Scaled Composites WhiteKnightTwo
With the wingspan of a B-29 bomber, the WhiteKnightTwo is the largest all-carbon-fiber aircraft ever built. Its mission is to carry a smaller craft, SpaceShipTwo, and drop it at 48,000 feet, where it will blast off into suborbital space with paying passengers—in 2010, if all goes well. Virgin Galactic's CEO, Richard Branson, also wants to use WhiteKnightTwo as a low-cost way to launch satellites into orbit. Scaled Composites engineers had to overcome numerous setbacks, including a fatal explosion at the company's headquarters, to finish the craft. virgingalactic.com
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Is it made strictly to lift the suborbitor or can it be used to do more for passenger travel?
Can the suborbiter be used to travel more quickly to distant lands than conventional jetliners?
I see it has to cockpits on the outside fuselages. Does the pilot sit in the right or the left and who then sits in the other cockpit?
How many regular passengers can ride along in the twin fuselages?
What's the overall flying distance of the Whiteknight2?
Why isn't NASA pouring their multi-billion dollar budget into something like this,instead of their Saturn V makeover,Ares V?
Carry the payload to 60,000+ feet (using a much more economical air-breathing vehicle rather than a rocket),and THEN use rockets for the final push into orbit.Seems like a no-brainer to me!
Is the CXV still slated to be a part of the WhiteKnight's duties? For clarification, the CXV is part of the COT's program initiated by NASA to have a replacement for the retirement of the shuttle. WhiteKnight is supposed to provide air launches for the CXV vehicle which will allow 4 astronauts orbital insertions. Also a means for trips to the ISS, and possibly Bigalow's stations???
That thing is going to kill somebody,it is possible to fly something designed like it, its just all wrong, people will die.
I see a whole lot of twisting going on in that airframe. Without a computer-driven active stability control (like that possessed by modern fighter planes that fly on the ragged edge of stability and depend on computer corrections several times a second to save their bacon.) I would think that the airplane could twist enough to destabilize itself. It doesn't take much twist or bending to radically change the aerodynamics.
Also in the long run there will be the problem of materials fatigue. Rutan probably figures this thing won't fly all that often--maybe at most a 100 takeoff and landing cycles whereas true commercial aircraft endure thousands, but still, I would be checking this thing constantly. Hopefully there are holes in the wings where tiny TV cameras can be snaked in for inspection.
Come on folks! Let's get going live with this project? What's the hold up? Do you think that budjet stopped Thomas Edison from just doing it? Did the Egyptions prance around a bunch of great ideas for structure design of the pyrmids... or did they just get'r dun?
"""""Why isn't NASA pouring their multi-billion dollar budget into something like this,instead of their Saturn V makeover,Ares V?
Carry the payload to 60,000+ feet (using a much more economical air-breathing vehicle rather than a rocket),and THEN use rockets for the final push into orbit.Seems like a no-brainer to me!""""""
How BIG a plane to you plan to use?
The Ares V is intended to put up even bigger payloads than the Saturn 5 did. Can't do that with an airplane.
Which "more economical" air-breathing engines are you talking about? Scramjets? Not far enough along yet. Ramjets? Maybe, but why not all-rocket? Why have two sets of engines on your orbiter? Air-launch is fine for sending up several people at a time, but not for building space infrastructure.
PEOPLE DIE DAILY FOR ALL KINDS OF DUMB REASONS, PEOPLE DIE IN CAR CRASHES EVERYDAY, BUT THEY STILL DRIVE AND THEY ARE STILL BEING BUILT, NO DOING SOMETHING THAT HAS ALOT OF POTENTIAL ADVANTAGES JUST BECAUSE OF THE POTENTIAL FOR LIFE LOSS ISNT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON NOT TO BUILD SOMETHING, THIS THINK IS A AWESOME CONCEPT, DO PEOPLE KNOW HOW MUCH POLLUTION IS EXPELLED LAUNCHING SOMETHING INTO ORBIT, THEY SHOULD HAVE HAD SOMETHING BETTER TO GET THAT JOB DONE YEARSSS AGO, BUT WE ALL KNOW PEOPLE THT MAKE MONEY OFF SLOW PROGRESS WOULDNT ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN, AND THEY ALL OF A SUDDEN A MAGIC EXPLOSION AT THE HEADQUARTERS, DONT GOTTA BE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO FIGURE THIS ONE OUT.