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Old 11th July 2021, 03:37 PM   #1
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Best Carnival Ride EVER! Thanks Richard Branson.

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I don't know what else it is useful for.
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Old 11th July 2021, 03:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
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I don't know what else it is useful for.
As useful as going on a rollercoaster ride. It's just a tad more expensive.

Give me cheap thrills any day.
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Old 11th July 2021, 04:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
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I don't know what else it is useful for.
Is this thing not (theoretically) able to reach the international space station?
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Old 11th July 2021, 04:23 PM   #4
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Not even close. It's strictly suborbital. He has other tech that can reach orbit though and has had one commercial customer, but that's not this. There is some superficial resemblance in the two designs though (both employ something more like a plane as a first stage).

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Old 12th July 2021, 01:15 AM   #5
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Seems to me that this could be potentially useful in long-distance travel. Imagine launching in Europe and arriving in the USA an hour and a half later.
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Old 12th July 2021, 01:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Seems to me that this could be potentially useful in long-distance travel. Imagine launching in Europe and arriving in the USA an hour and a half later.
Bingo.
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Old 12th July 2021, 06:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Seems to me that this could be potentially useful in long-distance travel. Imagine launching in Europe and arriving in the USA an hour and a half later.

Suborbital aircraft used for rapid international commercial travel are pretty common in science fiction.
Then you also have troop transports able to reach anywhere in the world in a few hours ...
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Old 12th July 2021, 10:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
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I don't know what else it is useful for.
Isn't that begging the question? Does it NEED to have a utility beyond that?

That said, of course, there are a number of potential applications (just off the top of my head):
- The area of suborbital research is apparently under-serviced
- There may be engineering aspects that can be directly applied to subsequent point-to-point transport
- The value of inspiration can't be totally discounted
- After a decade of having the White Elephant spaceport, this may finally provide a boon/catalyst to something in New Mexico

but...

This smacks of something I've been reading quite a bit over the last day or two. Many posters, tweeters and such have been complaining along the lines of... "oh, this billionaire is wasting money! Imagine what could be done if it was all spent on X!" For X, fill in your favourite cause/charity/government program/etc. Given that money not spent on Y would not automatically be spent on X, this sounds a little resentful.

Edit, here's a laundry list of other bonkers posts:

*P: -Didn't even reach Karman line
-Only reached a little over Mach 3 (Orbit is Mach 22, in other words 50X the energy)
-18 years of development for basically an amusement ride.
How is this an accomplishment?

*Me: Really? You ever launch any passenger carrying rockets to sub-orbital space? As part of a government program, or more pertinently, a privately funded program?

*P:Y'all unreal...
Being duped by a billionaire with access to millions of dollars of CGI equipment and technicians... He only went to lower atmosphere.. SMH. YOU CAN GET ZERO GRAVITY HERE ON EARTH IN A PLANE JUST LIKE THE ONE THEY ARE USING. WAKE UP

*Me: Umm... this person thinks they're spouting a bunch of intelligent terms, but this is definitely not "lower atmosphere", and it seems like this person doesn't know the difference between this and the Vomit Comet.

and on the other extreme...

*P: So much more impressive than anything that I have seen to date from Space X, although I personally witnessed the first successful Falcon 9 launch re-entry and vertical landing Cape Canaveral December 2015.

*Me: Whaaaa?! Two different goals. It seems both the critics and the fans are all discombobulated with their info!
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Old 12th July 2021, 06:06 PM   #9
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Didn't people fly planes into "space" many decades ago? Or did he go higher?

Seems pretty...what do the kids say...meh?
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Old 12th July 2021, 06:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
Didn't people fly planes into "space" many decades ago? Or did he go higher?

Seems pretty...what do the kids say...meh?
Are you serious or are you imitating the people Jimbo just cited?
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Old 12th July 2021, 07:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jimbo07 View Post
Isn't that begging the question? Does it NEED to have a utility beyond that?

That said, of course, there are a number of potential applications (just off the top of my head):
- The area of suborbital research is apparently under-serviced
- There may be engineering aspects that can be directly applied to subsequent point-to-point transport
- The value of inspiration can't be totally discounted
- After a decade of having the White Elephant spaceport, this may finally provide a boon/catalyst to something in New Mexico

but...

This smacks of something I've been reading quite a bit over the last day or two. Many posters, tweeters and such have been complaining along the lines of... "oh, this billionaire is wasting money! Imagine what could be done if it was all spent on X!" For X, fill in your favourite cause/charity/government program/etc. Given that money not spent on Y would not automatically be spent on X, this sounds a little resentful.

Edit, here's a laundry list of other bonkers posts:

*P: -Didn't even reach Karman line
-Only reached a little over Mach 3 (Orbit is Mach 22, in other words 50X the energy)
-18 years of development for basically an amusement ride.
How is this an accomplishment?

*Me: Really? You ever launch any passenger carrying rockets to sub-orbital space? As part of a government program, or more pertinently, a privately funded program?
The Spaceport was funded mostly by the public.


