Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

SpaceShipTwo Flies Free For the First Time

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the ok-this-time-with-engines dept.

Space 164

mknewman writes "SpaceShipTwo was successfully dropped off its WhiteKnight 2 mothership today from an altitude of 45,000 feet and glided to a landing in the Mojave airstrip." From the article: "More than 300 would-be passengers have already put down more than $45 million in deposits for $200,000-a-seat rides on the plane. The experience will include a roller-coaster rocket ride to a spaceworthy altitude of more than 65 miles, several minutes of weightlessness, a picture-window view of the curving Earth beneath the black sky of space ... and spaceflight bragging rights for years afterward."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This is how train and air travel began, too. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854158)

This is exactly how train and air travel began, too. The rich will get to play with it at first, then businessmen will get to use it, and finally it'll be available to the rank-and-file citizenry of the world. Within two decades, we'll likely all be able to fly on space trips.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#33854244)

This is exactly how train and air travel began, too. The rich will get to play with it at first, then businessmen will get to use it, and finally it'll be available to the rank-and-file citizenry of the world. Within two decades, we'll likely all be able to fly on space trips.

Except trains and planes took people from where they were to where they wanted to go, for traveling between two earth-based locations space is mostly a big detour. We need some targets out there (space stations, moon base, mars base, something) before traveling in space makes any financial sense. In the big picture these people just lift off, circle the landing strip and come back down. They don't go anywhere.

GNAA Endorses Construction of "Ground Zero Mosque" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854282)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

GNAA Endorses Construction of "Ground Zero Mosque"
Leonard K. Isler - New York, NY

New York, NY - GNAA today announced its endorsement of the construction of the now-infamous "Ground Zero Mosque [park51.org] " that is planned to be built two blocks away from the site of the September 11th World Trade Center Zionist attacks.

The construction of the mosque community center is mainly opposed by the Zionist hate group "Stop Islamization of America" and its Jewish supporters, who argue that the construction of a mosque community center would be a "victory for Islam against America".

What SIOA fails to mention is that the September 11th attacks were, in fact, not carried out by Muslims, but by Zionist Jews. To combat this misconception, GNAA has endorsed the construction of the mosque community center.

"Ms. Geller is a known Jewish sympathizer", explains GNAA associate Klerck, "she is more than happy to spread these lies through fearmongering and the exploitation of public ignorance, using this Zionist hate group as a mouthpiece. It's not even a mosque, it's a community center. There was no other way to combat these Zionist lies, we simply had to endorse the construction of the community center."

"The community center is a much-needed thing in the Muslim community of New York", explains GNAA operative Jmax, "what other location would be the ideal place to pray for the extermination of the Jewish race five times a day? Insha'Allah!"

Ms. Geller declined to comment in person, speaking only in a brief interview conducted over the phone. The Jewish mouthpiece merely said "we must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children", wiping humus from her mouth while dining at a Bruegger's in lower Manhattan, and dialing her cell phone with her nose.

SIOA has declined to comment on the synagogue that is planned to be built on Ground Zero.

About Ms. Geller

Hates darkies. [imgur.com]

About SIOA

Supporters of the inhuman ideology known as "Zionism" that slaughtered 3,000 precious souls on September 11, 2001 [www.gnaa.eu] , and funded by the Mossad.

About Jews

Did WTC.

About GNAA:
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which gathers GAY NIGGERS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - being GAY NIGGERS.

Are you GAY [klerck.org] ?
Are you a NIGGER [mugshots.org] ?
Are you a GAY NIGGER [gay-sex-access.com] ?

If you answered "Yes" to all of the above questions, then GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) might be exactly what you've been looking for!
Join GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) today, and enjoy all the benefits of being a full-time GNAA member.
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the fastest-growing GAY NIGGER community with THOUSANDS of members all over United States of America and the World! You, too, can be a part of GNAA if you join today!

Why not? It's quick and easy - only 3 simple steps!

  • First, you have to obtain a copy of GAYNIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE THE MOVIE [imdb.com] and watch it. You can download the movie [idge.net] (~130mb) using BitTorrent.
  • Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA First Post [wikipedia.org] on slashdot.org [slashdot.org] , a popular "news for trolls" website.
  • Third, you need to join the official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on irc.gnaa.eu, and apply for membership.

Talk to one of the ops or any of the other members in the channel to sign up today! Upon submitting your application, you will be required to submit links to your successful First Post, and you will be tested on your knowledge of GAYNIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE.

