Thursday, July 28, 2005

Time For A New Spaceship

Hello, fellow space travelers!

Have you heard? The Space Shuttle has been grounded!
Something else fell off it during take off.
Maybe it was the muffler.
Maybe it was that "Darwin" fish-eating-fish symbol.
Or maybe it was our outdated concepts of spaceflight.

No matter what it was, that winnebago is done. Put it up on blocks and watch the grass grow over the hubcaps. It's time to put that bus in the Smithsonian. And time to turn to private enterprise.

Let's see, what do we need? Some kind of space ship company...

Poof! Here we go:

British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, has teamed up with aerospace designer, Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites to form a new aerospace production company. The new firm will build a fleet of commercial suborbital spaceships and launch aircraft.

Called The Spaceship Company, the new entity will manufacture launch aircraft, various spacecraft and support equipment and market those products to spaceliner operators. Clients include launch customer, Virgin Galactic—formed by Branson to handle space tourist flights.

The Spaceship Company is jointly owned by Branson’s Virgin Group and Scaled Composites of Mojave, California. Scaled will be contracted for research and development testing and certification of a 9-person SpaceShipTwo (SS2) design, and a White Knight Two (WK2) mothership to be called Eve. Rutan will head up the technical development team for the SS2/WK2 combination.

Drawing from SpaceShipOne technology

The announcement was made today at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture gathering being held July 25-31 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The yearly event spotlights homebuilt aircraft, antiques, classics, warbirds, ultralights, rotorcraft—as well as the emerging commercial spaceflight business.

Both rocket ship and the carrier aircraft will draw from Rutan’s work on SpaceShipOne and the White Knight mothership. The SS2/WK2 system will adopt the reentry concept and hybrid rocket motor design work hammered out for SpaceShipOne, licensing that technology from Paul Allen’s Mojave Aerospace Company.

SpaceShipOne successfully snagged the $10 million Ansari X Prize last year by staging back-to-back flights of the piloted craft to the edge of space.

Both of the new vehicles, however, are to be twice the size of the earlier designs.

Future operations

“We’re taking the technology of SpaceShipOne and developing it into a usable commercial vehicle to give thousands of people the chance to experience the majesty of space,” said Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic—the space tourism venture that is a subsidiary of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

Branson told the Oshkosh crowd that the commercial spaceship can carry 7 paying passengers, along with a two-person flight crew. “We hope that we can get those spacecraft built roughly two and a half to three years from now,” he said.

Once the fleet of suborbital craft is built, a base from which to operate the spaceships is to be set up within the United States. “We still haven’t decided on which state the base will be,” Branson said, adding that the space tourist-carrying vehicles could rocket spaceward from the Mojave, California desert, Las Vegas, New Mexico, or possibly Florida.

“That’s all to be decided,” Branson said.

Seat price expected to drop

At present, seats onboard Virgin Galactic spaceships are price tagged at $200,000 each.

But Branson hopes that this seat price will drop over time. “Our aim is to bring the price down,” he said.

“Our principal aim behind this is not to make money. The principal aim is to reinvest any money we make into space exploration,” Branson said. “We expect to double, triple, quadruple the number of astronauts in the next few years that have currently experienced space,” he said.

To date, Branson said, about a 100 pioneers have been willing to pay $200,000 to be the first people to go into space via Virgin Galactic. “These are the kinds of people who are going to enable us to bring the cost of space travel down,” he stated.

Charting the investment curve

Whitehorn said that Virgin Galactic has been negotiating with Rutan over the last several months to chart out how best to move forward and create a passenger-carrying rocket ship.

“We have decided that since this is such a new industry -- and so early in this investment curve -- that we are actually going to act as the manufacturer and developer of the ships alongside Rutan, Whitehorn told in a phone interview.

The Spaceship Company will own the intellectual property of the new spaceship design. Furthermore, the company will build spaceships -- not only for Virgin Galactic and its initial order of five spaceships and two carrier craft -- but for other customers as well, Whitehorn added.

