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Burt Rutan On Future Of SpaceShipOne (and Two)

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the high-and-dry-and-yet-to-fly dept.

Space 182

Neil Halelamien writes "In a recent interview with the Desert Sun, Burt Rutan talks about the future of SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo. The bad news is that SpaceShipOne will be retired straight to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, despite getting five different requests to fly suborbital payloads. The good news is that efforts are being focused on SpaceShipTwo, which will carry nine people, and fly higher and further downrange than SpaceShipOne. Virgin Galactic will purchase a fleet of five of these vehicles, which will start test flights in 2007. Virgin Galactic may end up competing with Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, which is rumored to be developing a VTOL suborbital vehicle. Also interesting to watch will be Rutan's involvement with t/Space, one of the companies contracted by NASA to conduct concept studies for the Vision for Space Exploration."

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9 People Hey? (2, Funny)

rf0 (159958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163100)

Could they join the 100 mile high club?

Rus

Re:9 People Hey? (1)

doomtiki (789936) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163129)

No. Just the 100 Kilometer High Club.

Re:9 People Hey? (2, Funny)

switcha (551514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163326)

Could they join the 100 mile high club?

And the 'orbital orgy' just replaced Natalie Portman as bedtime fantasy for geeks everywhere...

Re:9 People Hey? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163507)

What do you mean "replaced" you amalgamate the two, obviously.

Re:9 People Hey? (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163536)

> > Could they join the 100 mile high club?
>
>And the 'orbital orgy' just replaced Natalie Portman as bedtime fantasy for geeks everywhere...

For $250K, my orbital orgy had damn well better be with Natalie Portman.

Re:9 People Hey? (1)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163559)

SpaceShipOne only went up 63 miles.

SpaceShipOne (0, Troll)

wcitechnologies (836709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163109)

The department title for this article should be from the 'Make-NASA-look-dumb' department.

Re:SpaceShipOne (1)

finker (735219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163142)

"The department title for this article should be from the 'Make-NASA-look-dumb' department."

I fail to see how any of this makes NASA look even remotely "dumb." Actually, I think you're bringing up a very valid point. This is why space exploration hasn't taken off (no pun intended) to the full scale people would have expected it to by now. There are too many people, agencies, organizations, and even governments working against each other instead of with each other.

At any rate, saying NASA is "dumb" because of some amatures is just foolish thinking.

Re:SpaceShipOne (2, Insightful)

DeathFlame (839265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163349)

From the article
Question: Considering your motivation to innovate and design futuristic air/spacecraft, are you attracted to the Centennial Prizes offered by NASA to develop new craft designs?

Answer: Oh no, I don't believe NASA can properly put out a (developmental) prize like the Orteg Prize or the Kramer Prize, or either the X Prize. NASA has a real habit of trying to help sub-contractors and contractors by monitoring risks that NASA wouldn't take themselves. What NASA needs to do is to put out a very difficult goal to achieve and then not monitor it at all and let those that go after it take their own risks. I don't see NASA doing that. Possibly they will. Maybe they will put someone in charge that knows the benefits of running a prize properly. I haven't seen that yet.

Too much "help" from NASA has hurt development in some respects.

Are you trying to tell me competion doesn't lead to innovation? There has to be a division somewhere between companies and ideas, otherwise only one sollution would be proposed, and only one solution built.

However many solutions, with the one working solution being used for the next stage of innovation, is a much better system.

NASA may not be dumb. But they are a huge goverment operation that may not be doing things the best way, and other than internal competition, there is not way to promote differing ideas.

Re:SpaceShipOne (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163470)

Gotta love that. The person who plans to send up people on his rocket wants there to be no monitoring of risks before launch. Lets not forget that this is the same guy who nearly killed his test pilot by launching in high wind conditions, because he didn't want to disappoint the crowd below. Pardon me if I'm awaiting the first space tourist bodies here.

He's going to have a heck of a time getting insurance. A batch of homemade cookies says that he tries to avoid having to get insurance for the passengers...

Re:SpaceShipOne (1)

c.derby (574103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163770)

Lets not forget that this is the same guy who nearly killed his test pilot by launching in high wind conditions, because he didn't want to disappoint the crowd below.

I don't remember this. Can you provide a reference?

Re:SpaceShipOne (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163916)

Pretty much any article about their first flight to enter space mentions the major uncontrolled rolls that they had, which they weren't able to get back under control until reentry. Unplanned rolls under high thrust conditions are incredibly dangerous in any craft, let alone an experimental one. They were attributed to high wind shear.

