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HoW come Burt Rutan is cleverer than NASA?

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posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 02:00 PM
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First up, Burt Rutan did not make any breakthroughs here. Not one.

The only thing he can be credited with is applying basic principles and actually using them in a functioning design. He didn’t invent composites, he didn’t invent the rubber/kerosene compound fuel he used, and he didn’t even invent the principals that made his low friction re-entry a success.

All he did was apply them. Don’t get me wrong, this was a history making and substantial achievement, but nothing that can be compared to any NASA achievements or accomplishments.

Want to impress me? Have Burt upscale his little Estes rocket kit and fly a few tons of satellites and experiments into space and keep them there for 10 days and then return them home safely.

Try that one with your design Burt.

Look, people like Burt Rutan are critical to science and technological advancement. But in no way shape or form has his accomplishments topped anything that NASA (or the ESA, RSA, or JAXA for that matter) has done. There is simply no comparison. It’s like comparing a high end car and a bike. They both will move you 100 miles if you wanted them too, but expectations of that bike trip are quite a bit different than the cars trip.

Ill give Burt some props when he can regularly send up crafts large enough to make a difference. Until then, nice toys he has to play with…




posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 02:03 PM
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And again skippy, you probably missed my last post while you were typing but I just explained in a bit more detail what I was getting at.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 02:06 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
Kilcoo got what I was asking straight away


As the adage goes...

Separated by the Adlantic and a common language



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 02:16 PM
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I think that Rutan does deserve a lot more credit than he's getting here. Whilst it is obvious that NASA could have done what he did, they didn't. Ideas for commercial spaceflight have been around for years -Mig 31 Foxhounds with passanger pods... Even the Russians sell tickets for a propoer space flight. Whether the technology is unimpressive or not by NASA's capabilities, commercial spaceflight is a massive development and will fuel development and expansion of what we consider possible. Rutan is currently leading this area and NASA is sitting around hypothosising incredible machines that it doesn't look likre anyone'll ever build. Credit to him and credit to Branson for seeing the oportunity. People like Rutan and Branson have their place in the development of air transport.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 02:32 PM
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Repeat - Speaceship One did NOT do a re-entry from orbit - big difference.

It reached an altitude where it's vertical acceleration reached zero roughly at what we consider the boundary of space. It had no capability to reach orbit or to re-enter as such if it did.

As others have pointed out, you could de-orbit and burn fuel to reduce the re-entry speed to something managable but the fuel required to do so is enormous.

Rutan is a skilled engineer that has pushed the boundaries of aerospace engineering in new directions but until he builds an orbital vehicle we are comparing apples and oranges. Don't forget, Nasa went to the edge of space back in the 60's with the X-15, 40 years before Rutan did....



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 02:35 PM
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The reason the shuttle can't use the same recovery method as SS1 is re-entry speed. Re-entry from a ballistic trajectory is not the same problem as re-entry from orbital velocities.

The thermal protection system (TPS) tiles used on the shuttle are very delicate, but they were an elegant solution to the problem of creating a reusable high-temperature coating. If individual tiles are chipped or lost, they can be replaced like puzzle pieces. In recent years, I have seen metal TPS tiles that might be a more survivable system. The X-33 had tiles made from inconel honeycomb sandwich, withy overlapping edges. Easy to replace and less fragile than silica ceramics.

Burt Rutan is a brilliant and innovative airplane designer, but he is a bit of a blowhard. He takes every opportunity to publicly bash NASA. Meanwhile, he gladly accepts every NASA contract he can get his hands on. I guess he doesn't mind taking NASA's money.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 02:53 PM
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Originally posted by Shadowhawk

Burt Rutan is a brilliant and innovative airplane designer, but he is a bit of a blowhard. He takes every opportunity to publicly bash NASA. Meanwhile, he gladly accepts every NASA contract he can get his hands on. I guess he doesn't mind taking NASA's money.



Maybe he doesn't fully appreciate the absolutely vast amount of research in so many different areas that are carried out within NASA, or with NASA grants. Its simply mind boggling and probably hard for alot of people to appreciate (if they even knew of it).



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 03:05 PM
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The shuttle is much heavier and has more speed when entering athmospere. That is a lot of energy that has to be taken down.
Spaceship One only passed the 100km height by some km. The space shuttle gets 4 or 6 times higher.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 03:08 PM
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And btw, this is still 1940 technology at work. With only some small evolutions.
As long we don't find something else we are going nowhere.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 03:09 PM
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Originally posted by UofCinLA
As others have pointed out, you could de-orbit and burn fuel to reduce the re-entry speed to something managable but the fuel required to do so is enormous.



