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Just $10M Keeping "Red Neck Rocket Scientist" From Reaching Space

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the this-calls-for-a-roadtrip-to-arizona dept.

Intel 121

McGruber writes "The Arizona Republic has an update on Morris Jarvis, a Project Manager at Intel who also happens to head Space Transport and Recovery (STAR) Systems, a commercial space-travel company, out of his east Mesa, Arizona home. Jarvis has built the Hermes, a prototype, proof-of-concept model of a space shuttle, that is 27 feet long with a 21-foot wingspan. He believes that if he were to receive $10 million today, he could have the first test launch in a year. Jarvis 'envisions two tour options for his completed Hermes. In the first, a high-altitude balloon will raise the Hermes to 100,000-plus feet, where customers can see the curvature of the Earth. The second is a rocket-powered option that will put customers in a suborbital trajectory where they can experience weightlessness.' According to the Silicon Valley Watcher, Morris likes to describe himself as the 'Red Neck Rocket Scientist.' (He was interviewed in this May 24, 2011 IntelFreePress Video posted at YouTube.)"

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Yes but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731167)

... does it run linux?

Re:Yes but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731269)

I think you meant: "... does it blend?"

Re:Yes but... (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731401)

This "shuttle" looks a bit like a GMC van [wikipedia.org] , with a nose-cone. Is there a waterbed with shag carpet in the back?

...we made love in my Chevy van, and that's all right with me...

Re:Yes but... (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40734653)

If the Hermes prototype's a-rockin don't come a-knockin?

Oh...and I believe Hollywood has already covered this particular angle, AKA Andy Griffith in SPACE [imdb.com]

Re:Yes but... (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732915)

I think you meant: "... does it blend?"

Yes, it does. Exactly one time: the first time that it crashes.

Re:Yes but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731577)

You mean Raspberry Pi

First Sentence (4, Funny)

MagdJTK (1275470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731175)

...who also happens to Space Transport and Recovery (STAR) Systems...

I think you accidentally a word.

Re:First Sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731231)

The way people write today, you're lucky that more than half the sentence has actual words.

Re:First Sentence (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731413)

makes think does?

Re:First Sentence (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731917)

It wasn't written by political flacks spinning their own agenda.

Re:First Sentence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40733447)

yeah, that's what it was lacking....

Re:First Sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731261)

Is that bad?

Re:First Sentence (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731337)

Or he is talking about Clark Kent.

Re:First Sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731387)

"Sir! Something's happened to the STAR Systems!"

"Jarvis."

Even the title... (4, Funny)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732361)

Just $10M Keeping "Red Neck Rocket Scientist" From Reaching Space

So how much should we be spending to keep him from reaching space?

Re:Even the title... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40733489)

"So how much should we be spending to keep him from reaching space?"

Whatever it takes.

That thing looks like The Incredible Shrinking Titanic.

I was unable to detect anything of value other than jargon and buzzwords on the website. Maybe he's playing his cards close to his vest - I'm sure there are any number of people out there looking to steal the technology underpinning his 2" "HRPS" rocket engines and their fearsome 30 pounds of thrust...

Remind me to contact Representative Bachmann, and ask if she'd be interested in an all-expenses paid sub-orbital trip - where, I am given to understand, the Muslim Brotherhood has taken control of several de-orbiting satellites.

I already know what the HRPS engine is... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40734431)

two thousand whipped cream charge canisters filled with RBS-nitrox.

I'm here all week.

Re:Even the title... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40733847)

If you give me $1000, I would build a trebuchet to fling him so he will no longer think about space travel...

I'll even record the flinging and upload it to YouTube as proof.

There's a reason... (5, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731239)

There's a reason NASA's Shuttle budget was immense, and that it takes a billionaire like Elon Musk to succeed at space entrepreneurism: It costs a lot of money to design, build, test, redesign, rebuild, retest, [rinse and repeat...] to the point where you're not being criminally reckless to put a human being in a space vehicle.

And even then, deadly accidents [wikipedia.org] happen [wikipedia.org] .

The Russians do it slightly differently by emphasizing building the hardware and testing it rather than modeling, analysis and simulation, especially in the preliminary design phases. It saves a little money, but is still costly.

Put another way, if garage-built rockets could make it into space, then we'd have orbital, Lunar and asteroid colonies by now.

But one of these days, technology and materials will allow "garage" projects like this. Perhaps the time has come. I wish him luck. It takes cojones grandes to be the first. If he's patient, deliberate, extraordinarily cautious, and more than a little lucky then he can pull it off.

