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The Rutan SpaceShipOne Revealed

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the look-out-below dept.

Space 404

smartalix writes "Burt Rutan's company, Scaled Composites, announced that they have been developing a commercial manned space program in secret for the past two years. The system consists of a carrier vehicle called the White Knight and a piggyback (actually underslung) orbital spaceplane called SpaceShipOne. My money is on this effort capturing the X Prize." Well, it's pretty, whatever it is. has a story with pictures for those of you who weren't quick enough to hit before it melted.

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Beam me up SCOTTY! (1, Troll)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760935)

I want to get me one of these ... :)

(And yes, I know that Kirk never said "beam me up scotty")

Re:Beam me up SCOTTY! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760962)

Why don't you just be honest, and say "First Post"?

Re:Beam me up SCOTTY! (5, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760993)

Same thing :)

And to all those folks who say it's an "ugly aircraft", they need to remember that it's a *spacecraft*. And it's actually *two* craft.

Although I think the paintjob is ugly. Paint a red maple leaf on it or something, it would look way better.

Re:Beam me up SCOTTY! (1)

mfago (514801) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761039)

Although I think the paintjob is ugly.

I assume you are talking about the black circles around the front? I have a feeling that these are RCS thrusters and windows -- although the webserver died before I could investigate any further.

Re:Beam me up SCOTTY! (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761085)

No, I meant the blue and white stars on the orbiter. Icky. I want it to be CANADIAN. :)

Flamebait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761114)


As if Canada would ever make it to space...

Re:Flamebait... (2, Interesting)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761172)

Hey, we have the resources and the technology. But the only real reason to go in to space is to colonize, and there aren't enough Canadians for that. :)

I mean, we have millions of square kilometers of uninhabited land (and some of it is even liveable!), we don't really need to colonize.

TEST POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761154)

Please ignore. THNX!

Re:Beam me up SCOTTY! (1)

foolish (46697) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761092)

Errr, those are the windows. The front of both the White Knight and the SS1 have portholes encircling the forward sections of each compartment.

There's a great view of the White Knight cockpit, but well... you'll have to wait for the mirrors.

Luckily I caught the news on nasawatch and the the arocket list before it got hit by /.

Re:Beam me up SCOTTY! (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761064)

Okay, its an ugly spacecraft! Actually, the spacecraft part isn't too bad, it just looks like a 40's idea of a rocketship. The carrier part is just plain (or is that plane?) ugly, though.

I'd post the picture at least, but it seems the site got /.ed entirely just before it finished downloading, so no copy of it in my cache.

Re:Beam me up SCOTTY! (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761115)

Paint a red maple leaf on it or something

obCartman: "Fuck you. Don't call me Canadian."

Whahhh? (3, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760936)

"Mom, what is that duck doing to that other duck?!!"

Re:Whahhh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760970)

Dammit, possibly not funny, but ontopic. The damn thing DOES look like two ducks fucking! Moron moderators!

"He's hurting him!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761008)

Greaaaat... public spaceflight set back another 50 years because it looks obscene and silly!

People, please! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761035)

If you are going to link to content like that at least have the courtesy to post "NSFW".

Re:Whahhh? (0, Offtopic)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761068)

What's the old Pink Floyd song? "Point me at the Sky and Let It Fly..."

boobs! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760942)

cheesey boobs

fp for science! (-1, Offtopic)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760943)

My experiment was a success!

sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760944)

No comments and already painfully slow....

Hmm (2, Funny)

bravehamster (44836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760952)

Maybe they can use the XPrize money to replace their webserver. Anyone got any mirrors?

Pretty??? (0, Flamebait)

demonbug (309515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760953)

If that thing is pretty, there is no such thing as ugly. Its about as ugly as any aircraft I have seen in the last twenty years.

mirrors? (1)

tadheckaman (578425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760954)

wow, 3 posts and the website is crawling. someone get a mirror! quick!!!

Re:mirrors? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760998)

/.ed already? Here's a mirror []

Re:mirrors? (1)

EinarH (583836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761018)

Extremly fast /. I clicked on it aprox. 2.44; 2 min after launch and the server was gone beyond imagination.

Can I get the prize? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760957)

I think I launched a bolt into orbit when I turned on that old gas heater and it went boom.

Re:Can I get the prize? (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761107)

No you can't....

Unless you managed to shoot three people into orbit with it..... Then you would have to blow up another heater (and three more people) within two weaks :)


Watch out for the patents (3, Funny)

menasius (202515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760959)

This just in. The government is sueing after patenting using "One" after vehicles, thus meaning SpaceShipOne is reserved for the President.


Re:Watch out for the patents (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760974)

No no no, that's "earth force one".

Re:Watch out for the patents (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761058)

president santiago? is that you?

