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Virgin Galactic

Nikxice

Active Member
Oct 31, 2014
1,073
1,799
Hudson, NH
Another great day for TSLA, up 59 points or 7%. But today in SPCE? Crazy, up 23% to $37.35. Their earnings (LOL!) will be released after the market closes on Tuesday, 2/25. Looks like Jonas's recent pump has already reaped him his 2020 MS bonus. Holding off for now, but getting tempted by the July 17 20' expiration Puts. By then the IPO lockup period for SPCE should be over.
 

RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,720
1,568
Boston North Shore
'Half-baked' and 'hasn't flown a lot' Logic is not dissimilar for Starship...

Reality is, no, it is not half baked. Its just approaching a different space problem in a different way than SpaceX and, as is the case with basically everyone else [that's not sucking on the gub'ment teat] a different spending profile.



Solid motors are way less complex than liquid, and as such are way less prone to anomalies. Their thrust, while certainly more difficult to control real time, is very tunable and predictable. Their nozzles can be steerable. Their abort system is about as simple as it gets--blow the top of the motor off and chamber pressure essentially goes to ambient.

VG is a bit of an anomaly as their solid is actually a hybrid solid/liquid. I don't really know enough about it to know whether it makes sense with their application or if its a bit of a novelty.
My understanding is that the solid part is the fuel, a plastic, and the liquid is the oxidizer (Nitrous Oxide). IIRC the idea was to have a simple engine whose thrust could be controlled and instantly shut off. I don't think they view blowing off the top of the combustion chamber as a good design for a manned vehicle.
 

Nikxice

Active Member
Oct 31, 2014
1,073
1,799
Hudson, NH
News out this morning that VG is partnering with NASA to provide a readiness program for private astronaut trips to the ISS.

Virgin Galactic will organize private passenger trips to the space station for NASA

Virgin's stock SPCE is up about 15% on the news. I understand that this deal could result in a few extra suborbital flights for VG, but would only seem to create a minor financial blip. I'm guessing they might benefit mostly by gaining a little more street cred. Just an opinion, VG will have to fly thousands of flights to grow into their current valuation of 3.6 billion dollars. And all of them have to come back to earth safely.
 
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Electroman

Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,144
6,226
TX
So sub-orbital is more like a short joy ride going straight up and coming right back down. Don't see the point in why would someone do these except to get a feeling of Disney ride on steroids.
 
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bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,684
3,587
Bay Area
So sub-orbital is more like a short joy ride going straight up and coming right back down. Don't see the point in why would someone do these except to get a feeling of Disney ride on steroids.

Its kind of a to each their own deal. There's less risk in going suborbital, less training in going suborbital, and there's really not a whole lot to do once you get to space. Its not like there's a ton of missed experience getting to the top of the mountain and turning right back around.
 
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Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
5,755
7,016
Santa Fe, New Mexico
About 15,500 miles per hour, in some cases.

LEO that SpaceX typically goes to is basically 17,000 MPH or 27,300 KPH. As Elon says, getting into orbit is more about lateral speed than it is about altitude.

Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin New Shepard are trying to get above the Karman Line. That is 100 km (62 miles) in altitude above the Earth.
Kármán line - Wikipedia

The reality is that Blue Origin succeeds at going above the line and, so far, Virgin Galactic has not. Spacecraft One (the precursor to VG ships) was successful at doing this twice to win the X-Prize.

Here is a launch that shows the speed once the rocket reaches orbit at SECO.
 
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doug

Administrator / Head Moderator
Nov 28, 2006
16,898
1,017
SF Bay Area
Virgin Galactic did a reveal of their cabin design today.

Here's Scott Manley's coverage of it.

Here's Virgin's presentation:
Start at 21:30
 

Nikxice

Active Member
Oct 31, 2014
1,073
1,799
Hudson, NH
This morning Virgin Galactic's first powered spaceplane attempt in almost two years failed to properly ignite the rocket motor.
Virgin Galactic aborts first powered spaceflight from New Mexico spaceport

From VG's Twitter account, "Early update on flight: The ignition sequence for the rocket motor did not complete. Vehicle and crew are in great shape. We have several motors ready at Spaceport America. We will check the vehicle and be back to flight soon."

I've come to respect "Elon Time" for the apparent motivational and productivity gains it generates. Branson and company regularly advance timeline goals that have never come close to panning out. Typically many months will pass before they make any news. When they don't succeed, PR statements are issued from a parallel universe. It's as though they're approaching a black hole, hoping that no one is paying attention to the clock on earth. With a current valuation of 7.5 billion, this SPCE leaves me befuddled.


