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SpaceShipOne Rockets To 68,000 Feet

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the that's-quite-high dept.

Space 390

ehartwell writes "According to Space.com, Scaled Composite's SpaceShipOne flew its first rocket-powered flight today, the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' 12-second first flight. SpaceShipOne's engine burned for 15 seconds, pushing it to Mach 1.2 (930 mph) and a peak altitude of 68,000 feet. To win the X-Prize they need to reach 330,000 feet twice within 2 weeks."

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Well done and very impressive (4, Insightful)

zeux (129034) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749426)

The headline should state that, according to XPrize [xprize.org] website, this is the first manned supersonic flight onboard a plane designed by a small private company. That is really impressive and is a great achievement just 100 years after the Wright brothers first flight. Nice birthday present !

100 years ago manned flight was a hot technology, today everybody can jump on a plane (as long as you have the money but its cheaper and cheaper). Today supersonic flight is a hot technology for the masses so it will maybe become commonplace in the years to come...

The biggest point is not the altitude here because 68000 feet is quite 'easy' to reach (although its really impressive too) and going from 68000 to 330000 feet is gonna be way way way more difficult. But everything needs a beginning and that's a very nice one.

Congratulations to the Scaled Composite team for this astonishing result... This plane is a very cool piece of engineering.

This X-Prize is definitely becoming more and more interesting, I have to admit that I never though it was possible for a team to go so far !

50 years from now... (4, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749496)

I did a quick Google on the first time humans passed the "sound barrier" in 1947 [popularmechanics.com] . 50 years later, every school kid knows^W should know Chuck Yeager's name.

50 years from now, will the class of 2060 recognize the name "Brian Binnie"? If this works out, they darn well should... especially if he's the one who gets to fly the craft "for real", twice in two weeks.

* 1903: Orville & Wilbur Wright achieve controlled, manned flight (but birds fly on a regular basis)

* 1947: Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier in a military aircraft (but ordinary people fly on a regular basis)

* 2003: Brian Binnie breaks the sound barrier in a home-built spacecraft prototype (but ordinary people fly faster than sound on a regular basis)

* 2050: What's the next big advance when ordinary people fly to space on a regular basis?

I was sure rooting for the local boys (& girl) [armadilloaerospace.com] , but I don't see how they can catch up to Scaled Composites' entry.

Re:50 years from now... (3, Insightful)

trentblase (717954) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749513)

Sadly, I know a ton of people who have never heard of Chuck Yeager. He was not part of my academic curriculum. The only reason I heard of him at a young age was the video game named after him.

Re:50 years from now... (4, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749549)

I don't know the name of the first doctor to perform any number of amazingly useful surgeries. I don't think that makes me any less well-educated (particularly since I am totally confident I could find that data anytime I felt I needed it).

The information is readily available for anybody with an interest. School shouldn't be about filling your head with facts, but about encouraging you to study things that you're interested in.

For me, that's airplanes. For other people, maybe musical theater. It's all good.

Re:50 years from now... (4, Insightful)

Gumshoe (191490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749627)

School shouldn't be about filling your head with facts, but about encouraging you to study things that you're interested in.


I second that. Ultimately, school is worthless if it doesn't teach people how to learn. The ability to educate one's self should be the greatest lesson of a compulsary education.

Re:50 years from now... (5, Funny)

fiftyLou (472705) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749737)

The ability to educate one's self should be the greatest lesson of a compulsary education.

Agreed. With the ability to dress one's self coming a close second.

Re:50 years from now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749658)

School shouldn't be about filling your head with facts, but about encouraging you to study things that you're interested in.

That's right.

For the record, the only reason I know the name 'Chuck Yeager' was because I got a SoundBlaster 16 pack with 6-speed CDROM and speakers back in 1997. It had a few games included and one of them was Chucky Boy's flight sim.

Now that I think of it, it's very unlikely that I'd ever hear about someone named 'Chuck'. Very American name.

Re:50 years from now... (5, Insightful)

tc (93768) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749524)

* 2003: Brian Binnie breaks the sound barrier in a home-built spacecraft prototype (but ordinary people fly faster than sound on a regular basis)

Except that, sadly, Brian Binnie breaks the sound barrier in a home-built spacecraft prototype the same year that commercial supersonic flights were discontinued.

But what does it *mean*? (4, Informative)

Spamalamadingdong (323207) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749668)

Commercial supersonic flight (at least at Mach 2) does not make economic sense. This was known many years ago; Concorde broke even on operating costs, but never paid for its development. Shutting down the aging, deteriorating fleet makes sense.