There's a Darwin (4, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731329)

I wish him luck. It takes cojones grandes to be the first. If he's patient, deliberate, extraordinarily cautious, and more than a little lucky then he can pull it off.

Yep, it sounds like he's in the running for a Darwin Award.

Re:There's a Darwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731341)

"Hey ya'll watch this!"

Re:There's a Darwin (5, Funny)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731369)

"Hey ya'll hold my beer and watch this!"

Fixed that for you; he's the Red Neck Rocket Scientist after all.

Re:There's a Darwin (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732117)

"Hey ya'll hold my beer and watch this!"

Fixed that for you; he's the Red Neck Rocket Scientist after all.

More like:

Crushing his freshly emptied beer can against his forehead, he slid off from the hood of the 1972 Mercury Comet ("parked" beside the shed until he could replace the tie rod, which had somehow mysteriously snapped in two while he was chasing gophers). "Hey ya'll watch this!", he said as he opened up the shed to reveal his "Top Seckrit Project".

"Hold my beer"... phfft! No redneck'd ever say that!

Re:There's a Darwin (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732217)

Or on the positive side he could be the precursor to Zefram Cochrane.

Re:There's a Darwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40732785)

You might be right. He _does_ sound a bit greedy.

Speaking of which, in about 20 years the real Zefram Cochrane is supposed to be born.

Re:There's a reason... (4, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731347)

Depends on your definition of "criminally reckless" I suppose. There's a well worn meme of astronaut candidates asking if they'd be happy taking a Mars mission if there was a 50/50 chance of survival - the "correct" response is apparently "No, but if you can get it down to 90% chance of survival I'll go..."

My point is that there's no shortage of people willing to risk their lives to go into space, and even if there was a good chance of dying there's still plenty of people who would still strap themselves in. It's not the human lives that are the issue, it's the taxpayers money and, at the end of the day, the political careers that are at stake. How long would the European discovery and colonisation of America have taken if we required a 90% survival rate on sea voyages in the 1600s?

Re:There's a reason... (3, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731593)

Considering the first two coloneys had a 90-100% fatalty rate once they made it over the Atlantic, even with a 75-90% survival rate..

The death rate due to disease, the cold, and starvation was still in the 20-30% every year by the time the Constitution was signed.

We've become highly alergic to losses in this day and age. The ancient concept of the volunteer or the unwilling volunteer (aka convicts who owe society a debt) even does not hold water with those with the resources to put together such a project.

Re:There's a reason... (1)

ozduo (2043408) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731681)

Considering the first two coloneys had a 90-100% fatalty rate once they made it over the Atlantic, even with a 75-90% survival rate..

yes and there are plenty of friendly aliens willing to share their turkeys.

Re:There's a reason... (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731995)

The death rate due to disease, the cold, and starvation was still in the 20-30% every year by the time the Constitution was signed.

If that were true, the median life span would have been between 2 and 3 years. Human existence is impossible at those attrition rates. We can't reproduce fast enough to survive as a species facing those odds.

Re:There's a reason... (2)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#40734289)

If the loss of life doesn't bother you, then maybe an appeal to the cost is a better argument.

TFA aside (he's never going to get a working rocket for $10 mill, full stop), it costs hundreds of millions to get something into space. If they blew up 90% of the time, NASA would have no money left and nothing to show for it. A manned mission to Mars would cost billions- nobody would be willing to spend billions if there was a 50:50 chance that it would achieve nothing. Not when you can spend the same limited pot of money on other, less risky projects and get a far more reliable source of scientific research out of them.

Re:There's a reason... (4, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731973)

The survival rate for sea voyages WAS better than 90% in the 1600s. If it weren't, international trade would have been impractical due to the cost of hiring sailors willing to undertake a worse than 90% chance of survival each time you left port.

Re:There's a reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40733841)

You don't have to pay them if they die before getting home.

Actually... (4, Funny)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#40734331)

All of those who left on sea voyages on the 1600s are dead.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40734837)

That's what you think.

Re:There's a reason... (5, Interesting)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731383)

I've seen their "shuttle" in person. The workmanship is incredibly poor. I mean even poor for a home-built spaceship mockup. Structurally and aerodynamically it was crap. They are, at best, hobbyists with big dreams. Poke around their web site and look for drop tests or wind-tunnel tests of their flight system. They only thing they have is a video of testing at 2" rocket motor that generates "~30lbs of thrust" for 5 seconds. Good luck getting to space on that. (For comparrison a single Estes E9 rocket motor that sells for $5 at the hobby store can generate 5lbs of thrust for 3 seconds.)