If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is NiggerNET, and you can connect to irc.gnaa.eu as our official server. Follow this link [irc] if you are using an irc client such as mIRC.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

.________________________________________________.
| ______________________________________._a,____ | Press contact:
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | Gary Niger
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | gary_niger@gnaa.eu [mailto]
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA Corporate Headquarters
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | 143 Rolloffle Avenue
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | Tarzana, California 91356
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ | All other inquiries:
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ | Enid Al-Punjabi
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ | enid_al_punjabi@gnaa.eu [mailto]
| ______-"!^____________________________________ | GNAA World Headquarters
` _______________________________________________' 160-0023 Japan Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Nishi-Shinjuku 3-20-2

Copyright (c) 2003-2010 Gay Nigger Association of America [www.gnaa.eu]

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (4, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | about 4 years ago | (#33854310)

We need some targets out there (space stations, moon base, mars base, something) before traveling in space makes any financial sense.

Going on foreign holidays doesn't make financial sense either. People do it anyway, for fun.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

Anpheus (908711) | about 4 years ago | (#33855248)

People don't fly to a foreign country to stay inside the plane and look outside in awe, then fly back home. That's the problem with space travel, there's literally nothing out there for them to go to yet.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 years ago | (#33855614)

Sure they do, mostly. They get on a cruise ship, stay aboard most of the time, get off at the ports for short walking trips or whatever, and get back on. Sometimes, they get on a submarine [atlantisadventures.com] and look out the windows in awe, and then go back to their cruise ship.

What exactly do you think people do on foreign vacations? Start businesses or get involved in archeology digs? They walk around (mainly at tourist traps), gawk at everything, then fly back home.

There's tons of stuff to see in space: Earth from orbit, the Moon, asteroids, Venus, Mars, etc. Unfortunately, we're only really good at sending people into LEO right now, though we are (theoretically) able to get people to the moon (I say theoretically because I'm not so sure we could do it any time soon, because we've lost much of the knowledge we had in the Apollo days due to neglect and everyone involved dying). But apparently, just going up a mere 60 miles is good enough for hundreds of people to shell out $200k each, so there's no telling how much money could be made with an orbital hotel, or better yet, a transport to the Moon. For the right price, people will be lining up for rides to the Moon or other planets.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

creat3d (1489345) | about 4 years ago | (#33856496)

You know what, if I had that kind of money to spare I wouldn't mind enjoying the "nothing" of flying in space for a few minutes.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

antdude (79039) | about 4 years ago | (#33855610)

Going outside to have fun doesn't make financial sense either and is overrated especiually with that big glowing yellow ball outside. [grin]

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33855808)

You fucking idiot, that's still going some where. The GP's point was there's no where to fucking go in space, therefore no one will fucking pay to go there. Jesus Christ.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (2, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | about 4 years ago | (#33854352)

We need some targets out there (space stations, moon base, mars base, something) before traveling in space makes any financial sense.

Just release the next ishiny on the moon. They will come.

Long haul trips (3, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | about 4 years ago | (#33855574)

It still takes me 18 hours fly time + couple hours in transit somewhere in Europe to fly from North America to India.

Orbital technology promises to cut the time to a few hours. I think there is a market there. More so as we increasingly do business with India and China. Sure there is still some time before 65 miles turns to orbital, nonetheless this is a step in this direction.

It excites me that I can consider flying across the globe faster than Earth can rotate the same amount.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33855640)

Just start the Space Olympics! [www.hulu] They will come.

Offensive (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854410)

From the article:

"These things are so simple that a grandmother could fly it".

As a 49 yo grandmother, c programmer and feminist, I find this offensive.

Re:Offensive (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854546)

Change it to "this analogy is so sexist that a grandmother could be offended by it."

Re:Offensive (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854588)

You should have taught your daughter how to use birth control.

Re:Offensive (1)

aevan (903814) | about 4 years ago | (#33854614)

Just because you're a virgin at 40, doesn't mean it's mandatory for everyone else. Kid at 24, then kid has kid at 24, leaves her a year to spare.

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33855370)

Somebody drove past the fun and right into dickwad central.

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33856246)

24 is still way too young to fuck yourself over with a kid

Misinformed (1)

LenE (29922) | about 4 years ago | (#33854636)

I know you are trolling, as the article did not say any such comment, but I know we did use use Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime as an informal pilot input design case. If this plane is easy enough for a grandmother, let alone a C programmer to fly, then I did my job too well. All joking aside, Pete Siebold, who piloted the craft today, did almost all of the C/C++ programming for the SS1 program and its simulator, and he flew this craft very well today.

The article did mention Burt Rutan as the designer, which is unfortunate. Burt has corrected this misconception many times, but all of Scaled's work will always be tied to him and his legendary career achievements.

--Len

first trains didn't go anywhere either (4, Informative)

fantomas (94850) | about 4 years ago | (#33854432)

The first trains and planes tended to be just for demonstration as well: check out Trevithick's 1808 Catch Me Who Can [sciencemuseum.org.uk] circular railway in London. People paid to see and have a go on this novelty ride. Others took the concept on from there.

