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  [Discuss] Virgin's SpaceShipTwo / WhiteKnightTwo (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Virgin's SpaceShipTwo / WhiteKnightTwo
328KF
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posted 04-30-2013 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A big day for VG and Scaled for sure! The vehicle looked steady as a rock as it climbed away, at least from the ground based footage. That boom camera video would probably give a better idea of how steady once they release the footage. I still remember how squirrely SS1 looked from that perspective.

The motor looked like it gave a little "belch" before it actually lit off. I wonder if that was normal or an anomaly...will have to probably wait to see the next test flight.

Gotta hand to Branson, always the salesman. He chose this milestone first powered flight to announce a price hike for a trip to the edge of space. Book yours now for the low low price of just $250,000. Ouch.

I guess 8 long years of developmental work cost a lot more than anyone planned for, and they need to recoup that money. It has also been suggested that this is an attempt to get some who have submitted minimal down payments to get off the fence and commit before the "imminent price increase."

328KF
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posted 04-30-2013 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ah, here's the onboard video from Virgin Galactic. Looks very steady!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2013 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
He chose this milestone first powered flight to announce a price hike...
Virgin Galactic has been saying the price would rise before the first space shot for some time now. The $50,000 increase should really be of no surprise for potential customers.

328KF
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posted 04-30-2013 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There may have been occasional hints, but this is the first time I have seen the additional $50K figure put out publicly.

It could backfire on Branson... a short time price hike to join the "suborbital spaceflight club" may well cause people to hold off and wait for the already hinted at price decrease down the road.

Competition from XCOR's Lynx spaceplane and others will be good for the consumer.

dabolton
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posted 04-30-2013 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any collectSPACE users put down their deposit yet? I would love to but I have spinal issues that I think would prevent me.

dabolton
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posted 06-07-2013 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In regards to the recent announcement of Justin Bieber purchasing his VG seat, with all of his ongoing legal issues and public use of drugs/drinking under age, it seems like a mistake to let him fly.

This could backfire on VG and put them in a bad public light if he does something stupid and embarrasses the decision to let him go.

328KF
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posted 06-07-2013 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think this is just one of the many challenges that VG faces as they begin flight operations. Unfortunately, given the extraordinary price of a seat right now, many of those able to afford to go will be celebrities of various types.

VG is a business, and are looking to recoup a ton of development money and someday make a profit. I don't think they are in a position of being able to decide who should go and who shouldn't. Having said that, if a high-profile customer were to do something embarrassing or dangerous while in preparation for the flight, I think it would be VG's responsibility to remove them or delay their trip until the matter is corrected.

I'm sure in a few years this will all be regulated by the FAA, but for now they are taking a hands off approach in order to let the industry get started without too much red tape.

The celebrity aspect of their business might be great in terms of bringing space tourism into the realm of reality in many people's minds, but I do hope that Mr. Branson has plan to deal with those who aren't able to behave themselves.

328KF
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posted 06-12-2013 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a new promo video from Virgin Galactic:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-17-2013 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Richard Branson announced today that Virgin Galactic has booked its 600th passenger.
We're delighted to welcome Virgin Galactic's 600th future astronaut, Marsha Waters. I had the pleasure of meeting Marsha at The B Team launch in London last week and can't wait for her to experience space travel for herself.

Marsha, who owns an accounting company in Blackpool, told me she has been watching our progress closely for the past few years, and was inspired to join our space program after watching Virgin Galactic's first supersonic test flight recently.

She joins the next generation of women in space as we celebrate milestones for two of the most famous female astronauts. 50 years ago yesterday Valentina Tereshkova earned the title of first woman to have flown in space. 30 years ago tomorrow, Sally Ride became the first American woman to enter space.

Now a whole new generation of private individuals who are passionate about experiencing space travel for themselves will be joining them in the record books - including Marsha.

Lou Chinal
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posted 09-09-2013 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Watching videos of the second powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo, suddenly it was 1967 again and I was watching the X-15.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-11-2014 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC News, which has an exclusive with Virgin Galactic to provide behind-the-scenes coverage of the first SpaceShipTwo spaceflight, has debuted an interactive web graphic tracing the commercial passenger craft's flight plan.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-13-2014 05:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's five years since there was talk of SS2 commercial flights taking place "within two years." "Some time in 2014" is the latest Virgin mantra. A recent book on Branson believes that the project will never succeed due to safety regulations and performance issues.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-12-2014 03:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic now plans to perform the first commercial flights of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle early next year, SpaceNews reports, citing a pair of televised interviews with Richard Branson.
"From now until March there will be many test flights," said Sir Richard Branson in an interview on CBS's "The Late Show" Sept. 9. He said he planned to be on the first commercial flight, from Spaceport America in New Mexico, in "February or March of next year."

In a separate interview on NBC's "Today" show Sept. 9, Branson provided a similar schedule. "We're now going through the final testing stages. We'll be doing at least one flight into space before the end of the year," he said. "I'll be going up with my son Sam 'early-ish' in the new year."