I'm not saying that's it's impossible to go from zero to orbit on $10 million (though it probably is, at least in 2012) but I am saying I wouldn't invest a bent penny to Space Transport and Recovery Systems.

At the same event I saw their mockup I talked with a few guys from Copenhagen Suborbitals. Those guys are the real deal. They've got the skills, the passion, and are working up a pretty substantial track record of successes.

Re:There's a reason... (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731547)

+1: Interesting.

And thanks for the reference to Copenhagen Suborbitals. It does indeed look like the real thing.

Re:There's a reason... (2, Interesting)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731685)

you get a fictional -1 mod point for being well....stupid.

If you are going to 100,000 feet by balloon, exactly how aerodynamic and structurally stout does it need to be? They could have just made their first one a big cube for all it would matter. Go up look around, enough structure to have a 18,000 ft cabin pressure (suplimental O2 for the passengers would be required), insulation to keep the temperature above 0C, and to survive a 700-800mph "re-entry" with a parachute landing.

Even a small boost by a rocket to a higher elevation still wouldn't result in more than a 1000-2000mph "re-entry".

You aren't talking about 17,000 mph de-orbits from 2,600,000 feet like the shuttle. A very modest craft could do the job. At that altitude they could even keep balloon attached to their craft not having to worry about the drag to use it slow them down at the other end of their balistic arc if they could find a way to keep it from bursting, say some sort of fast pumping system to store the He to be re-released later, or skip that all together and just use the burst balloon as a drag strip.

Re:There's a reason... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40732567)

a year ago, i also got to see his "spaceplane" as well. The thing is a joke. it uses the same construction techniques as normal avionics so it is pretty dang heavy. the avionics are non-existent. he's currently using off the shelf electronics that aren't certified for spaceflight environments and there was no flight software to speak of. to bad from him, hopes and dreams don't get you to orbit.

disclaimer - I work on rockets for a living. I may be a little biased...

Re:There's a reason... (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731423)

I question anyone's ability to do it for $10m, safely or otherwise. To put something that size you you need a fairly big rocket and a lot of fuel. You need a tower to hold it upright, and a launch pad. You could rent one, but it won't be cheap. You need tracking systems around the world to stay in constant contact with the vehicle in orbit.

Even arranging management of the airspace around the launch site costs money. In fact even just the tiles on the Shuttle that prevent it from burning up on re-entry cost more than $10m.

Re:There's a reason... (4, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731539)

You need a tower to hold it upright, and a launch pad.

As it happens, you don't need a tower if you use the right design. [wikipedia.org] And, you also don't need those expensive, fragile tiles or an army of engineers manning Mission Control.

Re:There's a reason... (2)

Oceanplexian (807998) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731457)

Put another way, if garage-built rockets could make it into space, then we'd have orbital, Lunar and asteroid colonies by now.

Yes, the engineering is fantastic, yes, building a space vehicle is going to be expensive and difficult, but I wouldn't go so far to say that it couldn't be a private effort for a fraction of the cost. The Wright's had a high-school education and DIY engineering background. Today we have supercomputers on our desks, access to infinite amounts of knowledge, and engineering tools that the Wright brothers could never have dreamed of.

I think it's fair to say that a lot of low hanging fruit still exists that eludes multi-billion dollar government projects.

Re:There's a reason... (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731951)

SpaceX already managed to do their rockets for like a tenth what the NASA cost models predicted [nasa.gov] . So there is room to do things a lot cheaper.

Re:There's a reason... (3, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40733703)

What I find interesting is the default assumption is that NASA is wrong - nobody ever wonders if it SpaceX cut any corners that will come back to bite them in the butt.

Re:There's a reason... (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731659)

I'm just waiting for one of those DIY space thingies to land on my roof. It's instant profit. For me. If I'm not at home, that is.
Actually, the mere thought of such a thing landing on my roof scares the #()$*&) out of me. I can't sleep at night. Ah! Profit!!

Re:There's a reason... (3, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731687)

"Put another way, if garage-built rockets could make it into space, then we'd have orbital, Lunar and asteroid colonies by now."

OTOH in 1969, people thought, If computers could be built in a garage, in 40 years everybody would have one in their pocket.