Re:first trains didn't go anywhere either (4, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | about 4 years ago | (#33854746)

The first trains and planes tended to be just for demonstration as well: check out Trevithick's 1808 Catch Me Who Can circular railway in London. People paid to see and have a go on this novelty ride. Others took the concept on from there.

There was also the important barnstorming phase of early aviation, where much of the early cash-flow was people paying to watch pilots perform stunts, or pay to go for a short ride themselves, taking off and landing at the same field:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnstorming#Initial_growth [wikipedia.org]

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854438)

for traveling between two earth-based locations space is mostly a big detour.

Absolutely not! Space is just 100 km up while earth-based locations can be 20,000 km apart. By climbing above the atmosphere a ship avoids air resistance so it can travel much faster. This can definitely make financial sense.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33854712)

The nice thing about being in the atmosphere is that you just need to carry fuel - you can use the medium as reaction mass just by scooping it up from the front and pushing it out of the back at a higher speed. In space, you have to bring your own reaction mass, meaning that you have to lift it 100Km. The energy required to do so means that going via space is definitely not the cheap solution, although it might be the fast one. Unfortunately for people wanting to do this, Concorde taught us that the market for ultra-fast transportation is shrinking. If something is so urgent that it can't wait a day, it's more common to use a telephone or some other form of remote communication. If it can wait a day, it's rarely worth the extra cost of shaving a few hours off the trip.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (4, Informative)

JamesP (688957) | about 4 years ago | (#33854936)

Well, the thing with Concorde is, when flying fast, the atmosphere is a burden

The longest commercial flight on schedule today is Newark->Singapore at 9500Mi, almost a 19h flight (see wikipedia Non-stop_flight)

I'm sure some will shell the money to get there faster.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 years ago | (#33855636)

Some will, but not enough to keep the program running. A plane the size of the Concorde needs hundreds of people per day to keep operating and funding its fuel-guzzling engines. Not that many people are willing to pay $5k/seat, so it went bust. Making the plane smaller won't work either; the fuel usage won't fall that much, so the ticket price will increase greatly, further reducing the number of people willing to pay for a seat (the biggest planes like 747s are the most fuel-efficient per passenger).

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (2, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | about 4 years ago | (#33854980)

Why do you have to continue accelerating in space? As the air thins, accelerate less. You're still doing Mach 10+ when you leave the minimum air density for your engines to work. (of course no one does JUST this, but it's an option to go along with rockets)

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

gfody (514448) | about 4 years ago | (#33856676)

unless you're going faster than 2500mph gravity will pull you back into atmosphere (it doesn't thin out to nothing until 700 miles up or so) and you'll slow down without thrust. also you'll probably want thrust to slow down or to change direction if you are going 2500+.. just guessing though IANAw/e

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33855024)

Hey, hey, logic, reason and reality have NO place in a frothing, jizz-laden Space Nutter story! Let the deluded cretins jizz all over themselves, reality will smash them in the mouth soon enough.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33856134)

Hey, hey, logic, reason and reality have NO place in a frothing, jizz-laden Space Nutter story!

Just get an account here, QA, before you die of old age.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 4 years ago | (#33856686)

Absolutely not! Space is just 100 km up while earth-based locations can be 20,000 km apart.

Considering that Earth has a diameter of about 12750km, I'd highly doubt that.
You started mixing vertical and lateral distances... ;-)

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (3, Insightful)

Psiren (6145) | about 4 years ago | (#33854668)

They don't go anywhere.

They go up!

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (4, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33854700)

Sub-orbital flights between two different destinations on the Earth is something that has been talked about in several cases, giving a huge advantage over airplanes in terms of travel time between two locations. For intercontinental distances, it is something that has been seriously talked about.

It is this that I believe the original poster is sort of hinting at too, BTW.

Something like this also gives the ability to have something like FedEx deliver a package to a destination yesterday (crossing the international dateline) for things that really need to get there. I'm sure there are things that people would be willing to pay $1000 per pound to deliver in that fashion if they could get from say New York to Tokyo in three hours. For some items there are people who would be willing to pay 100x that price if it could be done quickly.

Yes, there is a realistic commercial market for these kind of vehicles, even though SpaceShip Two isn't going to be able to pull off those kind of flights any time soon. It doesn't necessarily require a destination in space in order to be useful for point to point travel.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | about 4 years ago | (#33854708)

Pure and plain commerce will take care of that.

For now, it's a toy for the filthy rich only. A few technological evolutions down the line it will be affordable for the masses.

Competition will grow but the money machine needs to keep on rolling so new ways have to be found to get my money in their pockets.
How about a space hotel? How about a moon fly-by? How about a 6 day space-cruise? etc.

Commercialism will prevail where governments fail.. goodbye Nasa, Hello Virgin.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | about 4 years ago | (#33855572)

> Commercialism will prevail where governments fail.. goodbye Nasa, Hello Virgin.

