Just like Virgin Galactic & SpaceX
>>Virgin Hyperloop One is a competitor of Elon Musk's Boring Company,<<
This must be causing Elon such a lot of worry...
Richard Branson, figurehead of all things branded Virgin, has opined that our rain-sodden island needs a hyperloop railway system. The billionaire Brit, who is non-exec chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme that a hyperloop "would end up transporting people far quicker, in far greater …
>I wouldn't use the bungling fuckwits of Highways England as a benchmark for cost estimation or control
I take it that you are being ironic? The record of public bodies suggests that they consistently under-estimate the costs of projects... Which may mean in turn that what the Beardy one is referring to, isn't the current cost estimate for HS2 but the final cost....
The 'fuckwits of Highways England' are a darn sight better at estimates
With Highways England, the problem is that their investment programme is not only fabulously expensive, but in many instances it actively worsens the traffic, or creates huge tarmac deserts in preference to proper, simple, intuitive road layouts, or expensively buys time because they'd prefer not to do the more challenging job of building a proper national trunk road network. It doesn't help that the pea-brains of the Department Against Transport and parliament interfere in the schemes and budgets, but even within Highways England's control they could do a whole lot better for less.
Leahroy, have you visited the Brunel Tunnel Museum? If you are ever in London you should.
Also talking about engineering from past centuries, and vacuums, look up 'Atmospheric Railways'.
In victorian times it was not certain that locomotive engines could have enough power to pull trains along. The first railway between London and Croydon used a vacuum system - the train carriages were connected vian an arm to a piston in a vacuum pipe. There were pumping station stations beside the tracks. The vacuum seal used leather flaps. The rats ate the leather. I dont think this was th eonly problem with these railways though!
And taking the Underround story a little further.
When trains were updated, the maximum dimensions were calculated (important in tunnels :-)
Then new trains were designed to conform with the maximum. Unfortunately when the original train/tunnel pairs were designed, engineers had realised that they could push air through the tunnels to improve air quality. This was something that does not seem to have been documented (or the origibnal documents were not read correctly). The new designs, while not hitting tunndels were also far less efficient at the 'push' and air conditioning needed to be installed/upgraded to make up for it, at some considerable expense.
Interesting analogies with modern IT systems and requirements capture & analysis.
Mines the one with a G scale garden railway ------------->
telegraph: "[Jeff Bezos] said he is liquidating more than a billion dollars a month to invest in his space company Blue Origin."
Bezos is only burning $1G per year, not per month. This puts him well behind Senator Richard Shelby who gets through three or four billion per year.
TheRegister: "[Beardy] gets flung into orbit"
There is a big difference between the energy required to get to space (~1MJ/kg) and the energy required for orbit (~32MJ/kg). Branson is only offering trips into space, not into orbit. Bezos is doing both and has sent commercial cargo to space.
There is a big difference between the energy required to get to space (~1MJ/kg) and the energy required for orbit (~32MJ/kg)
Although I do believe you, 1MJ to get a kilogram into space seems remarkably little, given that a standard 51g Mars Bar contains 0.96MJ of energy - presumably as measured by combustion in a bomb calorimeter.
So strap a Mars Bars to the underside of your 1kg microsat, add a suitable amount of oxidizer, and off you go!
For low earth orbit, 32MJ would require 33 Mars Bars; however those will weigh 1.68kg themselves, so better buy a few more boxes to allow for the payload and oxidizer.
These numbers are correct. The unfortunate complexity (which means the actual achieved numbers are very different) is that you don't just have to provide enough energy to get to that altitude, nor just enough to get the necessary orbital velocity. You also have to propel yourself through the atmosphere to get up there, including propelling all your propellant through the whole process. You also have to overcome gravity drag as well. All of these are reasons you have to sit on a rocket full of propellant, rather than a mars bar or 2.
Must be something wrong with the calcs, a woman on our street can easily demolish four Mars bars (never been the same since they altered the recipe) at one sitting but can barely waddle from her front door to her car. So, no orbit then.
