With all due respect to Elon Musk, he is not the only businessman who was going to conquer space for private capital. Irrepressible Richard Branson presented Monday Planetarium New York Museum of Natural History at the event Virgin Disruptors (Virgin-breakers) overshooting their vision of long-distance future - not as long as the flight to Mars, but still through space.
The head of Virgin Galactic, George Whitesides said that space will play a crucial role in the commercial flights in the future. The idea, he announced, is suborbital flights - ie with the rise to a height of not less than 80-100 km above the Earth's surface.
"Imagine SpaceShipThree or SpaceShipFour (the current model of the aircraft Virgin Galactic - SpaceShiptwo - approx. Lane.) I>, beyond the limits of the atmosphere, then descends back down and lands away from the cities.»
Illustration of study Spaceport Associates i>
At the presentation showed a video in which supposedly real plane Virgin takes off from the ground, and then, when it reaches a certain height, it is separated from the central part of which already goes into suborbital flight.
Sam Branson said that despite numerous delays and cancellations, now the company's affairs are in strict accordance with the plan.
Not everything is so rosy h4> Richard Branson has already expressed interest in the wound supersonic flight. In 2003 British Airways Virgin invited five million pounds in 5 Concordia working order, but the deal then did not take place.
This idea has attracted the European Space Agency (ESA), examining the high-altitude high-speed transport. However, before such a system will work, warns ESA, in front of a lot of research and commercial viability of physical ideas.
Existing medical studies need to be reviewed from the perspective of ordinary passengers who do not have the training of astronauts to set a comfortable limit loads.
If these problems can be overcome, the Virgin Galactic will be able to pioneer a new kind of commercial traffic, said Whitesides.
However, the commercial part of the idea of Virgin Galactic, too, there is little reminiscent of a business plan: Executive Director research company Spaceport Associates draws attention to the fact that while even it is not clear - whether suborbital flights perform exactly the role of transport, or will remain a tourist attraction? How many people are willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to save the twelve hours of traditional intercontinental flight? Serious market research has not yet been - at least published. The price of flights - is unknown. The design of future aerial vehicles is not defined, ground infrastructure is not ready.
P.S. A small reminder of eccentricity Branson: sponsor a presentation in New York planetarium was vodka "Wild Goose» (Grey Goose), a partnership with which the it was announced there. Affiliates it will be in favor of the space program Virgin Galactics, but will be for the most part in the organization of Grey Goose «space» parties.
Vodka and space flights? Something that reminds me.
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