NASA is in the business of space joy-rides?

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | about 4 years ago | (#33856440)

It all depends on how they market it. Envision a small blimp floating above the Los Angeles nightlife with speakers blaring "A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies, the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. New climate, recreation facilities ..." Get Daryl Hannah to be their spokesperson and they'd be golden.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854808)

That and the fact that Space travel will end up being a rude experiance. It will give jet lag feel like nothing.
Think washing machine

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 4 years ago | (#33855536)

That and the fact that Space travel will end up being a rude experiance. It will give jet lag feel like nothing.
Think washing machine

You mean you get hot and wet, and afterwards you are clean? :-)

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (4, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 years ago | (#33855060)

Except trains and planes took people from where they were to where they wanted to go, for traveling between two earth-based locations space is mostly a big detour.

Actually, a ballistic arc (sub-orbital spaceflight) is the fastest way to travel between two points of the globe. You'll get from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in about half an hour or so. You'll also avoid the need to worry about weather anywhere except the start- and endpoints, and last but not least, the view is fantastic.

Famous predictions (1)

troll -1 (956834) | about 4 years ago | (#33855274)

"Radio has no future." -- Royal Society president William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, 1897-9.

"No imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urging investment in the radio in the 1920's.

"Television won't matter in your lifetime or mine." -- Radio Times editor Rex Lambert, 1936.

"I think there's a world market for about five computers." -- Thomas J. Watson, chairman of the board of IBM.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication." -- Western Union memo, 1876

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | about 4 years ago | (#33856520)

We need some targets out there (space stations, moon base, mars base, something) before traveling in space makes any financial sense.

We're whalers on the moon,
We carry a harpoon.,
But there ain't no whales
So we tell tall tales
And sing our whaling tune.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

dynamo (6127) | about 4 years ago | (#33856548)

Yeah, this is stupid, especially since the 'destination', weightlessness, lasts 'a few minutes' and costs $200,000.
What a waste - with all the expense of getting them up there, would it really have costthat much more to give them an hour or so? If they're really weightless, it wouldn't even require fuel to keep them up, though maneuvering would be more complicated over a longer flight.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854328)

This is exactly how train and air travel began, too. The rich will get to play with it at first, then businessmen will get to use it, and finally it'll be available to the rank-and-file citizenry of the world. Within two decades, we'll likely all be able to fly on space trips.

This is exactly how train and air travel began, too. The rich will get to play with it at first, then businessmen will get to use it, and finally it'll be available to the rank-and-file citizenry of the world. Within two decades, we'll likely all be able to fly on space trips.

www.onlinesinemaseyret.tk thanksss....

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (2, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | about 4 years ago | (#33854354)

Keep in mind space flight doesn't have as much use to the citizenry and businesspeople of the world when compared to traditional air flight. It's likely to remain a toy unless they can turn it into some kind of economically advantageous form of travel. You can fly around the world for under under $10,000. Or you can fly a quick trip into space and back for $200,000. Prices will go way down though, due to standardization and marketization.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (1)

Matrix14 (135171) | about 4 years ago | (#33854696)

I imagine there is a pretty good market for New York to Europe or Japan in half an hour for 100K. High level executives in multinational corporations with emergencies to fix would probably be willing to pay for this all the time.

Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854858)

Tell that to the Concorde.

SS2 is not a real space ship (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 4 years ago | (#33856190)

I don't think that what SS2 does can really be called space flight in the proper sense. Firstly, it goes nowhere near the altitudes that even the Space Shuttle reaches. Secondly, the speeds it reaches are nowhere near what is necessary for orbit at any altitude. Sure you might get the sensation of being "in space", with the experience of weightlessness and the blackness of space. And to many non-scientists, this will be enough. However, in terms of energy and difficulty, SS2 is an order of magnitude or two (or three?) smaller than the Space Shuttle. This ship is pure marketing. It gives the illusion of actual space flight, without actually solving the real problems of reaching orbit, and of returning from orbit. Not that it wouldn't be fun. But SS2 fans should get some perspective on the true difficulties of orbital space flight.

Lucky Bastards (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | about 4 years ago | (#33854168)

I hate roller coasters etc but that would be the ride of a lifetime. I haven't really kept up with Burt Rutan and his spaceships but I can't understand why it's taken so long to roll this out to the general public. I can't wait till it becomes cheaper.

Re:Lucky Bastards (4, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 4 years ago | (#33854318)

>>I can't wait till it becomes cheaper.

Didn't you read the headline? It flew free for the first time today.

Re:Lucky Bastards (2, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 4 years ago | (#33854372)

You don't know why it's taken so long?! We are talking spaceflight. crude and low-performance, but spaceflight. They also had a fatal accident in testing. I would say given the starting point (almost nothing and apparent disregard for previous experience of others) they are doing pretty good.

