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Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS

Posted by: gaetanomarano - Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:51 am
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Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS 
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Space Walker
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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:44 pm
arctic wrote:
Currently I don't believe any rocket producer reached the level where safety can be calculated. The only possible way is to test the vehicles in real flight. Currently the best man rated platforms are at about 95 to 98% succes ratio (Space Shuttle for instance 2 total crew kills in a bit over 100 flights). To reach the safety levels, where we will start to talk about tourism, there is just no rocket that has done enough flights to have some statisticly valid answer about its safety. I'm afraid also that current interrest in space tourism will pass after the most enthusisatic individuals have flown, especially if safety provides to be inadequate.

You make some valid points here. I'd like to make a counter-point though. An existing high-risk sport that could be compared to the space tourism industry is climbing Mount Everest. In the early days the fatality rate was over 30%. It has dropped significantly recently and the overall number currently stands at around 10%. You can be certain that the climbers know these statistics yet every year the number of people that attempt the summit increases. These people know that they are risking their lives just to climb a mountain. It is almost a certainty that these people personally know someone from the climbing community that has died trying to summit Mount Everest, yet they still go. That's the human spirit.

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:07 am
.

there are TWO main differences between the mountains' climbing (or other EXTREME activities) and the space tourism (or other kinds of tourisms)

the first difference is that all extreme activities (like climb the Everest) are always done by VERY FEW, nearly all young, VERY well trained, expert and brave guys with strong bodies and in perfect shape, while, the tourists are MANY MILLIONS (or MANY THOUSANDS for the space tourism) mid-aged or old (as great part of rich people are) in good health but not with so strong nor perfect shaped bodies, not brave like climbers or military pilots and never trained to become astronauts and fly in the vacuum with a spacesuit like Neil Armstrong

the second difference is that, while climb the Mount Everest is a bit safer than in the past but can't be so much safer than now, the space tourism's spacecrafts COULD BE DESIGNED SAFER than an SS2 (or other similar vehicles) using all the BEST existing tecnologies, more time and more funds, but all that ISN'T done ONLY because the companies involved in this new business have RUSH to make HUGE PROFITS

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:30 am
arctic wrote:
Having said that, I'm afraid, that space tourism is not the best way to build the copmetitive space industry, which is our only hope to end the situation we are in now - appearing, that space technology had negative progress in the last 30 years or so. I'd have more confidence in a company that has manned flight in its agenda, but has a competitive unmanned lounch system, that was designed to become man rated after it proves itself with numerous unamnned lounches.


I sort of disagree. Space tourism is a small stepping stone. A way of funding more advanced efforts. I think there will always be a market - as the market gets bigger the prices go down. With Bigelow orbital stations you also have a stepping stone for further out.

All this requires funding, more than people like Musk can afford up front, so you need to start where there is money - and there is a lot of money in tourists pockets, as shown by Galactics order book.


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:35 am
gaetanomarano wrote:
.
the second difference is that, while climb the Mount Everest is a bit safer than in the past but can't be so much safer than now, the space tourism's spacecrafts COULD BE DESIGNED SAFER than an SS2 (or other similar vehicles) using all the BEST existing tecnologies, more time and more funds, but all that ISN'T done ONLY because the companies involved in this new business have RUSH to make HUGE PROFITS


SS2 has been presumably designed (since they will have to pass the appropriate tests) to meet the FAA criteria for safety. It will undergo 50-100 test flights prior to certification to ensure it passes (if it does hurrah, if it doesn't they will have to do work to fix the issues)

Why would they make it any safer than the requirements if the incremental costs are very high? And, HOW could it be made safer - you so far have failed to indicate why its unsafe, and how it could be made safer.


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:43 pm
gaetanomarano wrote:
there are TWO main differences between the mountains' climbing (or other EXTREME activities) and the space tourism (or other kinds of tourisms)

I never said they were the same thing or that there are no differences between them! I said there are some similarities, and I'm right about that. My point was that there are people who are willing to risk their lives for an adrenaline rush, and I'm right about that too.

johno


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:13 pm
If climbing Mount Everest has a lethality rate of 10%, anything close to that would kill the space tourism industry before it started. I would consider such a risk level close to murder. Fortunately, from everything I've seen, it will be much, much, safer.

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:46 pm
Depends. If someone invents a cheap "anti-gravity" tomorrow, you will see a explosion of private and small, general-aviation type spacecraft. And you'd likely see an increase in the fatality rate over GA because of the more dangerous environment. Probably not 10% but accidents would happen.


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:56 pm
JamesG wrote:
Depends. If someone invents a cheap "anti-gravity" tomorrow, you will see a explosion of private and small, general-aviation type spacecraft. And you'd likely see an increase in the fatality rate over GA because of the more dangerous environment. Probably not 10% but accidents would happen.


Well then, all we have to do is invent anti-gravity. Anyone? :P

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:26 am
Just for completeness....

Does anyone know if Virgin G flights will actually require their passengers to wear pressure suits? A recent post on arocket makes me think that although the images show people in shirt sleeves, that may not be the final approach.


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:19 pm
No, the plans and flights I have seen have shown everyone in NASA-esque jumpsuits. Which is just as well. I have faith that Rutan and Co. can design a competent pressure hull and designing enough redundancy and extra gas reserve into the life support system is easy for sub orbital. Pressure suits would be like adding Velcro straps to belt and suspenders IMO.

Hopefully the worry warts (and lawyers) won't mandate the use of suits. It will set precedent/standard and vastly increase the cost and complication of operating a sub-orbital trip business.


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:12 am
As I understand it the pressure system needs to be doubly redundant. First level is the hull itself, so, its up to the designer to say how that second layer of protection is implemented. Pressure suits might be the cheapest option, but even they are >$100K each, and not designed yet.....We are all guessing anyway - SC and VG haven't really given much away about the design, and I am not going to make assumptions from pictures.....


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:56 am
Virgin Galactic's page on safety: http://www.virgingalactic.com/overview/safety/

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:40 am
SuperShuki wrote:
Virgin Galactic's page on safety: http://www.virgingalactic.com/overview/safety/


Perhaps we should just have pointed Getonarenmamama at that page rather than trying to persuade him ourselves. Covers 90% of the points he raised!


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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:27 pm
Suborbital flights via rocket are a waste when you can stay longer and be safer in a nearspace balloon.

Monroe

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Post Re: Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS   Posted on: Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:53 am
One minor disadvanatge of the balloon, is that is isn't a rocket! No seat of pants 4G flight, which is one of the reasons I would want to do it!!

And has anyone got to 100km in a balloon?


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