Not all bad news though, judging by the number of visitors she has she must have a good trampoline installed indoors. An alternative launch pad?
1kg ~= 10N, raised by 100km = 1MJ = 1 Mars Bar. Shame that we don't have an efficient way to convert chemical energy into potential energy.
This does show that space elevators are pointless; saving that 1MJ of potential energy doesn't help you much if you still have to find another 32MJ of kinetic energy.
A railgun though... if it could deliver 8G acceleration for 100 seconds, it would be 400km long. Maybe build a hyperloop tube up to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Trouble is, even at that height, you still have half an atmosphere of pressure. The burn ups would be quite spectacular :-)
Bezos current rocket, New Shepherd, is also sub-orbital hops only. He plans an orbital one called New Glenn, but it is years away from its maiden flight. He's not put any commercial cargo in orbit - at most he's done some brief micro-gravity experiments.
Maybe you have him confused with Musk? SpaceX often sends cargo to LEO, GTO and the ISS. He's not put any humans in space yet, but hopes to by end of year-ish.
650 mph train in a vacuum tube hundreds of miles long. How big a terrorist bomb placed anywhere along the route would be needed to make a very nasty mess? They might even be able to trigger it from vibrations in the tube so it goes off just as the train is passing?
Or a time bomb on board? You'll end up with a security delay before boarding that wipes out the time gained by the extra speed.
If it goes off while the train is in a built up area the results would be appalling - a train masses much more than an aircraft, and at that kind of speed has a huge amount of kinetic energy.
A terrorist bomb anywhere is going to make a nasty mess.
A terrorist bomb releases the energy of its explosives. A terrorist bomb that wrecks the maglev suspension or the vacuum seal as a train is passing also releases the kinetic energy of the train. Which at those speeds and at that mass is enormously greater than any reasonable terrorist bomb.
Think of the damage done at Lockerbie for instance - the ground damage was not from the bomb at all, it was from the crashing plane.
"releases the kinetic energy of the train. Which at those speeds and at that mass is enormously greater than any reasonable terrorist bomb."
Which is great if your terrorists are keeping score measured in joules. We should encourage that approach. Unfortunately most terrorists seem to use other performance indicators.
A time bomb (or suicide bomb) is possible. Triggering one from vibration is probably a no-goer since the "train" is flying through a vacuum without touching anything (that is what maglev is) so there is unlikely to be enough vibration to work with. However you do it, the result would be a very nasty mess!
Anyone can do that, just let the bomb sit there and moments later it will be in the future. So, no problem there, anyone can send a bomb into the future.
Now, sending a bomb into the past, that would be an amazing feat, one that could have disastrous consequences.
Hyperloop carriages are frequent and small, like a mini-bus. Set the bomb off whenever you want as the exact timing makes little difference, and you will get a handfull. The distributed pressure controls would then bleed air into the tube to decelerate and protect and separate the other cars in the loop.
It'll be crunch time for the Virgin Galactic nonsense soon. Even if the new Vomit Comet system was safe—and there are good reasons for suspecting it will be nowhere near as safe as routine airliner travel, so FAA certification may never be forthcoming—you have to ask how many rich idiots will be willing to cough up tens of thousands of dollars to spend several hours in a nasty metal tube that goes nowhere. Yes, the spaceship-which-isn't goes up for hours, and eventually reaches an altitude of 100km+, arbitrarily defined as space. Yes, the aforementioned idots can have a special plastic Astronaut merit badge to admire as they sink back to exactly the same place they came from. No, the spaceship-which-isn't never goes into orbit. It can't fly in space. It can't deliver stuff to the ISS, or bring stuff down. It is a "spaceship" in the same way that a rowboat is a transatlantic passenger vessel.
There are people doing fantastic work on real space travel, including SpaceX, Reaction Engines and Blue Origin. None of them are Branson. The whole Virgin Galactic thing is little better than an expensive, dangerous stunt. It has little to do with space travel and a lot to do with Beardie's love of superficial marketing bullcrap. (And I really hope he does not follow through on the idea of taking his kids up with him.)