        Brett

not so... (3, Insightful)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | about 4 years ago | (#33854172)

and spaceflight bragging rights for years afterward

Hopefully, this won't turn out to be true. Brag in the short term, you bourgeois pig, but I'm still among the idealistic holdouts, with thousands of dollars in my hand waiting in line to sign up, who believe in Virgin Galactic and economies of scale.

Re:not so... (5, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | about 4 years ago | (#33854320)

That was one of my first thoughts reading the summary - I hope it's not *too* many years of bragging rights. I want to live in a world where "I saw the curvature of the Earth and experienced a few minutes of free fall" is worth about as much bragging rights as an American of today saying "I went to Canada once!" Sure, a lot of people still will never leave a 100-mile radius of their home town, but anybody who wants to will be able to go much further and see much more.

Re:not so... (2, Insightful)

jochem_m (1718280) | about 4 years ago | (#33854404)

they don't have to leave a 100 mile radius from their home town, as long as they live near enough the airstrip where this thing takes off ;)

Re:not so... (4, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | about 4 years ago | (#33854454)

Hopefully, this won't turn out to be true. Brag in the short term, you bourgeois pig, but I'm still among the idealistic holdouts, with thousands of dollars in my hand waiting in line to sign up, who believe in Virgin Galactic and economies of scale.

At the point where you will be in space for a few minutes, they will be in orbit. At the point where you are in orbit, they will be doing a flyby of the moon. When you are doing a flyby of the moon, they will be spending some time on a moon base...

(Well, not true exactly. There has to be some minimum practical level of fuel use that you just can't get below, and some cost to the energy that will bring about an affordability floor. And in all likelihood, energy will only be a part of such costs. For each of these steps, the fuel bill rises.)

Re:not so... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 4 years ago | (#33856038)

Erm even if in 2015 prices dropped to $50. They could still say I was one of the first 1000 people in space... Thats pretty badass.

No Thanks; To Get To The ISS, I'll Take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854178)

Energia [energia.ru] .

Yours In Cape Canaveral,
Kilgore Trout

The ride is not worth it, yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854184)

Read any pilot's account of the suborbital X-15 flights or the Mercury project.

There used to be a Mig-25 flight for $4000 that provided a similar experience.

The passport stamp might be worth it.

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854292)

Also(replying to myself), each X-15 flight cost about $750,000(2009 dollars). This doesn't include development costs which SS2 needs to recoup.

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 4 years ago | (#33854562)

The difficulty (and cost) of rocket launch rises in proportion to the delta-V. And not linearly in proportion to it -- exponentially. The figures I've seen for SS2's delta-V range from 1,400 to 2,000. X-15's was 2,020. Orbit is 7,800 m/s in energy plus about 2k in gravity losses and drag.

No, a craft like SS2 cannot scale to orbit. The Isp is too low for carrier launch to be plausible. Basically, you need to start from scratch with a more scalable design.

Of course, why start from scratch? If your goal is Newspace getting to orbit in hopes of dramatic cost reduction, why not cheer for companies like SpaceX who are already making that happen?

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (2, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#33854946)

The figures I've seen for SS2's delta-V range from 1,400 to 2,000.

The high end is correct. I did the calculation [nasaspaceflight.com] (the cost of getting to orbit from my post is incorrect, Rei above is correct on the delta-v required for orbit) for SS1 and got 2,250 m/s total (including the contribution from the carrier plane) which is around a quarter what you'd need to get to orbit. With a higher ISP engine (say kerosene/lox) and a higher mass fraction, you can achieve orbit.

Now, getting that factor of four more delta-v (plus the other side of the coin, a thermal protection system that can dissipate the additional energy) may well require a complete redesign of the SS2. But Scaled Composites has demonstrated that it has a team that can do complete redesigns. And by the time any orbital vehicle has come along, Virgin Galactic will have demonstrated that they can handle such vehicles with things like logistics, flight, reliability, fast turn-around, etc. And that they can make money or at least run a loss-leader effectively.

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33855220)

I'm definitely applauding this effort, but not as a stepping stone to orbit. I thinking about the day where a cross-country flight takes about an hour and I believe captive carry is the way to do it.

My comment about the cost was only to contrast the NASA/DoD's effort with today's. The X-15 had a payload for two(pilot + instrument bay), cost about $750k and could roughly cross Nevada in 10 minutes. I'm not sure what SS2's launch costs are but I think similar numbers or lower are likely. The absence of the requirement to operate above Mach 5 likely saves more than enough weight to add 7 more passengers and increase glide time. The $200k was likely set by what the market could bear.