Timetable: not hidebound

“We would like to be in development and in experimental test flying by the end of 2007. And we would like to be operating commercially by the end of 2008,” Whitehorn said. “But this is a unique project. We’ve made it very clear…that we are not going to be hidebound to a particular timetable.”

Whitehorn said that the new space tourist passenger vehicle is under design, with a mockup to be unveiled at a future date. No details as yet regarding the interior and exterior of the vehicle, but progress is being made, he said.

At least 50 to perhaps as many as 100 test flights of the new spaceship design may be undertaken at the Mojave, California spaceport. That shakeout test period would stretch out over 9 to 10 months, Whitehorn said. “There’s nothing at the moment holding us up in our tracks,” he concluded.

(thank you for supplying my lazy cut-and-paste butt)

The Earth is looking more and more like the couch.

Time to pack a cooler and

Monday, July 25, 2005

Russia Shows The Way To Handle Spam


Vardan Kushnir, notorious for sending spam to each and every citizen of Russia who appeared to have an e-mail, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head...

Don't mess with Mother Russia.
"Ahhhhhh! MotherLand!!"

Anyways, the heat is easing off this week. Thank every god you ever heard of.

here's something from 'the files':

He walked down the street as if his eyes were closed. His head made no motion, his arms hung limply to the side. People passed him by without notice. Some folks just find it easier not to see what makes them uncomfortable.

Gray skies followed him everywhere, and where he was, he wasn't. I hadn't seen him walk by in quite some time, when one Tuesday morning he shuffled toward me, and he stopped.

He stopped dead in front of where I usually stand as I wait for the local route 13 bus. He just stood there, unmoving, not facing me, as if listening to the sound of his heart beating, or the whistle of an approaching car yet two miles up the road.

I knew something was coming.

You could see his whole body tense. Then he turned to me, and pulled off the cheap, cracked sunglasses that I'd never seen leave his face. His eyes were tight balls of madness. They shined with the electric gleam of psychotic concentration.

I can honestly say I feared for my life.

And he began moving closer. I held my ground and my gaze into his insane, sweating, twisted face. He stopped about six inches from my nose. The smell of his ruined breath washed over me like a cloud of tear gas.

"I've seen you before," he said rubbing his fists into his eyes, and then brought them back to focus deep into my nostrils.

"Yeah," I responded, now averting my eyes from his lighthouse glare, "I've seen you around here before too."

Moments passed after I stopped speaking, and you could see the gears grinding in his head, and almost as if you heard the 'bing!' of completion, his eyes bugged out and he raised his arms above his head, shouting "I'm not here, you fool! I've never been here! I'm not here now!"

Ok, right, I thought to myself. This guy is pure wacko. But something seemed harmless about him. The sense of menace I had felt with his approach was suddenly gone, and I found myself feeling a little sorry this man, who hadn't a clue as to what the real world was. I braced myself for a full blown lunatic display, leaning back against the decaying brick wall behind me, and watched.

He pulled his hair, clawed at his neck, raving about how he wasn't actually here, and how what I was seeing was not him. I asked him several times where he really was then, and he only repeated that I knew why, that I knew him, and that he knew why today was so different...


Thursday, July 21, 2005

PS, It's Hot

MainLine the Freon Man!

News Flash!

In the Great American Southwest, it's hot.

I know this may come as quite a surprise, being that it's mid-July in the bleeding desert or near desert anyway. We're breaking records here in Denver, triple digits every day.

I love the heat so much!

(no wait, no I don't! I can't stand temperatures over 75 degrees!)

(G)od, deliver us from Summer, and its hateful (g)od, Ra.

God I hate that god.

You'd never see me building any pyramids for that blazing bastard.

ok.. heatstroke induced rant...done!

Yo Sleepy, when are you coming through this Queen City on the Plains?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Yep, it's that time again. Lack of imagination saved by a google image search...






Post comm art aneury




guard post


circular existence

ps, Battlefield 2 is rapidly taking over my life,
as I have found it neatly fills my needs for love, accomplishment and spiritual growth...
and I'm close to eliminating the pesky demands of nutrition, hydration, and hygiene too.