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Briton to Pilot First Commercial Space Flights

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Briton to Pilot First Commercial Space Flights

Old 5th Aug 2011, 12:17
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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'It will be close to 4g acceleration which is a huge push in the back.'
Moral of the story : Don't take lawyers with previous back injuries, or else they will sue your pants off. Make them sign a declaration of no previous injuries. I am serious about this.
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Old 5th Aug 2011, 12:23
  #22 (permalink)  

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"Captain?"
Still a commissioned officer?
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Old 5th Aug 2011, 18:27
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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I'm no God botherer but... there's something obscene about people pi$$ing $125000 away on a fairground ride, when kids are drawing there last starving breath in East Africa.
Famine is the result of insane population growth rate in a region that is essentially a desert. The land cannot support this many people, hence the famine. So, if space tourists decided not to spend $125.000 on the tour and instead fight famine in east africa, - I seriously doubt they would be able to do anything productive and leading to a long-term solution, simply because nothing can be done.
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Old 7th Aug 2011, 23:12
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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PPRUNE never fails to surprise me...
This is a GREAT achievement. It might not be pushing the boundaries in NASA terms but it is a world first and in a world where we seem to be taking successive steps backwards, I applaud it.
He's a lucky bastard and I for one wish I had his job.
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Old 8th Aug 2011, 00:39
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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I am a 'God-botherer' and have difficulty seeing that this enterprise is somehow less worthy than taking 150+ would-be drunks and drug takers to Ibiza on a Friday night - something I, alas, do regularly.

Regarding Dave Mackay, he is a magnificent guy who I came across in the RAF. He is pleasant, intelligent, professional and humble. His background is that he was a Harrier pilot before becoming a Test Pilot in the RAF, where he flew numerous RAF and ther nations' fast jets. From memory, after a tour on Fixed Wing Test Sqn at Boscombe, he became an ETPS tutor. He eventually left and joined Virgin where he eventually became a senior captain. As an aside, he is also one of the senior pilots of the Shuttleworth Collection where he flies numerous old warbirds from Huricanes to Sopwith Camels. He has been involved with the Virgin Galactica program from the beginning and is about as well-qualified as you could wish for the job. He has done numerous other things not mentioned here and, frankly, his likely success is great news for UK PLC and could not happen to a better guy. Well done and the very best of luck.
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Old 8th Aug 2011, 00:56
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Come on lets be patriotic on this one ! Im sure he will do a great job for our country and "fly the flag" .......oh that reminds me of a 70`s Ad, for some other airline
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Old 8th Aug 2011, 01:02
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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This is awesome, he is a very lucky guy. Yes this may be $125,000 for a 'fair ground' ride at the moment, but the technology and lessons learned from this venture could well open up all sorts of opportunities in the private space flight sector.

Good on you Virgin, I hope it is a great success, and like above, I wish I had this job.
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Old 8th Aug 2011, 12:15
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Does anyone know whether S.J or A.H are still involved with the programme ?
If so, are they due to fly the second/third flights or will Dave Mackay be flying all the first few flights as PIC.
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Old 8th Aug 2011, 20:17
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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there's something obscene about people pi$$ing $125000 away on a fairground ride, when kids are drawing there last starving breath in East Africa.
It's like July 1969 all over again...

It was Biafra then, wasn't it? Or was it Newark?
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Old 9th Aug 2011, 00:25
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Why so much buzz around $125k? That's a cost of a decent car in Europe or 1.5 decent cars in US. And there are tens of thousands driving on the streets around you, and surely many of us have one in garage. And keep changing them every few years. How does it compares to once-a-life experience of space flight for the same bucks?

I remember taking MIG25 fun ride to FL800 - our planet looks quite different from that altitude. One day when technology is mature I would definetely consider to try a space flight.

Famina, Afghan, Iraq, Obama, Gaddafi, Somali and all kind of other stuff is already dealed with from our taxes. Can we have a break and just enjoy the life a little bit?
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Old 9th Aug 2011, 04:57
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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125k is about the same as you would pay for a max range one way charter flight in a Gulfstream. I don't see too many people wingeing about that!