 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
8,405
20,027
San Diego
This morning Virgin Galactic's first powered spaceplane attempt in almost two years failed to properly ignite the rocket motor.
Virgin Galactic aborts first powered spaceflight from New Mexico spaceport

From VG's Twitter account, "Early update on flight: The ignition sequence for the rocket motor did not complete. Vehicle and crew are in great shape. We have several motors ready at Spaceport America. We will check the vehicle and be back to flight soon."

I've come to respect "Elon Time" for the apparent motivational and productivity gains it generates. Branson and company regularly advance timeline goals that have never come close to panning out. Typically many months will pass before they make any news. When they don't succeed, PR statements are issued from a parallel universe. It's as though they're approaching a black hole, hoping that no one is paying attention to the clock on earth. With a current valuation of 7.5 billion, this SPCE leaves me befuddled.


i agree 100%. I visited VG development center in Mojave two years ago. It was on the weekend but the place was a morgue. No sense of urgency whatsoever.

It was also quite different from SpaceX in that all production was custom and hand done or so it seemed. It did not look like anything was going to be repeatable or reproducible. Which is kind of what we’ve seen.

Next market downturn they will be one of the first stocks up against the wall.
 
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Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
8,405
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San Diego
A new shiny rocketplane.

And zero word on whether SS2 will ever see anyone other than test pilots. Branson still hasn’t gone up has he? So now they have SS3 and an even newer design called Delta class in design. VG‘s core competency seems to be spending money.
 

ggies07

Supporting Member
Nov 8, 2012
3,809
6,945
Ft. Worth, TX
And zero word on whether SS2 will ever see anyone other than test pilots. Branson still hasn’t gone up has he? So now they have SS3 and an even newer design called Delta class in design. VG‘s core competency seems to be spending money.
I'm actually quite sad to see this...had high hopes for them from the beginning...I guess not everyone is an Elon Musk... :) For space travel industries, I hope they make it.
 

philw1776

Member
Jul 18, 2020
22
10
Seacoast, NH
VG has no core technology that leads to point-to-point transport. The hybrid motor is a low ISP dead end.
With SpaceX and to a lesser extent Blue Origin with their BE4 engine development you can see evidence of core technology for P2P.
In any case I strongly believe that there will be no regularly scheduled P2P service by anyone this decade.
 
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Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
8,405
20,027
San Diego
VG has no core technology that leads to point-to-point transport. The hybrid motor is a low ISP dead end.
With SpaceX and to a lesser extent Blue Origin with their BE4 engine development you can see evidence of core technology for P2P.
In any case I strongly believe that there will be no regularly scheduled P2P service by anyone this decade.

I'd be willing to take the opposite side of that bet. I'm pretty sure SpaceX will have a P2P service by the end of this decade. It'll be their second spin out company after Starlink...
 
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Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
5,755
7,016
Santa Fe, New Mexico
VG has no core technology that leads to point-to-point transport. The hybrid motor is a low ISP dead end.
With SpaceX and to a lesser extent Blue Origin with their BE4 engine development you can see evidence of core technology for P2P.
In any case I strongly believe that there will be no regularly scheduled P2P service by anyone this decade.

VG will never do P2P. It can't. A small commuter jet would carry more people, more quickly and further distances. They are short burn rocket planes that convert to a glider. The problem is that they have to lofted to a high altitude before they fire off the hybrid engine. Once that engine is used, it's a glider. I don't see anyone wanting to take that risk for no gain over a commuter jet.
 
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bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,684
3,587
Bay Area
VG will never do P2P. It can't. A small commuter jet would carry more people, more quickly and further distances. They are short burn rocket planes that convert to a glider. The problem is that they have to lofted to a high altitude before they fire off the hybrid engine. Once that engine is used, it's a glider. I don't see anyone wanting to take that risk for no gain over a commuter jet.

FWIW, I'm a little more bullish. Not much but a little. If VG survives through the initial phase of "find enough rich people to sustain revenue" I can see them transitioning to P2P. Certainly not with their existing equipment, mind--they need lift aircraft that are more common (like VO's 747) and an orbital vehicle that can be turned around at some far off airport, ostensibly a commercial one.
facility. While I agree a short hop doesn't work for rocket P2P, going 'into space' for trans-con or trans-ocean flights will result in significantly less flight time.

I actually see winged vehicles with a P2P advantage over something like Starship because of the theoretical compatibility with existing infrastructure (Starship P2P is unlikely anytime soon, IMHO), and above and beyond that I think the supersonic concepts out there (and the ones that aren't out there yet) will be the biggest threat to the idea of of any kind of rocket propelled P2P. ...something that can take off and land from "normal" airports and be turned around/maintained at those airports, even if the door-to-door duration is a bit longer than the rocket.
 
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