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 4 years ago | (#33855576)

Sadly, I think you are right. Delta-V is the big problem in getting to orbit and I believe designs like SS2 are a distraction. Chemical fuels seem the only practical energy source for earth-to-orbit: Shielding for nuclear would be too heavy and rail-gun type designs look impractical for orbital velocities (and orbital speed in the lower atmosphere would be a serious aerodynamic problem).

Jet engines can get you to ~Mach 3-5, but its not clear you win much from the added weight. Scram-jets seem appealing, but so far the designs only work over a very narrow range of Mach-numbers - might work for cruise, but no good for launch.

We understand chemical fuels fairly well. Kerosene / LOX seems the best for the first stage, and either Kerosene / LOX or H2/LOX for the upper stage (H2/LOX has better specific impulse, but the lower density makes the tanks heavier.

What this all adds up to is that conventional looking rockets seem likely to be the best way to do earth-to-orbit unless there is some new technological breakthrough.

It isn't at all clear that wings are worth the weight. Parachutes (admittedly less cool) and retro-braking may use less weight.

One thing to consider: the energy cost to orbit isn't the dominant cost. A saturn V used about 2 million pounds of fuel (not counting oxidizer) to put 200,000 pounds in orbit. Thats about $15 in fuel to put a pound in orbit. Clearly fuel costs are not the big issue here.

I wish there was a nice technology to let us "fly" into orbit but it just doesn't look practical. Of course airplanes look very different from ships, maybe it isn't surprising that spacecraft look very different from airplanes.

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#33854346)

There used to be a Mig-25 flight for $4000 that provided a similar experience.

That would probably be a variation on the Vomit Comet [wikipedia.org] . Some not so minor differences:

1. You get 30 seconds or less of abrupt weightlessness.
2. If you look out the window you're not actually in space.
3. As a consequence of #2, you're not an astronaut.

Flights like that have more in common with an extreme roller coaster ride, that can also give you the feeling of being floating for brief moments of time. I think the SS2 experience is going to be a lot more real than that. Worth the money? Now that's a different question...

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 4 years ago | (#33854626)

Now that's a different question.../quote ...the answer to which depends almost entirely on how much money you have,

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33855338)

Regarding #2, the layperson would be hard pressed to discern 20 miles up from 50 miles up. Past ~65k feet the sky is black. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izIClWYKK1o [youtube.com] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ7N6V-YKJ8&feature=related [youtube.com]

That said, I'd rather take a ride in an ASK-21 or a Bearcat.

Re:The ride is not worth it, yet. (1)

robertc99 (1366201) | about 4 years ago | (#33856274)

I've always been baffled that people are prepared to pay this kind of money for 5 minutes of weightlessness. I might pay $2000 for this flight. But $200k, never. For $200k I'd expect a week in orbit. Plus a chance to join the 100 mile high club :-).

No need for hurry. (4, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 4 years ago | (#33854186)

When someone is sufficiently knowledgeable about technology it is possible to feel comfortable about rejecting technology.

I think I'll wait for iPhone version 8. SpaceShipTen will carry people more safely, and all the way into orbit, for only $10,000, I'm guessing.

Re:No need for hurry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854360)

I think I'll wait for iPhone version 8. SpaceShipTen will carry people more safely, and all the way into orbit, for only $10,000, I'm guessing.

The crucial question here is when will SpaceShip10 fly.

What would you see? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 4 years ago | (#33855054)

"The crucial question here is when will SpaceShip10 fly."

I don't think there is any hurry. What would you see if you flew into space? It would look exactly the same as in the photos. What would be the purpose of risking your life?

Re:What would you see? (1)

fredcai (1015417) | about 4 years ago | (#33855644)

What would you see if you flew into space? It would look exactly the same as in the photos. What would be the purpose of risking your life?

And this is exactly why people don't go to the Grand Canyon or climb mountains.

Slashdot closing down? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854208)

Say it ain't so.

japan fills oil tankers with water from canada (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854222)

that's water bought from canada & transported (never mind the cost of that, let's just guess water could end up being more important than money (what an abstract concept?)) across the world. not that that matters, when we all ?know? we'll be flying to our new planet soon (enough?) where we'll never grow old & everybody will have everything they need, so being thirsty or afraid or sick or discouraged or homeless or hungry now is just an inconvenience, caused by????? terrorists?

To the early adopters - Thank you (5, Insightful)

cjfs (1253208) | about 4 years ago | (#33854312)

Please excuse the others saying how going first is wasteful/stupid/reckless, they do not understand.

Thanks for helping to push us forward.

Re:To the early adopters - Thank you (1)

physburn (1095481) | about 4 years ago | (#33854472)

Yes I do hope there are enough reckless millionaires willing to fly in this thing, because it will take a lot of these flight before Virgin galactic could make anything genuinely useful like a sub orbital travel, or payload/humans to orbit.