I can't find the article any more, but people who were there said that the wind on the ground gusted up to 40 mph the day that they launched.

Re:SpaceShipOne (0, Troll)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163372)

Make NASA look dumb? Oh please, give me a break.

For starters, read Why SpaceShipOne Never Did, Never Will, And None Of Its Direct Descendants Ever Will, Orbit The Earth [daughtersoftiresias.org] . Rutan's rocket joyride is nice, but it has nothing to do with space exploration, satellites, or anything else relevant apart from stirring public interest in space (which I do credit him for, along with making a privately funded supersonic craft).

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Metapsyborg (754855) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163116)

Space Elevator and Carbon Nanotubes!

Rutan is my hero. (5, Insightful)

ruprechtjones (545762) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163125)

This man is an inspiration to everybody. He is innovative, intelligent, and follows through with his dreams and goals. So tell me why, WHY Dub Bush gets Time's Person of the Year and Rutan does not.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163156)

ummm....maybe because he's smart enough to not try to launch himself into space in an experimental rocket...:-)

Before the nasty responses start: It's a joke people, laugh!

Re:Rutan is my hero. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163190)

!MAB .esnopseR ytsaN :llorT

Re:Rutan is my hero. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163159)

Rutan isn't a subcriber. Read: paid to have his face there.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (4, Insightful)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163286)

Men in the future will stand on Rutan's shoulders and take his vision even further. God willing, Bush will leave a legacy which will never be overshadowed.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163410)

Stand on Rutan's shoulders? What, by building spacecraft out of epoxy? By using engines that they didn't make that have the amazing combination of both lousy ISP *And* high tank mass? And having it cost 10 times more than it should for the performance that they get out of it? What progress, exactly, are you referring to?

I agree on the second part, though - God willing, Bush will be written up for his legacy of job loss, environmental damage, turning the world against America, and unprovoked warmongering that will not be overshadowed by another American president.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (-1, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163546)

1st. You DO realise that the bubble bursted before bush was in office, right? And add 9/11 in there and you got a nice compounding recipe for ecconomic disaster.

2nd. The enviromental damage argument is pure BS. Nuff said.

3rd. Only those against the US were involved in scandalous activities anyways. Too bad that Germany, France, and Russia got cought aiding Saddam. And lets not forget the corrupted Annon regime that is leading the UN through the oil-for-food program. As for everyone else, screw what they think. They are not the ones voting on our future (thank God too).

4th. We have been provoked many times durring the Clinton administration. But it sounds like you don't want a man in charge with the balls to actually DO something about it. Bush has drawn the line in the sand. It's about f-ing time. Now it's time to finish this war they (islamic extremists) started.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (0, Offtopic)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163747)

> ... the bubble bursted before bush was in office

The recession began, according to the GAO, in March of 2001. While Bush cannot be blamed for all of this, he can, and rightfully should be blamed for. If you want to claim an earlier recession, you need a cite.

1) Being the first president to post a net job loss since hoover; many presidents have experienced recessions, but they've all *been able to make it stop*

2) A multiple dip recession; first, a shallow dip in March, then a big dip after Sept. 11th, then when it started to recover, driving it into recession by uneasing the markets over Iraq; then when they thought the war in Iraq was over, dipping again due to instability in Iraq and other oil producing nations.

3) Such an incredibly slow recovery *at the same time as a weak dollar policy*. A weak dollar policy is supposed to encourage investment in the US economy, at the expense of lowering the buying power of Americans; managing both a recession and a weak dollar policy at the same time is quite a feat. MSNBC.com had a nice graph of how this "recovery" has compared to past recoveries; it's pretty embarassing.

> The environmental damage argument is pure BS

Yeah, that's why the Sierra Club rated him worse than any other president in their entire history.

> Only those against the US were involved in scandalous activities

Lets look at polls, now shall we?

http://www.endthewar.org/features/worldsuspiciou s. htm
http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3? Repor tID=175
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/29949 24.stm
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,135545 ,00.html

That should resolve that once and for all. Virtually everyone's opinions of us have sharply been cut - in many cases, cut by a third or half. I'm not talking about governments, I'm talking about people.

