Spaceship One Flying Second Leg Today To Capture $10 Million XPrize


Mr. Anderson

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They did it!

And made it to 368,000 ft, just short of 70 miles! Friggin awesome. Now it just remains to be seen how soon they start providing commercial flights.

D
 

Dont Hurt Me

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Very Very cool, im so happy about this. this is only a stepping stone for scaled because they want to go to orbit. Nasa looks so outrageous compared to these guys. doing this for 20 million. simply awesome and then less then 2 weeks for turn around. way to go Scaled Composites. show the world how its done on a poor mans budget :D
 

rt_brained

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Perhaps someone else watching the webcast again can confirm what I think I saw...

During SpaceShipOne's descent today (X2), did anyone notice that when they cut to a shot of Mission Control, it looked like a couple official looking guys behind control boards were watching the live video feed, in the same room as project sponser Paul Allen...on an Apple Powerbook?

Beautiful.
 

FoxyKaye

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This is so incredibly cool - I like NASA well and good, but to have the possibility of commercial space flight only a decade or so away is thrilling!

Hey, maybe the prize for the MR 2,000,000th post avatar contest can be a commercial space flight. :D
 

Dont Hurt Me

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rt_brained said:
Perhaps someone else watching the webcast again can confirm what I think I saw...

During SpaceShipOne's descent, they cut to a shot of Mission Control and a couple official looking guys behind control boards watching the live video feed, in the same room as project sponser Paul Allen, on an Apple Powerbook?

Beautiful.
Burt uses a Mac and i saw a 23" old style display on his desk but they also use PCs. They are hot and their planes/spacecraft are just the best looking things i have eve seen. today the X15 record was broken by this little stubby plane :) Iam convinced the American Tax payer is being tooken for a ride with this countrys very screwed up and bloated space beauracracy.
 

Mr. Anderson

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Dont Hurt Me said:
today the X15 record was broken by this little stubby plane :) Iam convinced the American Tax payer is being tooken for a ride with this countrys very screwed up and bloated space beauracracy.
ok, I don't like to start bringing in politics, but the X15 program was started 40 years ago. No commercial enterprise could have done it at that time, that's why it was the government.

Technology has come a long way - the materials used on these spaceships weren't available 40 years ago - sheesh :rolleyes:

And all the X Planes furthered our understanding of high speed and trans-sonic flight. There were engineers and scientists who originally believed that it would be impossible to go faster than the speed of sound.

We've come a long way since the original X Planes, but make no doubt, todays flight benefited from all the money and hard work put into those old programs.

D
 

stoid

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Dont Hurt Me said:
Burt uses a Mac and i saw a 23" old style display on his desk but they also use PCs. They are hot and their planes/spacecraft are just the best looking things i have eve seen. today the X15 record was broken by this little stubby plane :) Iam convinced the American Tax payer is being tooken for a ride with this countrys very screwed up and bloated space beauracracy.
I may be wrong but I think that that 23 inch monitor was hooked to a Windows computer, I think I that I say a task bar at the bottom. It's scary that they would trust MS technology for anything mission critical though. Brings a whole new meaning to Blue Screen of Death.
 

Dont Hurt Me

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Not wanting to bring in politics these guys did it for what it cost to run a Nascar entry for a year and that included all the research and developement they did. the next ship will cost a lot less then the prototype Spaceship one. Just great. Did you see their orbital concepts? think of a bigger whitenight and spaceshipOne. These guys could open space up to the rest of us one day. I still think for the same thing Nasa would want a billion. :eek: :rolleyes:
 

Mr. Anderson

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Dont Hurt Me said:
These guys could open space up to the rest of us one day. I still think for the same thing Nasa would want a billion. :eek: :rolleyes:
oh I think it will happen. Part of what they're banking on here is the public coming up with the money to go to space and sponsors (7-up was one for these flights). NASA has this thing about sponsors and commercialization of space that they'll need to address sooner than later because of the competition.

Not only is it orbital versions of Spaceship One and White Knight - once they get into space and start using the resources there instead of lifting them up from the planet (space mining) it will change the rules of the game. If NASA doesn't get itself in gear, they'll fall behind and never be able to catch up.

D
 

Dont Hurt Me

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Very True, Nasa has been lost for a long time in 70s Shuttle and low orbit........but lets not get negative because today has been a great accomplishment for this little company and Burt Rhutan. very impressive the whole program has been from the very 1st test flights to today. Much admiration and respect for this group of overachievers. :) I love this concept but wonder what will be done different to bleed off orbital speeds in the next Machine
 

rt_brained

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Dont Hurt Me said:
Not wanting to bring in politics these guys did it for what it cost to run a Nascar entry for a year and that included all the research and developement they did.
Are you sure about that? Because Burt Rutan mentioned on the podium afterward that the X Prize money just paid back 40% of their investment.
 

Mr. Anderson

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rt_brained said:
Are you sure about that? Because Burt Rutan mentioned on the podium afterward that the X Prize money just paid back 40% of their investment.
Well if that's the case the project has cost them $25 million....regardless, pretty damn good return on the investment. And as soon as they start making flights available to the public it will start earning them money.

The only thing now is that they probably have a ton of flights to work out the kinks since the XPrize is behind them.

There was mention of the a 5 year plan, so I don't think we'll see any personal flights too soon (at least affordable ones).

But its a great day for aviation and space travel - beginning of the next great space adventure....

