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Originally posted by Murcielago
They say that they want a craft that goes up 100 miles, and in the future (probably around 20 years) they want a space station hotel. Wonder how they plan on keeping the station up from gravity bringing it back down to earth? The ISS in 250 miles up and even that still needs the space shuttles thrusters to move it back up and it also uses the soyuz capsules as well.
What's going to be next in Burt's bag of tricks?
Scaled has completed 34 manned research aircraft. None were announced until they were ready to fly.
Our concept design work began in 1996, and some preliminary development began in 1999. Our full development program began in secrecy in April 2001. This extensive experimental research effort is a complete manned space program. It consists of all new hardware including a launch aircraft [the White Knight], a three-place spaceship [the SpaceShipOne], a hybrid rocket propulsion system, a mobile propulsion test facility, a flight simulator, an inertial-nav flight director, a mobile mission control center, all spacecraft systems, a pilot training program and a complete flight test program. All our hardware components are full-scale, full space-capable performance, not mockups or interim vehicles.
During the June press conference, Rutan alluded to a second-generation vehicle that would tote more tourists. “It makes an enormous difference to fly 6 to 10 people,” he noted. SpaceShipOne incorporates a scalable design that could balloon in size without necessitating significant changes to its shape. Such a craft would not only be larger but would fly higher than SpaceShipOne, to give more “time to unstrap and float around,” Rutan says. Frank Macklin, an engineer at SpaceDev, a company that built components for SpaceShipOne’s hybrid rocket, says it’s feasible to build a rocket motor large enough to power a suborbital bus.
Burt Rutan also said in 2004 "we're heading for orbit sooner than you think".