> Too bad that Germany, France, and Russia got cought .. (blah blah blah)

Already well covered:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1335 03&cid=111 49572

> provoked many times during the Clinton administration

Yeah, because Saddam kept hiding those evil WMDs that he was secretly concealing in massive stockpiles, while throwing people into plastic shredders and building atomic bombs, right? I mean, that's what everyone who wanted war back then said he was doing. Or are you talking about the fact that we were banning Iraqi aircraft from flying through large parts of their own bloody airspace without international backing, and they tried to stop that?

Re:Rutan is my hero. (0, Offtopic)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163859)

Basically, after the bubble bursted there was a market correction. You obviously know this. But I really doubt that Bush had a hand in it. If he had that much power, he would not be pulling a stunt like that in hopes to be getting elected again (which he did).

That should resolve that once and for all. Virtually everyone's opinions of us have sharply been cut - in many cases, cut by a third or half. I'm not talking about governments, I'm talking about people.

You think? Maybe..just maybe is has something to do with the #1 super power in the world actually waking up from it's military slumber and lashing out. Of course this would anger and frighten the rest of people around the world. It's a social shock to the globe. But damn if I stand on American soil and take the pop-shots from Islamic radicals. The middle east is and has been messed up for thousands of years now. It's only know they are getting the technology to pose a real threat (militery orginization and atomic power....see Iran). So naturally, it would NOT be wise to sit back and let the middle east pan out on it's own.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (0, Offtopic)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163967)

> waking up from it's military slumber and lashing out

What? Lashing out against the world, killing lots of people in a way that most of the world views as unprovoked, is making them mad? Who'da guessed?

> But damn if I stand on American soil and take
> the pop-shots from Islamic radicals.

Great! Because I know this middle eastern strongman who spent his whole life using whatever means necessary to stop Islamic radicals from attacking him and his secular government, earning their scorn and ire (and the label "infidel") the world over. His name is Saddam Hussein, and he lives at...

> see Iran

See Iran.
See Iran Make Nukes.
The The US Whine And Complain But Not Do Anything Because We're Bogged Down In Iraq Where There Are No Nukes.
See Iran Keep Making Nukes.

Should we write some more of these? How about:

See North Korea.
See North Korea Make Nukes.
See North Korea Make Missiles.
See North Korea Sell Missiles to Iran
See Iran Make Nukes To Go With Those Missiles
See North Korea Sell Nuke Tech And Missiles To Pakistan
See Pakistan Sell Nuke Tech To Everyone Else
See Pakistan Get A Slap On The Wrist.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163765)

Men in the future will stand on Rutan's shoulders and take his vision even further.

That is assuming, of course, that they'll be able to see through his mondo huge sideburns.

Because Rutan can't... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163302)

...spend up all your money, kill your kids, and reshape the supreme court.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (2, Informative)

discontinuity (792010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163319)

This man is an inspiration to everybody. He is innovative, intelligent, and follows through with his dreams and goals. So tell me why, WHY Dub Bush gets Time's Person of the Year and Rutan does not.

Relax and let history be the judge. Time's Man/Person of the Year has included every US predident going back at least to JFK. They had to do W at some point. How big of an honor can it be, anyway? Hitler was it 1938. See a list here [about.com] ).

Re:Rutan is my hero. (0, Offtopic)

photon317 (208409) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163375)

They had to do W at some point



According to your own link, they already did W in 2000. He has now joined a very exclusive list of people to make TMotY twice.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (1)

discontinuity (792010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163487)

According to your own link, they already did W in 2000. He has now joined a very exclusive list of people to make TMotY twice.

Oh, well I didn't know anyone was actually going to RTFL! ;-)

I look at it this way: it's a comment on magazine sales, not historical signficance or suitability as a role model. Everyone in the US knows who W is. As much as we on /. would like it to be so, I suspect that most Americans do not know who Rutan is. Add to that our being in Iraq and W being an extremely devisive figure and it is apparent that Time's editors went with the person who would result in the most magazine sales.

Just my $0.02...

Re:Rutan is my hero. (2, Informative)

Ulven (679148) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163571)

What about 1990 'The Two George Bushes'

Doesn't that mean he's in there three times now?

But as someone said, Hitler was in there once, and Stalin was included twice.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163509)

Exactly. It has very little to do with merit. After all, just what did Bush achieve or do in 2000 that was so exemplorary and worthy of merit to win the award in that year?

