Author Topic: Richard Branson  (Read 473 times)

Offline smartcooky

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2021, 06:19:28 AM »
There will have to be a change to the definitions for the award of astronaut wings, most likely to do with some professional qualifications and crew duties whilst aboard. The pilots would qualify but the SLF* would not.







SLF - Self Loading Freight

Maybe, in the best traditions of the military, they could get half wings. In most Air Forces, pilots get full wings



...but other aircrew get flight brevets like this...



The letters on the middle designate what their aircrew specialty or qualification. This one is a Load Master. Other letters are

N - Navigator
AE - Air Electronics
AO - Air Ordinance
O = Observer

Maybe those who get to space in a sub-orbital flight get half wings with SO
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Offline Obviousman

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2021, 07:23:03 PM »
It could be as simple as the manifest; if you are listed as crew, you qualify. As for the brevet, it could be anything. Reminds me of today's Navy: every child wins a prize, everyone gets a set of wings.

The days of the Two Winged Master Race are gone.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 07:24:51 PM by Obviousman »

Offline bknight

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2021, 12:07:25 PM »
So, what does everyone think of Richard Branson's flight today, as well as the 'controversy' of whether he (and others who take such a flight) should get credit for getting to space? I know that the line is somewhat arbitrary, and different groups (e.g.various U.S. organizations such as NASA, the FAA, Air Force vs. FAI) have different standards, and am curious what people's takes are on this?

Regardless of whether he "should" get credit, I think it's quite the accomplishment to have yet another private organization do what they have.

It was a great step forward in civilian trips to near outer space.  NASA started awarding wings at that altitude years ago, probaly becusue the X-15 pilots were miffed.
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Offline Peter B

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2021, 10:06:40 AM »
And I see now that Blue Origin has up-and-downed.

Well, congratulations to them too. At least BO's rockets are being developed with a longer trajectory in mind, compared with Virgin Galactic. New Glenn looks impressive.

Offline Jeff Raven

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2021, 10:26:03 AM »
And I see now that Blue Origin has up-and-downed.

Well, congratulations to them too. At least BO's rockets are being developed with a longer trajectory in mind, compared with Virgin Galactic. New Glenn looks impressive.

*edited*  Yup. The flight went pretty smoothly. (the broadcast I watched was another story) I thought on initial (and replay) watch that the thrusters didn't fire just before landing, but they did. I'm sure the chairs are designed to handle a 16mph landing speed instead of the slower one that the thrusters provide, but it's good to see that they didn't have to. 

Looking forward to seeing and hearing the in-capsule video and audio.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2021, 10:54:18 AM by Jeff Raven »

Offline Glom

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2021, 04:49:00 PM »
My concern is about the safety side of things. From what I've read other people in the industry were scathing of Branson after the accident a few years ago where a spacecraft was destroyed. I don't know whether the criticisms were valid or if the critics just didn't like their patch being invaded by a rich amateur; and if the former, whether the shortcomings have been addressed. I'll leave that to people in the know.

Don't worry. NASA, Virgin Galactic's operations are regulated by the FAA so... oh... right.

I saw a rant by Steve Shives about how he's salty about these flights and wants real astronauts back. It was a douchier echo of arguments I've heard before about how the age of the eccentric billionaire isn't inspiring the way the golden age of NASA was.

The thing is, I think this really is rose tinted nostalgia goggles. NASA was achieving the most (in human spaceflight; for the purposes of this argument, that's what I'm talking about) when it was running on unashamed willy waving. When that factor became less powerful, things got more stagnant. For the likes of Shives, NASA achieved enough for them to believe that its drive was the furthering of human endeavour, a true proto-Starfleet exploring strange new worlds, but the truth is it was never that ideal. Throughout the decades of stagnation they could hope that maybe it would be this year that the president and Congress would give NASA the support they needed to become proto-Starfleet, but this was always a forlorn hope.

That was what has Shives so miffed. The arrival of these market disruptors has forced him to face the reality that NASA was never what he wanted to believe it was.

