Space Ship 2 Updates thread....

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docm

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With the first announced test firing of SS2's engine I guess it's time for a dedicated thread (pics below)...

Gizmag article....

New Scientist article....

SpaceShipTwo's rocket motor test-fired for first time

The hybrid rocket motor that is intended to power tourist trips to the edge of space aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo has undergone its first successful test-firings. The rocket motor's design incorporates lessons learned after a fatal rocket propellant explosion in 2007.

SpaceShipTwo is designed to be carried to an altitude of 15 kilometres by a carrier plane called WhiteKnightTwo. There, it will detach from the plane and fire its rocket to take passengers to the edge of space, at an altitude of about 100 km.

The pair are scaled-up versions of a carrier plane and spaceship that won the $10 million Ansari X-Prize for commercial spaceflight in 2004.

Video footage released by Virgin Galactic shows the hybrid motor roaring into life, sending vast plumes of scorched sand into the air.

"This is a scaled-up version of the SpaceShipOne rocket motor and is, we believe, the largest nitrous oxide hybrid rocket ever built," says Virgin Galactic's president, Will Whitehorn.

Its motor is called a hybrid because it burns both liquid oxidiser and solid fuel: volatile nitrous oxide and a benign rubber.

It was during tests with the nitrous oxide that a devastating explosion occurred at Scaled Composites, the California-based company that is building SpaceShipTwo, on 26 July 2007. Three engineers were killed and three more were seriously injured.
Safety features

An enquiry, involving California health and safety officials, industry rocketry experts and NASA, recommended new safety measures (pdf) for the nitrous-fuelled motor, including increasing the compatibility testing between nitrous oxide and any materials that contact it in the tank and diluting nitrous oxide vapour in the tank with an inert gas, such as helium, to decrease its volatility and help pressurise the gas so that it is forced into the rocket.

Whitehorn says the design of Rocket Motor 2, as the new motor is called, has been tweaked with safety in mind: "There are some changes since the first motor was designed, mainly related to additional safety features such as a helium tank."

The motor will continue to undergo tests and SpaceShipTwo itself is set to begin flight tests later in 2009.

Tests on its carrier jet WhiteKnightTwo are ongoing. A long-range WK2 flight is slated for June, say sources.
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emudude

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Re: SS2 Updates thread....

Wow, it looks like WK2 has had SS2 attached and flown several times this month, and has been observed by the FAA and assigned an aircraft classification...they even went to over 50 000', which is the height at which SS2 will be dropped from...it looks like this ambitious project might actually be testing SS2 *on time*, something even N.A.S.A. seems to have trouble doing lately :lol: go private sector!!!

I still think the stuff N.A.S.A. eventually gets to doing is pretty awesome, though, just wish that there wasn't such a gap between administration and the people actually designing systems...that's a recipe for a slew of easily avoidable problems.
 
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scottb50

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Re: SS2 Updates thread....

emudude":3aoshijy said:
Wow, it looks like WK2 has had SS2 attached and flown several times this month, and has been observed by the FAA and assigned an aircraft classification...they even went to over 50 000', which is the height at which SS2 will be dropped from...it looks like this ambitious project might actually be testing SS2 *on time*, something even N.A.S.A. seems to have trouble doing lately :lol: go private sector!!!

I still think the stuff N.A.S.A. eventually gets to doing is pretty awesome, though, just wish that there wasn't such a gap between administration and the people actually designing systems...that's a recipe for a slew of easily avoidable problems.
A reference would be nice. From the previous post I don't see them that far along.
 
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docm

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Re: SS2 Updates thread....

Contrary to the report above the WK2 tests this month have not had SS2 attached. The first SS2, VSS Enterprise, doesn't even roll out of the hangar until later this year.

That said: IMO this was an easy mistake to make given how extensively the report goes into the commonality between the WK2 and SS2 structuree and systems.

What is impressive is how fast they moved from 20k to 52.4k feet. Fast....

And here is the YouTube film of the SS2 engine test from the Virgin Galactic channel...plus miore than a bit of promo & demo material....

Also: New Mexico's Spaceport America has its groundbreaking is this Friday.

The Spaceport America site with info on the webcast here.....

and just as a teaser - the latest rendering of the Spaceport America terminal -

 
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docm

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Re: SS2 Updates thread....

Virgin Galactic VP Will Whitehorn has announced that the rollout and first captive/carry flight of SS2 will be on or about Dec 7, 2009.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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Re: SS2 Updates thread....