Winning an election in which more people voted for the other guy and in which dirty tricks, family connections and ultimately heavily contested court cases were the deciding factors hardly counts as a great and noble achievement.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (4, Informative)

jskiff (746548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163567)

How big of an honor can it be, anyway? Hitler was it 1938.

Time's Person (nee Man) of the Year originally was not meant to be a "This person did the greatest things this year" award. Rather, it was about who most influenced current events that year...hence why both Hitler and Stalin recieved it.

Many argue that the Person of the Year for 2001 should have been Osama bin Laden, rather than Rudolph Giuliani. No one is going to say that bin Laden is a nice guy...but his actions influenced 2001 more than any single person.

Apparently Time had some pretty big arguments in-house when it came to picking the Person of the 20th Century. Again, if you're choosing Most Influential Person, it probably would have been Hitler, but in these PC days it's not something that most would find accceptable.

That's easy (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163376)

Because Bush is more controversial, and his face on the cover will sell more magazineS than somebody who has taken part in something so enormous its consequences can barely be imagined.

Re:That's easy (2, Insightful)

jgalun (8930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163464)

Because Bush is more controversial, and his face on the cover will sell more magazineS than somebody who has taken part in something so enormous its consequences can barely be imagined.

With all due respect, I think Bush has had a far greater impact on the world that Rutan will. Bush invaded Afghanistan, instituted massive tax cuts, racked up huge government deficits, added prescription drug benefits to Medicare, invaded Iraq, and made huge changes in US policy towards Israel/Palestine and North Korea. By the time he's done he may also privatize Social Security and preside over the successful completion of another WTO round that could have a huge impact on third world economies. These actions all will have a major impact on social welfare programs, global economics, and geopolitics for years to come - whether they are good or bad, no one can deny their unbelievable impact. Personally, I loved Clinton, but there's no way Clinton had as much impact as Bush has had thus far.

Hell, I haven't even mentioned Bush's coat tails - the man increased his congressional majorities in both 2002 and 2004! That's simply amazing, and may be the start of a long period of Republican dominance in Washington, D.C.

As for Rutan, yes, SpaceShipOne is impressive. But, to my mind, it impacts only one aspect of human existence, and is a breakthrough that would have occurred even without him.

What is amazing about SpaceShipOne is not that it is some unimagined technological marvel, but that it heralds the start of a commercial age in space (or speeds up the commercial age in space, since satellite launching had already been privatized to some extent). But if Rutan had not been around, someone else would have done it. He didn't initiate the X-Prize, he just won it. As we can see by the other competitors for X-Prize and the others who are trying to set up competitors for the next round of space commercialization, if he didn't do it, someone else would have.

By comparison, if Gore had been elected, things would be anything like they are now. Again - good or bad - Bush has heralded in huge changes that would not have happened without him. Rutan has issued in one change that won't impact any of us for years to come, and would inevitably have happened even if he hadn't been around.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (3, Insightful)

arthurh3535 (447288) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163378)

You do realize a lot of dictators made "man of the year" too?

Even if you don't like Bush, you have to realise that he was the most influential person (publicly) for last year.

What do you mean "too"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163445)

There are plenty who'd argue that that "too" is redundant.

As to his influence, well influences can be good and bad.

Posting anonymously because I don't really want to get into another pointless flame war about how "good" Dubya is. You believe what you want to believe and I'll do the same, and let's just leave it at that.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163418)

Time's Person of the Year is about who changed the world the most, not who is most popular. As an example, Adolf Hitler was Time's Person of the Year back in 1938.

Times Person of the Year (0, Redundant)

JThundley (631154) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163675)

The Times Person of the Year is not necessarilly a person who has been benevolent to society. He/She is simply the person that got the most press and is the most talked about and controversial person.

As a Bush hater, I think he fully deserves that title.

Re:Rutan is my hero. (1)

Greg@RageNet (39860) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163951)

Cause' rutan only launched one missile.

-g

Test? (-1, Offtopic)

hamsterboy (218246) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163137)

Just testing. Is commenting down?

-- Hamster

Re:Test? (1)

rzebram (828885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163158)

Yes, yes it is.

Good! Widen the field! (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163140)

The more participants in the fray, the better. May the fit survive and the fittest flourish!

As anyone who has watched Open Source software development can attest, the wider field of ideas tried yields the best results.

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20041024& mode=classic [userfriendly.org]

Bob-

Re:Good! Widen the field! (1)

DeathFlame (839265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163166)

However unlike open source, I don't think the release early and release often is a good idea for manned space travel.