Re:Watch out for the patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761255)

"So, who are you voting for?"
"I think I'll vote for Marie Crane. .. I do not like Santiago. I always thought that a leader should have a strong chin. He has no chin and his vice-president has several. This, to me, is not a good combination."
-- Sinclair and Ivanova in Babylon 5:"Midnight on the Firing Line"

Re:Watch out for the patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760987)

I think you mean Trademark. You don't patent words.

Re:Watch out for the patents (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761113)

Well then, perhaps he should be the first one to go.

Re:Watch out for the patents (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761150)

I know this is a joke, but here is a question for you /.ers. I know that whatever the President is on is usually called "whatever-one". So if he's on a plane (the airforce's territory) it's "Airforce 1". If he's on a ship, it's "Navy 1", etc. But if it's not a military craft, it's "Civilian 1" or something like that, right? So my question is this: what's it called if he were to be abord a space craft? Would it be "NASA 1"? Or since NASA isn't a military organisation, would it be "Civilian 1"? Since it's above the ground, would it be "Airforce 1"? Just wondering.

Conspiracy theories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761199)

I thought Sun had dibs on the ONE trademark? Hmmm. A silent partner perhaps? Maybe that's what happened to all of Sun's money...

Mirrors? (1)

lommer (566164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760960)

Could the lucky few who got to see that page dig through their caches and post some mirrors?

Re:Mirrors? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761016)

cache? you mean those ads that said someone could tell where i have been going on my computer were true??!!

i ... uh ... gotta go

In space... (5, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760977)

...nobody can hear your webserver scream.

Slashdot cache? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761011)

How about a cache? I have seen people ask for it before so whats the dilly-o? How hard can it be?

Slashdot has become a large nerdy gorilla


MOD PARENT UP!!!!!!11 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761094)

mod parent up, you fucking douches

In SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761213)

spaceships launch YOU!

The only thing that scaledů (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760984)

...was the domain name.

Oh, I get it.... (2, Funny)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760989)'s a stealth plane. Forget radar invisible, we can't even SEE this puppy.

Damn, Burt Rutan is a genius.....

In Secret? (3, Interesting)

ItWasThem (458689) | more than 11 years ago | (#5760997)

What surprises me is that they went for 2 years developing this project "in secret"... why would they want to do that? It's neat to see that they've already done some rocket testing and all, but why announce now after two years when they don't even have a full scale version done? What did they get by waiting to announce?

I could understand the secrecy if they wanted to develop the whole thing first to avoid the vaporware critiques, and then bam they come out with a ready-to-use orbiter, man that'd be sweet huh? But why announce in the middle of it? Need funding? Sick of keeping it quiet? Poor planning? Any ideas?

Re:In Secret? (5, Insightful)

foolish (46697) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761112)

Did you miss the fact these ARE full scale?

Essentially Rutan is going 'Look at what I built, we're going to launch this for the X-Prize and none of you can HOPE to catch up'

The only things they have left are flight tests with the rocket suite. The White Knight is working and has flown some test flights... It's the SS1 that need some flight time before the X-Prize attempt.

It'll be interesting to see what XCor does in response to this.

Re:In Secret? (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761175)

It's neat to see that they've already done some rocket testing and all, but why announce now after two years when they don't even have a full scale version done? What did they get by waiting to announce?

They probaly wanted to make sure the concept wasn't flawed before they announced it - running a few subscale tests and so on - and then announce it before they went and build the real deal. Because if they didn't announce it before they build and launch it, because if they didn't a lot of people would call then cheaters.

Nothing unique in the design. (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761197)

could be the 10 million greenbacks.

Re:In Secret? (2, Insightful)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761219)

I imagine that they have gone public now because they're ready to go public. It sounds like they've done everything they can reasonably do in private.

Probably they have reached the stage of testing where the tests can't be hidden anymore. When they send piggyback aircraft up and start separation tests, it's going to be pretty obvious what they're working on.

He also makes it clear in the article that he is not looking for funding.

Another DoS Attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5760999)

Slashdot Style

A rutan? Dr Who was real! (5, Funny)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761000)

Aha! Finally, it is revealed that the rutan landing at Fang Rock [] , from Dr Who [] , was in fact real event! The truth can come out.

Re:A rutan? Dr Who was real! [worst episode ever] (1)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761126)

Man that episode was awful. The budget must've been like $2.00. The "alien" was a blob of cellophane with some green yuk inside it. It was supposed to be scary because it killed people and turned 'em into electric zombies which provided about 95% of the plot.

Tom Baker definatly was a good doctor, but you've caught him at his worst. Well, perhaps not the worst, there was that time his herpes was showing.

/.'ed (0, Offtopic)

bigirondawg (259176) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761009)

Wow... already slashdotted. Anybody have the Google cache?

the french suck.... (-1)

trollofdoom (647425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761010)

A frenchman walks into a bar, smiles at the barkeep and orders a glass of wine. The frenchman looks about and sees a camel sitting at the bar as well. The frenchman asks the barkeep, "What is that dirty camel doing in here?" The barkeep pulls a baseball bat out from behind the bar hits the camel in the head and the camel gives the barkeep oral pleasure. The barkeep looks at the frenchman and says "Do you want a go?" to which the frenchman replies: "Oui, but zer is no need to hit me over ze head."