Quote:
For various, understandable reasons, a lot of people look at what Branson and Bezos have done with disdain. While both men have invested significantly in their spaceflight ambitions, they also have benefited from subsidies. For Virgin Galactic, that meant a dazzling launch facility in Southeastern New Mexico.
To entice Branson and his space ambitions, taxpayers in New Mexico funded the bulk of the costs for the $220 million Spaceport America.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021...eally-matters/
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Old 12th July 2021, 09:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Seems to me that this could be potentially useful in long-distance travel. Imagine launching in Europe and arriving in the USA an hour and a half later.
It has no capability to do anything of the sort. All it can do is go straight up and come back down in the same spot. No practical value at all.
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Old 12th July 2021, 10:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
It has no capability to do anything of the sort. All it can do is go straight up and come back down in the same spot. No practical value at all.
You can't see how this is one of the many paths that might lead to that?

And what exactly makes you think it even has to come back to the same spot now? That's not really necessary due to the tech. It's just because the first market they are targeting with this is expensive joy rides.
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Old 12th July 2021, 10:32 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
It has no capability to do anything of the sort. All it can do is go straight up and come back down in the same spot. No practical value at all.
Not true.
What he's got is a mach-3 rocket plane that can start (with assist) and land from major airports.
Instead of throwing the ball straight up, you can do a parabola.
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Not true.

What he's got is a mach-3 rocket plane that can start (with assist) and land from major airports.

Instead of throwing the ball straight up, you can do a parabola.
I don't know how many airports want a glider coming in. No holding capability.
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:13 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
It has no capability to do anything of the sort. All it can do is go straight up and come back down in the same spot. No practical value at all.
It's also not that much beyond a prototype. Nobody thinks that particular design will ever operate commercially.
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:24 AM   #17
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Why are some people so intent on criticizing this effort?
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:26 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
I don't know how many airports want a glider coming in. No holding capability.
On the contrary, if you get the right thermals, a glider can stay aloft for a very long time.
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:53 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
Why are some people so intent on criticizing this effort?
It's a dead end. The other technology they are using to launch small rockets from a 747 is far more interesting.
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Old 13th July 2021, 01:50 AM   #20
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How much CO2 does a ride like this produce?
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Old 13th July 2021, 07:02 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
The Spaceport was funded mostly by the public.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021...eally-matters/
As per my first post, the idea is to finally realize a payoff, once operations start. The Spaceport has been languishing for years. There is potential for local economic impact, but only time will tell. The optimists will be all for it, and there's no immediate reason to say it won't be beneficial.

That said, the spacecraft and carrier are privately funded. Just like NASA contracting to SpaceX for orbital access, this is a step change in suborbital access. It's a different philosophy from the get-go. People say it's no different than suborbital flights from 60 years ago. That's not even remotely true. Those were the product of top government programs (I originally included costly, but I don't know the respective costs. I saw one reference to Project Mercury costing 1.6 billion adjusted, but don't know Virgin Galactic for comparison). Project Mercury took one astronaut to suborbital space at a time. Virgin Galactic takes 6. We look at these programs with hindsight, but at the time, the average citizen was NOT part of spaceflight.

Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
It's a dead end. The other technology they are using to launch small rockets from a 747 is far more interesting.
This is a first step. This isn't even the final spacecraft configuration for this particular application! I don't know the path from this to other technologies like point-to-point, although, no one ever does from this end.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
How much CO2 does a ride like this produce?
I don't actually know. They haven't told me.

This article claims that it's equivalent to a transatlantic flight. It then goes on to state that the CO2 footprint per passenger-mile of the Virgin Galactic flight is significantly higher. That's then headlined by other sources as "...green credentials don't fly."

Sure. Given that I don't personally know the numbers, I'd say it's fair that it has a high CO2 footprint per passenger-mile. I think that might be missing the point, though.

A more useful metric would be the CO2 footprint per passenger-experience. If, instead of taking a European vacation in a given year, someone took a spaceflight, wouldn't the emissions be the same (assuming all other numbers hold)?
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Old 13th July 2021, 09:22 AM   #22
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Quote:
The VSS Unity rocket plane that Branson travelled on is air-launched and burns solid fuel for one minute to fly 50 or so miles above Earth. Virgin Galactic likens the carbon footprint for passengers to a business class return ticket on a transatlantic flight. Using data from the International Civil Aviation Organization that means about 1,238 kg of CO2 per passenger.

The journey lengths are not the same, however. A return transatlantic flight covers about 6,900 miles. Virgin Galactic’s trip up and down adds up to about 100 miles. Per passenger, per mile, the CO2 emissions are 12 kg of CO2 for Virgin’s space trip versus 0.2kg of CO2 for the commercial airline flight.

The overall CO2 footprint of space flights appears modest, mostly because rocket flights are still rare. But if space tourism takes off, expect more focus on the environmental impact of this new hobby for the wealthy.
Calculating the environmental payload of space tourism (FinancialPost, July 13, 2021)

The moral seems to be that it doesn't matter how much CO2 billionaire entertainment produces because there are so few billionaires. It doesn't seem to count how much CO2 Branson's trip in his private jet to and from the space port produces.
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Old 13th July 2021, 09:42 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
The moral seems to be that it doesn't matter how much CO2 billionaire entertainment produces because there are so few billionaires. It doesn't seem to count how much CO2 Branson's trip in his private jet to and from the space port produces.
See my post, above (where I linked to the same article). Calculating this as CO2 emissions per passenger-mile seems to really miss the point.

