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Hooray for X prize

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So finally, after all this talk, somebody managed to win the X prize this morning by having their second succesfull privately funded space flight in under a week...

You know, that doesn't mean much. Although this is such an amazing establishment (and embarrasment to NASA *cough*budget*cough*), it doesn't mean that space travel will begin anytime soon.

Okay, so the space ship was on top of white knight which took it high enough so it could launch into space. The spaceship's engines worked for a bit over a minute and took it to a little bit above the internationally recognized boundary of space, and then it came back down.

That's hardly a "space travel" you know. They say they're going to charge $200,000 for flight per person.
Right, so you pay $200,000, you ride and ordinary airplane for a while until you get to proper height, then the spaceship will go out of the boundary for about 2 minutes, (and if you're lucky it won't roll around itself like crazy 19 times), and then bring you back down...
Somehow I would expect more than that for such a price...
Don't get me wrong here, I do believe that they have some something amazing, but there's just a long way to go before they can commercialize this.

Oh, a little question I had: Why is 100 Km the recognized boundary for space?
Earth's atmosphere goes up as high as 1000 Km. Although there's hardly anything above the stratosphere which ends at about 90-100 Km above the surface. So the 100 Km boundary of space is just above the ozone layer. There's still 2 more layers of the atmosphere to pass through before getting into the outer space (mesosphere and Aurora, which should be the real boundary of outer space)

And I did some calculation. I took the earth's radius and mass out of one of my books and first calculated the gravity at the surface of earth to get a 9.77 m/s^2, which is very close to the accepted value of 9.8 so I made sure that my values are within reasonable margins. And then I calculated the gravity at 100 Km above the surface and it ends up being a whopping 9.1-9.2 m/s^2...
So, the only way for them to demonstrate a "zero gravity" on the spaceship is to be constantly falling with the gravity. Since 9.2 is not THAT much less than the 9.8 gravity we have down here, it shouldn't make such a big difference in being weightless.
But if you're just free falling and saying that you're in zero gravity, then how is that such a special thing? Bunge jumping would be zero gravity as well: Hey look! I just opened a bag of skittles and they're going down at the same speed as me! It looks like they're floating around me!!!``

Ukh, enough rambling.
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The ultimate irony is that an authoritarian dictatorist regime attained these same results over 50 years ago.


Privatization of space... blech. The only thing this will accomplish is shoddy workmanship ("gotta make it cheaper!! CHEAPER!!!!") and lots of deaths.

Can you say "legal liability" for space tourism? Yeah, didn't think corporations would want to handle that cupcake.




On a related note, wouldn't it be funny if SPACE TERRORISTS got ahold of a bunch of missiles and just launched millions and millions of ball bearings into space?

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Actually, they broke the record that government had set 41 years ago.

You know that company that has been selling property on the moon? (I forgot it's name) Just wait until someone makes the first privately funded moon mission and then gets a ticket for landing on someone else's property.

I think someone already did that to NASA by bying an asteroid that they sent a probe to and then sending NASA a parking ticket.

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Space is awesome. Those skittles will orbit the earth and cause damage to spacecraft windows when they hit. Remember "space shuttle + paint chip + window"? Now we've got fat-arse tourists in space. It should only get better from here on in.

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