The design shows some imagination (4, Interesting)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761014)

The thing I like about Rutan designs is that they show some imagination. They don't look like everybody elses design. And this spacecraft design is no different. It reminds me of those futuristic designs in magazines of the 40s and 50s. Very off the wall.

Re:The design shows some imagination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761166)

Those futuristic designs you cite are some of the most unrealistic and least aesthetic designs of any period to date.

Re:The design shows some imagination (3, Interesting)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761216)

True, there's a retro-future feeling that combines the organic styling of the present with the rocket designs of the late 50's and 60's. Ironic that a basic design first proposed by private enterprise for the government (a manned booster/spaceplane competitor/forerunner of the US shuttle system), needed to wait for half a century before it could be built - not by government, but by private enterprise.

Tom Swift would no doubt be proud of the resumption of US (and other world) efforts to open up space to everyman.

cheap access to space (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761015)

will never ever happen.

I repeat it will ever ever happen. Maybe somebody may win this X-prize ... but dont expect cheap trips to space .. ever.

Re:cheap access to space (3, Insightful)

smartalix (84502) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761145)

You probably said that nobody could fly around the world on a tank of gas, too.

....what the hell..... (0)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761025)

...IS that thing? The article says it's a spacecraft. I... er.... well... this is surely one of those 'I'll believe it when I see it' things.

In all seriousness, it looks completely impractical. I mean, aerodynamic, yes, but... well.. no. It looks way too fragile to withstand the immense forces needed to achieve escape velocity. I understand it's made of a superstrong composite material, but, have any tests been performed on it, yet?

I think it'll make for a pretty atmospheric glider, but not a transorbital vehicle.

Re:....what the hell..... (1, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761071)

Escape velocity is only high if you are using ballistic flight. Flying under continuous power, you can go 1 mph and still make it to orbit, provided you can sustain that speed for long enough.

If you are using aerodynamic lift to reach a given altitude, the delta-V you need to reach orbit or break out of the Earth's gravity well is much less than it is to do the same from a stationary vertical liftoff from the surface.

Re:....what the hell..... (4, Informative)

fgodfrey (116175) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761148)

Err, escape *velocity* is always high regardless of what kind of flight you are using. You need to reach a certain speed to achieve orbit. What I think you were trying to say is that the forces the craft absorbs (ie, the acceleration) only are massive if you have to blast the thing into orbit. Once you've used the aerodynamic lift to get into the upper atmosphere, there's less wind drag and you're already moving at some amount of speed so you need less fuel to accelerate to orbital velocity and there's less stress put on the craft by air moving over it.

Your example of going 1mph all the way to "orbit" doesn't work 'cause you won't *be* in orbit at 1mph. Being in space and being in orbit are two very different things.

Re:....what the hell..... (1)

battjt (9342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761240)

huh? If you go "up" (away from Earth) at 100 mph for 800 hours, then deccelerate by 100mph. What happens? I think you just hang out for a very long time.


Re:....what the hell..... (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761103)

It looks way too fragile to withstand the immense forces needed to achieve escape velocity.

The big, fragile-looking thing is only the aircraft that carries the spacecraft to high altitude, where it is released and (hopefully) goes into orbit on its own. The actual spacecraft is the little pod hanging beneath it that looks like a 40's concept of a spacecraft except without the fins.

Re:....what the hell..... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761168)

RTFA, will you?

It's not supposed to be an orbiter. It's made to win the X prize, which means it has to get a man 100KM high, and return him safely to the ground.


Re:....what the hell..... (2, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761231)

The man doesn't have to be alive to start with, does he? That would loosen up the "safely" part and gimme a shortcut...

Re:....what the hell..... (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761170)

I think it'll make for a pretty atmospheric glider, but not a transorbital vehicle.

In the couple of sketchy bits I saw before the slashdot effect overwhelmed their servers... I did notice that they refer to it as a SUB-orbital craft.

I also noticed that it basically has a cockpit just barely big enough for a pilot and he sits with a BIG spherical tank 'o explosive rocket fuel right up against his back. Fun.

My biggest question is how they get back without burning up. Doesn't say if they plan to come back under power. Wish there was more detail on their plans...

This is definitely something that could be interesting if they a) finish it and b) don't blow up all their guys testing it...

here's an idea. (2, Funny)

phil-is-math (602835) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761032)

Offer an S-Prize to anyone who can figure out how to fix the slashdot effect. philej.

Re:here's an idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761070)

Don't serve webpages off your comcast@home connection. Real webservers dont go down, the "slashdot effect" is a myth.

