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First Flight For SpaceShipTwo

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the next-time-do-it-from-l.a. dept.

Space 190

mknewman writes "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane took to the air for the first time this [Monday] morning from California's Mojave Air and Space Port. The craft, which has been christened the VSS Enterprise, remained firmly attached to its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane throughout the nearly three-hour test flight. It will take many months of further tests before SpaceShipTwo actually goes into outer space. Nevertheless, today's outing marks an important milestone along a path that could take paying passengers to the final frontier as early as 2011 or 2012."

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Space with no space (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579272)

I spent my honeymoon in Hawaii. I don't think I ever left the hotel room, much less the hotel.

It was enjoyable, but did I really enjoy Hawaii?

Re:Space with no space (3, Interesting)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579312)

Being in a space suite is as close as we'll ever come to enjoying a 1 on 1 with good ole father space. I would say that even though you're merely an observer from an enclosed capsule, any travelers would indeed be enjoying the closest possible encounter with space.

Re:Space with no space (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579358)

Being in a space suite is as close as we'll ever come to enjoying a 1 on 1 with good ole father space.

From what I hear, these guys are going to be offering basically one small chair per person, and maybe a little floating around room. I think expecting an entire suite to yourself is a bit much at this stage.

Re:Space with no space (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579532)

Yeah, I wasn't referring to Virgin Galactic when mentioning the space suites. I was just highlighting the closest method while still being alive (that I'm aware of) for experiencing space.

Re:Space with no space (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579670)

Yeah, I wasn't referring to Virgin Galactic when mentioning the space suites.

A space suite would be very nice, while a space suit would be bordering on cosy, or possibly claustrophobic.

Re:Space with no space (0, Redundant)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579706)

OK, I feel stupid now. Truly I missed my own spelling mistake and therefore missed eln's nice joke.

Re:Space with no space (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580006)

I was just highlighting the closest method while still being alive . . .

and the closest method while being dead is . . . ? I'm thinking canons and space cremation!

Re:Space with no space (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581386)

Uuum, you can easily survive outer space while completely nude, for at least 30 seconds. It was already done, and NASA even has a FAQ about it. (In short: Keep your mouth OPEN and everything DRY, or you will burst and freeze. But if done right, you only get a swelling of your fingers and face, which returns to normal in a couple of hours. Btw: Radiation is the main problem.)
Which makes some seemingly unrealistic movies pretty realistic and cool.

Re:Space with no space (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579576)

Being in a space suite is as close as we'll ever come to enjoying a 1 on 1 with good ole father space.

A space en-suite, perhaps? With a nice space opera playing on the monolith - perhaps some Ligeti.

Re:Space with no space (3, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579328)

For an extra $50k, I am sure they would be willing to push you out into open space.

Who wants to start the collection?

Re:Space with no space (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579388)

I wonder what the probability is that a passing spacecraft would rescue you after 30 seconds exposed to vacuum?

Re:Space with no space (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579552)

2 to the negative power of a phone number.

Re:Space with no space (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580010)

I feel really screwed with my 978 area code... what terrible odds.

Re:Space with no space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31580214)

Hmmmm.... It occurs to me (I'm doing an experiment, even) that this is personally identifiable information!

Re:Space with no space (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580698)

We just need to chuck a few trillion people out of space ships...

Re:Space with no space (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581572)

? It's 1 then?

0 qualifies as a phone number with many carriers and will get you an operator.

Re:Space with no space (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579432)

For an extra $50k, I am sure they would be willing to push you out into open space.

Who wants to start the collection?

Hell, they'll do it for free. Just sign right here on this life insurance policy.

Re:Space with no space (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579938)

Umm, space travel is about the experience of space flight, the weightlessness, the view of Earth from space as well as the view of space unobstructed by the atmosphere, and just the knowledge that you are one of the very few people to visit outer space. Is your point that it's kind of the same thing as being in a closet?