SpaceShipOne did more than break the sound barrier, it aimed toward altitudes and conditions unseen by private aviation. With those altitudes and conditions come possible markets, such as small-scale microgavity research on the cheap and even the mother of all roller-coaster rides. Here's hoping that it marks a realization that there are some things which don't work, and some things which do.

PRIVATE commercial supersonic flight yet to happen (5, Informative)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749744)

Concorde was a state funded project, almost exclusively flown by state subsidised airlines bearing national badges (Air France and British Airways).

It may not have been Chuck Yaeger (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749622)

Many people say that Chuck Yaeger was not in fact the first to break the sound barrier. In fact another pilot in that program did it first, but he wasn't very charismatic and/or famous. They then loaded Chuck up into the plane, he broke the barrier, and they announced to the world.

Apparently there is significant evidence to support this, but I don't remember what it is.

Re:50 years from now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749630)

You needed Google to figure out who Yeager was and what he did and you expect school kids to know, hmmm?

Re:50 years from now... (5, Insightful)

JT27278 (589969) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749640)

"Home-built" is quite a stretch. How about "not government funded" ? Their ship was built by professional aeronaughtical engineers who were working full time for a company who's mission is to do just this sort of thing. Scaled Composites is a far cry from a garage operation.

Re:50 years from now... (4, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749680)

The joke is that most of the companies involved are getting their money from childhood "geeks" that made it big on toys or games and Still went to school to learn the "real work" we were all told in the 70's and 80's was so important. I find it more ironic that the very goverment that told kids to be astronauts and rocket scientists has a problem with them Actually being astronauts and rocket scientists WITHOUT govt help!

Re:Well done and very impressive (1)

fastidious edward (728351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749572)

going from 68000 to 330000 feet is gonna be way way way more difficult

I'm not sure, 330,000ft in 2 weeks is about 23,571.43ft/day, or 0.27ft/second. Many can do 0.27ft/second, they just need to it again and again and they're there!

WILDCAT IS ON TEH SPOKE (-1)

SpongeScrodSpareCock (717608) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749588)

WILDcat W1ld is W1ld. ON TEH SPOKE!!!

Re:Well done and very impressive (4, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749674)

100 years ago manned flight was a hot technology

Not quite. 100 years ago manned, controlled, and powered flight had just become a curiosity. It took the Wright brothers about 6-7 years before they could commercialize on their idea.

Supersonic Homebuilt (5, Interesting)

CmdrTostado (653672) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749682)

Bede Jet Corp.BD-10 may have been the first manned supersonic flight onboard a plane designed by a small private company It was a deadly, short lived, supersonic HOMEBUILT. Go supersonic, from your garage.
a fan's page [cuug.ab.ca]
Results so far
The first one crashed, and the second one crashed as well. Each crash killed the then-president of the company developing the BD-10 for the market. Rights to the design were bounced around for a while, and I believe it's pretty much in limbo, now. At one point, a Canadian outfit was trying to develop it as a low-cost military trainer, but nothing came of it. I think there were four originally built... the Bede prototype, two crashed as noted above, and one constructed by a customer. There are two listed in the 2001 registration database. The prototype is still listed as being owned by Bede Jet Corporation, and the other one is registered to a man in California.(text from http://www.ipilot.com/learn/expert-view.asp?cur=0& cid=3)

Sex Guide: How to Geese (-1)

frogsarefriendly (723785) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749430)

WARNING

DO NOT attempt to penetrate a goose! You WILL kill it! The tissue inside is very delicate and can rupture easily without you even noticing!

ACCESS

Geese are very cheap and can be bought for 20 dollars full grown. You will want the biggest and most aggressive geese you can buy. Sex is determined by a process called "vent sexing". IE, you grab the base of the tail and squeeze. If it is a male, you will cause the penis to pop out. If it is a female, you will get her to expose the egg laying vent. Geese can be obtained anywhere. The local newspapers are an excellent source.

BEHAVIOR

Let the goose get to know you. Males are rather dominate, so let them dominate you. The idea is not to have him backing down, hissing at you. Get to know the goose first. Once he trusts you, and your good friends, you can do other activities with him!

A few important facts are:

MOUNTING A goose MUST be able to mount and grab something with its mouth in order to become sexually excited. They don't care what they mount, so long as they can dig in with their feet and grab something with their mouth.

TAIL A goose cannot orgasm if its tail is not able to bend down.

HOW TO DO!

You will most likely want two male geese. A goose will mount anything when it is horny. I have had my geese mount other males and even chickens. So long as they can mount it, and grab a neck, they will climax. By having two males, you can swap one off on the other!