Re:There's a reason... (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732569)

I'm pretty sure iOS and Android devices would qualify

Re:There's a reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40734421)

Whoooooshhh

Re:There's a reason... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731769)

Uh Elon is not a billionarie. He put like $100M of his own money on SpaceX.

Re:There's a reason... (2)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731933)

Uh Elon is not a billionarie.

Citation: Elon Musk Estimated Net Worth: $2B [therichest.org] . American engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Elon Musk, has an estimated net worth of $2 billion as of March 2012 according to Forbes rich list.

Sounds like a billionaire to me... but maybe not a billionarie?

Re:There's a reason... (3, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732533)

Wow Elon is a billionaire now? He wasn't one at the time he started Tesla and SpaceX. One rumor is his first wife divorced him some time back because he was having a cash flow problem at the time. I knew he was doing better now that Tesla actually sells cars and SpaceX got all those launch contracts and Falcon 9 is flying but that is certainly interesting to know. You can check out his previous track record [about.com] . AFAIK he had ~200 million at the time.

Re:There's a reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40734191)

Sure looks like someone who knows how to do some things right :).

Re:There's a reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40732585)

he is a billionaire right now. 10 years ago, when he started SpaceX, he was worth ~200M-ish.

Re:There's a reason... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731935)

Put another way, if garage-built rockets could make it into space, then we'd have orbital, Lunar and asteroid colonies by now.

But one of these days, technology and materials will allow "garage" projects like this. Perhaps the time has come. I wish him luck. It takes cojones grandes to be the first. If he's patient, deliberate, extraordinarily cautious, and more than a little lucky then he can pull it off.

Damn, I hope I live long enough to see 'garage project' spacecraft head for space. That would be so damned cool.

My problem is, I'll be way old to build one for myself.

If you are begging for money.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731245)

..you better aim high.

10mil should be enough.

Just $10M Keeping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731247)

me from having a life of fast cars , faster women and luxury for the rest of my days

Wow, 100,000 feet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731259)

That's almost three times higher than a passenger airliner!

Space is getting closer every day, it seems.

Re:Wow, 100,000 feet! (3)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731365)

And equal to Kittinger's balloon in the 1960! A mere 52 years ago!

Re:Wow, 100,000 feet! (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731683)

Just a little thing to think about: Did he actually did everything in "inch here, foot there, gallon here and a furlong there"? because as far as my knowledge goes all the space stuff (i.e. ISS etc.) is designed and made in metric. Going up X feet in the air is regular 'aviation lingo', but from there on, everything is metric.... (Or maybe the editor made it a bit more comprehensible for the imperial-minded (red neck) audience)

So, yes space is getting closer, but if it's all going up and down again (because of incompatibility problems) it's hardly any fun, is it? When it is able to dock to the ISS, the space hotel and the inevitable space brothel (green ladies with n boobs, where n is a natural number of your likings) THEN the fun really starts. I mean, you /have/ read "53 more things to do in zero gravity" right? I am sure D.A. mentioned it :-)

Re:Wow, 100,000 feet! (2)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731959)

docking with other objects wouldn't be a problem with the imperial/metric differences. All you need to do is place an adapter over the docking port if the size differences are out of tolerance. We did something very similar with the space shuttle in order to dock with the Russian space station.

Everything else can be converted to or from metric as needed if ever needed.

Re:Wow, 100,000 feet! (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#40733143)

Hey, it's only a two-hour drive, only straight up. Traction is the big problem ...

Just kickstart it (0)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731291)

He'll have the funds to retire^Wfly to space in no time.

Re:Just kickstart it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731571)

RTFA he only got 21 thousand using kickstarter. The headline should've been 'Redneck Rocket Scientist 21 grand close to reaching space.'

that's nothing (4, Funny)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731307)

this guy's offer sucks. if you give ME $10 million today, i GUARANTEE YOU that i WILL have my first test launch of a mission to jupiter. so what if it's made of rubber bands and has no chance of making it! then on to my next problem: what to do with $9,999,997 =)

Re:that's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731471)

I sincerely doubt anyone would be giving him $10 m without at least seeing a plan first with some 3rd party review. And I doubt he'd expect anything less.

Re:that's nothing (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732935)

Unfortunately, history is full of cranks with over-unity devices reeling in literally millions from people willing to invest in a hypothetical free energy source without even being allowed to see what's in the box or get a vaguely plausible explanation for how it would work. There was one particular guy that managed to get himself in the news every couple of years with rigged demos, each time luring in a few new suckers, going on for decades.