Re:Space with no space (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580026)

You tell us, you married her. Why anyone would name their kid Hawii is beyond me though

Space experience (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580030)

Take a deep breath and smell the beautiful vacuum. Can you see it?

Re:Space with no space (1)

Askmum (1038780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580122)

I spent my honeymoon in Hawaii. I don't think I ever left the hotel room, much less the hotel.

It was enjoyable, but did I really enjoy Hawaii?

I'm not quite sure what it is you're saying here. Do you want to go spacewalking, or join the 100-mile high club?

If it is the former, I'm sure that that will be possible some day. (If it is the latter: just go for it man!)

Re:Space with no space (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580484)

join the 100-mile high club?
 

i wonder if virgin galactic is gonna schedule special 'adult' (even though minors probably wont be cleared for flight) flights for this purpose. I know i'd love this idea, although it would require my GF to get over her fear of flying (never mind going into frikin space..)

It's just a shame that the SS2 only gets you to zero-g for a small amount of time, i would love to do a couple or orbits (say 3 orbits, 5 hour flight time), but that requires much more Delta-v/money to achieve.

But really, i think this stuff is great, i really hope virgin galactic takes off big time, i'll bet you that if SS2 works very well, Branson will start developing SS3 pretty soon (seriously i think branson is SOOO cool, has his own F1 team, airline, spaceline.., oh if only i had the money to be an excentric bilionair)

Re:Space with no space (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580682)

It's just a shame that the SS2 only gets you to zero-g for a small amount of time, i would love to do a couple or orbits (say 3 orbits, 5 hour flight time)

Indeed, unfortunately it's a whole different ballgame technically to go orbital than just straight up and fall down again, far greater stresses on the vehicle that's needed to be taken into consideration.
Hoping that if SS2 takes of economically then matbe SS3 will do proper orbital flights :-)

Re:Space with no space (2, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580814)

that's what i am hoping, although i dont know if the take-off mode (horizontal air launch) will work for achieving orbit. If it doesnt work, then SS3 would need to be a conventional straight up rocket, which will hamper R&D, since virgin has done zilch in that area

Re:Space with no space (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581682)

True that,
hmmm, maybe next step is to go suborbital and combine travel and pleasure. do intercontinental flights within the hours and with around 25 minutes of freefall, that would still be an incredible experience

Re:Space with no space (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580890)

If branson is devoting the same focus and resources to virgin galactic as he has to my broadband, take your own pressure suit and parachute.

Re:Space with no space (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581988)

although it would require my GF to get over her fear of flying (never mind going into frikin space.

Simple. After you inflate her, give her some Rohypnol.

Re:Space with no space (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580966)

I spent my honeymoon in Hawaii. I don't think I ever left the hotel room, much less the hotel.

It was enjoyable, but did I really enjoy Hawaii?

Well, it sounds like you did...;-)

Next up, 'private' flights for those wishing to join the '68 mile-high' club?

(At least that's how high they're claiming it will go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaceship_two [wikipedia.org] )

Hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31579274)

"early as 2011 or 2012".

If 2011 is early, doesn't that mean 2012 is not early? Me smells a sales pitch.

Re:Hyperbole (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579324)

as much as 80% of what you read is hyperbole. Irony intended.

Rich Person's Toy (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579422)

Me smells a sales pitch.

Yup. Impressive. But still "just" a rich person's toy.

Re:Rich Person's Toy (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579808)

Yup. Impressive. But still "just" a rich person's toy.

As was the car, the television, the mobile phone, and a bunch of other stuff that we now take for granted. If people with money to spare didn't go out and keep the market ticking over when nobody else could afford them, the market would have developed a lot more slowly.

Having said that, I think there is more novelty than utility in a trip to outer space.

Re:Rich Person's Toy (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579958)

Yeah, there's absolutely no reason to want to fly from London to LA in 90 minutes. And no market for the same.

Re:Rich Person's Toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31580780)

Whenever I see it, I keep thinking "Awww... isn't that cute? They've painted it to look like a real spaceplane!"
 