Problem solved.

Gimme my s-prize.

Re:here's an idea. (0, Offtopic)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761196)

If you got the bandwidth, the real issue is the synflood from so many connections at once.
edit your apache/src/include/httpd.h and change HARD_SERVER_LIMIT to something higher then 256 - say 2048 or 4096, recompile apache, and then set MaxClients in your httpd.conf to that same high number. You may need a gig or two of RAM, but I've noticed that CPU power and hard drive space is hardly an issue on my servers.

maan, I am really fucking horny (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761033)

i got a boner that won't quit -- i really need laid. christ... any takers (female, nice boobs)?

i'm sure this will help your gay ass (-1)

trollofdoom (647425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761054)

I talked with Obi-Wan tonight, as the fires were dying and the celebration waned. My teacher spoke wisely, and my resolve was strengthened before it could be tested. Before Han left me in the darkness, lips lingering over mine, comforting me for the loss of something I never really had. Too many times I've rushed ahead without a thought for the consequences. Even when warned by those wiser and stronger, I thought I knew best. Headstrong, Master Yoda called me. Reckless. I'm done with all that now. It would be easy for me to set my destiny aside and give up on living the life of a Jedi. I saw myself on that other path tonight, when Han was next to me, his passion cutting through my soul, every thrust a plea for a different kind of future. I once dreamed of being at his side, free among the stars, chasing the temporary, discovering the moment. Reality led to the crisp edges of disaster, where cost outweighed romantic illusion, and dreams shattered into obligations. I've been fighting for this very moment to come, the moment when all of us would be free to make our choices. Leia will choose the one thing she was born to do - she will lead the new Republic which will rise from the tatters of this small rebellion. Han... I don't know what path he'll choose. Perhaps he would have stayed, if he'd been given a reason. Now I dread his departure. I half expect to find him gone when this night is over. I wonder what he'll say to Leia, what she'll feel, but I haven't the strength to think that far ahead. I strayed away from the joy, still too close to darkness to celebrate this day. I defeated my father, saved him, lost him, and the sharpness is no less severe because of the evil he embodied as Vader. When I stood by his pyre, watching his body consumed by the flames, I wondered who he'd been before he was this corpse, this thing to be sacrificed for the greater good. I rejoiced to see my friends alive... my sister... but I could not draw myself away from the inevitable. I called to Obi-Wan as Yoda taught me, and he was there, more in my mind than the shifting icy apparition he's been in the past. I resisted the urge to ask the same nagging question - *what are you now?* -- and focused on the issue of training, of talent, of what could be done now that there is no one to direct me in the ways of the Force. Ben was clear on many points, but he held firm to one thing in particular. I am chosen to lead the way for generations of new Jedi, to find and train them. If I abandon this task, others may be identified and turned to the Dark Side. I'm not sure I'm as ready as Obi-Wan seems to think I am. I'm crushed underneath the expectations of an entire galaxy. It's too much. I can't allow Han to pay the potential price of my selfish need. And I can't afford the distraction, and the consequences, love brings. The taint of my father's deeds is a painful legacy, and redemption must be a task I undertake alone. As a matter of course, Han came looking for me. I knew he would, knew he was coming for me before he exhaled the breath that brought him to his feet and down the bridge. I've always known what he feels for me, even when he wasn't fully conscious of it, even when he was trying to pawn those feelings off on Leia. I'm not the innocent I once was. That boy disappeared a piece at a time in the hangars of Hoth, the swamps of Dagobah, the thin air of Bespin, the flames of the pyre. "What's going on?" he asked me, that half-crooked grin lighting his face. "I've had some thinking to do," I answered him truthfully, feeling the warmth of that friendly grin in places it shouldn't be. "You're missing the party." Funny how sometimes with Han, what he doesn't say echoes louder in my mind than what he does. /I missed you./ "Sorry, Han." I meant the apology, but I don't think he understood. "It's not over, you know." "I know, Luke, but at least forget it for tonight, wouldja? Come on back to the party with me." He extended an arm, ready to drape it around my shoulders, but dropped his hand to his hip when I didn't move. Exasperation crossed his face, followed by concern when my eyes became sad. "What is it?" he asked finally, always more perceptive than any of us gave him credit for. "It would take all night to tell you," I said at last, feeling the words sticking in my throat. The emotions shifted on his face when he heard my breath catch. I knew his desire, because it was my own. "So start now, and we'll be done by dawn." This time he didn't smile. "I can't promise you anything, Han." The words weren't easy to say. His eyes locked on mine, searching for something that he found without much difficulty. "Did I ask?" he said tightly. "You might have," I answered, knowing suddenly I'd never had the choice, had never been the one who would decide. I reached out my hand, the one not damaged by darkness, and swept my fingers across the muscle moving in his jaw, tightening under my caress. He grasped my wrist and held me there, and I permitted it, knowing what would happen when he touched me. Knowing I would be strong enough to do what I must, but not tonight... not while I had the chance to seize hold, just once, of something to tether me here. I lacked the courage to move, to set aside the present in favor of the future. Han turned his head, tipped my palm up, pressed his lips to the center of it. His eyes never left mine; they spoke to me, in the language of souls surrendering, and I listened without knowing the words. His kiss connected with the core of me, something lonely and apart, and drew me into the circle he'd woven out of passion and opportunity. Another soft kiss, and my fingers curled toward his face, touching his cheek, moving lightly across his lips. It happened too fast for protest, too slowly for comfort. He was closing the distance I would not cross, peeling away the layers of resistance protecting me, stripping me bare without a word. Only those eyes, dark and knowing, saved me from falling when his mouth covered mine. What we found there in the moist, bittersweet night air had been there all along for the taking. I'd been too naïve, too sad, too afraid to reach for it, and now it was too late. Here, then, was consolation, measured in moments, in the fractions of time between waking and dreaming. He put his hands on me, not gently, but with all the strength I could bear. Cracks opened in my resolve; I filled them with regret and let him continue, meeting every touch with one in return. He pulled me along into the shadow of trees and grass, into a fragrant damp place that smelled of morning and spring, and all things renewed. Impatient sighs, as he breathed into me and I into him, fabric tossed aside to open new pathways for fingertips. He stroked my skin, slow and deliberate, finding the desires imbedded in the flesh and exposing them, pausing when my breath caught and my eyes closed. A pause, as he molded his body to mine, hard muscle giving way easily to the insistent siren song of pleasure, bending to accommodate the answering strength of my need. He descended, tasting me, experimenting with my body in ways I had often imagined, and the heat of his tongue against the chill of my soul made me shiver. In every motion of his lips against me, there was urgency, and time stretching out before us with finite precision. Softly, he captured me, flying with me into the fire-lit skies above the verdant moon. Blue fire burned in me, from the back of my mind to the low place in my throat, and I said his name, cried it, over and over, as he took me, and I became my desire. I reached, and found him, and closed my hands over him, demanding that he follow me down. He was willing, and soon he belonged to me in the way of one who gives possession, rather than is possessed. The night became filled with sounds, of time shifting and moving beneath the path I'd chosen, and I waited for my heart to wrench itself free. His arms bound me there, in the stillness. The sound of his heartbeat under my ear was a kind of private bliss, made into memory to soothe the dark loneliness ahead. In the end, he found his truth in the words I didn't say. No need to search for meaning, when all is revealed and nothing remains to be scrutinized. I felt the sadness settle on him as his lips fused to mine, blindly seeking, and then he gathered up his wishes, and was gone. I remained, and will remain, here in the warmth of his gift, and the stabbing pain of his absence. I am a Jedi, like my father before me, and I must serve a higher purpose. I had a love, fleeting and elusive, which can never be again. I am a Jedi, like my father before me. I'll keep saying it, until I can erase the sound of his voice, the smell of his skin, the taste of my bitter regret. I am a Jedi. 57iu5wsi