But there is something else. Shives wants real astronauts back. He talks about how he regards them as heroes. But the age of hero astronaut was always going to be temporary. No-one thinks of the guy flying the A350 from Heathrow to JFK as a hero, even though their flight is far more of a feat than what Lindburgh did. Even an Airbus test pilot isn't regarded as a hero. Aviation is routine now, mundane. If we are to progress, that is what space is to become. Seeing Branson go to (almost) space is a kick in the teeth because it heralds the post-astronaut age. One where going to space is the realm of the ordinary guy, not the hero. Branson is an ordinary guy except for his wealth and all that wealth did was get him an earlier ticket. But the idea is that where the super rich go now, in a few years, the economically average will follow. What Shives really wants is to trap spaceflight in amber, fossilised in a state of perpetual novelty. Perpetual novelty is of course an oxymoron. And it is having to face this truth that upsets him.

Really, this is a very exciting time. Space travel is no longer at the whim of the government with a willy to wave or pork to pack in barrels. The richest men in the world aren't doing this because they want to make money. They already have it all and they didn't obtain it by crazy ventures like this. They're doing this because they think space travel is cool. The profit component is simply necessary to make it stick this time. In a way, they represent the ideal of space flight as a human endeavour more than NASA ever did. But it is not what the likes of Shives spent their childhoods imagining. Their journey to coming to terms with that has only just begun.

True, Bezos, Branson and Musk put a big share of their ego into this, but a Youtuber has no business criticising others for narcissism.

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2021, 03:41:34 AM »
New Glenn looks impressive.

Vapourware and CGI is easy.
BO are really struggling with developing the BE-4 and are already well behind plan. ULA are allegedly very pissed that BO has failed to deliver, but they are also protecting BO to an extent. Unless they move to another engine Vulcan will be delayed.
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Offline Count Zero

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2021, 05:28:20 PM »
I saw a rant by Steve Shives about how he's salty about these flights and wants real astronauts back....

That is an absolutely brilliant analysis/summation.  May I share it (with attribution)?
"What makes one step a giant leap is all the steps before."

Offline Glom

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2021, 03:23:28 AM »
I saw a rant by Steve Shives about how he's salty about these flights and wants real astronauts back....

That is an absolutely brilliant analysis/summation.  May I share it (with attribution)?

Sure, I guess. Attribution to some guy.

Offline Glom

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2021, 10:54:03 PM »
Looks like the FAA have decided that the term "astronaut" refers to flight crew and not passengers.

Offline bknight

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2021, 11:48:00 AM »
Looks like the FAA have decided that the term "astronaut" refers to flight crew and not passengers.

Bureaucrats  ::)
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
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Offline Jeff Raven

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2021, 03:51:35 PM »
Looks like the FAA have decided that the term "astronaut" refers to flight crew and not passengers.

Yup. And the timing was very pointed.  The passengers could still qualify for honorary wings, but not the full ones. From CNN:  The new order allows the agency to issue an honorary award to "individuals whose contribution to commercial human space flight merits special recognition." It's up to the sole discretion of FAA's associate administrator for commercial space transportation to determine who qualifies for the "honorary" astronaut wings.

The criteria for full wings are not very specific:  (In addition to the 50+ miles altitude) Commercial launch crew members must also demonstrate "activities during flight that were essential to public safety, or contributed to human space flight safety," an FAA spokesperson said, quoting the new order.   So, based on that, riding around on a joy ride wouldn't qualify, but what if they were also testing systems that were going to be used in the next generation of craft?  Would that be enough for the second criterion? Based on that one, how many of the mission specialists during the space shuttle years who were there for scientific research would still qualify? Same with ISS.  I don't even want to think about how they're going to decide the first one.

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2021, 09:41:23 PM »
There will have to be a change to the definitions for the award of astronaut wings, most likely to do with some professional qualifications and crew duties whilst aboard. The pilots would qualify but the SLF* would not.







SLF - Self Loading Freight

Offline nikolai

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2021, 12:04:24 PM »
SLF - Self Loading Freight

For those who might not be familiar with the phrase, this is commonly used by snotty flight attendants with attitude problems to express their contempt for the people who are paying their salaries.

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Richard Branson
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2021, 04:24:08 PM »
SLF - Self Loading Freight

For those who might not be familiar with the phrase, this is commonly used by snotty flight attendants with attitude problems to express their contempt for the people who are paying their salaries.


And aircrew various when refering to pax (passangers).