YOWZER!!! That's one big plane!!!
 
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docm

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Re: SS2 Updates thread....

* Payload: 17,000 kg (37,479 lb) to 50,000 ft
* Length: 24 m (79 ft)
* Wingspan: 43 m (141 ft) (spar = longest one-piece composite structure made)
* Powerplant: 4× Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308 turbofan
* Service ceiling: 21.3 km (70,000 ft)
 
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scottb50

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Re: SS2 Updates thread....

docm":20fj2nc9 said:
Virgin Galactic technical snapshot drawing of SS2 (4465x3157 - 2.5 megs)....

Put it inside a ballute and launch it on a rocket. You could also get to a lower altitude to eliminate the folding wing thing. Falcon 9's might become really cheap.
 
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Foxbat

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Re: SS2 Updates thread....

I personally believe you get more for your money with the Xcor Lynx. Xcor is situated just next to Scaled Composites and is developping a far cheaper suborbital experience. It will cost less than half the price of what Virgin Glactic charges per flight. Both projects are estimated to be ready at about the same time.
They have both advantages and disadvantages:

SS2
+ it goes faster
+ it goes higher
+ people can float in weightlessness
- people have more the feeling of airplane passengers
- it is more than double the price

Lynx
+ only one passenger per flight
+ seat next to the pilot makes the passenger feel like the co pilot
+ better view through the large cockpit window
+ cheaper
- not that fast
- not that high (200'000ft)
- "microgravity", but no space to float


More information about SS2: http://www.scaled.com/
Flights with the SS2 with Virgin Galactic: http://www.virgingalactic.com/
More information about Xcor Aerospace: http://www.xcor.com/
Flights and information about the Lynx: http://www.migflug.com/lynx-suborbital/ for english: http://www.migflug.com/1/lynx-suborbital/
 
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mr_mark

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Space ship 2 unveiled Monday!

Virgin Galctic's SS2 is about to unveiled this Monday! Can you believe it! What great news. Can't wait to see the first passenger liner to suboribal space. Paper rocket indeed... lol
 
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shuttle_guy

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Re: Space ship 2 unveiled Monday!

Great news, thanks for that note.

The first paying passenger may fly in 2011 if all goes will in the testing.

On the Vergin Galactic site they say they have over 300 people that have put down a minimun of $20,000 for a seat on this new spaceship.
 
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docm

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Re: Space ship 2 unveiled Monday!

Can't wait to see if it varies significantly from the artwork. She's already a pretty bird IMHO.



 
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EarthlingX

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Re: Space ship 2 unveiled Monday!

Lovely pictures docm, as always :) Everything Burt Rutan touches is magic in my eyes. :cool:
At least for me, he's bigger than Elvis (and still in the building)
 
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PistolPete037

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Re: Space ship 2 unveiled Monday!

docm":ot2i4mkt said:
Can't wait to see if it varies significantly from the artwork. She's already a pretty bird IMHO.



The models for WK2 were pretty accurate compared to what the actual aircraft looked like, so I don't think that there will be any surprises tomorrow.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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Re: Space ship 2 unveiled Monday!

PistolPete037":x0xp5vvw said:
The models for WK2 were pretty accurate compared to what the actual aircraft looked like, so I don't think that there will be any surprises tomorrow.
PISTOL PETE!!! Where have you been???
I'm sure your right, but we'll be able to sit in this one. :cool: :ugeek:
 
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docm

Guest
And the perfect follow-on is NASA issuing a solicitation status report for sub-orbital experimental flights...

Link....

NASA Solicitation: Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research Program - CRuSR - Request for Information

STATUS REPORT

Date Released: Sunday, December 6, 2009
Source: Ames Research Center
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Description

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP) recently established the Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research Program (CRuSR) Office at Ames Research Center (ARC). NASA recognizes the significant accomplishments of the commercial reusable suborbital spaceflight industry and is contemplating two significant procurement actions: 1) A potential procurement of reusable suborbital spaceflight services, and 2) a solicitation of research investigations that will utilize those commercial reusable suborbital spaceflight services. Researchers proposing to fly investigations on these vehicles will need information about the payload environment, flight profile and potential for human participation.

In this Request for Information (RFI), the NASA Ames CRuSR Office is requesting technical and programmatic input to improve the government's understanding of flight opportunities to aid potential science investigators in scoping and designing possible future suborbital investigations.