holy shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761130)

*you* are a serious fucking fag dude. no really, i mean it. you're a big fucking fag. if you were to take all the gay people in the world, you'd stand out as a flamer. for anyone to go thru the trouble to write and even to find something as gay as this... holy shit that's gay. fucking fag

Re:holy shit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761182)

so i take it you enjoyed the read but pissed cause you jizzed too fuckin linux fag you read the shit and got off on it

Re:maan, I am really fucking horny (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761090)

well neither - but I do have a cleaver and inkly as to how to solve your problem

Mirror (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761042)

click []

Photoshop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761051)

Check out this photo: ag es/SS1%20above%20front%20left.jpg

Anyone else notice that the cone in the back seems to have been (poorly I might add) photoshop manipulated? Is there something there they are trying to hide?

Looks a lot like that flying gastanků (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761063)

...he flew non-stop around the world with the orbital part bolted on the bottom.

Picture of SpaceShipOne (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761065)

Only one measly picture, but better than nothing for the impatient.. 5

Distinguished Names (1, Funny)

humpTdance (666118) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761076)

Other dignitaries who attended the event were Dr. Maxim Faget

I bet that guy got hell when he was a kid. I wouldn't be able to stand people calling me Maximus.

Photo links pulled off of page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761095) es/Astronaut%20hero%20shot.JPG
http://www.scaled. com/projects/tierone/photos/imag es/Monods%20and%20test%20stand.jpg es/Pete%20in%20sim.jpg ects/tierone/photos/imag es/Rocket%20Test%20Fire.jpg /projects/tierone/photos/imag es/Space%20program%20elements.jpg
http://www.scal es/SS1%20above%20front%20left.jpg
http://www.scal es/SS1%20above%20rear%20left.jpg
http://www.scale es/WK%20airborne%20above%20front%20right.jpg
http :// es/WK%20and%20SS1%20mated%20front%20left.jpg
http :// es/WK%20cockpit%20view.jpg projects/tierone/photos/imag es/WK%20front%20landscape.jpg
http://www.scaled.c om/projects/tierone/photos/imag es/WK%20head%20on.jpg

I would have made them active links, but I was having troubles getting past the lameness filter. I think this way will be easier on their server anyway.