Re:that's nothing (1)

arobatino (46791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731949)

Bender's guarantee [quickmeme.com]

Re:that's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40733115)

$3 for a rubber band attempt?! Must be some hefty and expensive rubber bands....

Is it on Kickstarter? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731315)

He only needs one million people to give him $10 each.

Re:Is it on Kickstarter? (1)

McGruber (1417641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732033)

He only needs one million people to give him $10 each.

Actually, he already was on Kickstarter. He raised $20,843 from 321 supporters:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hermesspace/hermes-spacecraft

Re:Is it on Kickstarter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40732429)

At that average rate of pledging, he only needs 15.064 more supporters.

Bubba (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731343)

Is the Red Neck Rocket Scientist thinking about using the phrase "Hey Bubba, watch this!!" just before he hits the launch button?

Most of NASA's space flight budget is for QA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731411)

I'm not saying most of NASA's overall budget, but most of NASA's space flight, in other words going up into space is or at least was to make sure they could get there safely. A lot of research has been done with just NASA alone and that's why it cost so much money for that part alone. You can build your own little space pod for less than $500 if you don't mind that you can't ride in it. I believe a latex balloon does the same and if you really want to make your way into space, it might not cost you all that much but you'll probably die along the way or at least on your way down to earth at maximum velocity.

Oh brother (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731441)

So the free market's approach is to scatter money all over the place to various lunatics spouting the correct Space Nutter terms?

Sh17 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731499)

th3y're goneW Mac Corporations ASSOCIATION OF

10 million dollars? (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731671)

What's that in BitCoins... this project should appeal to the same characters.

Re:10 million dollars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40733451)

What time is it?

Keeping him (2)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731711)

Just $10M Keeping "Red Neck Rocket Scientist" From Reaching Space

- Good day, I'd like to keep the red neck rocket scientist from reaching space.

- That would be ten million dollars, please.

Travis Taylor... (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731763)

...would like a word with you [nationalgeographic.com] , sir.

"He believes..." (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731827)

For $10M, I think I could build a really big weather balloon and gondola too...

Isn't this term a bit redundant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40731931)

I usually just call them "rocket scientists."

10 million is a lot of moonshine (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40731947)

I guess part of it will be going for a lawn chair and a match.

That was a TV show (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40732127)

...Staring Andy Griffith, called Salvage 1.

The secret to getting into space is to accelerate gradually.

The project needs a lot of work (5, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732231)

The first thing I noticed was the shape of the windows. Notice the sharp edges, and the shape. Looking at the windows on modern spacecraft [nasa.gov] (in this case, this is a part of the Orion MPCV before being welded together [nasa.gov] , one can see that there is a large support structure around the window, all of which adds a tremendous amount of weight.

An aerodynamic clone of the space shuttle, such as Buran [wikipedia.org] , must retain the shape in it's exactness, or else it will ruin the design without a lot of testing.

If anything, they could do what Boeing is doing with the X-37C [wikipedia.org] , and scale down the shuttle (though it differentiates from the design slightly).

I see a lot of fundamental flaws. Their idea isn't impossible, but they should focus more on copying what's out there in the public domain before trying to improve the cockpit by adding big protruding windows to the cabin, which will make this thing a deathtrap. To keep costs down, nothing new should be added to this spacecraft that hasn't already been tested by a government over and over (the most expensive part of spaceflight). Normally a space system one or two new technologies to it. If one were to be a scaled copy (say a shuttle designed for two people), it could be done for significantly less.

Personally, if I had $10 million to develop a shuttle, I'd clone three SSMEs, make an orbiter that held two people (scale down of the current orbiter), and make it work without Solid Rocket Motors. I'd also make sure to use the new PICA heat shield tiles (the old orbiters only got new tiles if one fell off).

Re:The project needs a lot of work (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40733103)

Flat windows are stronger. Curved windows may be necessary for aerodynamics.

Why windows? (1)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40734271)

I always wondered why they bother with windows on spaceships these days (cue jokes about bsod and crashing) - why don't they just stick cameras on the outside and screens of some sort on the inside, or even a projector so you could make the 'window' as big as you want.. saves all that structural complication associated with having holes in the hull. I suppose they would drain power but they only need to be on when you actually want to look out.

Re:The project needs a lot of work (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40734355)

Notice the sharp edges, and the shape.

