WATCH: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Unity completes 2nd flight from Spaceport America (mission recap video)

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/25/watchl-virgin-galactics-spac.html

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You can go very fast in a short time by pointing things downwards.

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A photographer buddy got my brother and me into the press area for the maiden spaceflight of SpaceShipOne, it was rad.

I’ll never forget that after the science correspondent from Fox News finished his bit of commentary after the takeoff, he looked genuinely surprised to learn that the space plane would be returning shortly to land on the same runway. This, despite the fact that the press pass hanging around his neck included a helpful colorful graphic clearly illustrating the takeoff, separation, space flight, reentry and landing sequence.

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LOL ‘science correspondent’ and ‘Fox News’ in the same breath!

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I think he had to skip out on the landing early to attend the Flat Earther conference.

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This is so totally surprising to me! /s :wink:

Seriously though, I kind of want to go to space. I wonder if a round trip w/ a few days on a space station will approach $100K in the next 10-20 years.

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The optimist in me wants to believe so but the realist remembers it’s already been nearly two decades since Dennis Tito became the first space tourist by paying $20 Million for an eight-day trip round trip to the ISS, and only a handful of others have done so since. Cutting that cost down by a couple orders of magnitude in the same span of time still feels like a long shot.

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And yet… Reusables + inflatable Bigelow Aerospace station modules… It could yet happen. :crossed_fingers:

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It could indeed!

I’m in no place to judge, I’m still holding out hope for owning my own home even though the scant progress I’ve made toward that goal over the last 20 years makes me wonder it that’s a pipe dream too.

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Move to Baltimore! :wink: In all seriousness, something the city definitely has going for it are the real estate prices, and the proximity to DC, NoVA, Philly, and NYC. Boston is also pretty quick, at just under 90 mins by air (as scheduled, anyway).

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Definitely book me on the very first flight off this hell-planet 2020, yes please.

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It looks cool. I wonder how well it will scale up to something useful?

Answer: probably not anytime soon, at least if orbital spaceflight is the goal.

Which is not to say that a suborbital spaceplane wouldn’t be useful to someone, but it would have to be someone with a whole lot of money in a really really big hurry to get somewhere.

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So, the US Military, then :smiley:

The name, “Project Hot Eagle” always tickles me.

The idea of spending billions of dollars to drop a unit of SEALs anywhere in the world, with no means of extraction, sounds bonkers, but that hasn’t stopped the military in the past.

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Oh boy, does Virgin’s cosplay uniform for “private astronauts” look silly:


And pretentious:

Every part of it: the weird shoulder plates, the booties, the UA branding and “rank” patches, the Klingon-hinted spine markings, it all ludicrous. It has no functionality and I can’t imagine the out-of-shape millionaires who ride this will appreciate wearing a skintight bodysuit.

yeah, I didn’t want to mention that one. but of course, it goes hand in hand with the aging billionaire owner. i mean, in theory it’s (for some reason) hearkening back to old WW2 warplanes? But c’mon, Richard, why? even early NASA machines didn’t do this.

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On that note… I feel like I’m pointing to an elephant in the room, but the cheesecake on the nosecone is, I dunno, weird? Like I’d grok it if it was a science fiction movie thing ( so cognative dissonace, much retro ) but this is a real world thing. To me at least the image sits awkwardly in a message which also highlights corporate recognition of Pride week and BLM, in a world ostensibly about getting girls into STEM, post #metoo, etc.

Do you think anyone said, “hey, this might detract from the significance of what we’re doing? Maybe we stick with a logo and not dance with potentially problematic imagery?” I wonder what the risk/reward was they were thinking about, though maybe it was just a collective shoulder shrug and “we think it looks kind of cool.”

That’s a good point. That image wouldn’t be at all out of place among the (often racy) WWII bomber nose art that lonely young airmen painted, but it doesn’t really jive well with a message that this is a serious, inclusive endeavor rather than something for straight men to do for their own entertainment.

Edit: the Virgin Airlines nose art that led to this was copied from an existing image on a 1943 bomber, which isn’t at all surprising. Virgin itself calls these images “pin up girls” in their blog, so there’s absolutely no denying that it’s meant as a sexualized image of a woman.

Also, those silly space outfits don’t exactly project a serious, inclusive image either when the color configuration on the female shirt seem designed to create the illusion of an extreme hourglass figure, like those novelty t-shirts that make it look like you’re in a bikini with a tiny waist.

Sometimes it’s hard to find signs of progress, but rich people’s toys are peaking right now!

Let’s go – to the colonies!

Really? Usually recovering SEALs is taken pretty darn seriously. Any references for when this has not been the case? Certainly would be an outlier.

If you need to get special operators somewhere fast, for a mission that might last a day, it would potentially allow you to route other assets for recovery. The main issue is sometimes speed-to-deployment, I imagine.

Doubt they would leave a group of highly-trained operators sitting around with no recovery plan.

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