Responses to this RFI are welcome from all interested parties, especially potential providers of suborbital spaceflight services. Suborbital spaceflight service providers should consider accommodation of flight experiments that address any of the following research disciplines:

* Astrophysics
* Earth Science
* Heliophysics
* Planetary Science
* Space Life Science
* Microgravity Science
* Fundamental Space Biology
* Atmospheric Science
* Materials Science
* Technology Development

NASA may also consider funding research in other disciplines in the future.

For experiments, it is expected that NASA's on-board payloads may require services such as power, data handling, telemetry, internal mounting surfaces, external attachments or ports, viewing portals, attitude control and pointing, day/night flight opportunities, and flight operations at remote field locations. NASA is aware that all such capabilities may not be available from every provider, but some of these capabilities may be available from each provider. NASA is interested in opportunities for externally-mounted experiments as well.
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Swampcat

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Virgin Galactic launch vehicle attractive to U.S. military

As Virgin Galactic prepares to roll out its suborbital passenger spaceship, U.S. military officials seeking low-cost, responsive access to space are studying the company's latest exotic concept to deliver small satellites to orbit.

Peter Wegner, director of the Pentagon's Operationally Responsive Space program, said the private firm's conceptual air-launched rocket design is "attractive" for potential military missions.

Virgin Galactic will unveil its suborbital SpaceShipTwo spacecraft Monday in a ceremony in Mojave, Calif.
 
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Swampcat

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Virgin Galactic unveils SpaceShipTwo, the world's first manned commercial spaceship

Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne (SS1) designer, Burt Rutan, today reveal SS2 to the public for the first time since construction of the world’s first manned commercial spaceship began in 2007. SS2 has been designed to take many thousands of private astronauts into space after test programming and all required U.S. government licensing has been completed.

The unveiling represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic’s quest to develop the World’s first commercial space line providing private sector access to space using an environmentally benign launch system for people, payload and science. The spaceship draws on the experience developed during the successful flights of SS1 in 2004, which won the Ansari X-Prize for completing the world’s first manned private space flights. The SS2 design will be refined and completed during an extensive test flying program to commence shortly, and it will be an entirely new vehicle capable of carrying up to 6 passenger astronauts and up to 2 pilot astronauts into space on a sub-orbital flight.
They go on to say the unveiling will take place "...as darkness falls..." so no specific time.
 
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docm

Guest
CNN story w/Branson interview and a look at WK2 and Enterprise....

virgingalactic.com

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The unveil itself will take place at Mojave Air and Spaceport as darkness falls on the famous aviation and spaceflight location. Subject to certain U.S. regulatory requirements that will guide the unveiling, SS2 will be attached to her WK2 mothership which was last year unveiled and named EVE after Sir Richard Branson's mother. In the future, WK2 will carry SS2 to above 50,000 feet (16 kilometres) before the spaceship is dropped and fires her rocket motor to launch into space from that altitude. In honour of a long tradition of using the word Enterprise in the naming of Royal Navy, US Navy, NASA vehicles and even science fiction spacecraft, Governor Schwarzenegger of California and Governor Richardson of New Mexico will today christen SS2 with the name Virgin Space Ship (VSS) ENTERPRISE. This represents not only an acknowledgement to that name's honorable past but also looks to the future of the role of private enterprise in the development of the exploration, industrialisation and human habitation of space.
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Related Popular Mechanics cover story - "New Area 51: Mojave's Desert Outpost Holds Space Flight's Future"

Believe it or not, they start captive carry tests tomorrow (!)

No wasting time for these guys :p

VMS = Virgin Mother Ship
VSS = Virgin Space Ship

VMS Eve (WhiteKnigjhtTwo #1) and VSS Enterprise (SS2 #1- center)








Reverse view


Burt Rutan (Scaled Composites) and Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic)
 
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docm

Guest
Branson's mother sounds like quite a gal....

NBC Cosmic Log....

VSS Enterprise is emblazoned with an image of "Galactic Girl," a mascot who is modeled after Branson's mother as she looked in the 1940s, floating in zero-G. Eve Branson, who admits to being near her 90s, stopped by while we were there to look at her likeness, which was painted by a grandson, Ned Rocknroll.

"These are your belly-dancing days," Richard Branson joked.

"Could have made the boobs a little bit bigger," his mother said, grinning all the while.

"Never satisfied, never satisfied," the son replied.

Eve Branson said she was indeed satisfied, calling the likeness "marvelous" and congratulating her grandson, the artist. "Hey, if you put your grandmother on the side of a spaceship, you're all good," Ned Rocknroll said.
 
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