People's lives and billion dollar equiptment is not something I'd want to see being tested in such a manner.

VTOL? (2, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163169)

VTOL seems like such a bad idea to me. Not only do you have to cary fuel for liftoff, but for landing as well. What's the benefit?

Re:VTOL? (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163206)

You don't need a runway and can (theoertically) take off from any bit of flat ground

Rus

Re:VTOL? (1)

MagPulse (316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163306)

Yes because of course the limiting factor in space exploration is our lack of runways (?!)

Re:VTOL? (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163389)

I dunno what the Bezos VTOL rocket is like, but I've read some interesting articles on Jerry Pournelle [jerrypournelle.com] 's website and saw this idea:

You could use the exaust plume of a rocket as heat shielding! Nobody's tried it yet and it's just a concept for now, but if it works it could be awesome. The DC-X program was on its way to finding out stuff like this, but then NASA took over the program from the Air Force and ran it into the ground. (literally)

How it works: you have a throttleable rocket launching vertically. You don't use up all your fuel on launch, you save a little bit. Then when coming down, you come down tail-first and fire the rocket at low throttle. The exaust plume theoretically would act as a heat shield and most of the superhot gases formed at reentry speeds would be deflected away from the rocket by the plume. So you will not need much heat shielding for reentry. The weight savings from not needing Space Shuttle-type heat tiles could even be greater than the weight of fuel you carry for reentry (!)

Then when you're safely in the lower atmosphere, you could pop a parachute for landing or something. (this is my notion, the link doesn't mention this) All depends on how much fuel you need to build a sufficient plume, what percentage of gross takeoffweight is fuel, etc. X-programs is where you find out stuff like this, but they don't run X programs any more.

Re:VTOL? (2, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163590)

Not only do you have to cary fuel for liftoff, but for landing as well. What's the benefit?

It's possible that the extra fuel weighs less than heat-shielded wings and a tail plus wheeled landing gear.

Re:VTOL? (4, Informative)

cmowire (254489) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163669)

Because you don't need wings starting around Mach 2-3. After that point, they become dead weight and add drag.

A lot of folks think that the mass penalty of carying extra fuel for landing is less than the mass penalty of carying wings (a penalty which includes extra fuel and engine mass to compensate for the increased drag).

If you are doing SSTO, you can have much less sophisticated heat shielding because the requirements of heat shielding decrease as you get less dense. At reentry, a SSTO is not very dense at all, so it's easier. Also, there's some arguments about reentering tail-first and using the engines to reduce the heat loading, which hasn't yet been tested.

Furthermore, range safety is simpler with VTOL. You have to assume that, at any point, your spacecraft could explode, raining parts down on populated land. Less gliding means less area to wory about. Airliners don't need to wory about such things, but airliners also have a good track record of not blowing up. Spacecraft don't have that record yet.

Ejection seats and escape capsules aren't very heavy, if they are included in the design early (They are now saying that, given that both the Challenger and Columbia's crew cabin survived the explosion intact, that they really could have made it removable for a minimum weight penalty. However, it's too late to do that now.)

The biggest problem is that NASA spent all of their time between the 1980s and today designing a bunch of different concepts for spacecraft, none of which have actually flown enough to be able to contribute factual data about all of this except for a few low-altitude hops made by the DC-X that made the VTOL model seem rather reasonable.

5 requests? (1)

BaronSprite (651436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163171)

Wonder if they had anything to do at all with the development design of Spaceshiptwo. Or would they just have an "interested hand" instead of a full blown sponsorship.

Private space-flight (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163176)

I don't trust private space-flight at all.

It's kind of trusting law-enforcement or health-care to private corporations. Way too important to be trusted to people who only understand profit.

Re:Private space-flight (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163320)

What exactly do governments understand? Power is about all I can think of.

Re:Private space-flight (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163629)

As long as the power (as in democratically elected officials) is handed out by people, I'm all for it.

Profit, on the other hand, is much much more sinister. In fact, most corporations won't listen to the public or the democratically elected governments. Therefore I don't trust them.

And don't give me the tired, old "vote with your wallet" crap. It doesn't work - never has and never will - because the corps can buy your wallet. Hey! You work for them!

Re:Private space-flight (2, Insightful)

KavanaghNY (246972) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163550)

And the government only understands flying it's own to space. NASA will never deliver on affordable spaceflight for the rest of us. If you take a moment to follow Rutan's interview his motivation is clear - and it is not profit - although he understand running a business fine without spending taxpayer money.

