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US Govt Licensces first private manned rocket

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by WILLIAM H, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Government Licenses First Private Rocket


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    Apr 7, 7:33 PM (ET)

    By LESLIE MILLER



    WASHINGTON (AP) - The government announced Wednesday that it has issued the first license for a manned suborbital rocket, a step toward opening space flight to private individuals for the first time.

    The Federal Aviation Administration gave a one-year license to Scaled Composites of Mojave, Calif., headed by Burt Rutan. Rutan, who hopes to make affordable space travel a reality in a decade, is best known for designing the Voyager airplane that made the first nonstop, unrefueled flight around the world in 1986.

    "This is a big step," FAA spokesman Henry Price said.

    The Scaled Composites craft consists of a rocket plane, dubbed SpaceShipOne, and the White Knight, an exotic jet designed to carry it aloft for a high-altitude launch. SpaceShipOne, made of graphite and epoxy, has short wings and twin vertical tails. It reached 12.9 miles in a trial flight; the license will allow the spacecraft to reach the edge of space, about 60 miles up.

    The license is a prerequisite for the X Prize competition, an international space race that will give $10 million to the first company or person to launch a manned craft to 62.5 miles above the Earth, and then do it again within two weeks. The craft must be able to carry three people.

    The FAA is considering two other applications, Price said. One is an X Prize contestant.

    Twenty-seven contestants from seven countries have registered for the X Prize competition.

    The prize, announced in 1996, is sponsored by the privately funded X Prize Foundation in St. Louis. Supporters include Dennis Tito, the American who spent $20 million to fly in a Russian craft as the first space tourist; pilot Erik Lindbergh, the grandson of Charles Lindbergh; former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn; and actor Tom Hanks.

    Rutan declined to comment. The company states on its Web site that its goal is to show that private space flight can be done, and at a low cost.

    "We look to the future, hopefully within 10 years, when ordinary people, for the cost of a luxury cruise, can experience a rocket flight into the black sky above the earth's atmosphere, enjoy a few minutes of weightless excitement, then feel the thunderous deceleration of the aerodynamic drag on entry," the statement says.

    Before launching the spacecraft in the X Prize competition, Scaled Composites must give the prize sponsors 90 days notice, Price said. The company can launch its rocket before that, he said, but it must be in an area that isn't risky.

    Scaled Composites is located in the Mojave Desert.

    FAA inspectors carefully examined the space vehicle to make sure it's safe, said Price.

    "There's no sure thing in anything when it comes to rocketry," he said. "We want to do what we can with the knowledge we have to make sure the launch is as safe as possible for the public."

    The company also had to demonstrate that it was adequately insured for a launch and that it met environmental standards, Price said.

    A suborbital flight reaches space but doesn't travel fast enough or high enough to complete an orbit.
     
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  3. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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  4. Eric308gtsiqv

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    Wow, that's incredible news! Been waiting for this to happen for quite some time now...knew it would eventually. If anyone can pull it off, it would be Burt Rutan and crew.

    Sort of reminds me of Salvage 1...remember that show? :)
     
  5. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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  6. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

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    ya know the fact that it is Bert Ruttan makes for some interesting fodder...

    I am pretty sure if anyone can He can
     
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  8. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    The shuttle has already flown after being dropped by its carrier aircraft. the shuttle was the first non govt aircraft to break Mach 1.
    Concorde doesnt count bcus it used a lot of govt funds from UK & France
     
  9. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

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    You know, after viewing the website, it got me to thinking...this method of "launching" a manned vehicle into orbital / sub-orbital space flight seems to be a better choice over the traditional single and multi-stage rockets for a whole host of reasons -- especially for passenger transporter applications.

    I would assume that they have a little ways to go with respect to advances in technology to make re-entry from orbital (and deep space) flights a safer and more viable alternative (?) -- beyond what they already have with the current shuttle, that is.

