April 20th, 2003

Eye of the Dragon

Private Manned Space Plane Built In Secret

Sounds like a classic pulp magazine premise, doesn't it?

Well, it looks like maverick designer Burt Rutan has done exactly that.

He and his company, Scaled Composites, have worked on bleeding-edge launch concepts like the DC-X, the Roton, and NASA's X-38 -- all of which got canceled. Now, they've taken the old concept of launching a spaceplane from a manned aircraft, and built SpaceShipOne and its launch vessel, The White Knight.

That's right, built. Not just designed or modeled -- they got private funding and built an actual airworthy vessel in two years.

Now they just have to prove it spaceworthy. The launch vehicle has flown several times, but they haven't tested the space ship yet. I hope they pull this off -- it could really give a kickstart to manned space flight.

And watch out for those cosmic rays, guys.
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Eye of the Dragon

Content Discontent

You know, when I started this LJ, I planned to use it to rant at length about Fun Stuff like gaming and science and science fiction, along with occasional commentary on politics and anything else I damn well pleased. In recent months, what with the world situation, political observations have far and away dominated my entries -- and I've felt guilty about wanting to post lengthy dissertations about "frivolous" things, as if such posts would detract from my credibility as a commentator on world events. Credibility. Shhyeah right.

No more! Soon as I've got more free time, I'll start posting more Fun Stuff. Don't know if I'll ever get around to How I Would Have Done Enterprise differently, but....
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