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Virgin's SpaceShipTwo Gets Green Light for Powered Tests
6/14/2012

The SpaceShipTwo commercial spaceship and its launch vehicle, WhiteKnightTwo, shown here in glide test flights, have received FAA permission for experimental, rocket-powered, suborbital launch tests.   (Source: Virgin Galactic)
The SpaceShipTwo commercial spaceship and its launch vehicle, WhiteKnightTwo, shown here in glide test flights, have received FAA permission for experimental, rocket-powered, suborbital launch tests.
(Source: Virgin Galactic)

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Beth Stackpole
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Getting closer to space travel
Beth Stackpole   6/14/2012 7:46:15 AM
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Another important step in space exploration and in cultivating a commercial market. Is the testing of the aerodynamics of the SpaceShipTwo primarily done in simulation? I would imagine there is some heavy duty CFD processing going on.

naperlou
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
naperlou   6/14/2012 8:48:07 AM
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You may be correct about the CFD processing going on Beth, but these guys may also be at the stage where they just need to light off rockets and see if they can avoid blowing up. 

It is good to see the commercial space business making progress.  With SpaceX and Virgin Galactic making progress we can finally get the government out of this.  I worked for many years in the business for a contractor.  We would be much further along if privatization had come along much earlier.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
Ann R. Thryft   6/14/2012 11:43:21 AM
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Beth, it's unlikely that Scaled Composites is still at the stage of testing aerodynamics, especially since there were predecessor prototypes for both the spaceship, SpaceShipOne, and the launch vehicle, WhiteKnightOne. As naperlou says, these new tests are to ensure it can fly under power.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
Beth Stackpole   6/14/2012 12:04:26 PM
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Ok, that makes sense given where they are in the development cycle. But in terms of testing aerodynamics, it's pretty late in the game to make major changes, so this is all about minor adjustments and proving out the structural design.

Mydesign
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
Mydesign   6/15/2012 3:41:18 AM
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Ann, within a couple of years we can expect space tourism program also. is it a cryogenic based or only with booster rockets.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
Ann R. Thryft   6/15/2012 11:49:43 AM
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Mydesign, could you please clarify your comment about cryogenics and booster rockets? Is that a statement or a question?

Mydesign
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
Mydesign   6/18/2012 11:24:57 PM
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Ann, Cryogenic is a type of rocket engines which uses fuels in liquid stage (Compressed gas) at a very low temperature (Below -200 degree Celsius). The main advantages of cryogenic engines are it can carry more pay loads. Booster rockets are multi stage rockets, which can be used for a short duration with small pay loads. Normally they are used in initial stage of space vehicles, to create extra thrust against the gravitational forces.

My question is about what types of engines are using in virgin space ship (Is it a cryogenic based or only with booster rockets)

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
Ann R. Thryft   6/19/2012 12:27:30 PM
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Mydesign, thanks for the clarification. My interest here has been in materials for the structure, not on engine types, so I don't know whether Virgin has released that information. Perhaps there are details on their website or on Scaled Composites' website, which the article gives links to.

silveradocyn
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
silveradocyn   6/15/2012 12:44:57 PM
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Ann,  It seems extremely likely that Spaceshiptwo has been having some aerodynamic work done.  Its last flight was in Sept, and it departed controlled flight.  Normally a long delay like this would imply some significant issue(s) had to be addressed.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
Ann R. Thryft   6/15/2012 12:59:39 PM
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silveradocyn, SS2 may well have some re-engineering being done for aerodynamics, but it seemed to me that, as Beth said, it's pretty late to be doing major changes to the structural design. I had originally said it therefore seemed unlikely that it Scaled Composites would have gone all the way back to the heavy-duty CFD that Beth was originally suggesting. Do you have other info you can share with us?

silveradocyn
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
silveradocyn   6/18/2012 4:50:30 PM
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Here is a link to an article from a reporter who had a tour, and first hand report of some of the changes she saw on SS2.

You will find she describes the new  "Mega Strakes" that were added, and she mentions that the added mass of the additional areodymanic components is triggering other adjustments...

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2012/05291754-mojave-spaceshiptwo.html

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Getting closer to space travel
Ann R. Thryft   6/19/2012 12:25:56 PM
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silveradocyn, thanks for the link. That's great to read about someone outside these companies who's actually been inside the spaceship, and get a detailed report.

bobjengr
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VIRGIN SPACE SHIP TWO
bobjengr   6/19/2012 7:16:12 PM
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 Naperlou agreed, it's going to be extremely interesting to see how the private side of space exploration progresses and how fast.  Already, with the Virgin entry, we see thinking "out of the box".  (I hate that phrase but it certainly think applies here.  )  I would be very disappointed if the only ultimate result was tourism but it's a good beginning.      There must be some quick method to recoup the investment and this is a very good way to initiate that ROI.  I am particularly interested in the carbon structures used in the fabrication.  To me this is really fascinating. 

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