Let me clear up one thing first. From the guys, I am constantly asked "how do you get it in?" Well, YOU DON'T! You can seriously injure a goose if you penetrate it. The tissue inside is very thin and if it ruptures, the goose will die within 24 hours. I know from first hand experience. Due to society and their fucking prejudices against zoophiles, fact files like this were not vailable. I ended up killing an animal out of pure ignorance. Don't let this happen to you! It really hurts to loose a lover like that. Anyway, you are going to have to have "outercourse". This pretty much means you will have to do your thing, while you please the goose. It's tempting, but PLEASE, don't attempt to have intercourse with a goose.

STEP ONE Lay down a bunch of old towels or better yet, an old blanket in the area you want to have sex in. I am certain you have heard the phrase "like s**t out of a goose!", well, it is true! Geese will go and go and go, and when you think they are finally done, they go some more!

The bathroom is perfect. You need a place that is quiet and well lit. Geese do not have sex in the dark and can be come distracted by outside noises. Lay down completely naked with them, and let them get used to you. Next, grab the mountee (other goose or chicken) and hold him gently. If you make it obvious, the goose will recognize what is going on, and will walk over immediately and attempt to mount the mountee.

STEP TWO The rest of this file will assume Male geese since there is not much that can be done with a female without hurting her.

Let the goose climb up and settle in. Once the goose grabs the mountee's head and does a few test jerks to make certain he is well situated, sex will begin. At this time, you need to immediately get under his tail, and place your mouth over his opening. Try not to disturb him. If he lets go and just sits there, this means he is nervous and he may not continue.

STEP THREE The goose will quickly bend his tail down and will hopefully be pushing directly into your mouth. -- BE CAREFUL!!-- When the goose orgasms, the penis will shoot out under a fair amount of pressure. During my learning process, the first time this happened, he moved and I got ejaculate shot up my nose. The second time, I got it shot down my throat and it caused me to choke! (yes, I did enjoy choking on it!)

The goal here, is to position yourself so that he will shoot off into the side of your mouth and into your cheek. This can be difficult, since the goose will be rubbing and twisting his tail around. You must keep your mouth over the opening because you won't know when he will go off. Do NOT get excited and start pushing into his tail. If you get his tail too high, he cannot orgasm.

Sometimes, he will bend down, hold, and just will not go off. If this happens, you can quickly reach up and squeeze the base of the tail and help him go off.

This is NOT recommended, because you can cause him to go off prematurely. If he goes off too soon, he will orgasm, but you will not get any ejaculate.

If all goes well, you will get a quick gentle pop in the cheek. When this happens, you get a very tangy, tasty treat! Nothing is more glorious then hearing the trumpet of a goose when he orgasms! After he orgasms, he will start off with a slow, low pitch quiet scream, which will quickly get loud and raise in pitch. His whole body will shake, and he will rapidly shake his still folded wings. He will then let out 3 or 4 quick high to low pitched screams. Most geese will throw their head back when they orgasm. Others will continue to hold onto the mountee during the whole orgasm. Even if they fall off during the orgasm, they will continue to hold on! Either way, it is exciting and tasty!!

WRAP UP
Geese have a remarkable recovery rate. A horny goose can be ready to go again Within 2 minutes of his last orgasm. You only get ejaculate once, unless he was still holding a little back from last time. But, he can still get more orgasms. I once had a goose go 5 rounds! Remember to keep his tail covered with your mouth at all times. When they orgasm, they spray ejaculate in all directions due to the cork screw shape. It starts immediately as it pops out, and continues until fully extended. Here is to hoping you and your goose have a lot of fun, warm nights!

Look for other "how to bird" fact files from your favorite avian birdophile!

$geesesex.troll v.001.01

Copyright (c) 2003 frogsarefriendly (723785)
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.
A copy of the license can be found at the GNU website:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.txt [gnu.org]

GNAASTEE fully endorses this parent (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749554)

GNAASTEE fully endorses this parent.

HEY GNAASTEE!!! HEY YOU!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749663)

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hi fuckers (-1, Troll)

yh34fg2f (733689) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749433)

first post

SORRY, YOU FAIL IT, AND SO DO I (-1)

frogsarefriendly (723785) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749445)

Subscribers, wtf? that is the un-cool, off teh sp0ke.

shit shit penis (-1, Troll)

yh34fg2f (733689) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749458)

yeah man those guys suxx

FIRST POST!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749434)

I GET TEH MAGIC!!!!

mod parent up (-1, Redundant)

yh34fg2f (733689) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749447)

gay

Re:mod parent up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749476)

NAH!

U BEEZ THA GAY FAGGOT, NIGER!

