Archive | Space

XCOR’s Lynx to Bring Space Travel to the Masses

Posted on 04 April 2008

Lynx Personal Spaceship

A small company from Mojave, CA is poised to bring space travel to the general public. Well, the rich public. XCOR Aerospace recently announced that it’s Lynx suborbital spaceship will be ready for flight in 2010. The Lynx is the size of a small private aircraft and will carry two passengers to a height of 200,000 feet above the earth’s surface.

The Lynx Mk. 1 is a single stage suborbital spacecraft. I can reach Mach 2 on it’s ascent and will give passengers about 4 minutes of ‘micro-weighlessness’ on the edge of space before gliding back to earth. The entire trip only lasts 30 minutes and goes for about $100,000 USD. No word on if the TSA makes you take off your shoes before getting on board.

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Travel Beyond the Speed of Sound with the Hypersonic A2

Posted on 07 February 2008


Imagine eating breakfast in Brussels and then dinner in Sydney – all in the same day. If the hypersonic AS concept plane is ever built, you may be able to do just that. Twice as long as the new Airbus A380, the A2 will carry up to 300 passengers, with rates promised to be comparable to a business class ticket. The plane will speed along at 3,900 miles per hour (Mach 5) or five times the speed of sound. That is twice as fast as the Concorde!

Modern air travel is a marvel. It’s also a source of endless delay, annoyance and planet-killing greenhouse gases. A proposed hydrogen-powered hypersonic airliner could change all that. The plane is Reaction Engines’s A2 concept, a Mach-5 (3,400mph) craft for 300 passengers funded in part by the European Union’s Long-Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies project (Lapcat). Lapcat wants an airliner that can fly from Brussels to Sydney in less than four hours. If built, the A2 will do just that—without producing a trace of carbon emissions.

Engineers created the A2 with the failures of its doomed supersonic predecessor, the Concorde, very much in mind. Reaction Engines’s technical director, Richard Varvill, and his colleagues believe that the Concorde was phased out because of a couple major limitations. First, it couldn’t fly far enough. “The range was inadequate to do trans-Pacific routes, which is where a lot of the potential market is thought to be for a supersonic transport,” Varvill explains. Second, the Concorde’s engines were efficient only at its Mach-2 cruising speed, which meant that when it was poking along overland at Mach 0.9 to avoid producing sonic booms, it got horrible gas mileage. “The [A2] engine has two modes because we’re very conscious of the Concorde experience,” he says.

But an even greater asset than the A2’s speed is its negligible carbon footprint. It’s hydrogen-powered, so it produces only water vapor and a little bit of nitrous oxide as exhaust. And although a hypersonic jet loaded with liquid hydrogen might sound dangerous, hydrogen fuel is actually no more explosive than normal jet fuel.

Don’t look for the A2 anytime soon. The plane’s maker thinks this concept could become a reality within 25 years.

[via Popular Science]

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Out of Control Spy Satellite May Hit Earth

Posted on 26 January 2008

Get out your steel umbrellas or find the nearest basement – the sky is falling. A disabled spy satellite is reportedly out of control and on a collision course with earth. Yahoo reports that officials anonymously reported the top secret information. It sounds like a wild Hollywood movie script, but it is very real.

The satellite may collide with the earth in late February or early March and authorities have no idea where. The spy satellite is reported to weight about 10 tons and is the size of a bus.

A few key questions to be answered before any real panic sets it:

  • How much damage would it really cause if it where to land in a populated area?
  • Could it be destroyed or damaged by a missile?
  • Based on the size of the earth and population densities what percentage of the earth’s surface actual contains civilization that could be harmed by the satellite? I read here that 10 percent of the earths surface is at least ‘lightly populated’. That number sounds pretty hight though.

Comment if you have any insight.

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Bigfoot on Mars

Posted on 24 January 2008

New video from the planet Mars shows another mysterious figure that actually looks like the famous image of Bigfoot. Sasquatch on Mars you say? Hey could be. Leading conspiracy theorists speculate that Bigfoot may have actually been captured by the government and send up with the Mars rover. Ok. I made that crap up, but seriously that does look a lot like that famous Bigfoot picture?

Can’t they just drive the Mars rover over and take another picture? The thought that life might be on Mars or any other planet is pretty big news. Hell, who cares about soul samples, chase that thing down already.

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Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

Posted on 24 January 2008


Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is scheduled to make its debut flight in 2009

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and Scaled Composites CEO Burt Rutan showed off their new design for SpaceShipTwo. Billed as the worlds first commercial suborbital spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo will take travelers to the edge of the universe. Well, not quite the edge of the universe but the edge of outer space. The inaugural flight will contain about 100-200 wealthy travelers who have reserved a $200,000 seat aboard the craft.

SpaceShipTwo has a 42-foot wingspan and a tail height of 15 feet. It’s covered in windows with 18-inch diameters so that Virgin Galactic travelers will be able to have a full view of space and the Earth below them as they experience zero gravity. They’ve paid $200,000 for between four and five minutes of weightlessness, so they’d better have a darned good view.

SpaceShipTwo (in the middle of the picture) will be mounted on its “mother ship,” WhiteKnightTwo. The WhiteKnightTwo aircraft is a high-altitude aircraft that will taxi SpaceShipTwo to the upper atmosphere where it will detach. The process known as an “air launch” is said to be much more “green”per passenger than a typical commercial flight and safer too.

[via CNET]

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Float Around the World in a Manned Cloud

Posted on 24 December 2007

Manned Cloud Luxury Airship
The Manned Cloud is yet another attempt at a giant airship. Opting this time to fill it with Helium (smart move), Massaud Studio has created the concept in cooperation with the centre of French aerospace research (ONERA). The giant blimp is a floating 60 room luxury hotel that would take travelers around the world on 3-day cruises. While these are obviously renderings of the ship, the Manned Cloud is going to be produced for real and should take to the skies (and lots of money from your pocket) in about a year. One more interior rendering after the jump.
[via bornrich]
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Fake UFOs Over Haiti

Posted on 19 December 2007

This video of UFO’s over Haiti is creating quite the buzz. Looks pretty convincing too. UFO’s flying low over palm trees at sunset. The two join in formation and then disappear. Well, a few tell tale signs the video is a fake. First, you have to figure whoever shot the video would have been screaming like a girl with two UFOs over his head. Which brings us to the conclusion the video wasn’t ‘shot’, but created in the computer.

Check out the demo video below for E-On Software’s Vue 6. Pretty amazing, it happens to look exactly like the UFO video in Haiti – with the exception that instead of UFOs it’s a giant metal box flying through the air. Even the exact same audio. Full comparison video after the jump.
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