His drive is to fulfill a life-long goal of traveling to space. I bet many slashdotters share that desire.

Re:Private space-flight (4, Insightful)

cmowire (254489) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163738)

No, it sounds like trusting a private corporation to get me in one piece from one place to another using aircraft.

Are you afraid of airliners, too?

Potential income? (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163184)


Why not reuse the craft for some extra funding, then bung it in a museam to inspire children with? It would also get more press attention and maybe more investors interested for those future projects. That way they can put the extra cash into the second craft.
I was brought up to never turn down a job, or cash as you never know when the next meal might come from, I woudn't in this case either if I was Burt.

Re:Potential income? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163373)

Probably because the odds of it surviving more than a couple of trips are not that good? The first flight showed there was still a lot of risk involved.

Re:Potential income? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163488)

Yeah, it's simply a better chocie to make a new one with fixes for the problems than to temp luck by flying the current one. Sure it may work but if it fails (read: this implies death of crew) then things could get problamatic.

Re:Potential income? (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163496)

That makes sense then...

Re:Potential income? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163553)

There is no real reason to fly that particular ship. SS1 could probably be recreated at a small percentage of the money they've spent so far. R&D soaked up the largest part by far.

The actual question is why? What mission can SS1 really fly, other than tourism? It has far more value in a museum, because it is the first.

Re:Potential income? (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163575)

With Paul's big pockets, the SS2 sale to Virgin, and the $10 mil Xprize money, Burt probably has more than enough funds for whatever he's working on now.

Also it's likely that he learned all he needed to know from the SS1 project, and with time being of essense, he's going forward at full speed on SS2 and Tier Two projects. No time to waste fooling around with more SS1 launches.

These stories are great (2, Insightful)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163192)

These stories (Private spaceflight) are one of the few things that strike me as awesome. Simply because of all the science fiction I have read, and interest in space flight...

It's amazing how fast it's coming along since the X-Prize, with some great (and very rich!) minds at the forefront.

The future in this area looks good

Re:These stories are great (1)

Winkhorst (743546) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163341)

If you think this is great, just wait till we have privately funded national defense. Then you'll really see some scifi scenarios!

Bad news? WTF? (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163200)

The bad news is that SpaceShipOne will be retired straight to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum...

This has to be the stupidest comment I have seen in a /. article posting in a long time. Does this person have any regard at all for the enormous historical value this space ship has?

Imagine it was *not* retired, then went down in flames in a subsequent mission. A very important part of humanity's history would be lost, forever.

Try to think beyond the next few years for once in your life. You can send up payloads in SpaceShipTwo, or SpaceShipThree, or SpaceShipNineteen. But there is only one SpaceShipOne. And I for one would like it to still be around in 80 years, so I can go to the museum with my great-grandchildren and say "Look what some people of my generation accomplished".

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

danieljpost (455925) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163267)

But the historical value would be so greatly increased if they managed to get two paying passengers into space before retiring the vehicle.

I mean, c'mon, there's not even going to be a second SpaceShipOne vehicle (spaceshipone.two?). I guess I don't like that they're obsoleting a proven design so quickly.

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163511)

What else would you like them to do with this proven design? The designer obviously feels like the aircraft did what it needed to do, and I'm willing to make the wild ass guess that he's a little more familiar with his plan than you are.

SS1 was a prototype, and a technology demonstrator. They didn't make any more Bell X-1's either, you know...

(although they used very similar airframes for a few more aircraft)

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163763)

IMO, a handful of flights doesn't make the design necessarily proven, mostly just a successfully working proof of concept.

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163836)

Previous poster's word, not mine.

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

joebok (457904) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163285)

Historical value isn't necessarily the most important consideration. I think it would also have enourmous value as a working spaceship. Spaceship two, etc. are not yet built. Why not try out One's legs a bit more, work out some more kinks to make Two and Three and the rest that much better that much quicker?

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163541)

" Historical value isn't necessarily the most important consideration"

OK. Build your own spaceship, and you can do whatever you want with it.

"Why not try out One's legs a bit more"

Because the owner and the designer agree that that's not what they want to do. Any other questions?

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163793)

Because the owner and the designer agree that that's not what they want to do.