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John Carmack ? (5, Funny)

EmCeeHawking (720424) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749436)

Sounds like someone needs to stop spending so much time tweaking the Doom3 Engine and get on the stick. Sundays and Tuesdays aren't going to be enough to beat a fulltime effort.

Re:John Carmack ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749489)

In their defense, they've been making much more progress now that they have a reliable supplier of 50% hydrogen peroxide. Of course, with all the not so subtle hints in their mpeg video, they might be having paperwork problems...

No kidding (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749498)

The Duke Nukem: Forever team has been working on a fusion reactor in their spare time. We can all see what that did to that project's timeline.

Re:John Carmack ? (2, Funny)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749542)

It'd be worse if he'd confuse both projects. That'd mean his rocket would require a quad Xeon MP 2,0ghz with 16gb of RIMM memory to launch while Doom3 would put your computer in orbit...

Mirror, just in case.... (4, Informative)

RickyRay (73033) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749439)

Privately Funded SpaceShipOne Breaks Sound Barrier

A privately financed passenger-carrying sub-orbital rocket plane screamed its way through the sound barrier today, the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers historic 12-second flight over Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Privately built by Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, the SpaceShipOne cranked up its hybrid rocket motor after being released from the White Knight carrier plane high over Mojave, California.

"This successful and historic flight is important because we are showing that the private sector can perform human space flight faster, safer and cheaper," said Jim Benson, founding chairman and chief executive of SpaceDev, the Poway, California-based company that built SpaceShipOne's engine.

Test pilot Brian Binnie then put SpaceShipOne into a steep climb. Nine seconds later, SpaceShipOne broke the sound barrier and continued its steep powered ascent.

At motor shutdown, 15 seconds after ignition, SpaceShipOne was climbing at a 60-degree angle and flying near 1.2 Mach (930 mph).

Binnie continued the maneuver to a vertical climb, achieving zero speed at an altitude of 68,000 feet. He then configured the ship in its high-drag "feathered" shape to simulate the condition it will experience when it enters the atmosphere after a sub-orbital space flight.

At apogee, SpaceShipOne was in near-weightless conditions, emulating the characteristics it will later encounter during the planned space flights in which it will be at zero-g for more than three minutes.

After descending in feathered flight for about a minute, Binnie reconfigured the ship to its conventional glider shape and flew a 12-minute glide to landing at a landing strip in the Mojave.

The landing was not without incident.

On touchdown, the left landing gear retracted causing the rocket ship to veer to the left and leave the runway with its left wing down. Damage from the landing incident was minor and will easily be repaired. There were no injuries, according to a press release issued by Scaled Composites.

The milestone flight of SpaceShipOne involved development of a new propulsion system, the first rocket motor fabricated for piloted space flight in several decades.

The new hybrid motor was developed in-house at Scaled Composites. The motor uses an ablative nozzle supplied by AAE and operating components supplied by SpaceDev.

This was the 8th flight of the SpaceShipOne completed this year -- the first done under powered flight.

Re:Mirror, just in case.... (1)

p2sam (139950) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749611)

I haven't seen any pictures of this plane... but am I the only one who pictures it as one of those Macross/Robotech robot planes?

Re:Mirror, just in case.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749660)

Apparently google doesn't work in your neck of the woods, so here ya go [scaled.com] . Oh, and wtf did the jerk doing the mirror of space.com do to deserve a +5 anyway?

space race (0, Offtopic)

ed8150 (554077) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749440)

ok when do i get to go to the moon. seriously. what the max it could cost? two or three billion?

Re:space race (4, Insightful)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749475)

ok when do i get to go to the moon. seriously. what the max it could cost? two or three billion?

If you want NASA to do it, it'll cost well over $50 billion.

Re:space race (1)

sagarsanghani (586413) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749501)

Can't wait for the day NASA starts to outsource the space program!

Re:space race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749585)

NASA does outsource the space program. That's a big reason why the shuttle exploded earlier this year. The private sector was too cheap to do maitenence.

Re:space race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749687)

Bzzt! Wrong. The shuttle exploded because a bunch of environmental wackos forced NASA to change the supposedly-environmental destroying engine insulation to a fluffy-bunny friendly version that, just coincidentally, sucked (as in, it fell off and hit the shuttle wing).

Thanks for playing the Talk Out of Your Ass game. As your reward for trying: one swift kick in said ass.

Re:space race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749564)


If you want NASA to do it, it'll cost well over $50 billion.


If you don't want NASA to do it ... well, enjoy your pipe dream.

The fact remains that the x-prize contenders are not even getting particularly close to the x-prize. If you think a garage spaceship will make it to the moon in your (or your grandchildren's) lifetime, you need to scale back on the sci-fi reading and walk around in the real world sometime.