    Still -- there can't be much that compares to taking that ride into space with a pack of solid / liquid rockets blasting you at incredible G's like the early manned space flights :D
     
  10. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    NASA's space shuttle used tech from the 60s & 70s. Rutan's Space Ship One uses 90s tech so its already a generation ahead of NASA's shuttle, at least, maybe 2 gens if you count the Russian's Buran shuttle which flew into space once unmanned
     
  11. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Yes, I think the Nazis actually pioneered this launching technique back in WW2. They would launch ME109s off of bombers, The bomber pilot would jump into the ME109 & the bomber would crash into something. I guess the Nazis werent as thrilled by the Kamikaze idea as the Japanese :)

    The USAF has satelitle killer missles that it launches off its F15s
     
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  13. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Yes I do, scarey how we're dating ourselves :) The show seemed to have a shoestring budget. Now the movie Outland w Sean Connery is much cooler where they are actually doing mining operations in space, Wasnt that on 1 of Jupiter's moons ?
     
  14. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

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    LOL -- yes, Salvage-1 seemed like a pretty cool show at the time (especially for us "space nuts")...but looking back now, it was rather far-fetched and low budget...in fact, IIRC it only lasted a season or so. You gotta hand it to anyone crazy enough to go to the moon and back in a cement mixer with salvaged rocket motors! :D

    My personal list of favorites as a kid back in the late 70's and early 80's included Space 1999, Salvage-1, Buck Rogers, and Battlestar Galactica...in addition to Six-Million-Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, etc. What I'd do to be a kid again!

    Speaking of low-tech...I pulled out some literature that NASA sent me back in the early 80's detailing all the specs for the soon-to-be-launched Shuttle (Columbia), and was amazed how out-dated the original instrument panel consoles / equipment looked -- and the memory specs must have been very minute as well. We've come a long way, baby :)

    Would you believe I've never seen Outland yet?! Will have to check that one out ASAP.

    Was studying the Scaled Composites website last night more indepth and was very impressed with that whole program. Really reminds me a lot of the early days with Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1...the whole "Right Stuff" era.

    They mentioned that the motor was a "hybrid" -- but it appears to be primarily solid fuel propelled (?). And that simulator looks like it would be a lot of fun too. Amazing stuff for a private enterprise.

    Anyone know what ever happened to the similar program initiated by Reagan (IIRC) -- primarily for orbital / suborbital transatlantic passenger transport. They were doing quite a bit of R & D on this concept, and making quite a few advancements in high-temp composites, lifting body design, etc. clear into the late 90's -- but haven't heard much since.
     
  15. Tspringer

    Tspringer F1 Veteran

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    Your thinking of the Mistel combo. The Germans built JU-88 bombers during the last year of the war without cockpits or crew quarters at all. Instead the entire nose the bomber was replaced with high explosives and a long boom type impact trigger. The fighter plane was mounted on top. They used both Me-109s and FW-190s. The pilot would basically aim the fighter at the bombing target and then release the flying bomb to continue on its path. BIG explosion on impact.....

    Pics here:

    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Village/4082/mistel/mist_2.htm



    Terry
     
  16. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Wasnt that the Orient Express that was supposed to fly at Mach 25 ? I Believe that eventually became NASA's Lockheed Venturestar which was pretty far along when GWB Axed it :( Seems they were having some trouble w the composite fuel tank & the rocket nozzles, nothing a few $B more couldnt have fixed. So I suppose thats done unless the DOD has it hidden away at Area 51 :) The USAF Also has the Aurora which replaced the SR71 which the UK captured on radar at some ungodly speed. No actual photos to date of the Aurora though.

    GWB has at least made up for axing the VentureStar w his proposal for building a Moon base which sounds like a great idea

    I'd really like to go into orbit around the Earth/Moon system on a cruiseship like the 1 from the 5th Element. No tin can in space for $20B like Dennis Tito for me :)
     
  17. mwarrior

    mwarrior Formula Junior
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    You would think Yahoo would pick up on it. On a side note, the stock is at $1.21 right now, vs $1.71 that it hit on April 1.

    Either way, about freaking time this happened. It says they've been licensed to go upto 60 miles but the contest is for 62.5, so does that mean after 60 they dont need a license after 60??

    Gagan

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SPDV.OB&d=t
    HEADLINES
    • SpaceDev Reports Fourth-Quarter And Year-End 2003 Results
    Wed, Apr 7 - Business Wire
    • SPACEDEV INC Files SEC form 10KSB, Annual Report
    Tue, Apr 6 - EDGAR Online
    • SpaceDev Announces Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2003 Earnings Release and Conference Call
    Mon, Apr 5 - Business Wire
    • SpaceDev shares jump after missile defense order
    Thu, Apr 1 - Reuters
     
  18. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

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    TSpringer: good find! Nice pics and drawings on that site too.