Black paint isn't heat tile in exactly the same way that being able to leave the atmosphere isn't spaceflight.

Re:Hyperbole (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579798)

If it was expected for 2030 than 2011 or 2012 would be early. Not that it is the case... But technically it means, expect it in 2011/2012, but don't get pissed if it comes later since we said 'early as'. Which is perfectly reasonable. The fact that they have such high uncertainty is not though.

Forget porn... (0, Offtopic)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579282)

... this kind of stuff give me REAL wood.

Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31579326)

How far we've fallen.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (4, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579366)

Nonsense. The problem with the space race is that it was unsustainable. There was no way any nation would maintain that kind of spending for an extended period of time. We were spedning around three percent of GDP... for something with intangible payback.

Now, we have the chance at sustainable flights into space. If this actually succeeds, and we have many flights going up every month... and if we actually get more than one company in this game... we will see gradual improvements. Instead of being a money pit, it will be a money generator. And that is where real progress is at.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579398)

3% of GDP was the smallest percentage we had spent on exploration in the history of the country (well really before the country was discovered as Spain spent more than 3% of GDP on Columbus's voyage despite being broke). The fact that we now spend even less is a national disgrace.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579420)

Note that this exploration was really a way of finding more natural resources to exploit. It is doubtful that any space exploration will get us that in the next several decades.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579442)

The Louisiana Purchase took quite a while to pay off, it was still quite a deal and the right thing to do. A nation which stagnates is a nation which is slowly dying. Since Imperialism here at home doesn't look to have a net positive payout I say we should focus a bit more of our finances on something that is at least likely to advance human knowledge if not material wealth.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579482)

Doubtful. The Louisianna purchase cost us around $15 Million, and a good part of that was cancelling French debt (so not a hard dollar expenditure). It doubled the size of our nation at that time. Considering out national debt at the time was around 90 Million, 15 million more was a drop in the bucket.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

rodarson2k (1122767) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579564)

The Louisianna purchase cost us around $15 Million.

Nevertheless, it was listed on the laundry list of "terrible abuses of deficit spending" last night in the US House of Representatives.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579604)

The purchase price was 3% of GDP, how long do you think it was before the territories were net contributing 3% of GDP? I would guess decades considering 6 years after the purchase they still contained only 1.3% of the population and even today only contains ~12%.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580582)

Space offers natural resources to exploit. Didn't you play Masters of Orion?

Are we opening a trade route? (2, Interesting)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579998)

The whole point of funding Columbus was to see if they could open up a new line of trade which would prove very lucrative. It was an investment. If Columbus made it to India, Spain would get back far more than they paid.

Where is the big financial payoff for going into space? If we get to Mars, how is that going to provide a financial windfall for the country that does it?

We don't spend a lot of money on space exploration because the potential ROI is near zero. We should be dumping money into exploring Earth. We know more about space than we do about the depths of our oceans.

Re:Are we opening a trade route? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580666)

> Where is the big financial payoff for going into space?
> If we get to Mars, how is that going to provide a financial windfall for the country that does it?

OK instead of the economic benefits of going to space how about sending to space ;).

How about we send choice politicians to Mars? One way/return...

The following domains were available when I last checked:

votethemofftheplanet.org
votethemofftheplanet.com

I'm sure more than a few viewers might be interested in such a reality TV show too ;).

I'd be willing to spend a dollar or more voting for certain politicians... Even if the end result is just symbolic - "for fun".

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579478)

Instead of being a money pit, it will be a money generator. And that is where real progress is at.

Great, it's nice to know that hedge-fund managers and all of the C-level officers of Fanny, Freddie, and AIG will get to spend four times my annual salary* for a few minutes in sub-space.

* If I had a job, that is.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579508)

Those same people used to spend about as much on personal computers.. now you have one.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579634)

Great, it's nice to know that hedge-fund managers and all of the C-level officers of Fanny, Freddie, and AIG will get to spend four times my annual salary* for a few minutes in sub-space.