Re:space race (3, Interesting)

Spoons (26950) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749603)

If you want NASA to do it, it'll cost well over $50 billion.

Hmmmm... Iraq war $87 billion [cnn.com] or going to the moon 50 billion..... Hmmmmm.... Tough choice.....

Re:space race (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749752)

There's no oil on the moon.

Re:space race (3, Informative)

mhmealling (148796) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749688)

The Artemis Society [asi.org] figured that it could do a minimal but sustainable lunar base mission for $1.42 billion [asi.org] . $800 million of that being launch costs.

Re:space race (1)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749490)

George W. said something in the last week or two about wanting the USA to get back on the moon. I don't remember why, and if he meant building a base or what. I assumed it had something to do with reminding China that we were there first?

google is not helping me, i'm just finding articles wondering is geroge w is a moonie.

i did find this slashdot story from 2 weeks ago [slashdot.org] where they though he would call for moon mission in some speech scheduled today..... hrmmm

Re:space race (1)

wrmrxxx (696969) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749661)

There were rumours that George Bush would make an announcement at the Wright brother's flight re-enactment yesterday. When I read that the flight ended in the mud, I couldn't help wondering if there had been a last moment decision not to make an announcement as a result.

Imagine what would happen if a new moon program had been kicked off at the flight re-enactment. If any little thing went wrong later, the media would have a field day replaying footage of the plane dumping into the mud in association with Bush's speech.

OK, Here's What (1)

reallocate (142797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749735)

President Bush has said nothing -- nothing -- about returning to the moon. The White House ordered a reexamination of American space efforts following the Columbia disaster, and that effort has concluded.

There is no political support for a crash program such as Apollo, but there is support for methodically building the infratructure that will allow the U.S. to operate in trans-lunar space, to include manned Lunar missions and a small lunar base (although not necessarily permanently staffed.) The Pentagon's open involvement in this effort will increase, and the funding it brings with it will increase total spending on space travel by 2-3 percent annually. Much attention, and perhaps some real money, will be paid to boosting the private sector's ability to enter space, but the real story is that the procurement and contracting model will be the same as the Pentagon has used for years to bring weapon systems into the inventory.

NASA will be pointed in the direction of R&D, but without making a lot of noise about it. The Shuttle will be phased out sooner, rather than later, and NASA will stop pouring billions into the false dream of building spacecraft with wings.

The U.S. will continue to support the space station, but everyone will secretly wish we hadn't got into the mess in the first place.

Re:space race (1)

SuperDuperMan (257229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749746)

I thought the news artical was concerning what he will speak about in his state of the union address not a speech he already gave.

FIRST POTS FOR JESUS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749442)

PROPS TO THE J-DOG.

first post and eternal salvation all rolled into one. sweet.

THOU HAST FAILED IT, SINNER! CONFESS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749453)

YFI!

And so it begins. (4, Interesting)

ActionPlant (721843) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749449)

How long before commercial spaceflight tickets are offered by competing commercial organizations and WE get to pick the craft?

Damon,

Re:And so it begins. (2, Funny)

trentblase (717954) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749528)

How long before commercial spaceflight tickets are offered by competing commercial organizations and WE get to pick the craft?

I choose the Millenium Falcon

Re:And so it begins. (1)

ActionPlant (721843) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749618)

But..but..that was MY choice!!

AUTUMN F.U.N.! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749450)

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Their prerss release (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749457)

Here's [scaled.com] their prerss [sic] release.

--Karma whoring as AC since 2000.

For those that haven't used imperial for ages.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749469)

Translation:

ehartwell writes "According to Space.com, Scaled Composite's SpaceShipOne flew its first rocket-powered flight today, the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' 12-second first flight. SpaceShipOne's engine burned for 15 seconds, pushing it to Mach 1.2 (1496 km/h) and a peak altitude of 20.7 kilometers . To win the X-Prize they need to reach 100.6 kilometers twice within 2 weeks."

Re:For those that haven't used imperial for ages.. (3, Informative)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749535)

And in this case, kilometers makes extra sense, since the informal "edge of space" definition is 100km. (Otherwise, 330,000 feet seems like a totally arbitrary number)

km is also good for the circumference of the earth... it's 40,000km because an original definition of a km was that 10,000 of them was the average distance from the earth's pole to the equator.

Re:For those that haven't used imperial for ages.. (1)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749562)

ecause an original definition of a km was that 10,000 of them was the average distance from the earth's pole to the equator.

I thought the original km wasn't defined as an average, but specifically as 1/10000th of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator, along the line of longitude passing through Paris.

