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Virgin Galactic flight to the edge of space: your questions answered

British business mogul Richard Branson is going to the edge of space with three other people. If the flight goes as planned, Branson will be the first billionaire to reach space on his own commercial vehicle, pipping rival Jeff Bezos by a little more than a week. ( More...

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victorbravo77 3
Any more video of "Eve" the mothership landing?
T Walbolt 2
I like Neil Young’s definition “out of the blue, and into the black”
the videos of the actual aircraft leaving the "mother ship" were branson is very wealthy,yes,but he also gives a lot and works for causes other than his own self aggrandizement and monetary gain..this is only the beginning,and if i had to say i have a "favorite" billioniare (i do not know any!)i would say its mr branson as despite his wealth,he does have some humility and seems like a truly "nice" guy!
Paul Miller 3
All this rush to beat out ANOTHER multi Billionaire mmmmmmmmm whatever whatever...Boys will be boys I guess.
Would like to see Sir Richard in charge of Boeing, many Americans would change their opinion about this man.
Jim DeTour 1
Considering the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster had Japan raising the safe level of radiation 200 times over the previous safe limit I guess it cool picking the lowest altitude number to say he made space. Well about as cool as Japans way of setting the numbers figures dirty nukes are okay.
Does anyone know why Branson's ship didn't have a nose wheel, but instead had some sort of skid pad? That struck me as odd and I can't think of a reason why they would do that.
to save weight and space. If you look at the Unity they would have needed a larger nose to house landing gear.
aurodoc 1
BTW-- Have any of you seen photos of the Blue Origin rocket?
What does it remind you of? I guess its fitting that Bezos will be aboard.
They are all 'phallic', all rockets and missiles. Even the SpaceX rockets have a blunter end. *shrug*
D Kaufman 2
Quite the head, huh?
Jan Meyer 0
Impressive attempt and tech toys, but don’t call it space flight. You can call it a unsuccessful attempted space flight and nothing more. Successful space flight is when you are able to circle the earth at least once. Therefore Elon has already won that race as private company.
There is a question on when 'space' begins. According to the common believed beginning of space, the plane reached that point. Arguing that it has to be an orbital flight is trying to move the goal posts, and is ridiculous. If you have one foot in a secured area at an airport, you are trespassing. If you are caught, you can be arrested and prosecuted for it. Arguing that your heart didn't cross the line is just silly...

The Virgin Galactic plane is believed to cross that imaginary line, and was 'in space'. Yeah, it seems silly, the whole thing is silly, but that's what is required to certify the achievement. Why spending money to pollute the environment, rather than spending the money to protect the environment is just part of being a spoiled rich ass. He's 71. He wanted to die knowing that he was an 'astronaut'. You can also call yourself 'king', but at least he did cross a line to get the title. Coming up with a different name to signify less than an hour 'in space' is just as silly as calling yourself an astronaut for doing it for a couple minutes. The whole thing is silly...

Richard Branson, astronaut? *shrug* Let him have it. It cost us, and him, enough to get it.
Bob Curry 3
There's no doubt that the Virgin Galactic crew met the current US definition of 'astronaut'.
From a technical perspective, however, that definition is entirely arbitrary and not very interesting. Nothing significant changes between flying from an altitude of 49 to 51 miles.
The public generally associates the term 'astronaut' with the much more difficult task of getting into and returning from orbit. It would be pointless to try and change such long-standing, ingrained terminology.
People that understand the physics, also understand that orbital flight is a much more important demarkation, but so it goes. 'Astronaut' recognizes an arbitrary criteria, but it is part of our language now.
But, the duration of the flight is meaningless. You *can* orbit the planet, and never be 'in space'. People have done it millions of times.

The Kármán Line is an attempt to define the end of the atmosphere. It ends *somewhere*, so defining it just makes it easier to see who 'made it', and who didn't. Requiring a quota for determining whether someone (or something) has been 'in space' is really ridiculous. So, then the whole thing starts all over. How long does something have to be over the line to qualify for being 'in space'. If you can't see how ridiculous that is, I'm sorry, I can't help you.

You cross 'the line', you are 'in space'. If you don't like the line, make up your own, but no one is going to follow. There was a large amount of discussion on where space begins. *shrug* It's (pointing straight up) up 'there'...
Steve Cutchen 0
I can drive Pike's Peak and claim I summited a Colorado fourteener. La dee da. Branson is a barnstormer.
It wasn't even an attempted space flight. My understanding is that it takes about sixty times as much energy to get into orbit as it takes to get up to an altitude you could call "space".

More info:
Steve Cutchen 2

Suborbital flight requires 4000 mph.
Orbital flight requires 17,500 mph

Energy needed is proportional to velocity squared
( 1/2*mass*velocity*velocity)

And to go that fast requires a lot more fuel, and you have to lift that and take it with you, too... so the "mass" value in the power equation also goes up by a *lot*. That’s why the Saturn V moon rocket was so big. It was almost all fuel.
If that's the case then where do meteorites come from?
Meteorites are chunks that fall and survive to hit the ground. They are parts of asteroids, comets, meteors and just general junk. The solar system is a pretty messy place. Here is a video showing 'near Earth objects'. It's a wonder we aren't pummeled on a more continuous basis with all of that stuff floating around. DUCK!!!
Nic Tanner 1
We are pummeled 7x24 daily by space debris. Here on earth we call it dust, the stuff you have to remove from your home's furnishings on regular basis.
Jim Prevo 1
Most of that dust is dried skin follicles.
More that could scare the hell out of you...
Joel Rugeno -4
What a waste! Tons of pollution to boost ones ego
Nic Tanner 1
You missed the part where both he and Musk as well as Bezos are not competing with each other for ego. They are launching their own space tourist businesses which hopefully will come down in price per seat as more vehicles are built. Jealous much?
victorbravo77 -2
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

virgin galactic

Branson's flight. A little too theatrical but a great flight. Maybe they could have named her the "VSS Vanity" but, I digress.

Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites.

I like this older video of the White Knight 2 on landing on a parallel runway some time ago.


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