We should placate the whiners by ending all progress in space travel.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581120)

We should placate the whiners by ending all progress in space travel.

Obama's doing his best. But one man can only do so much.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31579480)

Three percent of the GDP was spend on the best payback of all- progression as a species.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (0, Flamebait)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579522)

We landed on the moon to show we had a bigger penis than the Commies. On a dollar spent basis we got virtually nothing out of it. More than we got out of Iraq for sure. But still a misguided spending of dollars.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (3, Insightful)

bronney (638318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579724)

Instead of being a money pit, it will be a money generator. And that is where real progress is at.

I know everyone here knows this and ponder on the below once in a while but let me say this again in case someone never thought about it..

You notice this whole thread, the money spent, received, progress, the whole construct, is like a tiny little noise on this tiny little round ball of rock. Debating whether spaceflight is "profitable" only makes sense within this ball of rock. Benefiting us rock people, to do more within the confine of the ball.

The Apollo mission, can be seen as PR for the cold war, benefiting the people on the rock. But to our dear astronauts who'd been on the moon, I can confidently guess that the gratitude they have is something beyond which doesn't benefit anyone here. It wasn't money, technology, making your boss more money. It was the pure love and happiness of being "out there". To even start to go to space, and be in space, we must stop thinking about how it'll benefit us down here. There're many things you can do instead of flying to space. Bill Gates' doing some good without spaceflight. Spaceflight opens our minds. It does not buy you a Royale with Cheese.

Ok back to Star Trek TNG :)

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

Diagoras (859063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581174)

Very high sentiments. Unfortunately, that and $200,000 will get you a flight to suborbit. ;)

America was not colonized due to the joy of "being out there." Neither was Australia. Not to say that is not a powerful and important emotion but greed, both personal and national has always been the driving force in human colonization and is the key to the next era.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581554)

Yes sir. And that's the sad position we're in at the moment :)

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581926)

Bill Gates' doing some good without spaceflight.

Bill Gates' stated mission is to wipe out certain diseases, but in order to get vaccinations from the Gates Foundation you have to provide various IP protections for pharmaceutical companies in your law. Meanwhile the Gates foundation makes for-profit investments in industries causing direct health issues in people they are vaccinating. Also, you abused the apostrophe, and made Bob angry.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

Torrance (1599681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579748)

Actually, I'm pretty sure it's still just a money pit. Except now the money going into the pit is coming from a bunch of rich pricks as opposed the State.

Nothing of actual value is being produced except for, well, the profit Virgin is making from its pit. Seems somehow circular to me.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (3, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579766)

Nonsense. The problem with the space race is that it was unsustainable. There was no way any nation would maintain that kind of spending for an extended period of time. We were spedning around three percent of GDP... for something with intangible payback.

        Intangible payback? Where the heck do you think that money went? Why, into the economy. 400-500,000 people were employed in one way or another by the space program or spinoffs. That's a hell of a lot more effective return on investment than any of the ~10% of the GDP pissed away into "jobs stimulus" in just the last year.

          Brett

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579892)

Pissed away into "jobs stimulus"? Why, just down the street from me the workers are receiving taxpayers money to dig holes in a perfectly good road and then fill them up again. It's a valuable training for when they have some real work.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581848)

If you want to spend money to employ people - ask them to dig canals with toothpicks. It's about just as effective.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (4, Insightful)

xlsior (524145) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579784)

Nonsense. The problem with the space race is that it was unsustainable. There was no way any nation would maintain that kind of spending for an extended period of time

How so?

It's not like they're shoveling the money out of an airlock, almost every dime of it gets spend stimulating your local/national economy.... Giving tax breaks and the likes to stimulate the economy is supposedly good for the country, but actually paying people to design/build things isn't?