D
 

sushi

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Dont Hurt Me said:
Not wanting to bring in politics these guys did it for what it cost to run a Nascar entry for a year and that included all the research and developement they did. the next ship will cost a lot less then the prototype Spaceship one. Just great. Did you see their orbital concepts? think of a bigger whitenight and spaceshipOne. These guys could open space up to the rest of us one day. I still think for the same thing Nasa would want a billion. :eek: :rolleyes:
Let's not get the cart before the horse here.

This concept:
- Was not computer controlled. It was flown by hand.
- Spent very little time in space (did not orbit). It did not achieve escape velocity.
- Was basically an improved rocket concept. Not an orbital ship by any means.
- Carried a very small payload (human weight x 3).
- Did not have a redundant fly by wire system.
- Did not have to contend with re-entry issues.

While this was an awesome achievement, this space vehicle was a far cry from the Space Shuttle and it's operational capabilities.

I have always been a fan of Burt Rutan coming from a background with the EAA. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next on the commercial front. It may get very exciting now that this prize has been claimed.

Sushi
 

Dont Hurt Me

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true enough about orbit etc the shuttle does get there at 4 billion a year, perhaps these concepts will show it all can be done for a lot less and made safer.
 

Mr. Anderson

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Macmaniac said:
I'm very glad they were able to make it, but I hope they can achieve orbit next!
Well, orbit will most likely be a decade away at least. Its a huge step up in terms of equipment - orbit requires you to get to escape velocity - around 25k mph - they're only doing around 3.5k mph - that's a long way to go.

The thing is, unless you have a new type of propulsion system, anything that achieves orbit right now is going to look like the conventional rockets.

D
 
Name drop alert!!

Around 5 or 6 years ago, I was doing some XPrize credit-card designs and got a chance to meet Peter Diamandis and work closely with Greg Maryniak, two of the XPrize principal founders, both really nice guys with quite a vision and passion about getting the next space-race started. I had incorporated an invented 3D rocket-plane into a few of my designs and was cautioned that it looked too much like one of the entries. 5 or 6 years ago.. I'm guessing Rutan's plane has changed quite a bit since then, but I don't imagine anyone else being so far a long as to have something at that stage of completion that long ago.

Interestingly enough, at the time, the credit-cards were a flop because nobody had heard or cared about the XPrize. Personally, it would be nice if they "took off"...
 

Mr. Anderson

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jayscheuerle said:
Interestingly enough, at the time, the credit-cards were a flop because nobody had heard or cared about the XPrize. Personally, it would be nice if they "took off"...
I remember you posting a link to those a while back - they were quite cool.

I imagine with the recent success of Spaceship One and the White Knight they might be a bit more popular. The big question being can you use purchases to get frequent flyer points for a flight to space :D

D
 

Sun Baked

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Did anyone catch the Discovery Channel thing on Spaceship one?

Sort of insane if you think about it, a 6,000lb craft, using a home-built rocket (ok, little rocket engine company), cable flight controls, and the only computer is the little instrument display the pilot uses.

Of course they do have the super advance ping-pong ball on the string. ;)

The Nasa equivalent of strapping a rocket to a bi-plane and using a computer screen to guide you into space (it is after all a fabric and glue spaceplane -- with a bit of wood in the front skid).

---

The tossing the spaceship one models off the control tower and the Ford F-150/runway wind tunnel are other high-tech approaches.

The guy is still a garage-mechanic minded genius that likes to kick stuff out the door at low-cost instead of spending projects to death.

If he decides to try shooting objects into orbit with this approach, the big launch companies are in trouble.
 

sushi

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Dont Hurt Me said:
true enough about orbit etc the shuttle does get there at 4 billion a year, perhaps these concepts will show it all can be done for a lot less and made safer.
Agreed.

For a project, I worked with Space Shuttle plans using a PDP-11 and VAX 11/70 in the late seventies.

At that time, they planned on a three phase rollout:

Phase 1 - Current Space Shuttle design.

Phase 2 - Similar to this project but with a twist. Under the Space Shuttle were two boaster planes with delta wings. At altitude, the Space Shuttle would ignite it's engines and then separate from the two boaster planes. The boaster planes would then return to earth much like a regular plane (each had a pilot) to be reused on a future flight.

Phase 3 - T/O and land like an airplane. Everything self contained in one vehicle. IIRC, the vehicle was a bit larger and more aerodynamic in apearance.

Again, that has been almost 30 years ago, so my memory is a bit fuzzy.

What I do know, is that the current Shuttle design is old. It's time for new technology. And hopefully, this is an example of what is to come.

Sushi
 

sushi

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Sun Baked said:
Sort of insane if you think about it, a 6,000lb craft, using a home-built rocket (ok, little rocket engine company), cable flight controls, and the only computer is the little instrument display the pilot uses.
The helicopters that I have flown are more sophisticated than this. And they weigh more too! :eek:

These guys are true seat of your pants pioneers for sure! :D

Good to see the spirit is not dead! :D :D

Sushi
 

Mr. Anderson

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sushi said:
The helicopters that I have flown are more sophisticated than this. And they weigh more too! :eek:

These guys are true seat of your pants pioneers for sure! :D
The thing is, this is the first prototype....the next generation which will be flying passengers up there in 5 years might be a bit more sophisticated.

Funny how these spacecraft are quite similar when comparing them to the turn of the century biplanes..... which were entered into contests which the XPrize is modeled after :D

D