back to article Virgin Galactic spaceliner-piggyback craft delayed

The "mothership" jet aboard which Richard Branson's planned space-tourism rocketplanes will ride piggyback has had its first flight delayed, according to reports. The WhiteKnight Two carrier craft had been expected to fly this month. The WhiteKnightTwo on show to the public The Rocketplane's reusable lower stage. Flight …

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Boffin

Fuel explosion..

or Oxidiser??

was there ever a result from this enquiry?? was it over presurised decomposition??

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Rob
Paris Hilton

Confused

Don't NASA or the AirForce have a plane that does this already for training purposes, if I'm thinking of the right thing then it's a lot bigger than the one picture in the article and doesn't require any other stages.

Also I thought the point of the X-Prize was to get an alternative to the shuttle, whats' the point if it can't reach orbital velocity, or is that a development still on the cards?

Paris, 'cause I'm as confused as she is.

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@Rob

'Don't NASA or the AirForce have a plane that does this already for training purposes,'

They use an old McDonnell Douglas C9 (the military version of the DC9), nick-named 'The Vomit Comet' to fly parabolic paths at relatively low altitude. Branson's latest publicity machine will go a bit faster and hit 100km which technically puts it into space - albeit not at orbital velocity.

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Happy

@Confused: Vomit Comet not Sub-Orbital

The NASA, and now other agencies, train personnel for several seconds of weightlessness using a jet-liner flying a special trajectory at normal altitudes.

The Spaceship-# craft do the same thing, but do so while actually going high enough to qualify as being in space, much higher than the training aircraft, Concorde, or even the Blackbird aircraft.

The Spaceship-# craft allow minutes, and a much higher view.

DX

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Boffin

Houston we have a problem...

The X-15 Planes back in the 1960s flew higher and they were not said to have been in 'Space', just a very high altitude.

So how come this flying machine is being publicised as capable of going into Space?

100Km is just the old Kármán line standard.

Does any real Space-interested bod really think this is the edge of Space?

Imagine if the FAI redefined the standard to a higher one. Virgin would have to give their customers their money back. hehe.

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@Stuart Halliday

"The X-15 Planes back in the 1960s flew higher and they were not said to have been in 'Space', just a very high altitude."

Actually they were, and X-15 pilots who flew qualifying flights were issued USAF or NASA "Astronaut" wings accordingly.

--

JG

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Go

What I dont understand is....

...if normal planes can reach altitudes that are on the edge of space, why cant they just go that extra few feet? Rather than having a controlled explosion to get there??

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Bronze badge
Coat

Vomit Comet

Actually, the Vomit Comet mentioned above by Mike Richards, was used as a movie studio by Ron Howard for "Apollo 13".

He filmed all the in-space scenes aboard the aircraft (none of which ran more than 30 seconds), making Apollo 13 the ONLY space movie that uses real free-fall.

And it still failed to get even a "Technical Merit" Oscar.

Mine's the one with a NASA patch on the sleeve.

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Silver badge
Go

Re: What I dont understand is....

"...if normal planes can reach altitudes that are on the edge of space, why cant they just go that extra few feet?"

Maybe because conventional planes have an operating ceiling, after which the plane stops flying, and just starts going down, down, down!!! The X-15's used rockets to get up there, but no conventional airplane will get that way up and stay there.

Those who have tried to break the operational ceiling specs have ended up like these guys: http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2004-11.html

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