---

Space Craft [feeddistiller.com] feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

deposit? (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | about 4 years ago | (#33854376)

$45,000,000/300=~$150,000. Sounds more like they've already bought a ride than just put down a deposit.

Re:deposit? (3, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about 4 years ago | (#33854390)

Actually the flight is $750. The rest of that is bag check-in fee.

Re:deposit? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#33854742)

I didnt know RyanAir went to space already...

Re:deposit? (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | about 4 years ago | (#33856554)

I didnt know RyanAir went to space already...

It was the blonde stewardess who now doubles as a copilot

Re:deposit? (1)

megrims (839585) | about 4 years ago | (#33854428)

Given that the seats are 200k (from TFS), it's fair to call that a deposit, though a pretty big one.

Re:deposit? (2, Informative)

LenE (29922) | about 4 years ago | (#33854486)

I believe the founder's group (the first 100 passengers) have paid the full price for the priveidge to be in that group. I've met a few of them, and many are more ordinary middle class people than one would think.

The desire to be among the first private people in space is strong with many, and not limited to the super-rich.

--Len

Re:deposit? (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | about 4 years ago | (#33854538)

Ah. That explains a thing or two. The others will still have put a hefty deposit (~$125,000) on something that may not happen, though. (I'm not trying to suggest that it won't, but there's always some uncertainty on future events. What if Richard Branson keels over tomorrow?)

Re:deposit? (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | about 4 years ago | (#33854952)

It's not like the people paying for this don't have some disposable income to be spending, and if it fails to happen I'm sure most of them have a damn good accountant who can write that off in tax.

What if Richard Branson keels over tomorrow?

The first space-plane would be renamed the Branson One, and the rest of the company would probably still go ahead with it. It's not like Richard is the pilot or something.

Re:deposit? (1)

IrquiM (471313) | about 4 years ago | (#33855000)

The deposit is still on a bank account somewhere within Virgin. It won't be used until there's an actual ride! No deposits are lost in case of failure. No need to worry ;)

Re:deposit? (2, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33855202)

Virgin Galactic is far enough along, as is SpaceShip Two, that I think any group of investors that takes over after Richard Branson is going to at least continue to offer SS2 flights for the foreseeable future. I think the flight deposits that have been offered so far will be honored and the flights are going to happen.

What might put a monkey wrench into the company would be if something happened where the engine on the vehicle couldn't be certified (it is still going through R&D development) or some sort of fatal flaw in the design is discovered during the flight testing that would cause the FAA to refuse to give an air worthiness certificate on the vehicle. That is a big deal and something that could conceivably still happen. I would put that as almost completely unlikely, but there have been aircraft development projects this far along that have failed before. On the other hand, Scaled Composites has plenty of experience with trying to pass that hurdle and is very closely working with the various bureaucrats to make sure that isn't a problem.

There is the tiny problem with the fact that the FAA-AST has never certified for regular non-experimental purposes any sort of manned spaceflight vehicle. The entire process is currently being worked out explicitly to get SpaceShip Two going, but it is possible that Congress might enact legislation or have some sort of brainfart that would kill any sort of vehicle from getting a certificate for flight. It would hit Slashdot if that happened and there would be a thousand cries of complaint about it happening among geeks if something like that happened, but worse has gone through the legislative sausage factory called Congress.

The worry about Richard Branson and Burt Rutan is that if either die, it is likely that SpaceShip Three will never be built. That one is supposed to be more for the point to point travel, or perhaps flights into orbit (depending on who is being asked). It would be a shame if the follow on spacecraft weren't built.

Re:deposit? (2, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 years ago | (#33854884)

Your definition of "middle class" appears to be slightly skewed. At prevailing US wages, the cost of a single seat would take the entire after-tax income of a median US family for 5 years. In fact, making over $70-75k puts you in the top 10% of US wage earners. I have no doubt there are some people who would trade their family for a shot to space, but in general there will be no "middle class" people on the first flights.

errrrr (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854474)

It's a good start but I won't care to go into "space" until it's legitimately -in- space. You know, like half-way between earth and the moon would be reasonable but barely orbiting earth to me isn't enough space to consider it space travel.

Even though we don't have flying cars (4, Funny)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 4 years ago | (#33854522)

at least we have "Spaceships" that look like they were on the covers of 1930's science fiction magazines. Now if they would just have stewardesses dressed in outfits like the old 1930's Flash Gorden moves they we could at least pretend that we were living in the future.

Re:Even though we don't have flying cars (2, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33854812)

This YouTube video has an even cooler "1930's SciFi" look to it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nATMe_NKgo0 [youtube.com]

Watch for the landing gear extend at the end of the flight.

Yeah, it seems like the new rocket designers forgot that spacecraft weren't supposed to have those sleek designs like those old magazine covers illustrated. Yes, that is a real rocket in this video too.

