completed a program outline for conducting the manned satellite program. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Mercury.
At that time, NACA was already actively engaged in research and study of several phases. For example, in the basic studies category effort had been expended on the study of orbits and orbit control, space physical characteristics, configuration studies, propulsion system research, human factors, structures and materials, satellite instrumentation, range requirements, and noise and vibration during reentry and exit. In addition, NACA outlined the complete program covering full-scale studies of mockups, simulators, and detail designs; full-scale vertical and orbiting flights involving unmanned, animal, and manned flights and recovery; and exploitation of the program to increase the payloads. As to the design concepts for such a program, NACA believed that the Atlas launch vehicle was adequate to meet launch-vehicle requirements for manned orbital flights; that retrograde and vernier controllable thrust could be used for orbital control; that heat-sink or lighter material could be used against reentry heating; that guidance should be ground programed with provisions for the pilot to make final adjustments; that recovery should be accomplished at sea with parachutes used for letdown; that a network of radar stations should be established to furnish continuous tracking; and that launchings be made from Cape Canaveral. It was estimated that with a simple ballistic shape accelerations would be within tolerable limits for the pilot. Temperature control, oxygen supply, noise, and vibration were considered engineering development problems, which could be solved without any special breakthroughs.
...
1958 August 8 - .
Project Adam - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Adam, Mercury.
A memorandum from the Secretary of the Army to the Secretary of Defense recommended Project Adam for a manned space flight program. This plan proposed a ballistic suborbital flight using existing Redstone hardware as a national political-psychological demonstration. This memo proposed that funds in the amount of $9 million and $2.5 million for fiscal years 1959 and 1960, respectively, be approved for program execution.

http://www.astronautix.com/m/mercury.html

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Response to GulfCoast66 (Reply #18)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:06 PM

49. By "actual space" do you mean orbit?

Yes, this is a long way yet from a sustained orbit, but it IS space,at least loosely define... keeping mind that where you draw the "atmosphere/space" line is pretty arbitrary. A common definition says 62 miles is the cutoff, so you could hang your hat on that I guess.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:22 PM

17. brooklynite concocts defense of some rich guy

As they say, dog bites man isn't news.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Mon Jul 12, 2021, 11:50 PM

27. "Branson's Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space"

BBC

The latest test flight by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully rocketed to the edge of space and back.

The firm's SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship reached a height of 82.7km, beyond the altitude at which US agencies have awarded astronaut wings.


The international boundary is 100 km.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #27)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 08:54 AM

30. I thought he hit 82 miles, which would be over 100km...

correct me if I'm wrong.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #30)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:02 AM

32. 86 km, or 53 miles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VSS_Unity

In 2019, the same craft got to 90 km, or 56 miles, though with fewer passengers.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 09:58 AM

31. He hasn't achieved more than the Pegasus rocket did in the 1990s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_Pegasus

Virgin Orbit has just done a couple of similar orbital launches, this time from a 747 instead of a Tristar.

(suborbital flights, like Virgin 'Galactic' do, aren't really important. It's the acceleration to orbital speed - 7 times what SpaceShipTwo can do - that's harder)

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:02 AM

33. It is still just an airplane ride.

I don't see the thrill.

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Response to pwb (Reply #33)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:09 AM

35. I once flew on the Concorde

Even that was more than "just an airplane ride." I'm sure this was twenty times the thrill the Concorde was.

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Response to DFW (Reply #35)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:14 AM

36. Roller coasters are fun too.

Then the thrill is gone. Tax this so called space travel 90% of the ticket price for fucking up the ozone.

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Response to pwb (Reply #36)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:19 AM

39. Tax aerosol deodorants first.

At least the roll-on has already been invented, and aerosols are somewhat more prevalent than Branson's gadgets.

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Response to DFW (Reply #39)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 12:34 PM

42. I am pretty sure they are subject to a sales tax

and very likely environmental regulations at the manufacturing, distribution, and sales levels, as well as disposal.

I hope the same applies to VG etc and passengers (i.e., more aptly, "amusement park thrill ride patrons" ). I actually do not know.

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #42)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:25 PM

52. Any state with a sales tax will do that, of course

As they would a package of milled flax seed. But the fluorocarbons the aerosols use are pretty convincingly tied to the destruction of the ozone layer, and aren't subject to a 90% tax or anywhere near it. Actually, I thought they were supposed to be phased out after a certain date, but I obviously either misunderstood, or else never checked on when that date was supposed to be.