...a Virgin Galactic spokewoman said that, despite Branson's comments, the company has no formal schedule for beginning commercial flights. "As we've stated in the past, the inaugural commercial flight date will be set by safety and readiness," Jessica Gilbert said Sept. 11 via email.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 09-12-2014 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man   Click Here to Email E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have said this for two years now. To get to commercial operations they will have to achieve a record of about 50-100 test flights. The FAA calls for nearly two hundred flights to obtain certification for airliners.

I believe that they will have to achieve a weekly flight rate — once every seven days consistently or before they can carry passengers or consider certification. The field is still wide open, who will be first?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-13-2014 12:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The FAA is not treating commercial suborbital spaceflight as it does passenger air travel, but rather has recognized that any flight into space is an activity that is intrinsically fraught with risk.

As such, the regulations do not include certifying vehicles for spaceflight, and in fact, that must be disclosed to passengers.

An operator must inform each space flight participant that the United States Government has not certified the launch vehicle and any reentry vehicle as safe for carrying crew or space flight participants.
The FAA regulations do however, require verification.
An operator must successfully verify the integrated performance of a vehicle's hardware and any software in an operational flight environment before allowing any space flight participant on board during a flight. Verification must include flight testing.
The FAA states that it will initially determine the amount of verification and, specifically, flight testing of vehicles on a case-by-case basis.
The appropriate level of testing depends on many factors, including the vehicle's mission profile, operational restrictions, test and flight history, component and subsystem heritage, and design and operating margins.
Given all of this, I suspect Virgin Galactic will fly paying passengers well before it approaches 50, let alone 100, spaceflights.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 09-25-2014 05:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why the only thing Branson has fired into space is his ego: 700 VIPs have paid £50m for tickets into orbit. But six years after the Virgin boss promised blast off, his space ship STILL isn't ready.
This recent article in the Daily Mail (Sept. 19) really lifts the veil on the fantasy vs. reality of Virgin Galactic and the unrealistic targets that enticed 700 people to pay $250k since 2005. Some have asked for refunds; some have died since then.

jasonelam
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posted 09-25-2014 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just read the Daily Mail article, and it does make a good point. It seems to me the date keeps slipping, but yet again this is about rocketing into space so they have to make sure everything goes right. The good thing is Virgin Galactic is refunding peoples money if they ask.

It does raise my eyebrows that the agreement states they MIGHT get to 100 kilometres, but are guaranteed to 50 miles. If you're paying 250 grand to go into space, getting 80% of the way is not getting your monies worth in my opinion. That would be like ordering a steak and being told you might get the whole thing but you're only guaranteed part of it.

robsouth
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posted 09-25-2014 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reality check for all those that heralded in the commercial sector and space travel.

Since 1961 only large national space efforts have put humans into space. Since then there have been numerous dreamers saying that this and that will happen, but so far nothing has happened.

I remember a documentary around about the time that the shuttle finished flying saying that at least five different organisations were going to have spacecraft in space anytime between 2015 and 2018.

If NASA doesn't start flying people in space again soon, it will be a very dry spell for us in space travel.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-25-2014 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
Since 1961 only large national space efforts have put humans into space.
I think Burt Rutan, Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie might disagree with that statement.

It took 11 years for a paying passenger to fly on an airplane after the Wright brothers' flew their Flyer in 1903. Eleven years after SpaceShipOne will be 2015...

robsouth
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posted 09-25-2014 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those guys all flew aboard the well tried and tested spacecraft of a large national space agency.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-25-2014 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scaled Composites built and tested SpaceShipOne, which was designed by Burt Rutan. NASA, nor any other "large national space agency" was involved.

robsouth
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posted 09-25-2014 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah sorry I was thinking of the fare paying passengers aboard Soyuz.

But to honest, Melvill's two short hops aboard 60 miles and Binnie's short hop up to about 69 miles aren't what I would describe as space journeys, more along the lines of high altitude test flights.

A bit like calling dipping your toe in the ocean a deep sea expedition.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-25-2014 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a bit like dismissing the X-15 flights above 50 miles (or even 62 miles), not to mention Alan Shepard's and Gus Grissom's Mercury flights, for the brevity that they were in space or the altitude they reached.

And this is a discussion about SpaceShipTwo, not far-reaching or long missions into deep space. So if you're limiting your comment to only extended missions, then I am not sure what relevance it has to Virgin Galactic's plans.

robsouth
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posted 09-25-2014 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those flights happened decades ago. I was speaking to one of the astronauts last Saturday about this and he said that he'd hoped we'd be a lot further along by now than just 'touching the boundary of space'.

I guess I'm just a bit miffed that I'm not living in a golden age of space travel like the 60's or no doubt the year 2050 onwards. Its just our luck to be living in a time when small commercial spacecraft in LEO, not even in orbit acually, are all we have to look forward to.


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