Re:For those that haven't used imperial for ages.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749635)

cool - thanks! I had heard average, but I don't remember the source.

-m

Re:For those that haven't used imperial for ages.. (2, Informative)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749714)

Found a source [boisestate.edu] for my claim.

It refers to the meter as 1/10,000,000 the distance from the pole to the equator through Paris, which is the same definition I had. Not a flame though, I'm glad we weren't sure, and I was able to find a (semi-) definitive answer!

5 times more distance to go (1, Informative)

boy_afraid (234774) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749470)

They just needed 5 times more the altitude to reach the goal.

Re:5 times more distance to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749533)


They just needed 5 times more the altitude to reach the goal.


That would be a snap if it weren't for the fact that each new foot in altitude will be significantly more expensive and complex to reach that the previous foot.

It'll take multiple 100x effort to achieve that 5x altitude.

Looks bad for Carmack (3, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749472)

This is looking worse and worse for Carmack and the crew at Armadillo Aerospace... Even though they've apparently solved their peroxide supply problems, they're nowhere near completing assembly of their full-size rocket and they have yet to have anything like a successful test flight on any scale (unless you count the hover tests).

I wish the other X-prize hopefuls would take after Carmack's blogs, though -- reading about the little engineering challenges is the highlight of my Monday/Tuesday mornings.

Re:Looks bad for Carmack (5, Informative)

savuporo (658486) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749568)

they're nowhere near completing assembly of their full-size rocket

On the [slashdot.org] contrary [space-frontier.org]

IMO, they are quite far along, i'd expect a hover test in a week or two ( if not for the _damn_ holidays )
BTW, as you probably know, official X-Prize flight attempt has to be announced at least two months in advance, so everybody still has a chance, as Rutan hasnt made such announcement yet.

Damn cold fusion... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7749474)

If only my cold-fusion flux-capacitor hadn't gone on the blink my electrogravatic anti-grav drive would humming along nicely and I'd be half-way to the Mars by now...

Can't wait (4, Interesting)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749477)

When industry gets on the ball and starts developing space programs, we'll start seeing some real progress. Of course NASA's work is extremely valuable, but we need commercial support to really get things done. Satellites have been a huge success; now all we need is a very attractive financial reason to develop space commerce.

It might start off slow, though; in the end it will probably require starting an entirely new economic sector. Why do we need to mine asteroids and build huge solar collectors? To supply energy and materials for other space structures, of course. A self-perpetuating system like that is going to take time to build up. Satellites plug in very well to Earth's existing economy, but where does manned space exploration fit in....

Re:Can't wait (2, Interesting)

adrianbaugh (696007) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749738)

I was thinking about this recently. Of course we need corporations to bring inventions to mass markets, but how many really great inventions are made by corporations? Most of the defining inventions seem to be made, at least initially, by academics or driven private individuals rather than companies.

SpaceShipOne? (3, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749480)

What, did it have the president on board? Please tell me it broke up upon re-entry...

Re:SpaceShipOne? (-1, Offtopic)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749577)

-1, Childish
-1, US-Centric

Re:SpaceShipOne? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749602)

(+5 Wishful!)

what a wonderful world it would be...

P

Re:SpaceShipOne? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749742)

Amen, brother.

Shalom.

Way Cool (-1, Redundant)

Simple-Simmian (710342) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749492)

Once again Kern County leads in manned space flight. Way to go Scaled Composites.

Re:Way Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749670)

Is that you, Larry Grover?

Truely amazing to even think about (4, Insightful)

dnaboy (569188) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749500)

The fact that people are willing to take a shot at this takes some serious huevos. When you think about the amount of cash, for one that goes into the design phase alone, sooner or later someone must scratch their head and ask if this is really worth it. Pair that with the need for such nontrivial things as ummm...say...cooking up rocket engines and rocket fuel. Then, last but not least, after you've designed something that seems like it ought to work, cooked up some engines, and a fuselage (not cheap either), you have to convince someone to get in it... Truely amazing. The absolute best of luck, and all my respect to all participating in the contest

Not That Amazing, But Important (1)

reallocate (142797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749581)

Getting people into space -- no matter how you get there or who pays for it -- is of transcendent importance, so I'm not inclined to quibble about the efforts of the X-Prize competitors.

But, let's not get carried away. Using a small rocket to power a small aircraft to a tad over Mach 1 and then coasting up to 68,000 feet is not amazing. That's been going on for 50 years or so.

What happened today is important because it was the first time SpaceShipOne was powered up, if only for 15 seconds.

I'm waiting for privately funded manned orbital flight. That'll be the real deal.

