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Space Tourism Firm Unveils Orbital Spacecraft Concept

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posted on Dec, 15 2005 @ 05:21 PM
Space Tourism Firm Unveils Orbital Spacecraft Concept
By Tariq Malik
Staff Writer
posted: 15 December 2005
8:00 a.m. ET

A space tourism group developing a suborbital rocket ship is now taking aim at orbital trips with a new spacecraft that doubles as a hypersonic glider.

Canada’s London, Ontario-based firm PlanetSpace unveiled designs for its Silver Dart spacecraft, an eight-person vehicle derived from experimental aircraft studies in the 1970s, Thursday with hopes of carrying fare-paying passengers into orbit and resupplying the International Space Station (ISS).

“The Silver Dart is the DC-3 of the space industry,” said Geoff Sheerin, PlanetSpace president and CEO, in a telephone interview. “It has so many things going for it in terms of performance.”

Sheerin’s Silver Dart program is separate from his Canadian Arrow effort to use a proven V2 rocket design to build a three-person rocket ship for suborbital flights. Plans for the Silver Dart date back about four years as Sheerin was researching the Canadian Arrow rocket to compete in the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition for suborbital spaceflight.

“About five percent of my time has been looking and poring over the program,” Sheerin said of the Silver Dart plans.

But NASA’s intention to purchase commercial services for both cargo and crew flights to the ISS encouraged Sheerin and his team to push forward with their work. NASA plans to retire its three remaining space shuttles – Atlantis, Endeavour and Discovery – in 2010.


I like this spaceplane it is using a lifting body technology.

[edit on 15-12-2005 by MarkLuitzen]

posted on Dec, 15 2005 @ 05:33 PM
Now THAT is really cool. Even though the Canadian Arrow itself hasn't flown yet they continue to impress me in their audatious designs(as well as very stylized as well) I really hope this project gets off the ground.

posted on Dec, 15 2005 @ 08:06 PM
Definitely. I remember a few of the Anasri X competitors. A LOT of them had some really impressive things going. However, then that person came out and spent millions of dollars to win something worth less than a million dollars. It practically defeated the purpose of the contest. Then it was like all of those experimental crafts got shoved over, because they didn't win - even though their ideas costed LESS than a million dollars - of which many would have succeeded (and of which, a Canadian one would have succeeded had it not been for a delayed flight).

posted on Dec, 16 2005 @ 02:36 AM
It's a nice "artist concept", but from an aerodynamic standpoint I'm not sure it would work.

For one thing, look at all the implied sharp angles; especially the extremely sharp leading edge of the main air (space)frame. Thermodynamic tests have shown that the temperatures generated by re-entry heating are dramaticallly increased along a knife-edge surface, as opposed to a rounded surface. Which is why the NASA Shuttle and all other (known) re-entry vehicles have few, if any sharp edges.

Sharp edges look cool and may be great for RF stealth, but are poor performers for dealing with atmospheric re-entry conditions.

Also, that twin-Vee rudder has me worried. Having it extend outside the fuselage envelope, and thus outside the protective "shadow" of the fuselage will subject the vehicle's primary aerodynamic steering surface(s0 to the violent forces of the re-entry plasma's slip-stream; not only will this cause those structures to be exposed to severe thermal and aerodynamic stresses, it will likely cause huge amounts of turbulence to be generated within the plasma flow upon re-entry. You know that can't be good.

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