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[Space] WhiteKnightTwo rolls out

Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century.Surreal. Immersive. Earth.Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
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^Click for huge pic.

"(Virgin Galactic) - WhiteKnightTwo launch vehicle for SpaceShipTwo heralds a new era in aerospace fuel efficiency, performance and versatility

http://www.virgingalactic.com/pressftp/content/Presspacks/VMSeveBransonRutan_thumb.jpg

Mojave Air and Spaceport, California

Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceShipOne designer, Burt Rutan, today pulled back the hangar doors on the new WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft that will ferry SpaceShipTwo and thousands of private astronauts, science packages and payload on the first stage of the Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space experience."
http://www.virgingalactic.com/pressftp/content/Presspacks/VMS%20Eve%20tow_thumb.jpg

The rollout represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic’s quest to launch the world’s first private, environmentally benign, space access system for people, payload and science.

http://www.virgingalactic.com/pressftp/content/Presspacks/In%20Air%20Banking_thumb.jpg

Christened “EVE” in honor of Sir Richard’s mother, who performed the official naming ceremony, WK2 is both visually remarkable and represents ground-breaking aerospace technology. It is the world’s largest all carbon composite aircraft and many of its component parts have been built using composite materials for the very first time. At 140 ft, the wing spar is the longest single carbon composite aviation component ever manufactured.

http://www.virgingalactic.com/pressftp/content/Presspacks/VMS%20Eve%20rollout_thumb.jpg

Driven by a demanding performance specification set by Virgin Galactic, WK2 has a unique heavy lift, high altitude capability and an open architecture driven design which provides for maximum versatility in the weight, mass and volume of its payload potential. It has the power, strength and maneuverability to provide for pre space-flight, positive G force and zero G astronaut training as well as a lift capability which is over 30% greater than that represented by a fully crewed SpaceShipTwo. The vehicle has a maximum altitude over 50,000 ft and its U.S. coast-to-coast range will allow the spaceship to be ferried on long duration flights.

http://www.virgingalactic.com/pressftp/content/Presspacks/VMS%20Eve%20bow_thumb.jpg

An all carbon composite vehicle of this size represents a giant leap for a material technology that has already been identified as a key contributor to the increasingly urgent requirement by the commercial aviation sector for dramatically more fuel efficient aircraft. Powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW308A engines, which are amongst the most powerful, economic and efficient available, WK2 is a mold breaker in carbon efficiency and the epitome of 21st century aerospace design and technology.

The twin fuselage and central payload area configuration allow for easy access to WK2 and to the spaceship for passengers and crew; the design also aids operational efficiencies and turnaround times. WK2 will be able to support up to four daily space flights, is able to carry out both day and night time operations and is equipped with a package of highly advanced avionics.

http://www.virgingalactic.com/pressftp/content/Presspacks/Galactic%20Girl_thumb.jpg

Large numbers of VIP’s, media and more than 100 fully signed-up future Virgin Galactic astronauts flew into Mojave for the rollout onboard a new Airbus A320 aircraft specially chartered from Virgin America, the youngest and most efficient US domestic airline, which launched to great acclaim in 2007.

Rutan’s Scaled Composites facility has been strictly out of bounds whilst design and construction has been underway, but guests today were additionally given a tantalizing preview of SpaceShipTwo, clearly visible but heavily shrouded and well on its way to completion, in the smaller of Scaled’s two hangars awaiting its own rollout in 2009. This will be scheduled once WK2 is at the appropriate stage in its extensive test program, which has already begun with ground tests; it is expected to take its first flight in the fall of 2008. The flight test program will be comprehensive even before SpaceShipTwo is carried as a payload for the first time in 2009.

http://www.virgingalactic.com/pressftp/content/Presspacks/Galatic%20Girl2_thumb.jpg

Commenting on the rollout, Burt Rutan, Founder of Scaled Composites said:

“WhiteKnightTwo represents the apogee of the application of carbon composites to aerospace and all of us at Scaled are tremendously excited at the capabilities of the Mothership for SpaceShipTwo. I believe the vehicle will be developed and sold for a variety of launch applications beyond the initial requirements of our launch customer, Virgin Galactic. We have set up a new business jointly with Virgin, The Spaceship Company (TSC), to develop these vehicles and we very much hope that its efficiency will herald a wake up call to the aerospace industry and the necessity of using new materials and technologies in the future. “

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic added:

“As usual, Burt and the Scaled team have created a beauty and this is a very proud day for us all. The rollout of WhiteKnightTwo takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this most ambitious of projects is not only for real but is making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation.

Virgin Galactic is central to our ambition at Virgin to become the world’s leading group in the operation of energy and environmentally efficient transportation, in the air, on the ground and in space. We arrived here this morning on an aircraft operated by Virgin America, who run the most fuel efficient commercial fleet in the US, to roll out what by most definitions, is the most energy efficient aircraft in history. We are naming it EVE after my Mother, Eve Branson but also because it represents a first and a new beginning, the chance for our ever growing group of future astronauts and other scientists and payload specialists to see our world in a completely new light. I for one can’t wait!”