We also don't know how most of the 'regular' passengers will be arriving in New Mexico. I'd assume mostly by commercial aircraft ("Yes, it reminds me of a joke I heard about upper-middle-class people." - Ron Whitey, Futurama ), but some may even be by car.
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Old 13th July 2021, 09:49 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
The moral seems to be that it doesn't matter how much CO2 billionaire entertainment produces because there are so few billionaires. It doesn't seem to count how much CO2 Branson's trip in his private jet to and from the space port produces.
Note that Branson's airline is one of the leading players in developing sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and the industry as a whole is taking this seriously. Multiple airlines are investing in multiple techniques that are panning out. It's actually in commercial use now at a very low rate (under 1%) but is expected to reach 2% by 2025.

The pandemic makes it a bit hard to judge airline trends right now, but it may be the case that growth of SAF production is outpacing growth in airline capacity right now.

And they appear to be using a very effective definition of sustainable including using techniques that don't compete with food crops and don't require arable lands. Capturing carbon from steel mills, for example.

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Old 13th July 2021, 11:27 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It's also not that much beyond a prototype. Nobody thinks that particular design will ever operate commercially.
Oh, it'll probably operate commercially for its intended purpose -- taking wealthy individuals on a brief joyride. But for anything useful, no.
I will concede that it could land at a different airport from where it took off. As long as it isn't too far away and the authorities are happy about something coming in with roughly the glide ratio of a brick.

You know what's really amazing? Two to five hundred people can climb on an airliner, be halfway around the world in a day, and it won't cost most of them more than a few hundred dollars.
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Old 13th July 2021, 11:51 AM   #26
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First scheduled commercial airline flight was 23 minutes long, flew at an altitude of 50 feet and cost about $2,500 in today's dollars. Once routine operation of that flight started, yes that very flight was in commercial operation, the price fell to $25.
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Old 13th July 2021, 11:51 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
You know what's really amazing? Two to five hundred people can climb on an airliner, be halfway around the world in a day, and it won't cost most of them more than a few hundred dollars.
Astounding, really, when you think that controlled, powered flight wasn't even a thing less than 120 years ago!

I wonder, though, how many could do that, even by 1913? I was curious, and found an article that claims to be about the The world's first commercial airline, ca. 1914.

Edit: ninja'd by RY
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:01 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
On the contrary, if you get the right thermals, a glider can stay aloft for a very long time.
Rode in a glider years ago at the north end of Oahu. 45 minute ride involved gliding over water or land and then returning to the coastal cliffs to catch thermals for more altitude. Could have gone on all day. Loved it! a unique experience.
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:13 PM   #29
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USA's first recognized space flight was sub-orbital and recognized as a great achievement. Wonder what it cost in today's $. Sixty years later there have been several recognized benefits resulting from that flight. Wonder what Branson's flight will look like 60 years from now.
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:15 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Jimbo07 View Post
... but some may even be by car.

Some may even be by bicycle or in-liners, but there won't be many of those.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 13th July 2021, 12:24 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Some may even be by bicycle or in-liners, but there won't be many of those.
Agreed on both your points. There's nothing stopping someone from arriving on horseback, either, but there probably won't be many.

That said, you demonstrate my point that it's not appropriate to assume the most extreme mode of transport (on either end) when trying to factor in those emissions.
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Old 15th July 2021, 11:03 PM   #32
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Virgin Galactic acknowledges Branson's pre-launch bike ride never happened (Reuters, July 13, 2021)

Seen here at 8:05: "I'm Not Into Coups" Claims Our Fascist Former President (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, July 16, 2021)

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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 16th July 2021, 08:11 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Virgin Galactic acknowledges Branson's pre-launch bike ride never happened (Reuters, July 13, 2021)

Seen here at 8:05: "I'm Not Into Coups" Claims Our Fascist Former President (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, July 16, 2021)

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I prefer Colbert's mirror-universe Branson explanation!
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Old 20th September 2021, 06:07 AM   #34
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Regardless of whether I've supported Branson/Bezos/NASA/Boeing/whomever, Spacex really seems to be starting to make everyone else look like an also-ran.

Inspiration4 splashed down this weekend. This is a seminal event! Over time, I suspect it's going to re-cast how we use/regard professional astronauts.
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Old 20th September 2021, 06:20 PM   #35
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Three days in higher orbit. Having to poop in a tiny capsule with all those strangers. It's got it all.
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Old 14th October 2021, 09:42 AM   #36
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With 16 people in the last 4 months, and another flight by BO expected this year, space tourism is quickly becoming a thing. There are a couple of perspectives on this:

The **** hit this fan in the feels!

but

Prince William are not amused



ETA: Ha ha ha! The autocensor changes a (not so?) beloved nickname for the "S"hat to ****!
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