And the FAQ: (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761128)

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Burt Rutan think of the other X-Prize designs?
Burt prefers to discuss this only after the X-Prize is won.

How long has Burt been working on all this?
The concept dates back to April 1996. Design work and some limited testing was started 3.5 years ago. The full development program began in May 2001.

What's going to be next in Burt's bag of tricks?
Scaled has completed 34 manned research aircraft and none were announced until they were ready to fly.

How much does it all cost?
This is generally not known until the program is complete, but projections place it close to a Soyuz ride.

How much will it cost to get a ride into space?
Rides will not be offered in SpaceShipOne. The price of a ride will have to take in consideration the cost of certification and establishing an airliner-like operation. One goal of this research program is to see how low it might be without the burden of regulatory costs. At program completion we will have good data for operational costs and may publish them.

Is it physically stressful?
It is expected to be on the order of some modern theme park rides. The highest forces occur during reentry but build up gradually and peak near 6 G's for less than 10 seconds. With the pilot and passengers reclined, these forces should be quite tolerable for anyone in reasonable health.

Is Burt Rutan going to ride in the vehicle?
Yes, as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Why did the first flight last only 2 minutes?
The airplane had outboard spoilers on the wings to help improve roll control in the event of gusty cross wind landings. They were pneumatically actuated (using the same tanks, valves and fittings as the RCS system on SpaceShipOne) and returned to recesses in the wings by springs. On the first flight, the low air pressure, at rotation was sufficient to "suck" the spoilers out which killed the lift and caused the return springs to slam them closed. Four of these surfaces chattering out on the wingtips during the climb out produced significant airframe vibrations and the pilot elected to turn downwind and land immediately rather than aggravate the condition any longer than necessary.

How can you see where you're going?
The visibility is actually much better than you might imagine. By moving your head slightly you can piece together an acceptable picture of the outside world and maintain adequate "situational awareness". What is more difficult is spotting other airborne traffic. However, between radar advisories from ground controllers and an onboard traffic alert system called "Skywatch," this limitation is minimized.

Isn't it hard to land with all those wheels?
No. The pilot doesn't notice that he has two nose wheels up front and with excellent elevator control
he can hold them off until about 45 knots during the landing roll.

Why is the cockpit called a "pressure vessel"?
The cockpit is airtight and the air is not freely exchanged with the outside air. So like a submarine the structure must be able to withstand large forces due to the pressure differential. In the case of this vehicle, there is high pressure air inside compared to the near vacuum outside.

How do you keep the air breathable?
There are three components to keeping the cockpit environment suitable for flight. One, oxygen needs to be added at a small rate for that used by breathing. This is done with a small bottle carried in the cabin. Two, the carbon dioxide from the exhaled air needs to be removed and this is done by means of a substance called "Sodasorb". Finally, the humidity is controlled by another substance called "3X"that removes water vapor, keeping the cabin cool and dry.

Have there been any surprises during flight test?
Right from the start the White Knight has been one of Scaled's best handling aircraft. It has good control harmony and is surprisingly responsive for a large airplane. Despite its high wing, the airplane's dihedral effect (being able to pick up a wing with rudder only control) was too low. Therefore, winglets have been added.

What's with all those funny windows?
The windows need to be small to keep the weight of the vehicle down and they need to be round to minimize the structural loads. This configuration is also the least expensive to manufacture. Each portal consists of two windows to provide redundancy for the integrity of the pressure vessel should one window crack or fail. The number and location of the windows were selected to provide the pilot a view of the horizon throughout SpaceShipOne's mission profile.

How high do you go?
The goal is to get to 100 kilometers or about 62 miles up. This altitude was established by the X-Prize foundation as a target to stimulate commercial interest in the technology to achieve it. $10M will be awarded to the first team to make it before the end of 2004.

Why do you "fold" the wings to come back down?
The wings are folded up to provide a shuttle-cock or "feather" effect to help stabilize the vehicle for reentry. This configuration orients the vehicle to a belly first attitude that increases its drag and reduces its speed while coming back into the atmosphere thus helping to lessen the aerodynamic heating and reduce G-buildup.

Why isn't the pilot in a space suit?
You can think of the design of the cockpit with its dual seals and window panes as essentially a space worthy cockpit surrounded by a second outer space worthy shell. This redundancy eliminates the need for a space suit and allows the crew to operate and test the vehicle in comfort. Scaled's Proteus vehicle has a similar cockpit design and has over 1,000 flight hours in a "shirt sleeve" environment.

