Friday , December 3 2021

As the Virgin Galactic testing program progressed, the boundary of the area was reconsidered


WASHINGTON – As Virgin Galactic approaches space into its first suborbital flight, a potential change in terminology can make it easier for the company to reach that turning point.

In an interview published on November 30th, CNN Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, said the company was within weeks to launch the SpaceShipTwo suborbital space-space. The latest VSS Unity vehicle has undergone a series of powered test flights on July 26th.

I Space is difficult, bir Branson said, answering a question pointing to unnamed critics who didn't believe the company could reach space with SpaceShipTwo. ”Obviously, we'd love to prove our critics wrong, and I'm pretty sure we're going to do that before Christmas.“

In an interview with CNBC in October, Branson suggested that SpaceShipTwo's first flight into space would come; not weeks to months Brans. The company officials refused to stick to the long-standing policy of allowing the Branson set at the time. timing and deadlines, however, have indicated that they plan to carry out at least a further strengthened test flight by the end of the year.

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, did not offer a special program on November 27 at SpaceCom Expo in Houston, but suggested that flight tests for higher and higher altitudes would be realized soon. "The next few flights will be more exciting," he said. The July flight reached the highest altitude of 52 kilometers. ”We will soon see some of them.“

This July flight included a 42-second burn of the SpaceShipTwo hybrid rocket engine, designed to last approximately 60 seconds on a typical flight. . If we continue to burn the rocket engine, we're in a place where we're in a lot of apogee, Wh Whitesides said at a Dinner Settlement Summit in Los Angeles.

One question is the altitude that SpaceShipTwo must reach because it intends to reach space. Although there are no official boundaries in agreements or law, the industry has often used the 100-mile altitude, known as Karman Line, after the late aeronautical engineer Theodore von Kármán. This definition came to the fore during the Ansari X Prize competition for commercial suborbital vehicles won by SpaceShipOne in 2004, two years ago, where it rose above this altitude during a two-week test flight.

Industry speculation, though, suggests that SpaceShipTwo will not be able to achieve this altitude by a complete space load participants or experiments in the current configuration. In his Los Angeles address, Whitesides asked about the altitudes, instead referring to a low altitude that the US government used.

”For Virgin Galactic, the main milestone we perceive is the height of the NASA and Air Force, where they take the 50-mile-long astronaut wings.“ ”For me and our customers, I think we're going to focus at least on the first 50 miles.“

International bodies are now revising the Karman line definition. In a statement dated November 30, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the world air sports federation that maintains records for both aviation and space ships, said it would work with the International Federation of Aeronautics Federation (IAF) to review which altitude should be accepted as a border. area for record keeping purposes.

Zor Recent published analyzes present a compelling scientific case for the decline in this altitude, from 100 km to 80 km, FA FAI said in a statement. Eighty kilometers is about 50 miles. The FAI, IAF said, mas proposed an international workshop to be held in 2019 to fully investigate this issue with the participation and participation of the astro- dinamic and astronomical community. "

The FAI statement did not mention any specific analysis that allowed the Karman Line to reconsider its altitude. Nevertheless, such an article was published in the journal Acta Astronomy An astronomer and spacewalk historian Jonathan McDowell at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which proposes to reduce the Karman Line to 80 kilometers.

In addition to examining historical records, this article included a comprehensive mathematical analysis, modeling forces on a spacecraft traveling in the upper atmosphere. For most satellites, he concluded that gravity exceeded aerodynamic forces at altitudes of 70 to 90 kilometers. M Based on these physical, technological and historical arguments, I think that a value of 80 km is a more appropriate choice for use as the lower edge of the field where there is such a division line between atmosphere and space. Requested, ”ended.

Whitesides applied to the newspaper in his comments last month. . If you look at the history of space, it is not clear that Kármán really believes that he is 100. [kilometers] It was really the right place. Gerçekten “Nice number..

This division line has not been a problem for the other company following a commercial human sub-orbital space-system. Blue Origin's New Shepard exceeded 100 kilometers in most test drives. With the use of the cancellation engine shortly after leaving the vehicle's drive module, the crew's capsule is included with the latest 18th July, when the vehicle's crew capsule reached a height of about 119 kilometers. .

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