This week the company Virgin Galactic, owned by British billionaire Richard Branson, has introduced a new model of a suborbital vehicle for space tourism SpaceShipTwo. Previous the plane crashed about half a year ago, burying one of the pilots. What an interesting project Branson, we were told the analyst in the field of space technology.
Despite the previous fiasco, not only Branson, but also potential travelers do not lose faith in the project and continue to book tickets on a space flight of the future. Among them were Hollywood stars and famous scientists. However, industry experts do not exclude that Branson will bypass competitors offering the model of the flights with the rockets. By the way, this is a private project in Russia.
Externally, the vehicle VSS Unity is almost identical to the previous model, which crashed during an experimental flight in the desert of southern California in 2014. Then, according to the investigators, played a role, including the pilots error. Therefore, during this presentation the creators said about the improvement of system security taking into account past experience. In particular, many of the crew will be even “closer” to insure the computer.
It is assumed that the ship can carry up to six passengers. They will be able to see the Earth from a height of 100 km and experience the feeling of weightlessness. Two hour flight will cost about 250 thousand dollars. The desire to try yourself as a tourist in space thus was expressed by more than 800 people, including the family of Branson, angelina Jolie, etc. But this coming test flights, until the new ship did not commit.
In practice, as explained “MK” experts, space flight might look like the following: private spaceport is conducting a special aircraft carrier, between two of which is suspended from the fuselage of the ship SpaceShipTwo. At an altitude of approximately 10 km SpaceShip separates from the aircraft carrier and sent into space, but does not go into orbit, and ascends at a predetermined height above 100 km. From this level, passengers will experience weightlessness and observe the same kinds of Earth, and astronauts to the ISS, although will not experience serious congestion. As a result of going to space can people with any physical training. A striking example – one of the tickets has already acquired world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who suffers from a serious illness.
– Presentation of the new model is another step in the development of space tourism, its transition from theory and ideas to the market, – told “MK” analyst cluster of space technologies of Fund “SKOLKOVO” Ivan Kosenkov. But still there are questions to the security offered by Virgin Galactic engineering solutions: how to abandon ship in case of an accident, what should be the best suits for the participants in case of depressurization, how reliable used hybrid fuel?
Rutan, who worked on the spaceship is a brilliant aircraft designer who built a lot of interesting aircraft. But as far as aircraft scheme is applicable to flights into space – a moot point. Of course, Branson has a portfolio of orders. However, suffice it to say that the award-winning SpaceShipOne, which several times visited outside the atmosphere, now in a Museum and more aircraft in the scheme nobody was flying. While the other model sub-orbital tourism – based missiles – is gaining momentum. At the end of last year, the team of Jeff Bezos Blue origin was able to successfully launch a suborbital rocket, which shoots the capsule with tourists. Then the capsule descends to earth on parachutes, and the rocket stage lands on their own engine… And Bezos managed to successfully launch a rocket stage re. So the big question, what should a missile or aircraft – will eventually prove more functional and the first who will come out on the market.
According to experts, the spacecraft, Branson has a long cycle of trials and tests to answer all the requirements of the Federal aviation administration strictly monitors the level of safety of commercial suborbital transportation. Any disaster with tourists on Board capable of killing a growing industry, as it has been in the history of airship travel by air. The most optimistic estimates, says Ivan Kosenkov, “the fly” SpaceShipTwo will take 2-3 years. By the way, notice Ivan, in their space cluster is developing a project of a tourist ship missile type, the results the company plans to introduce by 2020.