I think my last roller coaster ride was something like 50 years ago, so I'm not the person to ask on that subject.

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Response to DFW (Reply #35)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 12:26 PM

41. They regulated the hell out of the Concorde

...and other SSTs regarding the sonic boom. It really cut into the market for SSTs. And you probably paid a lot of taxes and fees associated with your ticket too. And Concorde served a consumer need: rapid intercontinental service.

I hope it is the same with these over-the-top amusement park rides that give thrills to those who have a spare $250k to spend and for the companies that will reap the rewards. They need to be regulated carefully and made to pay their fair share given the damage to the environment, the impact on air traffic control, the risk to the public, space debris, etc.

P.S. I envy you! I would have loved to have flown the Concorde!

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #41)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:19 PM

51. It was an interesting experience.

I had to get up to London first, of course. But that's only an hour's flight from where I live. The thing was was very narrow, almost cramped. The service was fine, I guess. But after it cleared British air space, you could feel the boost from behind, and the view of the earth and its curvature was like nothing I'd ever seen before. When it approached North American air space, it had to slow down to subsonic speed, and it felt like a car driving along the highway who noticed the traffic jam ahead about 300 yards later than was safe, and slammed on the brakes.

It WAS expensive as hell. I was visiting my parents in Washington over the Christmas holidays (this was December, 1983), and we got three "urgent" calls that that there things that HAD to be taken care of in Paris, Brussels, and Düsseldorf within the next three days, and I was the only one who had both the necessary knowledge AND spoke French, Dutch and German. I said that if they wanted me to go to Europe for 70 hours and mess up my family holiday, they were either going to spring for a Concorde trip on the way back to Washington, or find someone else. They said OK, so I did it.

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Response to DFW (Reply #51)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:25 PM

53. +10000

Brilliant! Wonderful story.

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #53)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:36 PM

55. I have another one to match it, though it doesn't concern me personally

A woman I know was on the Concorde, also London to Washington, with her two small children. Her husband was already there, so she had to make the trip by herself. She was pretty experienced with traveling, so it was no big burden to her. On the plane she sat behind another American woman who chatted some with her. The woman was obviously of some means, as she said they usually took "their own plane," but it was undergoing repairs that week. She had a couple of kids as well, but also a retinue of Arabs who looked after the kids as well as her every wish. Apparently she had some serious diamonds (she didn't ask, but thought they looked like diamonds, anyway) for earrings. They said their pleasant goodbyes after landing, but the "other" American woman was met at the plane by some big black limousines that took her, her kids, and her Arab escorts away directly from the plane.

Later on, she watched the TV news, and saw that she had been talking to Lisa Halaby, who, by this time, was better known as Queen Noor of Jordan. She had never identified herself, and on the plane, they just talked as one mother of small children to another.

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Response to DFW (Reply #55)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 02:15 PM

57. Her dad must have been annoyed she was flying BA or Air France rather than Pan Am! nt

It was sad as Pan Am was going to be the prime customer for the Boeing SST, which never materialized.

I wonder how all the proposed rocket travel is going to handle sonic booms this time around!

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #57)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 03:47 PM

61. I'm no astrophysicist, but....

If the speed necessary to break the sound barrier isn't attained until high enough above the earth, maybe there isn't enough of an atmosphere left to let a sonic boom take place? After all, at all the Cape Canaveral launchings, there never seemed to be one, and when the space shuttle got to orbiting the earth at 17,000 miles an hour, or whatever speed it was, obviously the speed necessary to break the sound barrier at lower altitudes was exceeded somewhere along the way.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:07 AM

34. Did you hear that of Virgin Galatic's 823 employees, none paid any income taxes?

Neither did I.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 10:16 AM

37. Bullshit.

The Navy has had an Air-to-Space launch platform since 1958.

Grumman's Pegasus platform has had 48 launches since 1990.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Jul 13, 2021, 01:48 PM

56. We should talk about this realistically.

Hyperbole doesn't add anything to the situation.

What Branson and Virgin did is cool. They have taken first steps, as a private company into carrying people into earth sub orbit.

When people say, "He went into "space" without need for a heavy lift vehicle, they can be technically correct, but then, so what. He won't get further up without building more powerful engines. If he wants to get up into what is considered "space" and sustain orbit, he will need to build a "heavy lift vehicle".

I think that it is exciting and has potential for advancing exploration. It is not however, ground breaking. We have a SUV sized rover/helicopter on Mars that has unprecedented capacity for exploration and testing. That is ground breaking.

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