What pilot qualifications are required to fly it?
Scaled's pilots come from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. It is the training provided by in-house assets and program specific resources that provide confidence in our ability to fly the space ship. This training includes glide approaches in our twin engine Duchess, acrobatic and unusual attitude training in an Extra 300, a sophisticated simulator with tailored flight displays for each distinct phase of flight and finally the in-flight exposure to the same cockpit environment provided by the White Knight aircraft.

How does the pilot control the rocket?
Rocket controls are very simple. Two switches, one to Arm it and a second to Fire it. The avionics suite has a dedicated propulsion display that shows various critical motor parameters that can be monitored both by the pilot before launch and by a ground station during flight.

Can the pilot throttle the rocket?
No. There is no provision for the pilot to modulate the rocket thrust.

Has any other vehicle gone supersonic with manual flight controls?
Yes. Chuck Yeager's "Glamorous Glennis" or the Bell X-1 had manual flight controls. Like SpaceShip One it also had electric trim for supersonic flight.

Did you do wind tunnel testing?
No. All design refinements and performance predictions have been derived from Computational Fluid Dynamic tools.

Why is it called a hybrid motor?
It is called a "hybrid" because it is has characteristics that utilize features from both solid and liquid rocket motors.

Who designed the rocket motor?
While hybrid motors are not new, the configuration utilized by SpaceShipOne is unique with its fuel case and nozzle cantilevered off the main oxidizer tank, which in turn, forms part of the vehicle's aft fuselage. Its largest components, the oxidizer tank and fuel casing, are Scaled-designed composite structure. The rocket hardware - fuel injectors, valves, controls, ignition systems and fuel characteristics - is being competed between two independent rocket companies.

What is the rocket's thrust and Isp?
As of April 2003 we are still competing two different rocket designs and we will not advertise any rocket performance data until after down-select and space flights have commenced.

What's the deal with laughing gas and rubber?
All rocket motors have some form of "fuel" and an "oxidizer". In solid rocket motors the oxidizer is embedded into the fuel (like an Estes rocket motor) and when lighted will burn until depleted. In liquid rockets the oxidizer is usually liquid oxygen and the fuel another liquid like hydrogen or kerosene. In our hybrid motor we use Nitrous Oxide (NO2 or laughing gas) as an oxidizer and hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB or rubber) as the fuel. Both of these can be safely stored without special precautions and will not react when put together. Finally NO2 has the nice quality of self-pressurizing when at room temperature so that the space ship doesn't need complicated turbo pumps or plumbing to move the oxidizer into the combustion chamber.

How do you start it?
To start a hybrid motor first requires introducing a significant source of heat into the fuel and then introducing the oxidizer. A hybrid motor does not start by accident and thus it is a safe and simple alternative to its liquid and solid cousins.

Does it pollute the atmosphere?
The products of combustion are mostly benign (water vapor, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and nitrogen and some carbon monoxide) and certainly much more friendly than any other class of rocket propulsion.

Is the rocket re-useable?
Partly. The oxidizer tank is reusable and the same fuel casing can support several short firings or one long one. The intent is to replace the fuel casing and nozzle between high altitude flights.
What is the rocket's thrust and Isp?
As of April 2003 we are still competing two different rocket designs and we will not advertise any rocket performance data until after down-select and space flights have commenced.

How did you validate the simulator?
The simulator is based on CFD analysis and updated by flight test data. Since the space ship is first flown as a glider, it will provide the opportunity to iterate the subsonic aero characteristics before the powered supersonic flights.

Does it simulate stick forces?
Not in real time. We are able to change the stick force gradients to simulate different flight regimes. Thus we can practice flying with a "heavy" stick for supersonic conditions and a lighter one for the glide landing return.

Can you rehearse normal and emergency procedures?
Yes. The cockpit has most of the functionality of the actual vehicle. Emergencies and faults can be introduced by a console operator.

Who developed the controls and displays?
All of the controls and displays were developed in-house and reflect many iterations and fit-ups in the simulator as well as in-flight assessments during White Knight flights.

How do you simulate rocket accelerations and weightlessness?
We don't attempt to do this in the ground-based simulator, but we are able to expose the pilots to most of the expected flight envelope while they fly the White Knight and the acrobatic Extra 300.

google mirror (1)

I'm A Librarian (666791) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761127)

well, we pretty much wrecked this guy's webserver for the day, so here's all google knows [] about

Naturally, there are no pictures, but you can read all about some of the other projects over there.

Dyna Soar Projects (2, Informative)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761137)

It looks like the re-entry orbital vehicle borrowed heavily from the NASA program on rentry. Cool to see another application of the technology!

Lets Just Hope... (0, Offtopic)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761142)

That the ship holds up under strain better than their webserver...