You aren't explaining why they decided not to fly it more. I think it is surprising that they don't test this craft more to make sure all the bugs they had to fix really are worked out rather than just patches over the symptoms without fixing the actual problem.

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163893)

It's not my place to explain why they decided what they did. It's not my space ship. I proceed from the assumption that, since Burt Rutan has a highly successful track record of small-production run aircraft, he knows better than I do how to develop his concept.

I know more about aeronautical engineering than your average joe on the street. If I'm reluctant to armchair quarterback this guy, doesn't that say something?

His design worked. He's moving on to the next design. This is the sort of thing NASA would do well to look at.

Re:Bad news? WTF? (2, Interesting)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163989)

Because its a death-trap in the long run?
It was designed to reach the x-price. Ist just reached the height, it did the 2 runs. Plus it had a real nasty spin in one that didnt remotely look funny or planned.
Somewhere else, back after the second flight there was talk about needed improvements to counter such behaviour, which would be implemented in a successor.
Think about it: that thing may have 95%, or lets say 99% success rate. That would be a good value for a cutting ende test-design. 2 tries without problems are very likely->xprice won.
But every further try increases the "big bang" factor of a failure, negating ALL positive press, destroying the market for commercial manned space flight at least for the next decade and generally messing things up.
So they rather create the new&improved spaceship2...

enormous historical value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163766)

How about a deep breath before you write?

COnsidering that most americans are two steps beyond clueless about history and that most of the US history is seriously flawed, I think using it as a roadside dinner somewhere in the desert would make more sense.

This is a country where a ball hit with a bat is considered of historical value.

Yours has to be the stupidest, shrillest, whiniest comment I have seen in a /. article posting in a long time.
You are hereby renamed Rev.Lovejoy's wife.

"Wont someone think of the spaceship?'

tg.

PS: If you think that comment was stupid, then I guess you havent been around here long enough.

Re:Bad news? WTF? (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163857)

Agreed. As long as they can afford it, it seems to make sense to retire SS1 and use the expertise they gained to build SS2.

The article was hardly the stupidest thing I've seen, but I agree that it's hardly bad news to retire it. It has done what it was built to do. The investment was in the design, not the construction. Construct a new one, a better one, and let the prototype become an artifact.

Here's why... (-1, Offtopic)

wyldeone (785673) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163231)

According to the Associated Press, it is because of because of Bush's "reframing reality to match his design, for gambling his fortunes - and ours - on his faith in the power of leadership."

Not many people have the ability to reshape reality in their image

Re:Here's why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163345)

Not many people have the ability to reshape reality in their image

Apparently you have it, though. What the hell are you talking about?

Re:Here's why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163955)

Steve Jobs can!

I won't trust the thing until... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163245)

...SpaceShipThree.One.

Re:I won't trust the thing until... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163583)

Yeah, because we all know that Windows 3.1 was just so usefull.

Expensive item for your 'been there' list (1)

sillypixie (696077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163256)

So for now, it sounds like it will be exploited as a very expensive roller-coaster ride, not a mode of transportation...

But then, it is hard to imagine what kind of profit flying payloads could make, it seems like it is a long way to go up, in order to go a (relatively) short distance across/around...

Is anyone else having flashbacks to Heinlein novels?

Pixie

Good Decision (4, Insightful)

ZPO (465615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163273)

I applaud his decision to send it straight to the Smithsonian. It shows he's a realist and understands the experimental nature of the project.

SpaceshipOne was a concept demonstrator. For him, its time to move on to the production version.

but the real question is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163290)

If someone wrote a virus that exploited a vulnerability in KDE, would they call it "The Klap?"

Re:but the real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163359)

Maybe, but the more pressing question is, if someone wrote a virus for Gnome, would it be called "Ghonorrea?"

What happened to SpaceShipNaught? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163291)

I was hoping I could be a Naughty pilot.

Bad news (0, Redundant)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163297)

How is it bad news to have something historical placed directly in a museum where it can be properly preserved? Think of the early Wright Flyers which are only chuncks of the original with best research replacement parts. They have learned from this one, it has done what it was meant to do, be a proof of concept. Now they are doing what they need to do, capitalize on said proof of concept with something more practical. Phooey.

Shaky Deals (0)

rocketman768 (838734) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163307)

Somebody's already bought 5 of these things that don't exist yet? Last time that happened, China ended up with 747's that had bungee cords holding the third engine on.