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581022)

The "stimulus" of human spaceflight by NASA has probably done more to stunt the growth of the industry than anything else possibly could have.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31580002)

Sombody please archive this post as my grandchildren will have great insight given to them by reading, " If this actually succeeds, and we have many flights going up every month.." The same king of insight I had reading my grandfathers 1012 encyclopedia which said "If heavier-then-air flight can ever be made economically practicable and safe, it may some day become a preferred mode of transport for the well to do."

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (2, Informative)

Nuroman (588959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580454)

I think you mean 3% of the Federal budget, not GDP. See http://www.richardb.us/nasa.html [richardb.us] . In which case, for the years 1962-1972, NASA's budget was 2.86% of the Federal budget.

Re:Sub-Orbital == Final Frontier? (4, Interesting)

talcite (1258586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581524)

I was actually having an interesting conversation with a research policy advisor in my country last night about this topic.

In her opinion, government research grants should be spent on fields which do not have immediate commercial value, because companies are likely unwilling to pursue it themselves and also because the future value of a technology is difficult to gauge.

For example, when the transistor was invented, it was impossible to tell that one day they would be miniaturized to the point where handheld computers were available. Any attempt to place a value on the invention of the transistor would have massively undervalued it. Companies in the past may have pursued the approach of funding research for giggles, but the business model today has changed and almost everything needs to have profit making potential.

Now there's no way to definitively determine whether a research field will be valuable in the future, but space exploration is probably one of the ones with a large potential. I say this because of the overlap with the rest of the aerospace industry, applications for telecommuncations and materials research.

They had to go and name it Enterprise... (4, Funny)

ctmurray (1475885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579344)

It is like one of those time travel conundrums - did we name it Enterprise because we saw the future, or was the future influenced by what we named it here in the present?

Re:They had to go and name it Enterprise... (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579384)

Please see this post [slashdot.org] for the answer.

Re:They had to go and name it Enterprise... (1)

mr_snarf (807002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579920)

Well done sir. That made my day a little bit better.

Re:They had to go and name it Enterprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31580098)

Wow, it's like I already read this 5 minutes from now!

Re:They had to go and name it Enterprise... (1)

jdc18 (1654245) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580178)

hahaha

Re:They had to go and name it Enterprise... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31579400)

I know...so unoriginal. Now when I get on board I will be looking for Mr. Worf

Re:They had to go and name it Enterprise... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579594)

It is like one of those time travel conundrums - did we name it Enterprise because we saw the future, or was the future influenced by what we named it here in the present?

Does it really matter? I mean, they could make a movie that everybody has seen and loved that explains how the time line was altered and how the ship came to be known as Enterprise, but everybody will still bitch about how some guy made the whole thing up.

Space sickness? (3, Informative)

wsanders (114993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579418)

So how many people are going to pay $200K to ride in this thing, and then ask for their money back because they spent the flight puking their guts out?

I mean, for the same cash, I could rent a MiG-29 for a couple days and have a hell of a time.

http://www.flyfighterjet.com/ [flyfighterjet.com]

Re:Space sickness? (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579468)

Just like on Zero-G flights, spaceflight participants are informed of both the risks and the likely side effects of their trip before flying. They're required to sign a legally binding document which states that they understand and accept those risks. Legislation has been passed to ensure that these agreements are sufficient to defeat any subsequent tort action. As such, they can ask as much as they like.

Or, to put it another way: plenty of people are interested in flying under these conditions, if you're not, don't.

Re:Space sickness? (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579500)

Flying that jet around would be pretty sweet, but you need some serious training for that. I think the commercial space flight idea is supposed to lack that aspect.

Re:Space sickness? (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579586)

So how many people are going to pay $200K to ride in this thing, and then ask for their money back because they spent the flight puking their guts out?

None, because iiiiiiin spaaaaaaaace! even being sick is awesome.

Re:Space sickness? (1)

hutkey (709330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579884)

Yeah, looking at the suspended particles, discarded by our body, floating around the spacecraft is really awesome.