You don't mean huevos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749703)

you mean cojones. Unless you're a chicken and you're betting your first bo... er, laid.

Future of manned space flight (2, Insightful)

Hurklefish (733687) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749534)

This is big breakthrough for this team. As soon as I heard Rutan was in the mix, I figured these folks were the ones to watch. Even if they do win the X prize, however, what will the impact on manned space flight be? imho, manned space flight is never going to get anywhere until private companies discover a way to make a profit by putting people into space. Sattelites were pretty much a scientific curiousity, or for research, until the profit making possibilities with communications sat's became known. Once there was a way to make a profit, you started seeing all kinds of stuff going up, and a variety of launch systems to get it there. What will be the big money maker that will make human space flight profitable? Is space tourism a sufficient driving force? I think the cost will have to come down to well below 20 million a ticket before that's the case.

Aerospace progress (5, Insightful)

wrmrxxx (696969) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749539)

How about this for an impressive indicator of technological progress? In the earlier story about the 100 year anniversary of powered flight there were comments suggesting that progress in aerospace seemed slow lately. Maybe we're on the verge of another surge forward?

It wasn't that long ago that the sound barrier was really considered a barrier - people involved in breaking the sound barrier are still around. Back then, it was a major effort that was incredibly risky and took the resources of a government to achieve. At the time, plenty of people wondered if it was really even possible.

Now, however, we see a small private company break the sound barrier on their first major rocket powered test flight, as if it's no big deal. We've come a long way. Nice one, Scaled Composites!

Trainspotting...Or, Resting On Our Laurels (4, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749638)

Progess in aviation and space has been slow. Humans flew in 1903. They broke the sound barrier in a small rocket plane in 1947, 44 years later. They landed on the moon in 1969, 66 years later.

And....it's 2003, 31 years since the last lunar landing, people are getting excited about another small rocket plane that fired its engine for 15 seconds and coasted to 68,000 feet. What's different here is the funding mechanism, not the aviation technology.

Progress in aviation and space travel has been stuck in the muck and mire for 30 years.

Further Link @ SpaceRef (4, Informative)

anzha (138288) | more than 9 years ago | (#7749544)

Here's another one [spaceref.com] .

With any luck we'll see regular manned access to space within the next ten years without a government involved. The X Prize and its follow-ons will be the equivalent of the barnstorming acts of yesteryear.

With any luck at least...

Frequent Flyer Miles (3, Funny)

LeiGong (621856) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749566)

It's great that we're gonna finally be able eventually travel to the moon and all... but all of my frequent flyer miles are now freakin' useless... It took me forever save up these thousands of miles with Delta too. I'm still 230,000 miles sort. Dang.

Big deal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749575)

So basically they haven't come anywhere near reaching their goal? This is not 'News for Nerds'. This is not 'Stuff that Matters'.

Re:Big deal (1, Flamebait)

savuporo (658486) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749631)

Yeah, they tested a 99% completed and tested vehicle with a 10% of fuel in its tank, powering up the engine for the very first time.
Nothing to see here, move on folks.

AWW.
This report basically means that
A) they have to fix a glitch with the landing system
B) they could probably fuel up 100% tomorrow and fly up to space

Claiming the X-prize, as of now, cant happen before the end of Jan 2004, though, as the announcement for official flight has to announced 2 months in advance.

Grump grump . . . (2, Funny)

Java Ape (528857) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749591)

First, I really want to cheer these guys on, this is a great achievement, and I hope the champagne corks are popping all over Scaled Composite's.
On the other hand, I visited their site from a server running 800x600, and I really hope they hire a web-site designer someday. Ack! There's a huge static graphic in the top frame, and a tiny window for THE REST OF THE SITE. I mean, I can read like 3 lines of text! This graphic may be fine for a splash screen, but it makes it impossible to read the content! The only thing they could do to improve it is jam it full of flash and add a few blink tags, then it would be PERFECT!

Re:Grump grump . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749626)

yes that was annoying but whats more annoying to me is that your running at 800x600.. what are you on PDA or a 14incher GRAMPS....

right click desktop go to properties
adjust slider to 1024x768

hope this helps!!!!

Re:Grump grump . . . (1)

mysterious_mark (577643) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749651)

Damnit Jim we're rocket scientist, not web engineers!

Re:Grump grump . . . (1)

adrianbaugh (696007) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749747)

I think they let their web designer name their craft too, that's why it's in SuckyStudlyCaps. Let's just hope he wasn't allowed anywhere near the real design :-)

Burt Rutan (3, Insightful)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749597)

This dude is the M-A-N.