Yeah, run through a couple of quick calcs and I've just realised how much fuel you'd need!

To completely stop orbital speed you'd need around 1 1/2 times the landing weight of the orbiter itself - completely non-feasible!



Anyway, got another suggestion for future use. Its been quite well documented the effects of a plasma field on reducing drag (thus friction, and heating) - so perhaps future designs will look at incorporating this as a means of reducing skin temperatures to a point where stronger/more damage tolerant materials can be used, reducing the risk.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by kilcoo316

Originally posted by BigTrain

As for comparing the shuttle to the spaceshipone, that is like comparing a ferrari to a bicycle. Spaceshipone did nothing but fly str8 up to 62 miles and then fell str8 back down, this included no level flight out of the atmosphere and no re-entry.




- Again, a dubious comparison, its lack of mission flexibility is directly a result of budget constraints.

Ok, to deorbit the shuttle in the same manner as spaceshipone is not a straightforward process, all (or at least the vast majority of) angular motion (with respect to the earth's centre) has to be arrested, then a controlled vertical descent can begin. The shuttle currently uses the earths atmosphere for this - however, it maybe alot more feasible now than it was then to use a rocket.




Sorry, Train, you are right here to a much larger degree than I thought. Establishing a proper orbit and then de-orbiting is a much bigger challenge than I first imagined it would be.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 03:15 PM
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Anyway, got another suggestion for future use. Its been quite well documented the effects of a plasma field on reducing drag (thus friction, and heating) - so perhaps future designs will look at incorporating this as a means of reducing skin temperatures to a point where stronger/more damage tolerant materials can be used, reducing the risk.


Ba reducing drag you reduce heat but as it takes longer to break I dont know if this gets a lot better



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 03:33 PM
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Originally posted by looofo

Ba reducing drag you reduce heat but as it takes longer to brake I dont know if this gets a lot better


I think it would mean a longer rentry time and flight path, but the peak skin temperatures would be reduced.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 03:36 PM
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The difference between shuttle and Rutan's craft is not just few hundreds km. Those flight are completely different in most technical aspects. Many of the differences have been already mentioned.
Spaceship ONE undertook only suborbital flight. It was in space, but just being in space is not enough for shuttle. If you want to know differences - you need speed 8km per second to reach low earth orbit. For suborbital flight you only need 1.1 - 1.3 km per second - as you see already here is huge difference - shuttle needs 8 times more fuel for it's mission. Than there is need for some fuel to deorbit to amotsphere. Than there is also need for braking as some people said. Space Ship One never needed big heatshield, because it never reached the speeds when it's necessary. It saved weight and cost. But shuttle needs it in order to slow down.

Bird strikes on ceramic heat shield are not big problem IMO, simply because there are not birds in altitude when the shield is used. They can only strike the craft later during landing on lower seedwhen it's not big issue and the damege can be fixed

Shuttle VS Soyuz - according to many Soyuz should be more economical than shuttle which is true, but there are some issues which I want to explain.
1. Soyuz takes much less payload to orbit VS 25-30 tons for shuttle.
2. Soyuz cannot take much payload back - shuttle can take back app 15 tons - that's the reason why it's so important for ISS, Soyuz can just keep it "alive" not maintain it properly.
3. Shuttle was designed for "bigger" operations. It's today use is the same like using Humvee for 1 person transport - it's ineffective.

Shuttle VS rockets However I agree that Shuttle sucessor should be more effective. Now how to make this happen? IMO the future space craft should have Shuttle size and payload but without wings. The braking would be acomplished by parachute (like expendable systems) but all stages would return to earth on their own parachutes. That means it would never need big heat shield like today, and without wings it would be also lighter. It should land on sea and be recovered by huge airships (like that one walrus is building today).



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 04:42 PM
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You have a much greater chance of having a foam strike on launch than a bird strike. However, even a foam strike will trash a solid coating as well as tiles. Carbon Carbon isn't very strong, as seen by the cannon test NASA performed in the Columbia investigation. Resiliant to heat, but not strong. As was stated before, lose a couple of tiles (which happened on just about every flight) and you come back ok. Trash a solid coating, and you're in a lot of trouble.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 05:23 PM
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man, I was pissed off this thread got so long after my last post, because I was so excited to post a reply, and had to read though all that. Now that im back to writing, theres a few problems here.

BURT RUTAN NEVER WENT LEO.

