conversationJuly 9, 2021 12:36:07 IST
In the next two weeks, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson will fly into space. They can, In a spaceship designed by each company.
It’s a big moment for the private space industry. But the question arises. Who has a smarter plan?
Billionaire Space Race
After 15 successful test flights, this will be the first crew flight of the Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft. The private winner of the charity auction reportedly occupies one seat. US $ 28 million For privilege. Bezos and his brother Mark will occupy two more seats.
The fourth seat goes to Wally Funk. The 82-year-old pilot was a promising candidate for the Mercury 13 Female Astronaut Training Program in the 1960s, but was unable to go to space due to gender.
Shortly after Bezos announced his plans, Sir Richard Branson also joined in and set the launch date on July 11, nine days before Bezos departed.
Branson travels as part of the six crew of Virgin Galactic Spaceplane VSS Unity.VSS Unity, a specific SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, will be the 4th time Flew into spaceHowever, at first it was a full crew.
Both flights are short and are based on various definitions of where the “space” begins.
Bezos’ Blue Origin has chosen to define this as internationally recognized Carman line at an altitude of 100 kilometers.. The peak of New Shepard’s orbit just exceeds this limit.
Virgin Galactic, on the other hand, about the US Air Force’s definition of space 80km Altitude. Their SpaceShipTwo typically reach a peak altitude of about 90km during flight.
Blue Origin New Shepard
Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a fully autonomous rocket (without pilot) that takes off almost completely vertically. A remote launch site in western Texas..
It is supplied by BE-3 liquid fuel rocket motor, The spacecraft burns at a speed of 900 meters per second for about two and a half minutes until it reaches an altitude of 55 km. In a nearly vertical orbit, this is enough altitude and momentum to reach the universe.
When the rocket motor stops burning, the rocket motor and the booster holding the fuel separate from the crew’s capsule and return to Earth.
The entire flight lasts only 10 minutes. Astronauts experience weightlessness near peak altitude before the capsule reenters the atmosphere and returns to Earth. Parachutes help slow down.
Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo spaceplane is carried by carrier-based aircraft WhiteKnightTwo to an altitude of 15km. At this point, it begins above the thick lower atmosphere and jumps into space.
SpaceShipTwo will be separated from WhiteKnightTwo and will start a hybrid rocket motor engine. The engine burns for 1 minute, giving the spaceplane enough momentum to reach a peak altitude of 90km.
Like New Shepard, passengers experience weightlessness for a few minutes before re-entering the atmosphere.
SpaceShipTwo performs a “feathered re-entry” due to its slow re-entry speed. In this case, rotate the wings up and keep them stable like a shuttlecock when falling to an altitude of 15 km.
It then becomes a spaceplane again, returns to the ground under pilot control, and can be reused.
Rocket vs spaceplane
There are some differences and similarities in the corporate approach.
Both are short flights and will allow you to take advantage of the under-orbit launch trajectory. This means that they will reach the proper altitude to reach space, but will not enter orbit. This approach requires much less fuel than orbital flight.
Under-orbit orbit also significantly slows reentry, eliminating the need for the strong heat shield that would be required when returning from orbit. Both also aim to reuse spacecraft to reduce operating costs over time.
But beyond that, the approach is quite different.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard is essentially a big “Sounding rocketThese are small research rockets that perform in-orbit hops, allowing you to perform scientific experiments during a short trip to space.
It also uses a liquid rocket motor, which is difficult to design, but is generally safe because it can be throttled during operation (and can be stopped if necessary).
After 15 successful unmanned spacecraft test flights, the New Shepard is an overall simple spacecraft. This can be cheaper and safer in the long run.
In contrast, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is much more advanced. It is a rocket propulsion machine launched in the air. This is an approach that has not been properly considered since NASA and the US Air Force. X-15 program In the 1960s.
For a successful flight, the SpaceShipTwo must be mounted on a carrier-based aircraft, fired, the rocket motor ignited in the air, the wings stowed for re-entry, and then stowed back home. This complex procedure has already been unleashed many times.
The recent SpaceShipTwo flight was canceled due to a computer malfunction after the rocket motor ignited.I landed safely Did not reach the universe..
And in 2014, a feathered re-entry system accidentally activated during its ascent into space, destroying and tragically killing its first SpaceShipTwo model, VSS Enterprise. First officer..
Diversity and simplicity
The cost of seats on both spacecraft is spectacular, but only Virgin Atlantic has announced an official price tag: US $ 250,000 per seat on SpaceShipTwo flights.Blue Origin New Shepard Similar price..
Blue Origin’s system is so simple that you can reduce costs over time. But simplicity may also be a drawback. SpaceShipTwo, on the other hand, is a more complex spacecraft with pilots. This can be more appealing to customers.
Chris James, ARC DECRA Fellow, Hypersonic Center, Faculty of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, TUniversity of Queensland
Both millionaires are ready to dive into space, which one has a better plan? -Technology News, Firstpost
Source link Both millionaires are ready to dive into space, which one has a better plan? -Technology News, Firstpost
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