Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Reaches Space

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by AlphaAtlas, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,271
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Following a deadly crash back in 2014, Virgin Galactic has been reworking and retesting their plane-based launch platform for the past few years. The company completed their second supersonic flight earlier this year, and according to Twitter, SpaceShipTwo made it all the way to space in a test conducted minutes ago. After dropping from its carrier aircraft, SpaceShipTwo reached at least 250,000 feet and traveled at over Mach 2.9, before beginning its descent and touching down about 15 minutes later.

    Wheel stop, SpaceShipTwo. Welcome back to Earth
     
    Madoc and Guarana [BAWLS] like this.
  2. [21CW]killerofall

    [21CW]killerofall Aliens...

    Messages:
    2,639
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
  3. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    The headline is BS. It redefines words to generate hype.

    Reaching space is defined as reaching 100 km (62 miles) above the surface of the Earth.
    SpaceShip Two only made it to 51 miles - 85% of the way to space, hardly "all the way," and a much easier height to reach:

    That's why Virgin Galactic's $250K tickets to fly into "space" actually only promise to fly the passenger to 50 miles up.
     
  4. Ultima99

    Ultima99 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,916
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    They never left. Let's quit lowering the bar.
     
    SvenBent likes this.
  5. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,271
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Yeah... Mach 2.9 is especially laughable for a spacecraft that's supposed to achieve a stable orbit at ~Mach 20.
     
  6. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    To be fair, Virgin Galactic has, as far as I know, never promised to take people into orbit. Just into "space."

    And Mach 2.9 is faster than any other paying-customer-carrying aircraft, AFAIK. Concorde did Mach 2.2 I think.
    So there's bragging rights for the passengers for that too.

    But Virgin Galactic won't be "first" to carry a paying passenger into space, or to a speed of Mach 2.9:

    "At the end of the 1990s, MirCorp, a private venture that was by then in charge of the space station, began seeking potential space tourists to visit Mir in order to offset some of its maintenance costs. Dennis Tito, an American businessman and former JPL scientist, became their first candidate. When the decision was made to de-orbit Mir, Tito managed to switch his trip to the International Space Station (ISS) through a deal between MirCorp and US-based Space Adventures, Ltd. Dennis Tito visited the ISS for seven days in April-May 2001, becoming the world's first "fee-paying" space tourist." -- Wikipedia, "Space Tourism"​


    Four others space tourists followed, IIRC. None used the Space Shuttle, though, so Virgin will be the first to fly a "space tourist" using a reusable vehicle.

    Personally, I'm not that impressed. Virgin Galactic is just Branson's vanity project, and I expect that in 10 years, it will either be just a footnote in space exploration history, or will be flying their tourists in rockets they bought from SpaceX or Blue Origin. :)
     
    AlphaAtlas likes this.
  7. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    Well, they DID "leave Earth," in the way a dwarf does when you toss it.
     
  8. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,271
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    It's not even an air-breathing aircraft that can sustain high supersonic flight like the Concorde though. IMO, flying across the Atlantic at 2.2 is more impressive at hitting a higher mach number for a few minutes.

    Though to be fair, this was just a test if a good idea, and the Concorde was more impressive than people gave it credit for.
     
    Ultima99 likes this.
  9. DigitalPanhandler

    DigitalPanhandler Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2016
    to be honest i agree with alot of sentiments, however the reason they can claim 51 miles is space, is because that is where nasa and other organizations give astronaught wings..... yes 62miles(karmin line) is correct, but to get your astronaught wings, you only need to reach 50...


    additionally space is a fairly loosely defined distance.....the iss is 240 miles up...yet still is affected by earths atmosphere...so take that for what you will...

    anywho...onto whatever else i feel like reading
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
    AlphaAtlas likes this.
  10. mbelue

    mbelue Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    205
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2017
    Yeah it isn't a useful milestone.

    However Virgin Galactic is doing something different. Which is more than I can say for SpaceX.

    SpaceX is using rockets to get to space like everybody else.

    The piggy back plane ride thing is kinda cool. Too bad it doesn't work too well.
     
  11. DigitalPanhandler

    DigitalPanhandler Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2016

    its not exactly new or unique either...i mean i guess if you factor in they are planning on taking multiple passengers yes... but otherwise

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_X-1

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_X-15
     
    mbelue likes this.