Just one more demo of Calamity before it carries people?
One failed launch proves that the system is dangerous; one successful launch does not prove that the system is safe.
Thank goodness the failure didn't happen when there were people on board.
Richard Branson might have to wait a little longer to ride in Virgin Galactic's sub-orbital jalopy, SpaceShip Two VSS Unity, after an aborted test flight saw the spacecraft return to Spaceport America in New Mexico. It would have been the first rocket-powered flight from the company's New Mexico base, the window for which …
> Thank goodness the failure didn't happen when there were people on board.
This is why you do unmanned TEST flights, and why the Shuttle was so terrifying, you couldn't do unmanned test flights... the first flight had crew aboard.
1. This wasn't one of the design-cycle tests. It was supposed to be the final demonstrator. The system had been through *all* previous tests and design reviews with everything fully signed off. How did a major problem remain until this late?
2. Suppose this problem had been something that happens, say, one time in three, or one in ten? The demonstrator flight could have been absolutely fine, and instead the humans would have been caught up in it. That's scary.
3. To make a safe system, you're reliant on all those design reviews and certifications covering all possibilities. And yet, they clearly missed something very major here. Reminiscent of another notorious Boeing product?
I just don't see the market. 80 KM is about the height StarShip just hit for a test, isn't it? If that is the target, then you won't really be going in to space, will you? And your view from the ship wouldn't be what we think of as space, would it?
Seems like they had a window of opportunity that they missed. Now people will be expecting an orbital flight.
The Virgin Galactic market is for people who might have $250K in loose change rather than tens of millions. Which although that doesn't include yours truly, certainly opens up a broader demographic.
From what I understand you would experience weightless for several minutes (much longer than the vomit comet), would clearly see the curvature of the earth (yes, I know Concorde claimed that), and would see the sky turn black. Sure, it's not orbit, but If someone is looking to get me a last minute Christmas pressie, I wouldn't say no :-)
I was on a commercial flight once which reached 43,000 ft, which is about 12km (apparently they rarely do that any more). Curvature of the horizon was clearly visible.
It might be worth sending the flat-earthers up on such a flight, although they'd probably say it was distortion caused by the windows.
True, but that's 100 people strapped into seats, probably not with much room to all get "loose" and have a zero G party. I'ts doable, at much less than Branson charges, and can reach proper orbit to boot, but I'd imagine it's for 20-30 people max and a few staff to keep people safe/clear of floating globules of vomit.
What do you mean by "and can reach proper orbit to boot" ??
When something is in orbit, only about 1% of the energy expended is to get to orbital altitude. The rest goes into kinetic energy to reach orbital velocity.
Having said that, removing the engines from a 737 Max is a good idea regardless.
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