Space tourism and the collapse of the White Knight

Space tourism. History and prospects.

On Friday, 31 October, disaster struck the American private spacecraft Space Ship Two. This is the news went around all the news channels of the world. One of the two pilots managed to eject.

What kind of project passenger space ship Space Ship spaceship and carrier White Knight ?

For the first time the issue of commercialization of space missions was raised as far back as 1967, the Americans. But the idea found no support in the state. Space flights were very hazardous and the road.

However, in 1996, well-known, tireless designer, inventor and pilot Bert Rutana was established by a private design company to create space, passenger craft reusable. Commercial use of space travel received a new impetus. The concept of “space tourism” takes on a new, broader meaning. Of course, later were space tourists. They were sent to the Mir station, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. But, first of all, it cost millions of dollars, and secondly, these were isolated cases, and on tourism, in a broad sense, could not be and speeches. The program was funded by large companies or the flight was paid for by private individuals.

Burt Rutan was a more widespread and more affordable flights for everyone and not just for billionaires. And after perehodnyj flights ligament Space Ship Two White Knight Two . it became clear that his plan is feasible.

The flight itself is subject to the following program: SS2 and WK2 fly by airplane, with special airfield. Upon reaching a height of about 15 km separates from the launch vehicle, run the engine SS2 and he begins the climb to 110 km. By definition it is already a space (more than 100km). In flight space ship reaches speeds of 4M (M is the speed of sound. 4M speed of over 4000 km per hour), and short-term overload 6g.

The unique design of both the Shuttle and the aircraft carrier. But is it really new the idea of such interaction?

In the USSR, back in the mid-late ‘ 30s the test was run so-called “Link – vahmistrova”. On heavy aircraft designed by A. N. Tupolev TB-3 was hung from two to five (8) fighters. The aircraft was put on the wing, was suspended beneath them and on the fuselage. This hitch was up in the air, was delivered to the place of battle, where light fighters And a-5, I-16 was loose from Abinadi and performed independent tasks. After running KB aircrafts landed at suitable aerodromes. The range of the fighters in this tandem was increased by 80%. Several such “Aviamotor” participated in hostilities.

Much later, during the tests of the “Buran” this arrangement has again become popular. On heavy, specially prepared aircraft An-225 Mriya. transported the Shuttle “Buran” and the rocket “Energy”. The tests were conducted starting in the air. As you can see, the saying “New is well forgotten old”, it is confirmed.

The crash of Space Ship Two, is still indefinitely postponed the possibility of private, inexpensive (relatively) space flights. Will take another month for additional testing and inspection. But the main one direction design and unusual aircraft and the space Shuttle, is correct.

And despite another crash of October 29, with the Antares rocket and the Cygnus Shuttle, close to the time when in space you can fly to any man.

We wish the company Virgin Galactic, and the creators of the unique coupling of luck in their difficult path of pioneers of creation of space, mass tourism.

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