When somebody says orbit, they are implying that he sustained an orbital trajectory which also implies the spacecraft maintained at least a minimal horizontal flight through the orbit of the earth.

Burt Rutan, did this .......

Strapped an UNSTABLE design to the bottom of a long wing craft to get it to about 60,000 feet. He released this UNSTABLE design with a rocket on the back which in turn ignited and over the next few seconds accelerated to about mach 2, if I remember correctly. The SS1 used the remaining ballistic speed to coast up to the 62 miles. It was at this time completely out of fuel and a rock in free fall for tens of miles before it could finally gain control and establish a glide path. Instead of using a parachute, he designed some whacked out tail spinning device which he said acted as a slowing down thing. This has yet to be seen, because the air is so thin, im wondering if it had any effect at all in the decent, the tail was repositioned when the air density was enough to provide lift to the wings.

The x-prize was given to him because, he exploited the contest. The x-prize was intended for LEO, he used the loophole and fact they never clarified the 62 mile boundary. He cheated the other teams out of 10 million. The real purpose of the x-prize from what i understood many years ago, was that they wanted a private firm to establish a LEO vehicle, not just shoot str8 up to 62 miles.

And back to the single ceramic mold. It would be much stronger than tiles, this is fact, just like the brick wall vs the concrete example. If birds hitting the wing tips are a problem, then the mold would just be very reinforced at the tips.

Im sure a bird isnt going through 4 inch solid ceramic reinforced, and foam or anything else for that matter. I still see no reason why there are 30,000 tiles on the shuttle.

Im sure I forgot what else I would post, Ill remember soon.

Train



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 05:39 PM
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Waynos

First off I guess you have gotten the difference between orbital and suborbital spaceflight by now.

The next thing to think about is the energy levels involved and the differences between the two. Kinetic energy is proportional to the square of the velocity. Space ship one had a maximum speed of 2,100 mph, the space shuttle has a maximum speed of around 17,500 mph. Given the difference in energy between the two is the square of these numbers it means that the space shuttle has to lose around 70 times the energy that space ship one has to, that's a lot of extra heat to cope with.

Orbital flight really is a lot harder than sub orbital.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 05:57 PM
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Originally posted by BigTrain

The x-prize was given to him because, he exploited the contest. The x-prize was intended for LEO, he used the loophole and fact they never clarified the 62 mile boundary. He cheated the other teams out of 10 million.


Go and read the X-prize web site, it was never an orbital prize.

The combination of the White Knight and Space Ship One was a very good design. It was also alot safer than a comventional rocket.

The use of a carrier aircraft eliminated weight from the spacecraft. It also removed the possiblity of a dangerouse on pad abort.

The use of a hybrid rocket engin that used tire rubber and laughing gas which won't explode on contact with each other, unlike cryogenic and hypogolic propellants, and could also be swiched off unlike soild motors.

The feather removed the need for very precice pitch control needed for X-15 re-entries.

Space ship one also had all moving elevator surfaces just like the X-1.

out of all the other X prize contestants I think it is probably the safest design.

The rotation encountered on Melviles first exoatmosphereic flight was a problem but its didn't reoccure on the next two flights and will be specificaly addressed on space ship two.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 06:08 PM
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Originally posted by BigTrain
Im sure a bird isnt going through 4 inch solid ceramic reinforced, and foam or anything else for that matter. I still see no reason why there are 30,000 tiles on the shuttle. Train


There are variouse reasons for tiles on the Orbiters rather than a single large solid chunk.

Tiles can flex, or rather the small gaps between them alow them to move in relation to each other in responce to aucoustic and thermal loads. They are also very light, much lighter that a thicker single reinforced layer.



posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 06:43 PM
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Yes, my understanding of this is all about not going into (or returning from) 'true earth orbit' (low or otherwise).

As interesting as an ultra high altitude flight is it is hardly comparable to true orbit and the requirements thereof and attemptiong a serious comparison with NASA and the Space Shuttle (or any of their rockets) is very very silly.

By the way, now that the 'x prize' has gone how about the really really difficult one?


While a team of aerospace engineers takes aim this week on the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition for privately developed suborbital spaceflight, a Nevada millionaire is planning an even loftier contest.

Robert Bigelow, chief of Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace, is apparently setting higher goals for private spaceflight endeavors with America's Space Prize, a $50 million race to build an orbital vehicle capable of carrying up to seven astronauts to an orbital outpost by the end of the decade, according to Aviation Week and Space Technology.

www.space.com...

- Maybe when the privately funded guys get this far on they can start questioning NASA etc etc, hmmm?







 
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