Space Precautionary Act (2, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | about 4 years ago | (#33854548)

(Obligatory reference) We are talking about what is clearly an experimental vehicle, and as such quite risky. There are sure to be accidents, just like any other new technology. The question is what will happen then -- will the doctrine of assumption of risk serve to protect the infant industry, will the government try to limit access, or will lawsuits simply kill the whole thing off?

Re:Space Precautionary Act (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 years ago | (#33854920)

That's easy. If one of these crashes, the company goes bankrupt and liquidates all assets. A shadow corporation buys the parts at a steep discount, and turns around and with the same people to open a new shop.

You'll note that you aren't actually buying a ticket from Rutan or Branson, or either of their respective parent companies. You can be certain that the corporations are set up to be as air-tight as a billionaire can buy.

That said, if I had to bet on someone to pull this off, my money would be on Rutan.

Re:Space Precautionary Act (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 4 years ago | (#33855208)

The FAA office of commercial space (AST, dont ask me how the acronym is related to the office name) is doing exactly that. Some dedicated, motivated people there are trying to give these kinds of companies a sound legal framework to work within.

Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854776)

Space does not begin at the altitude of 100 km; space begins at the velocity of 7 km/s.

Where is the funding coming from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33854964)

Where is the funding to develop this from? $45 million in deposits is peanuts from what is required to do this. Someone is going to end up wasting a lot of money on thus... You can't even buy a football player with that kind of money, yet alone build a business to fly people into space for fun...

Re:Where is the funding coming from? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33855056)

Whos to say that $45 million can't develop it?

Its a private company so it doesn't have the waste that plague government programs, they've hired capable engineers and its all headed by a person with a clear vision of his idealized future.

Plus, Sir Richard Branson has millions of spare cash he can sink into a venture.

Football players have elevated self-worth and a large fanbase based on name only. Engineers don't. Plus, most engineers are "fun" motivated, most would jump at the chance to work with a private space company for, say, only $75K a year compared to $100K a year doing boring things like designing bridges and dams. On the other hand, NFL players demand more money to be on the more competitive teams.

Re:Where is the funding coming from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33855234)

I'm guessing there are definitely some engineers that get paid more than 75K to 100K. Remember, these guys are designing, constructing, and testing. Many of these guys probably have extensive relevant experience (they did not just switch from designing dams on a whim). This is one of those cases where having some expensive guys with vision and experience is not interchangeable with hiring 2 or 3 times as many good engineers.

When will it make it into space? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33855140)

I've heard some rumors that the engines on this vehicle are being a tad bit temperamental and that there are some problems trying to get the SS1 engines to scale up to the size that SS2 is going to need. Yes, I could post some on-line references for this rather than pure gossip, but the issue still is outstanding. There were some unfortunate deaths that happened with the engine testing that I'm quite certain have been part of the delay as it is.

To keep things simple, have the problems been worked with the engines and are they close to being used for test flights, or is that something still a long way away. All that was tested today is the avionics and everything that didn't need the engine working. At the moment, I'm not even sure if Scaled Composites is still using the N2O/HTPB engines. I'm not trying to troll here, I'm really curious about the answer.

Still not even close to orbital speed (2, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | about 4 years ago | (#33855374)

They're still not even close to the first cosmic velocity.

Yes, you'll technically be in space but the problem is that your orbit will intersect the Earth. So it's nothing more than an expensive joyride. You can just as well jump up - for a split second you'll be in an orbit (which intersects the Earth as well).

Economy of scale? For what? Their current design is not scalable.

Miles & feet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33856050)

Anyone else having trouble with those strange units?
45000 feet = 13.7 km
The miles are more complicated. In aviation they commonly use nautical miles, then this would be 120 km. I had to check the virgin galactic home page in order to figure out they use statute miles here. So:
65 miles = 105 km

Space, the final frontier (2, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 years ago | (#33856196)

These are the voyages of the glorified airplane SpaceShipTwo. Its fifty-minute mission: to explore strange heights; to seek out new life and new sensations; to boldly go where only a few man and women has gone before.

photos of the flight (2, Informative)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | about 4 years ago | (#33856720)

Really? All this yacking and nobody bothers to link to the photos?

Killer high-resolution photos from Virgin Galactic:
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4103/5068224405_048653fe6d_o.jpg [flickr.com]
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4104/5068685162_c815ecf013_o.jpg [flickr.com]
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4154/5068685178_2f4f70ba28_o.jpg [flickr.com]
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4127/5068685118_c9dbb29905_o.jpg [flickr.com]
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4109/5068196007_29f5b66dce_o.jpg [flickr.com]
(that's Rutan and Branson in the last one, both recognizable by their hair)

And while I'm here, why do I have to click twice on links in Slashdot now? First click mysteriously does nothing.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?