Friday, January 25, 2008

low-G rides!

the fact that independent organizations are creating technology to go to space is awesome! friendly competition, in my opinion, can only benefit the potential for space travel by introducing more clever and efficient designs, that arent held back by the federal requirements faced by NASA and other worldwide, government-funded organizations!

here's an example... virgin galactic's SpaceShipTwo:

i'm not saying i'll be first in line to jump on the SpaceShipTwo next year when it launches. i dont have an extra $200,000 in my financial future, and i'm concerned enough with self-preservation to wait until they work out some of the bugs in the process (but seriously, if anyone wants to see an astropixie in space sooner than if she pursues the possibility of becoming a real astronaut.... please let me know). i know of another scientist who enjoys weightlessness: stephen hawking!

here's a flight simulation video from virgin galactic:

i wonder what the point is of raising the tail wings once in orbit since they lower them again to land. its seems that they would just block the view from inside the spacecraft! also, can you choose what side of the earth you fly over during your 4 minutes of weightlessness? (do i have a choice of color for my space suit shoes? is there a different, less bug-eye design for the helmet??) see more photos here.

here's a simulation of another potential low-G ride, called the spacedev dreamchaser designed by a different group, the benson space company.

this spacecraft seriously needs more windows... and a better theme song! otherwise, i'm glad to see competition in the field!

i'm eager to see what develops from these independent groups working towards space flight!

1 comment:

FlyingSinger said...

Just like with SpaceShipOne, SS2 raises the tail booms and control surface to morph into a high-drag "shuttlecock" configuration, something like a pair of winged maple seeds. It causes a controlled, self-stabilizing, slow spin (which is not really suggested in the video, perhaps because people would think of this as scary or dizzying, though it's actually kinda fun) which controls the speed and hence G-forces and heating during re-entry through the thin upper atmosphere. Once it gets down to a high enough air density for control surfaces to work, the booms are lowered back to the glider configuration. It's really an ingenious solution - hands off re-entry with no critical attitude to control as with the shuttle or X-15 etc.