Space Tourism

ramonmercado

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I'd have thought that whole area would have been cleared.
But yes, they're going to bash the rulebook on somebody's head, because... POWER.

No, because of safety. How wide an area should be cleared when there is an agreed flight path?
 

EnolaGaia

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Can't help wondering if the same degree of pedantry would have been applied to a Musk or Bezos mission.
It's not mere pedantry, and everyone is subject to FAA approval if and whenever they're operating in US airspace.

There's a significant difference in the vehicles and flight profiles that needs to be recognized here. The Blue Origin and SpaceX launch vehicles basically go up and return to their point of origin. There's a much narrower airspace / flight path envelope to be evaluated and reserved for their flights. Blue Origin's New Shepard capsule parachuted to a landing at a designated down-range landing area. SpaceX's Crew Dragon lands at sea.

In contrast, both the Virgin Galactic launch and crewed vehicles operate as controlled winged aircraft operating out of conventional (if specialized) airfield facilities farther inland surrounded by Class A (exclusively ATC-controlled) airspace. On VSS Unity's July Unity 22 flight there was an automated warning during ascent that signaled a prospective aberration in the return glide path, but they pressed ahead anyway. During descent the craft deviated from its planned / approved flight path and crossed into Class A airspace where it never should have encroached.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I guess I was reminded of the US attempts to legislate against the Anglo-French Concorde from the 1970s up to 2000, citing noise levels, particularly on take-off and landing. This was though, at a time when supersonic airliners were thought to be the future and, indeed, a Boeing version did start development. The US Port Authority legal cases were largely perceived as being more to do with the US fearing that Europe would take an unassailable lead in exploiting the new technology, than any genuine concerns about noise.
 

EnolaGaia

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Aircraft noise was an issue of American public outcry and activism from the mid-Sixties onward, and the FAA had begun introducing standards and regulations to control aircraft noise before the Concorde's first test flight in 1969. The America Supersonic Transport (SST) program was evaluated to be a losing proposition, and it was terminated by a cutoff of federal funding in 1971 - 5 years before Concorde entered service. This, by the way, was a full decade after the B-70 supersonic bomber program was cancelled for reasons including the same ones that would later motivate cancellation of the American civilian SST program. In the mean time, the two prototype B-70s (re-labeled XB-70) served as test platforms contributing data and test results to the SST program.

On balance these results did nothing to reverse anyone's opinion that an SST wasn't an economically viable prospect. Projections indicating dismal cost-benefit factors and concerns over supersonic flight's exorbitant fuel consumption also contributed to the growing opinion an SST simply wasn't justified for civilian aviation. If the US federal government wanted to hamstring Concorde development they wouldn't have allowed NASA to test and validate the Concorde's novel wing design in the mid-1960s using modified US Navy supersonic fighter prototypes - a key milestone in establishing the Concorde's initial design and construction requirements.

I can recall a certain degree of incredulity in the USA regarding the continuation of the joint British / French SST program. There wasn't any American public resistance to dropping the SST program once the downsides and high cost structures were revealed. To the extent anyone paid attention to aviation R&D news at the time nobody could figure out why the Concorde project kept chugging along.

It's interesting that the subject of SSTs popped up in this thread about space tourism. I'm a lifelong space freak, and I think private / commercial initiatives in basic space capabilities like launch vehicles and orbital payload deliveries are a healthy trend. Now that I think about it, the purely space tourism aspect that's getting so much attention strikes me as something of a replay of the SST fad that became popular circa 1960 - an extravagant vision of an future extravagance that probably stands little chance of parlaying itself into a viable business.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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SpaceX has scheduled a launch window for its Inspiration4 mission tomorrow (Sept 15th).
This will be the first all-civilian orbiting of the Earth and therefore seems somehow a more authentic space experience than the Bezos and Branson brief hops above the atmosphere.

spacex.JPG


Further details and the link to watch live are here:

https://www.spacex.com/launches/
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Now, as I'm firing up my works laptop, I do feel like I've had way too little sleep, but last night's SpaceX launch, just before 01:00 BST was definitely worth watching. Followed it for around an hour, until my wife got a bit ratty and reminded me gently that I had work in the morning.
Musk has certainly got the video stream to a level of proficiency far better than either Branson or Bezos. The split screen, showing the astronauts and the external views, was absolutely superb!

space.JPG
 

Xanatic*

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I agree, the previous attempts felt like not much more that suborbital flights. This here is real space tourism.
 

Trevp666

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Not only that but apparently they have gone out to an orbit much higher than the ISS, in fact one of the highest orbits since the Hubble telescope was put up there.
 

Xanatic*

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Would that make them the humans to go furthest, since the moon landing?
 

Trevp666

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Would that make them the humans to go furthest, since the moon landing?
That's a good question. I guess possibly, or at least ones that we know about, assuming that there are also classified military operations in space by both the US and Russia.
 

EnolaGaia

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Would that make them the humans to go furthest, since the moon landing?
Yes - this would be the highest altitude (crewed mission; apogee farthest outward from the earth's surface) since the Apollo lunar missions.

However, this isn't a record, because it would not be the highest altitude / orbital apogee for a non-lunar crewed mission (i.e., a mission that stayed in the Low Earth Orbit zone). The record apogees for LEO non-lunar missions were set in 1966:
1966-07-18 - Gemini 10 - Collins, Young - 763 km apogee orbit
1966-09-14 - Gemini 11 - Conrad, Gordon - 1,372 km apogee orbit
SOURCE: http://www.astronautix.com/a/astronautstatistics.html
 
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