He's the one that built the Voyager - the round-the-world-on-one-tank-of-gas turboprop plane. He used an Apple IIe to help make the plane as efficient as possible.

Not only is he working on this, but his building a plane to try a round-the-world-on-one-tank-of-gas solo jet plane.

This guy will get it done.

What altitude? (3, Interesting)

zipwow (1695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749734)

Just to be snarky, I wonder if there's a ceiling to how high you can go for the round-the-world attempt. If you've got a working suborbital spaceship, it would be amusing to make an orbital spaceship* and say, "Yeah, we went around ten or fifteen times on one tank of gas. It was a big tank, tho."

-Zipwow

* I know, I know, orbit is waaay different than straight up, straight back. Its just an amusing thought...

Spacecraft and aircraft are not the same! (1)

fruitbatUK (699521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749599)

According to Space.com, Scaled Composite's SpaceShipOne flew its first rocket-powered flight today, the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' 12-second first flight.

Lots of commentators on the news and slashdot have been linking spacecraft and aircraft. Why? What's the connection? Rockets (at least in the form of fireworks) preceeded manned aeroplanes, though stories I've read today would have you believe that spaceflight is a development of aeroplanes. True, they often share the same technology but the physics are different - one uses smart aerodynamics and the other brute force!

Re:Spacecraft and aircraft are not the same! (2, Informative)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749717)

In this case they are - Spaceship One is a glider with a rocket engine. I was fortunate enough to personally see Mike Melville pilot the Spaceship One back in November during a test of the feathering feature - I saw him dive the aircraft and then pull it up until it stalled (planned) and then effortlessly recover and glide into a perfect landing in Mojave - Spacehip One is one heck of an "aircraft" but its also tight and strong enough to survive the vacuum of space.

Congratulations Scaled Composite's and Burt Rutan you guy's are truly making history !!

My cock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749610)

My cock is so big, that when I get an errection, I pass out due to all the blood flowing my penis.

Re:My cock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749691)

sounds like someone needs to start harvesting others for their blood....

SpacehipOne? (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749620)

Better stay away from those wormholes...

I'm tracking press coverage.... (2, Informative)

mhmealling (148796) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749632)

I'm keeping track of press coverage here [rocketforge.org] .

Need some additional benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749641)

330,000 feet seems very far away and awfully round to be reached by a private concern anytime soon. I propose we establish some booby-prize benchmarks at 68,060 feet, followed by 80,386, 80,468, and 80,586 feet respectively. Gives us all something to talk about until the endgame.

LINUS TORVALDS PRACTICES INFANT SEX! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749675)

In breaking news today, it has been found out that Linux Torvalds, practices the disgusting habit of having sex with his daughter. Here is a picture [hypermart.net] of him about to whip out his cock, and press right into his daughters backside. Now why would you want to support this man's job is beyond me.

What's the big deal about rocket science? (2, Interesting)

Mirk (184717) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749705)

I'm serious. What's the big deal about rocket science? How hard can it be? You point your rocket the way you want it to go and have a reaction push it in that direction, with stabilising fins keeping it on course. End of story, one might think. So to this naive observer, rocket science basically looks like ballistics+chemistry, neither of which is exactly rocket-science. Er ... you know what I mean.

So: why is it so hard to make rockets work?

Translation for the rest of the world (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7749715)

Translation for the people not using an antiquated distance system:

"SpaceShipOne went to a peak altitude of 20.60 KM. To win the X-Prize they need to reach 100 KM twice within 2 weeks"

Does the X-prize achievement scale to usefulness? (3, Insightful)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749723)

Its great that this plane managed 920mph. It certainly possible that the spaceshipone team will win the X-Prize by achieveing 330,000 feet.

But is this goal really a stepping stone to space?

Altitude alone is not especially useful since the pull of gravity will still exert its force upon the craft. The hard part about space travel is achieving orbit, a state where the craft has effectively escaped the earth's gravity well.
Escape velocity is 25,000 miles per hour. Geosynchronous orbit, the distance an object must reach to be in a stationary orbit above the ground is 117,427,200 feet.
These numbers are better than order of magnitude higher than the X-prize requirements.

So I wonder if the X-prize is really meaningful in the scale of realistic space flight?

On the landing gear failure (5, Informative)

Woutepout (733700) | more than 10 years ago | (#7749731)

It appears that White Knight had a landing gear problem [mojavebooks.com] on the previous flight as well. Knowing that most systems on the two craft are identical, this could mean that there is a (serious?) problem with the landing gear design. So they're probably in for a very thorough re-examination of the relevant systems. But they're probably on top of things and it's hard to say anything sensible about it without inside-information.
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