As for the HyperLoop twaddle ... same problem. It all sounds wonderful, lots of sci-fi concepts (the idea has been around for at least 100 years after all), impressive statistics about journey time, wildly optimistic predictions. But the devil is always in the detail, and there's an awful lot of detail to worry about. For Branson to suggest tunnelling will cost less than surface transport is bonkers. Tunnelling is horribly expensive and slow. Unless he (and Elon, for that matter) have built a molecular disintegrator plus autocementing reintegrator, their guff about cheap quick tunnelling will remain just that: somewhat embarrassingly daft guff.
Which doesn't even begin to cover all the issues of permissions; surveying; geology; seismic analysis; proximity of fracking; environmental impact; safety of tunnels; risk sensor networking; escape routes (gonna evacuate a subterranean vacuum-train under the Pennines in 90 seconds, Beardie?); g-forces; emergency braking times; gradient and depth routing; turn radii; temperature and aircon management; routing, station and terminus decisions; maintenance intervals, rules, process, operational criteria and doctrine; pumping stations; power distribution and delivery; potential terrorism; signalling; software control systems; shall I go on and on, and talk about contingencies for fire, atmospheric contamination, power failure, structural distortion of train or tunnel; foreign object detection and mitigation, and on and on and yet on ...?
After these childishly unrealistic wheezes are sent embarrassed to bed in a year or two, i wonder if Beardie will pop up again, blethering about, I dunno, Virgin Moon, offering jaunts across lunar seas aboard Selene "within just a few years" ...? Perhaps he just doesn't bother to talk to engineers before flapping his fur. Or maybe it's all just his addiction to empty marketing shyte.
As much as I agree with your article, Virgin Galactic is ... business. Branson is taking a gamble that there will be enough rich idiots to take the ride, and he is willing to invest a lot to make that vision a reality, in the faint hope that the enterprise comes out in the black eventually. It's not a bet that I would be willing to make with my money, given the long odds, but I admire him for doing so.
We all know it's not quite the same as being in space, but it fills a gap between the vomit comet and going into orbit. It will be an experience that you can't have anywhere else, for any kind of money. Going into orbit is not available yet and will be more expensive by two orders of magnitude. So it's not completely idiotic to go.
Either way, he gets good press off it, and that alone may make the losses tolerable for him.
there will be enough rich idiots to take the ride
meanwhile in Blighty, lots of schools are on half-term holidays According to a report on Radioi 4's Today programme this morning, that means that some kids are going hungry as they won't be getting the school meals they would otherwise get, as there isn't the extra money in the family budget to make up the shortfall.
Yep, the rich idiots can just head off into space with their money (and not come back). Fat lot of good it's doing for their fellow beings, not just in Blighty, but throughout the world
"It is a "spaceship" in the same way that a rowboat is a transatlantic passenger vessel."
And there are rich idiots who decide to row across the Atlantic as well. Just because something isn't particularly useful or sensible doesn't mean it's inherently bad; not everything needs to push the boundaries of human achievement. If you have enough money to spend a weekend being shot into space, what exactly is so bad about doing exactly that? Maybe all you'll get out of it is some cool photos and a badge saying you've been into space, but most people are happy to spend money on trips that get them significantly less than that.
About the only thing that could really be said against it is maybe the money could be spent to do something more useful. But the same could be said about all money spent on any kind of entertainment, so it's hardly fair to single out occasional rocket trips when far more money is spent on just as trivial matters every day.
I just don't understand why there always seems to be so much hate for Virgin Galactic. No, it's not a commercial satellite launching business, it's not exploring new worlds, it's not colonising Mars, it's not pushing the boundaries of space travel or revolutionising the industry. It never claimed to be any of those things. It's a tourist agency that offers to send people who can afford it to somewhere very few people have been. It's not meaningfully different from visiting Antarctica, or Everest base camp, or some random tropical island; just a bit more expensive and exclusive. Why is that such a terrible thing?
Hyperloop, of course, is a steaming pile of bullshit, but that's a different thing entirely.
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