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Thread: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    A tragic incident. My heart goes out to the families, and to the surviving pilot as well. I was so sad to hear about this.

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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius46 View Post
    I thought the opposite of the coverage. I found the continued emphasis on the private nature of the flights to be implicit damning of commercial space organizations. Disclosure: I own several hundred shares of Orbital Sciences stock so I may be being overly sensitive.

    We have done this before as far as LEO goes but the point is that flight test is dangerous business, especially with completely new types and an all composite space plane is a radically new type. People die doing it and the streets at Edwards are named after a long list of test pilots who've died in flight test. We should try to minimize the risks but to assume we can eliminate them and not get people killed is wholly unrealistic.

    No doubt that there are pressures to keep costs down, I don't see that as as being a bad thing. Rather I think it's required if we're to commercialize space. And if space is ever to be anything other than a novelty, a research project it must become commercially viable. Does that mean accepting more risk? Probably. At least in the short term.
    I live in Kern county Mojave is on the east side in the desert and is THE hub for aerospace in California right now. There's a reason they are called test flights. Not everything can be accurately modeled on a computer especially with new flight regimes.
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    I'm kind of suprised by the one-sidedness of the coverage. Every single piece I've read has sounded like it was written by Virgin Galactic, appologizing for the accident as if it was something you expect when exploring new frontiers. At one point the CNN host repeated herself about 16 times talking about everyone in the company's "excitement" at realizing this "vision".

    Spaceship 2 isn't visionary. It's not exploring any new frontiers. In 1963, the North American X-15, utilizing a similar design reached 108km of altitude. That was 50 years ago. Spaceship 2 isn't research, it's commercialization. And comercialization means replacing the duct tape and chicken wire of research technology with something that's reliable and cost effective.

    Spaceship 2 is certainly cheap. Very very cheap. Originally, Spaceship 2 was anticipated to cost $100 million dollars to develop. Contrast that with the 777 which cost $7.7BILLION to develop.

    Why? Because safety and reliability are EXPENSIVE.

    In today's dollars the entire x15 program cost $2.2Billion with each flight costing $4.5Million. Virgin Galactic hasn't released their targets, but they have to to pay back $400 Million in development costs with $1.5 million in revenue per flight. To be even remotely sane, they have to be looking at at a few hundred thousand dollars or less per flight in operating costs. There is also a significant time crunch. The current backlog of paid passengers is 575. At one flight a month, that's a 9 year backlog.

    Quite simply, you cannot develop highly reliable safe systems without both time and money. It is not reasonable to develop a spaceplane for essentially the cost of a gulfstream and expect it to have the same level of reliability.

    Obviously, there's a pretty signifigant chance that there were pressures put on the development team to make each flight as cheap as possible and to begin flying passangers as soon as possible. And if so, there's an equally good chance that those pressures contributed to or were directly responsible for this accident.

    We shouldn't lionize Branson.
    I KNOW the people at Rutan. They are as good as ANY at Boeing, Lockheed, Sikorsky, some of those Rutan boys are better. They have pioneered many firsts in flight. I guarantee you it wasn't a shoddy workmanship or cheap design that caused that accident. It was an unanticipated problem. It happens to the best teams. That's why they do test flights to figure out what they did wrong and fix them. That's the whole point of a test flight. They are supposed to find problems before they go to production. I put my money were my mouth is. I use their services for designing my specialty airframes. These guys aren't fly by night. They have DOD contracts of all sorts.
    Semper Fidelis, Semper Liber.
    I spit at lots of people through my computer screen. Not only does it "teach them a lesson" but it keeps the screen clean and shiny.
    Stolen fair and square from the Capt. Courtesey himself.

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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test - NBC News

    If you know anyone planning to launch into outer space, you might want to suggest they wait until next week. Not a good week to launch.
    Its sad that we are fascinated by an aircraft that can only travel to near space when we landed on the moon decades ago. It's cool that a private citizen is interested enough in space that they fun a project to go there, but I just find it disheartening that this is even news. When voters and politicians decided to stop going to space and exploring, will probably be the point in time people in the future will look back on as the point when the US stopped leading the world in science. And also the point in time where the US started to decline.
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Unitedwestand13 View Post
    It would not be the first time an accident happened because saftey was given lower priority in favor of finiancial gains.