Re:Space sickness? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579618)

So how many people are going to pay $200K to ride in this thing, and then ask for their money back because they spent the flight puking their guts out?

So what? They aren't going to get the money back, because that is the experience they knowingly signed up for.

Re:Space sickness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31579872)

puking in space will be awesome!!

Re:Space sickness? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580564)

even if i end up puking my guts out in the zero-g part of the trip, just think of the thrill of getting launched -by rocket- from 10 to 110 miles high.

The part about normal airline travel i enjoy the most is the point where the engines go full throttle right at take-off, just imagine what a kick in the pants this thing will give

Link to marketing video (3, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579446)

YouTube link [youtube.com] .

Could design-by-committee achieved this? (1)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31579976)

I know next to nothing about the aerospace industry (hope someone more knowledgeable will opine), but it seems to me Burt Rutan [wikipedia.org] and his ilk produce these wonderful machines faster, and at lower cost, than the big boys with their big design committees can.

--
Where are the canards, btw?

Re:Could design-by-committee achieved this? (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580072)

It's because they are doing what Burt Ruttan wants, instead of 6 different government departments + political agendas + need for re-election want

Re:Could design-by-committee achieved this? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580192)

True. If they launch in 2011, you could say that it took private industry 50 years to recreate what NASA did.

Re:Could design-by-committee achieved this? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580270)

What Rutan is doing is impressive, but it is nowhere near what "the big boys with their big design committees" were doing fifty years ago. SpaceShips One and Two are piggybacking on decades of NASA and other government space research. This is a good thing; it's exactly how technology transfer is supposed to work. Just understand it for what it is.

Re:Could design-by-committee achieved this? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580630)

Rutan makes wonderfull stuff, but a small jet/rocket combo that goes sub-orbital is something quite different then getting into LEO (Gemini went rather high beyond LEO too, including in-orbit docking/manouvering). Never mind actually going to the moon, or building a space-station

Better headline (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31580110)

A much better headline for the article would have been "Virgin spaceship gets its cherry popped".

Re:Better headline (3, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580318)

Nah, the cherry will be popped when it actually gets up into space. This is more like a first kiss, with no tongue.

One small step for man... (5, Insightful)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580274)

Let's get this all in perspective. I was born in the mid 1960's.

1960's - humankind put people into space and then put them around and then on the Moon.
1970's - humankind stopped bothering putting them on the Moon, but did put them in high orbit - Skylab
1980's - humankind dumped Skylab into the sea (and Western Australia) but brought in the shuttle
1990's - humankind used the Shuttle to get people into low earth orbit and started to build the International Space Station
2000's - humankind decides to retire Shuttle and considers retiring the ISS
2010's - humankind lifts people to the edge of the atmosphere.

At this rate by the time I'm retired, humankind will have set its sights for the top of the stairs. It may make it - but only if its risk-free.

Re:One small step for man... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580540)

Let's get this all in perspective. I was born in the mid 1960's.

1960's - humankind put people into space and then put them around and then on the Moon.
1970's - humankind stopped bothering putting them on the Moon, but did put them in high orbit - Skylab
1980's - humankind dumped Skylab into the sea (and Western Australia) but brought in the shuttle
1990's - humankind used the Shuttle to get people into low earth orbit and started to build the International Space Station
2000's - humankind decides to retire Shuttle and considers retiring the ISS
2010's - humankind lifts people to the edge of the atmosphere.

At this rate by the time I'm retired, humankind will have set its sights for the top of the stairs. It may make it - but only if its risk-free.

Very true. I was born at the end of the '60s, and missed most of the fun. I still lived in hope humankind will do something just as great someday, and looked for the USA for it. Seems to me that we'll have to look elsewhere - the US is only interested to put rich dudes into LEO. Fuck that.

Re:One small step for man... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580604)

Hey buddy, as a crotchety old retired man, those tall daunting stairs with all their possible hip breaks will look mighty risky even to the likes of you. =P

Re:One small step for man... (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580660)

That makes sense. Space policy is being made by geriatrics.