Stars above! With windows like that it should fly like a Comet!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Comet
That aircraft was probably the last pressurised aircraft with sharp corners in the windows due to cracks starting in the corners and growing each time it was pressurised.

Re:The project needs a lot of work (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40734399)

OK, I just read the post by hermesspace below and see that it's a mockup with perspex windows that's just designed to be looked at and is never going to be pressurised anyway. A real prototype would be different.

Moonshine powered rocket (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40732575)

Even if the rocket doesn't get to orbit the pilot surely will...

balloon launch? a bit late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40732621)

i heard a rumor that the price of He is going to skyrocket over the next few years as the national reserve runs out. so, say goodbye to He party balloons and definitely balloon-assisted launches. Additionally, the ramp up of the private space industry will start to drastically increase consumption and consequently price. This guy is a pretty bad business man if he isn't considering this in his business model.

Re:balloon launch? a bit late... (1)

hermesspace (2690215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40733099)

I've got a bridge to sell you...

Re:balloon launch? a bit late... (1)

cffrost (885375) | more than 2 years ago | (#40733519)

I've got a bridge to sell you...

Let me guess... $10M cheap?

response to some questions (5, Informative)

hermesspace (2690215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40733081)

Hi everyone,

I've been working on the Hermes Spacecraft for about 1.5 years now. I'd like to clear up a few things for you.

Like everything else in our project so far, the vehicle you see is a prototype. It is flight worthy, with some work, but NOT space worthy. If we had full funding immediately, we would set aside the current vehicle and use it for promotion, to send out to schools and other interested parties.

The prototype is made of aircraft composite skins with chrome-moly steel. This makes the craft much heaver and not as robust, but, its significantly cheaper than space rated materials. Revision two, the actual Hermes Spacecraft, will consist of: Chrome-Moly Steel and aluminum airframe, Inconel Standoffs to support outer skin from the fuselage, Carbon-Carbon Skin where needed, etc. etc.

The cockpit, and windows, are not pressurized currently. The windows are just standard plexiglass as is. Again, it boils down to working with the materials that we have, and working towards getting the funding we need. A garage spacecraft cannot support space rated materials unless you're a millionaire/billionaire :)
The reason the prototype was built in the first place is, when Morris Jarvis (the creator/owner of the Hermes) went to seek funding several years ago, he made no progress because he had no prototype/mockup. The decision was then made to create a near-full scale replica of what the vehicle would look like. And here we are...

The wings currently DO fold up. That was a logistics requirement, not a design feature. The prototype had requirements to travel, it's been to California and Texas. With the wings folded up, the craft fits in a standard sized trailer, that can be towed cross country. In the space-rated version, the body and planform would be a single piece.

We successfully raised 20k on Kickstarter to progress our propulsion development. We have a few design iterations to go, but our plan is to use our hybrid propulsion technology to take us to our mission altitude. Our mantra is "build a little, test a lot"; we will be doing a lot of testing for our engines, but we have some unique ideas that will hopefully benefit us. There are a couple guys A LOT smarter than me who are volunteering some of their time for materials selection and propellant combination testing.

I am a huge fan of Copenhagen Suborbitals. I wish them the best.

I'll be happy to answer any questions you guys have. All I ask is that you give us a look and consider supporting us. We're aerospace entrepreneurs. We're used to working with no money, little materials, and making progress. Our passion is space. Our mantra is "Space for All". If you feel the same way, join us!

-Mark

Re:response to some questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40734381)

20k raised in a kickstarter?!! so you paid the salary of 1 guy for 2 months and that's supposed to impress people? what a joke.

Red Necks and Rockets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40733863)

Just $10M Keeping "Red Neck Rocket Scientist" From Reaching Space

Thank god for $10M then! We don't need red-necks in space. Can you imagine? Instead of "we have lift-off" we'd have "Yee Haw! Get 'er done!!!"

Red neck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40733911)

Is the expression "Red neck" pejorative or is it just me that thinks it is.

Wasnt this a movie, The Astronaut Farmer (1)

detain (687995) | more than 2 years ago | (#40733919)

Really good movie... I've seen it several times.

Obligatory red Neck passenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40734547)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/73/Slim-pickens_riding-the-bomb_enh-lores.jpg

Yeee Haaaaw!

"Hermes" already taken - get a better name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40734585)

ESA called (from the 1970s) and they want their name back: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes_%28spaceplane%29

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