Thursday, January 24, 2008
Proposed Design Changes to SpaceShipTwo
Virgin Galactic and Richard Branson unveiled an artist's interpretation of a WhiteKnightTwo and its SpaceShipTwo launching on a Virgin Galactic flight to suborbital space this week.
According to Information Week "The carrier's launch system is based on the technology of SpaceShipOne, which flew into space three times and won a $10 million Ansari X Prize. Virgin Galactic said the launch system is "environmentally benign" and the spaceship is the world's largest, all carbon composite aircraft."
Pretty exciting. And it looks really cool too.
Already eighty of the spaceships first passengers have completed medical assessment and centrifuge training. Somewhere around 85,000 "registrations of interest" to fly have been completed and participants seem willing to undergo the G Force training simulating suborbital flight conditions.
At the American Museum of Natural History, Branson and Rutan also showed off a model of the four-engine jet, twin fuselage craft (White Knight Two) that launches the SpaceShipTwo was also shown. Up to six passengers and two crew members will separate from the former and move into suborbital space with the latter.
I am not a rocket scientist, but I have two small suggestions. First, expand the flat cone of the ship to accommodate more passengers and give them more things to do other than float around weightless. Maybe an observation deck, or a lounge, or maybe even private quarters. They're rich enough for it.
Secondly, get rid of the need for a lift into space by docking it in space. That way you can attach the twin fuselages directly to the SpaceShip# and use it for propulsion.
I think the redesign would look something like this.
I like it.
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