For a trip into space it's cheap at 1/2 the price.
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Old 9th Aug 2011, 13:30
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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125.000, I wouldn't go on the thing if they paid me that sort of cash.
I would want a lot of flights and safe returns under their belt, before I trust them with my life!
with all of the regulations we have to deal with, to fly the public on jet aircraft, how on earth do they get permision to take fare paying punters on something like this.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's fantastic that we are going to do something that puts nassa to shame, but I am still surprised they can take fare paying punters on it!
Before I get shot down in flames, I am not against this project, just amazed they get it past the CAA.
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Old 9th Aug 2011, 17:05
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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125.000, I wouldn't go on the thing if they paid me that sort of cash.
I would want a lot of flights and safe returns under their belt, before I trust them with my life!
with all of the regulations we have to deal with, to fly the public on jet aircraft, how on earth do they get permision to take fare paying punters on something like this.
The public on jet aircraft is paying to get from point A to point B, in a safe and routine manner. The space tourist is looking for adventure, he is obviously aware of the risks and takes them willingly. There is nothing in common between him and the punters, and fortunately, whoever is giving the permission seems to realize the difference.
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Old 10th Aug 2011, 10:19
  #34 (permalink)  
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Some VG facts:
  • Space trips with Virgin Galactic are currently being retailed at USD 200,000 per passenger.
  • More than 400 passengers have already placed deposits some having paid the full fare in advance.
  • All of the existing air and spacecraft associated with VG have multiple names and designations:
  • The launchcraft which carries the spacecraft to launch height is known as WhiteKnightTwo and also as the VMS (Virgin MotherShip) 'Eve'
  • The spacecraft known as SpaceShipTwo, carries the Scaled Composites designator '339' and was named the VSS (Virgin SpaceShip) 'Enterprise'
  • Two WhiteKnight launchcraft and five SS2 spacecraft have been ordered by VG from The Spaceship Company, a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Scaled Composites
  • The SS2 spaceship employs a 'feathering' system which basically creates additional drag during the spacecraft's re-entry:
Once out of the atmosphere the entire tail structure of the spaceship can be rotated upwards to about 65. The feathered configuration allows an
automatic control of attitude with the fuselage parallel to the horizon. This creates very high drag as the spacecraft descends through the upper regions of the atmosphere.

The feather configuration is also highly stable, effectively giving the pilot a hands-free re-entry capability, something that has not been possible on spacecraft before, without resorting to computer controlled fly-by-wire systems. The combination of high drag and low weight (due to the very light materials used to construct the vehicle) mean that the skin temperature during re-entry stays very low compared to previous manned spacecraft and thermal protection systems such as heat shields or tiles are not needed. Following re-entry at around 70,000ft, the feather lowers to its original configuration and the spaceship becomes a glider for the flight back to the spaceport runway.
.. just amazed they get it past the CAA.
Not really that amazing. There is (according to the available publicity) a comprehensive test programme which will involve an as yet undisclosed number of sub-orbital test flights and re-entries to test the design and reliability of the SS2. The licencing authority is not the CAA but the FAA.

VG's home base Spaceport is in New Mexico (not far from the White Sands missile test centre) and all their air/spacecraft are US registered.


The Spaceship Company's SS2 the 'VSS Enterprise' N339SS will be the first of five SS2's offering commercial passenger space flights


Virgin Galactic's New Mexico Spaceport which is nearing completion


The SS2's 'feathering' system for 'low speed' re-entry

I recall seeing a photo in the late 70's of a pair of Rutan VariEze's with the caption "Looking more like interceptors from Star Wars .." Incredible to think that this home-build composites hobby junkie has ended-up leading the design and technology on the world's first commercial passenger service. Bravo!

.
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Old 10th Aug 2011, 11:54
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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That answers my question, I knew the CAA wouldn't be likely to authorise anything like this, but the FAA are far more relaxed.
Even most of the other JAA states have far more relaxed rules than the good old campaign against aviation here in the UK.
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Old 11th Aug 2011, 01:48
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Vmax ???

I assume it never reaches escape velocity, but does anyone know what peak velocity they plan to attain?

Max altitude??
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Old 11th Aug 2011, 07:56
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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It never gets anywhere near escape velocity, or even orbital velocity! Vmax is somewhere around mach 6 I think.
Peak altitude for scientific flights is between 110-120km, not sure about the passenger flights - but I guess they're about the same.
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Old 11th Aug 2011, 08:08
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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I don't know what all the fuss is about...after all, it's hardly rocket science is it?

....oh wait....
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Old 11th Aug 2011, 16:45
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Vmax is somewhere around mach 6 I think.
I think it's even less. X-15, the rocket powered experimental plane, barely reached Mach 6 despite trying hard to set altitude and speed records. Altitude record was about the same as here (slightly above 100km), but that plane looked like a missile, with very small wings and very fast reentry. Virgin Galactic doesn't look like a missile and has some special design to reduce speed on reentry, so it must be much slower.
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Old 11th Aug 2011, 16:57
  #40 (permalink)  
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If I was a millionaire and could afford space tourism I would do it.

But I would want at least one lap of the earth, this doesn't really seem like proper space travel but I guess you have to start somewhere.
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