Re:One small step for man... (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580670)

Let's get this all in perspective. I was born in the mid 1960's.

1960's - america put people into space and then put them around and then on the Moon.
1970's - america stopped bothering putting them on the Moon, but did put them in high orbit - Skylab
1980's - america dumped Skylab into the sea (and Western Australia) but brought in the shuttle
1990's - america used the Shuttle to get people into low earth orbit and started to build the International Space Station
2000's - america decides to retire Shuttle and considers retiring the ISS
2010's - america lifts people to the edge of the atmosphere.

At this rate by the time I'm retired, humankind will have set its sights for the top of the stairs. It may make it - but only if its risk-free.

fixed that for you, The soviets might not have won the race to the moon, but in a lot of other aspects they have outdone the USA in space, early exploration of the planets (Venus), their history with space-stations is far more impressive then Skylab, if it wasnt for them, the ISS would not exist. They have an actual working, reliable and practical man-rated launch system. In that respect the russians would have a far shorter ramp-up back to moon-shot capability then NASA (it would be a multi launch system, but they have the technology)

Hell, The russians have sent up 'tourists' with soyuz up to the ISS before, sure it costs 12 milion instead of 200k, but remember sub-orbital != orbital, and 15 minutes of zero-g != 1 week stay in space

Re:One small step for man... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31580996)

12 eh? Try 35.

Re:One small step for man... (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581286)

35? try 12 to 20 [wikipedia.org] and that 20 might have been skewed downward in my head by the euro/dollar conversion at the time

Re:One small step for man... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581414)

Nope.. all those figures were completely misquoted by the media. Every private astronaut who has flown through Space Adventures has paid between 30 and 35 million to Energia.. Dennis Tito (because of his previous failed attempts with Mircorp) and Greg Olson (because of his health issues) have paid between 50 and 55 million. And none of these figures include the travel to and from Star City, or the time they've had to take off work for training there - which is quite significant, when you consider that it is their sheer earning power that makes them able to afford the trip in the first place. And don't forget all the people who have paid for the preliminary training but flunked the medical.

That said, the price is coming down.. Energia is planning to increase production of Soyuz so they can have a dedicated private astronaut flight a year. Presumably when suborbital flights start up we'll see an increased interest in orbital. Competition in the form of SpaceX (and maybe others) should also have an effect.

Re:One small step for man... (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581858)

I'm sorry that we had to go so far backwards between proof-of-concept and where we are today; on the cusp of commercialization. But if you want to get regular commercial trips to space, there are some necessary interim steps. P.S. The ISS is a hole in space into which money is thrown. It's not big enough to do anything genuinely useful. It's been good as a technology development platform but otherwise has provided minimal benefit. Some good science has come out of it, I don't mean to say it's been useless, but it, too, is only a stepping stone.

Getting Spaceship Two to escape velocity (2, Interesting)

Dollyknot (216765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31581130)

The high cost to the human race's colonization of space is caused by the complexity and danger of reaching and leaving escape velocity within the earth's atmosphere.

The Space Shuttle turned out to be an expensive dangerous white elephant, the reason the Shuttle was so expensive is, because of its complexity with millions of different manufactured parts and the requirement to drag the fuel needed to reach escape velocity up from the surface of the earth.

There is another route, we can reach the vacuum of space no problem, Burt Rutan proved this with Space Ship one, when he won the 'X' prize by reaching over 100 km twice in one week.

Yes the Shuttle was 'reusable' but in name only. They could not have turned that around in a week.

One idea could be to create rocket fuel on the moon, with robotic technology operated from earth, there is lots of water on the moon, use solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen which makes very good rocket fuel.

Use the rocket fuel to fuel a space tug, use the space tug to accelerate and decelerate Space Ship Two, to and from escape velocity in the safety of a vacuum.

The moon is the door to the solar system.

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