-- there's a really fine line between humor and trolling, isnt there...--

Burt Rutan and "Kelly" Johnson (1)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761155)

If this program captures the x-prize, I think that Burt Rutan will securely surpass "Kelly" Johnson as the cleverest engineer in aviation history. :)

Good work and good luck!

handle stress of space?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761160)

how can that thing handle the extreme environment of space when it cant even cope with slashdot??

Fuel (4, Funny)

effer (155937) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761161)

"SpaceShipOne officials are reviewing use of hybrid rocket propulsion system provided by SpaceDev of Poway, California. Hybrid propulsion uses Nitrous Oxide -- also dubbed Laughing Gas -- and HTPB (tire rubber)."

Laughing gas, tire rubber, and flames! A recipe for hilinks!!

Ugly, ugly!!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761164)

aarghh it's ugly...

So what???
Who gives a shit if it's ugly.
If it can take me into space and back safely, I won't care about colour or shape.
hey, who would even care about the inside, or the service onboard? I wouldn't.
We live in an age where most people can only dream about going into space. Lett us first make that dream come true, and then care about appearence.

And besides, suppose it was would you hestiate to take it, if it would get you into space?

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761165)

Hats off to Rutan, that's one gutsy project. Take a look at the spacecraft; there's no ablative or thermal material visible. Might be designed to re-enter under power, without aerobraking.

Sounds like reincarnated idea. I like the ENGINE! (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761169)

I hope the choose the hybrid rocket motor! Very safe design. Picture below. hybrid/nox/rubberengine []

I have seen this rocket/airplane space orbital type mentioned for a long time. By the way , what is the spaceship made out of ?

The Whiffle Ship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761181)

Why? I mean... WHY?

Re-entry (1)

buddhaunderthetree (318870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761186)

That carrier vehicle looks pretty fragile for re-entry purposes. Any guesses as to it's composition.

Re:Re-entry (1)

smartalix (84502) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761212)

The carrier vehicle isn't involved in re-entry.

Back Into Hiding (4, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761198)

> "We are not seeking funding and are not selling anything. We are in the middle of an important research program - to see if manned space access can be done by other than the expensive government programs," Rutan explained.
>Rutan said that after today, plans call for his group to go "back into hiding," to complete the flight tests and conduct the space flights.

I don't blame him. If I threatened doom for six billion dollars a year of NASA Shuttle Pork, I'd want to be in hiding, too! :)

Burt - you rock. You rock in the way that NASA used to rock. You rock in the way most NASA engineers would love to be allowed to rock.

No matter what NASA does to try and shut you down, please don't stop.

Ho Hum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761200)

If it can't achieve orbit, it's not a spacecraft. Until it can do that, it's just an expensive, high-flying toy Now, I agree, money can be made with toys. But I think it's going to be a very, very long step from this to orbit. Oh, well.

Re:Ho Hum. (3, Informative)

smartalix (84502) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761227)

If it can get into space, it's a spacecraft. Orbit is another thing entirely. The first American spaceflight by Alan Shepard was sub-orbital, you know. (But you obviously don't, or you wouldn't have made the above comment.)

Contact (4, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761220)

"Burt Rutan's company, Scaled Composites, announced that they have been developing a commercial manned space program in secret for the past two years."
  • I though they were supposed to wait for the religious freaks to blow up the first one before letting Jodi Foster know this one existed.

That's some fuel! (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761228)

"SpaceShipOne officials are reviewing use of hybrid rocket propulsion system provided by SpaceDev of Poway, California. Hybrid propulsion uses Nitrous Oxide -- also dubbed Laughing Gas -- and HTPB (tire rubber)."

Burning rubber to orbit, laughing all the way? (Yeah yeah, it's sub-orbital -- for now.)

My penis smells today (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5761229)

I forgot to wash it.

Text of main page (2, Interesting)

MsWillow (17812) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761237)

Mojave, California, April 18, 2003:
Scaled Composites today unveiled the existence of a commercial manned space program. This previously hidden, active research program has been in the works at its facility for two years. This program includes an airborne launcher (the White Knight), a space ship (SpaceShipOne), rocket propulsion, avionics, simulator and ground support elements.
Master of Ceremonies, Cliff Robertson, introduced Burt Rutan who explained the history and the components of the program. Other dignitaries who attended the event were Dr. Maxim Faget (pioneer configuratioin designer of the early NASA space program from the Mercury through the Apollo programs), Erik Lindbergh (grandson of Charles Lindbergh and President of the Lindbergh Foundation), and Dennis Tito (Soyuz space tourist).
Further information about the space program and high-resolution photographs are available at the Scaled Composites website:

very sci fi looking .. no ? (3, Funny)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 11 years ago | (#5761251)

Whenever I look at the entries for this competition I can't help but wonder why they all have this sci fi look to them. ie something out of start trek. I always have this image of some guy of a err more feminine persuasion flailing his hands and going " it justht doesnt look spathy enough.... more spathy people ...."
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