Posting in Aerospace
Commercial space visionaries see actual city-to-city connections as the next stage in suborbital space travel.
The latest entry into the commercial space travel has a very practical proposition: commercial spacecraft, launched into suborbital fight, could deliver passengers to any destination in the world within two hours.
The project, set to launch in 2014, represents the first non-touristy proposal in the commercial space race. The most likely venture to get off the ground in the near future, Virgin Galactic, is an up-and-down thrill ride.
As The Daily Mail reports:
"Michiel Mol, a Formula One tycoon and co-owner of the Force India racing team, has joined up with Dutch airline KLM to develop a spacecraft that could make weekend getaways to Australia a reality. The revolutionary vessel would make long-haul flights a thing of the past - with journeys from London to Sydney taking a mere hour and 45 minutes."
While the project will start out with suborbital flights, it may take more than a decade until regularly scheduled flights between cities become a reality. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines first announced it was joining the project at the end of last year. The launches will take place under the aegis of Space Expedition Curaçao (SXC), founded in 2008 to provide commercial space launch facilities and suborbital flight services from Curaçao. SXC intends to offer suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions out of Space Port Curaçao.
The spacecraft, the Lynx, is being built by XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, California. The Lynx is a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered suborbital vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally and serves research and scientific missions and private spaceflight. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission commercial vehicles capable of flying more than 60 miles in altitude up to four times per day.
Thirty-five people have signed up for the inaugural flight, set to take off from the island of Curacao in 2014. The Lynx will be unveiled in the spring of 2012.
Oct 3, 2011
A few of the comments were very negative, one citing the demise of the Concorde because of impracticality. However the building and operation of the Concorde was a tremendous advance in aviation technology and all the spinoff technical advances. The plane itself was the first practical attempt at SST travel, and it was expensive to operate and maintain, but it worked. This proposal of commercial suborbital flight would not use much more fuel than the Concorde, perhaps even less, and it's niche at first would be for the very rich, high level government and military officials and the business executive travel that one poster mentioned. The prototypes will probably go the way of the Concorde, but the aviation technology developed will pay off in many ways, judging from the advances made since the beginning of the aviation age. Just as the when first commercial jets (I remember well the naysayers - how dangerous they were, how expensive they were, etc.) made the scene, people were apprehensive. Now riding on a propeller plane feels slow and outmoded, uncomfortable and a little insecure. Someday, in years, but not too many years, the concept proposed in this article or something like it, will be the norm, just like the jet is now. Go for it!
This is just silly. It takes 2 hours to get to any airport and through all of the pre-flight boarding safety crap. It would take another 2 hours to collect your luggage and get to wherever you are supposed to be. Video tele-conferencing is better.
The Lynx is a piloted, 2 person craft? So I hire the Lynx and a driver to get me from Montana to China in a couple of hours...but where does my wife sit...on the wing? :)
Being able to send someone around the world at a moment's notice, get the deal done and get them back before the workday here ends? The business world would eat this up! Not much use in places where the time difference is such that it would be the middle of the night but I could see a lot of high level business deals taking place around this tech. Average people will have no reason to want or need this but the very wealthy would fund this themselves just because they can. Being able to start your European vacation a couple hours after you finished packing? Sounds great if you're rich. Video conferencing is used alot in these types of meetings but in every case being face to face is so much better. Maybe its just my personal feelings and not the reality of the situation but I always feel like I take away more from in person meetings than I do from conference calls. I'm not high enough up the food chain to ever use this service but would love to be able to.
Quote: The latest entry into the commercial space travel has a very practical proposition: commercial spacecraft, launched into suborbital fight, could deliver passengers to any destination in the world within two hours. Unquote I see nothing practical about this proposal. There are VERY few who need to be anywhere in the world in less than two hours. It will be enormously expensive and extremely wasteful of resources (the liquid fuel consumption alone and the energy required to create it). Does anyone remember the SST ?? That project eventually failed since there were not enough people using it to make it financially feasible - any it was affordable when compared to this idea presented by this article. There has been a similar, albeit earthbound, project in the planning stage for MANY years now called Fastboat. It proposed rapid commercial service across the Atlantic ocean between France and Philadelphia (I believe they were the ports - if not close to those locales). The launch date was supposed to be 2003 but STILL has not come to be. I just can't fathom this - two hour transport - coming into everyday use.