Personally... (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163335)

I think it's a little stupid to retire it to the museum. Sure, it's a valuable piece of history, but there are plenty of things that they could have done with it that would have improved awareness and possibly increased sponsorship efforts.


Here are a few random thoughts on what I would have considered doing, had I been in charge:


  • A tour of airshows, possibly even marking the "start" or "close" of the airshow by having SpaceShipOne dropped at a fairly low altitude & speed, to glide in. There's always some risk with flight in general, so there's some chance of an accident, but getting the "unwashed masses" up close to SpaceShipOne will reinforce the idea that space travel could become within the reach of anyone. A static display would be safer, but wouldn't require the real thing either. It also wouldn't have the same impact.
  • SpaceShipOne can carry three people. A top-notch celebrity, or top-ranking politician would likely pay very big money to be taken on a simple flight (go up a bit, no rockets, just glide down). Photo ops tend to revolve around celebs getting out of aircraft, so the lack of any really dangerous stuff would be irrelevent to them.
  • There are usually "special" amateur rocket events in many countries. Can you imagine what impact it would have on the sport, if SpaceShipOne was trucked in? Not launched, but just there for the gawp value?

Re:Personally... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163598)

Well gosh, jd, I guess dumb ol' Burt Rutan disagrees with you.

It is his space ship. Who the hell are you to tell him what to do with it?

Re:Personally... (3, Informative)

voidptr (609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163620)

SpaceShipOne can carry three people. A top-notch celebrity, or top-ranking politician would likely pay very big money to be taken on a simple flight (go up a bit, no rockets, just glide down). Photo ops tend to revolve around celebs getting out of aircraft, so the lack of any really dangerous stuff would be irrelevent to them.

One problem is SS1 is still an experimental aircraft. Under FAA regulations, you can't use it in a for-hire operation. That means you can't just start selling tickets for SS1 rides.

Scaled would have to make SS1 into a certificated airframe first, which is a horrendously expensive and lengthy process, and doesn't make sense with SS1 being a one of a kind technology prototype. My guess is with SS2 they're going to work on certification from the beginning, and given that it'll carry 9 people and they'll build more than one of them, the certification costs can be spread out more and be recovered easier.

Re:Personally... (1)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163732)

No Thanks. But, I do see a future for you in marketing.

Fuc4e8 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163365)

Jeff Bezos's link is weird (0, Troll)

Chuck Bucket (142633) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163468)

In the story, why does the link for "Jeff Bezos's" include "Jeff Bezos" but not the "'s"? Kinda weird if you ask me.

As for Burt, he rocks, the A+E documentary on the development and first flights of SpaceshipOne was amazing, the fact that smart people can actually get together and do something that Nasa can't shows the power of the team.

CVb

Re: Jeff Bezos's link is weird [SOLVED] (0, Offtopic)

Chuck Bucket (142633) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163493)

Now I know why, Apple prob sued and now you can't link with the "'s" anymore. Makes sense.

PCB#$@

Re: Jeff Bezos's link is weird [SOLVED] (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163542)

way to reply to your own post, jackass. oh, and f ceren, she sucks ass.

Re: Jeff Bezos's link is weird (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163886)

Exactly what have they done that NASA hasn't? I seem to recall that the Murcury Missions did exactly what SS1 did, but about 40 years ago. Well, ok, the Murcury capsules were not reusable.

waiting for commercially available flights (1)

painehope (580569) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163606)

I was actually talking about this a few dats agi with a co-worker. I'm hoping that by the time you can purchase tickets for this, I'll have the funds to do so. I plan on being the first man to consume hallucinogens in suborbit. Take a small syrette with some LSD along, hit it while preparing to depart, and enjoy the trip.

And, yes, I know I'm weird. Thanks for calling.

First Flight of Spaceship Two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163869)

Hopefully it'll be used to fly the bearded twat into the sun ...

Richard Branson just fscking owns you. (0, Offtopic)

J4 (449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163933)

Fuck Bill Gates, this is the worlds greatest businessman. I have personally seen and recorded 45 impromptu minutes of Branson speaking to young entrepreneurs at the drop of a hat when asked to by a complete stranger.

LTBN: "Hey! We're doing a thing across the street, would you mind saying a few words?"
Richard Branson: "Sure, let's go!"

Okay, he did ask for female volunteers to go on the round the world balloon trip while he was on the dais but it would have taken longer than 45 minutes to charm them all individually. Personally, I thought that was great, but some people gotta be haters.....
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