    The dc.10 had similar teething troubles that centered on the reliability of the planes cargo doors. They had a tendency to come unlocked during flight and causing the door to fly off in a explosive decompression
    Safety wasn't a secondary concern, it was a primary concern otherwise they wouldn't bother TESTING. The whole reason an aircraft especially manned aircraft are extensively tested is to FIND problems that may have been missed during the development and engineering phase. So those problems DONT occur in ordinary use. This is why the push the envelope of tested aircraft so they know what the limits are and can document them for future pilots, and for further refinement of the aircraft and its systems.
    Semper Fidelis, Semper Liber.
    I spit at lots of people through my computer screen. Not only does it "teach them a lesson" but it keeps the screen clean and shiny.
    Stolen fair and square from the Capt. Courtesey himself.

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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    I'm kind of suprised by the one-sidedness of the coverage. Every single piece I've read has sounded like it was written by Virgin Galactic, appologizing for the accident as if it was something you expect when exploring new frontiers. At one point the CNN host repeated herself about 16 times talking about everyone in the company's "excitement" at realizing this "vision".

    Spaceship 2 isn't visionary. It's not exploring any new frontiers. In 1963, the North American X-15, utilizing a similar design reached 108km of altitude. That was 50 years ago. Spaceship 2 isn't research, it's commercialization. And comercialization means replacing the duct tape and chicken wire of research technology with something that's reliable and cost effective.

    Spaceship 2 is certainly cheap. Very very cheap. Originally, Spaceship 2 was anticipated to cost $100 million dollars to develop. Contrast that with the 777 which cost $7.7BILLION to develop.

    Why? Because safety and reliability are EXPENSIVE.

    In today's dollars the entire x15 program cost $2.2Billion with each flight costing $4.5Million. Virgin Galactic hasn't released their targets, but they have to to pay back $400 Million in development costs with $1.5 million in revenue per flight. To be even remotely sane, they have to be looking at at a few hundred thousand dollars or less per flight in operating costs. There is also a significant time crunch. The current backlog of paid passengers is 575. At one flight a month, that's a 9 year backlog.

    Quite simply, you cannot develop highly reliable safe systems without both time and money. It is not reasonable to develop a spaceplane for essentially the cost of a gulfstream and expect it to have the same level of reliability.

    Obviously, there's a pretty signifigant chance that there were pressures put on the development team to make each flight as cheap as possible and to begin flying passangers as soon as possible. And if so, there's an equally good chance that those pressures contributed to or were directly responsible for this accident.

    We shouldn't lionize Branson.
    This is why looking to the private sector to develop a space program is asinine. The only way to develop a space program is thru government funding, because private companies are only looking at how they can profit from it, while government agencies don't have to worry about or care about a profit from it.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

  7. #17
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    The whole thing...... set back back YEARS. Did anyone gamble on the stock? IS there stock?
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Capster78 View Post
    This is why looking to the private sector to develop a space program is asinine. The only way to develop a space program is thru government funding, because private companies are only looking at how they can profit from it, while government agencies don't have to worry about or care about a profit from it.
    Are you kidding me? How many people died in NASA's space programs compared to the private industry? The fact is that government programs became bloated due to politics and corruption. There will always be deaths in space exploration, that is inescapable. The private industry will learn from this and get better.

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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Capster78 View Post
    This is why looking to the private sector to develop a space program is asinine. The only way to develop a space program is thru government funding, because private companies are only looking at how they can profit from it, while government agencies don't have to worry about or care about a profit from it.
    Friend you don't know what you're talking about. Flight test is a dangerous business. It always has been. Hundreds of military test pilots have died testing aircraft. NASA lost how many people over the years? Putting someone in a tube and accelerating it to hundreds or thousands of miles an hour, miles above the surface is inherently dangerous. Add to that the variables of a new design and it becomes an order of magnitude more dangerous. That's the nature of the beast and it doesn't matter in the least who's writing the check.
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant Noodle View Post
    The whole thing...... set back back YEARS. Did anyone gamble on the stock? IS there stock?
    I'm pretty sure Virgin Galactic is a privately held company.
    Don't be a grammar nazi - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 1 #7

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