    William H: yes, that was the one! Couldn't remember the name(s) of the project(s). I'm with you on the moon-base program...that would be a giant step forward for a host a reasons, not to mention a stepping stone to Mars and beyond. Now we're talking Space 1999 here -- who knows, perhaps one day our kids will grow up to become Moon-Base-Alpha shuttle pilots, and transport us old geezers back and forth from our moon vacations :D

    Now, the 5th Element....that was one cool sci-fi flick!!
     
  19. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Thats some scarey Scheiss, Poor pilot had no ejection seat, Yikes.

    I remember 1 Nazi rocket plane experiment where they forgot to add a headrest behind the seat. The acceleration was so fierce it broke the pilots neck !!!!! Of course the plane subsequently crashed
     
  20. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Did you know that the Nazi V2 was the 1st manmade object in space ? The USSR's Sputnick was the first manmade object to orbit Earth.

    NASA used a lot of grisly Nazi experiments on the human body to understand how much abuse it could expect its astronauts to withstand. Seems a human can withstand a temp up to 450F for a short period of time

    Werner Von Braun who developed the V1 & V2 for the Nazis als developed the Apollo program & the Saturn 5 for NASA. Saturn 5 was the great grandchild of Hitler's V2.
     
  21. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

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    Indeed, Werner Von Braun was certainly the brains behind the Saturn V...especially the concept of multi-stage rockets to achieve the speed necessary to launch payloads as large as the CSM, LEM, and Rover beyond earth's pull and on it's way to the moon. Often wonder where America's commitment to placing man on the moon would have gone, and to what extent, had it not been for Mr. Von Braun (and others) -- not to mention the outright balls and skill of those pioneering astronauts.

    Didn't they capture Von Braun and his team of scientists/engineers near the end of the war at Peenemunde, and promise them freedom and assylum in the US in exchange for their input and involvement in space exploration and rocket development?

    At any rate, the V1 and V2 were both weapons greatly feared at the time. Weren't they sort of along the lines of the SCUD missile when it came to accuracy and dependability? IIRC, the V-rockets were notorious for being dud's from time to time...but look out when they hit their mark!
     
  22. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Yes I think Von Braun actually turned himself over to USA instead of Russian troops.

    The mutli stage idea was acutally from American rocket pioneer Goddard whose family later sued NASA for patent infringement

    I think Hitler was happy as long as the V1 & V2 hit the UK or somewhere in London, Where exactly wasnt too crucial as they were terror weapons, nothing like the precise satelitte guided weapons the USA has today
     
  23. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

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    LOL...isn't that the truth!

    Ahh, yes...I remember Robert Goddard...he was really ahead of his time with the liquid propelled rocket development. Didn't know about the patent infringement suit though...learn something new every day :)

    Speaking of Burt Rutan...anyone remember the Bede BD-5 and BD-5J that he developed? Always had a soft spot for that little homebuilt, especially the jet-powered version, after seeing that scene with 007 James Bond (Roger Moore) in Octo***** where he out runs the missile -- then lands at some remote gas station and tells the attendant to "fill her up". :)
     
  24. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

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    Wow...that "naughty word" filter works pretty good -- it even edited the title of a James Bond flick ! :D
     
  25. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Jime Bede was working on his supersonic Bede jet when it disintegrated in flight killing him :( shame, he was a cool guy

    lets hope Rutan & crew have much better luck. I think Rutan has a better rep than Bede did
     
  26. teak360

    teak360 F1 Veteran
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    Jim Bede's designs have killed dozens of pilots, but Jim hasn't been one of them. He is still designing planes.
     
  27. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    I guess the rumor mill where I got my info killed Jim B off prematurely
     
  28. Lee White

    Lee White Karting

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    It is true that the Germans pioneered the use of composite aircraft, such as the Bf109 (not me109) attached to bombers packed with explosives. These were called "Mistel" composites. There was no crew in the bomber, only in the fighter mounted on top. The pilot could control the whole shebang, and then release the bomber, which would plow onto the target.

    The USAF ASAT missile is the one launched from the F-15. They tested it, and it worked pretty well, IIRC.

    Lee :)
     

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