So incredibly awesome, they finally finished building it. 8-)
Although I wonder when the rocket component will actually be finished, since three people have already died in it's construction.
Creating awesome-i-tude is a dangerous business folks.

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Posts

  • AdrienAdrien Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Wait... People have died while building the rocket?

    Isn't... Isn't that kind of a bad sign?

    Adrien on
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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    You know a lot of people have died working for NASA right? Like two whole space shuttles plus one of the Apollo crews when they were practicing died in a fire. This kind of stuff is inherently dangerous.

    Neaden on
  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Neaden wrote: »
    You know a lot of people have died working for NASA right? Like two whole space shuttles plus one of the Apollo crews when they were practicing died in a fire. This kind of stuff is inherently dangerous.

    It's not rocket scien... wait.

    saint2e on
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  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Too bad the SpaceShip2 isn't done yet, I can't wait for the private space industry to really take off (no pun intended).

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    All of these puns have had a pretty poor lift-off.

    Drez on
  • AeolusdallasAeolusdallas Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Adrien wrote: »
    Wait... People have died while building the rocket?

    Isn't... Isn't that kind of a bad sign?
    People often die while testing new aircraft.

    Aeolusdallas on
  • SenjutsuSenjutsu thot enthusiast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Adrien wrote: »
    Wait... People have died while building the rocket?

    Isn't... Isn't that kind of a bad sign?

    Nitrous Oxide explosion while they were testing a subsystem of the rocket engine.

    Senjutsu on
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    I'm gonna get a PhD in incest.
  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Senjutsu wrote: »
    Adrien wrote: »
    Wait... People have died while building the rocket?

    Isn't... Isn't that kind of a bad sign?

    Nitrous Oxide explosion while they were testing a subsystem of the rocket engine.

    At least they were killed by happy gas.

    AbsoluteZero on
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  • Gorilla SaladGorilla Salad Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    So private space travel isn't to far off?

    Sweet.

    Gorilla Salad on
    Organichu wrote: »
    The main rub is that, fuck, I'm already paying some to upgrade the length... why not pay a little bit more to upgrade the length AND width?
  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Senjutsu wrote: »
    Adrien wrote: »
    Wait... People have died while building the rocket?

    Isn't... Isn't that kind of a bad sign?

    Nitrous Oxide explosion while they were testing a subsystem of the rocket engine.

    At least they were killed by happy gas.

    500350880_a288db686f.jpg

    gtrmp on
  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    lawl. Good show, gtrmp

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  • Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. Surreal. Immersive. Earth.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    :lol: Nice one.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I do keep wondering if sub-orbital flight systems like these will ever be capable of orbital launches. Like, has anyone done the calculations to work out if it's efficient enough to carry the necessary fuel to get to say, geo-stationary orbit from a launch platform like this?

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  • Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. Surreal. Immersive. Earth.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, Branson is talking about stuff like that, so they must have a plan for it.

    Edit: The White Knight is supposedly the most fuel-efficient jet aircraft ever built, for it's size.

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  • MishraMishra Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Yeah I got to go out there fo see spaceship one while I was working a project. Burt Rutan is a crotchety old guys, as is to be expected. These designs can work for getting stuff into orbit, one of our projects here in my unit is called ARES Advance REusable Spacelift. It's essentially a reverse space shuttle, where you fly back the first stage.

    For those interested there will be a Delta II Launching out of Dandenberg AFB a around 11:50 AM and an Atlas V at around 9:10 AM on Sept 10th

    Mishra on
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  • FendallFendall Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Its obviously a step forward, particularly in materials science and application. However sadly this kind of launcher is never going into orbit. The speed required to actually get into LEO is massively more than SS2 could ever achieve. You need to get to Mach 26, SpaceShipOne did just over Mach 3, I don't expect SS2 will do much higher.


    You can't even redesign it to use scramjets or anything since they operate most efficiently at lower altitudes. Plus extended life support, heatshields and so on means you simply can't pack enough fuel onboard.

    Can't beat a good ol' rocket.

    Fendall on
  • MishraMishra Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Fendall wrote: »
    Its obviously a step forward, particularly in materials science and application. However sadly this kind of launcher is never going into orbit. The speed required to actually get into LEO is massively more than SS2 could ever achieve. You need to get to Mach 26, SpaceShipOne did just over Mach 3, I don't expect SS2 will do much higher.


    You can't even redesign it to use scramjets or anything since they operate most efficiently at lower altitudes. Plus extended life support, heatshields and so on means you simply can't pack enough fuel onboard.

    Can't beat a good ol' rocket.

    Well the idea is you fly White Knight 2 up carrying the rocket. We already do this with our pegasus rockets, the difference is White knight can fly a hell of a lot higher and carries a pretty heavy payload. If you get high enough you also get above the typical MaxQ or high pressure point in a rockets flight profile. This means your payload doesn't need to be as resistant to noise and vibration, meaning more of your satellite weight budget can be payload as opposed to structure.

    Mishra on
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