SpaceShipTwo

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tuckerfan

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Anybody got a cite for Rutan's plans for a much larger version of SS1? I know that there's been interviews with him where he's dicussed it, but I can't find any of them at the moment.
 
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i_wanna_go

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Well, I have heard that Mr. Branson has ordered three SpaceShip II's. They will carry 8 passengers and 1 pilot and reach an altitude of 69+ miles.<br /><br />This is extremely exciting, but I would have expected a more ambitious enterprise to begin taking shape after the X-Prize was won.<br /><br />What I mean, is anyone planning to go higher into orbit, or possibly even leave orbit?<br /><br />SpaceShip1 made a very minor tweak to their engines (added 33% more rubber to burn) and increased their altitude from 62+ miles to 69.6 miles. Is it not possible to tweak their design a little more and reach LEO?<br /><br />I read in the USA Today the Tuesday (I think it was) that the Space Shuttle orbits between 70 miles and 105 miles. If the space shuttle can orbit at 70 miles can't space ship one do the same?<br /><br />If White Knight 2 was built and it was capable of carrying say 15k instead of 8k pounds up to 100k instead of 55k foot. Then you could very easily retrofit SpaceShip1 with a nose docking ring and directional thrusters and send it to ISS or anywhere else in Earth's orbit.<br /><br />Or at least that is my two cents....
 
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arobie

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Sir Branson ordered five SpaceShip II's. Burt Rutan has said that he is in negotiations with 4-5 other companies. Bigelow Areospace has announced a 50 million dollar prize for an orbital craft able to dock with it's inflatable habitats. There has also been a prize announced for space elevator technologies and prototypes. <br /><br />All of this has happened as consequence of the X-prize.<br /><br />About the SpaceShipOne concept, It would not be possible to make SpaceShipOne orbital. I don't think 70 miles is high enough for an orbit. Your orbit will degrade to quickly that low. The ISS and Space Shuttle orbit at an altitude of over 200 miles<br /><br />Getting to the altitude is one problem, but then you also have to get to orbital speed. SSO goes Mach 3 max speed. Orbital speed is around Mach 22. It isn't possible to get Space Ship One to go that fast.<br /><br />Then you have the problem of reentry. The heat loads when going Mach 22 are much higher than when going Mach 3. Space Ship one would not be able to withstand the heat from reentry. It is just not designed for it.<br /><br />I'm not trying to shoot down your hopes, but taking Space Ship One and making it orbital is just not possible. Burt Rutan is going to design an orbital craft though. He is designing, possibly building Space Ship II right now. Five Space Ship II's will be sold to Virgin Galactic, and possibly other Companies, bringing in alot of money for Mojave Aerospace.<br /><br />Burt Rutan is planning to go orbital, but it is alot of work. It will take time. Going from flying ballistic suborbital flights to orbital flights will be tough. It won't happen over night. Though it will happen soon enough. Things are moving along very fast because of the X-Prize.<br /><br />Flying to the moon or further is still far off. That is just not possible in the short term. I don't see that happening for another 15-20 years. It is just a whole new world of difficulty and will cost much more than suborbital and orbital flights.
 
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nesoft

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I guess we'll have to get T-shirts made that read:<br /><br />Its not the altitude, its the velocity.<br /><br />17000 miles per hour. Anything less, and you fall back to earth no matter how high you go. Learn basic orbital mechanics.<br />
 
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