Tag Archives | Atmosphere

…It’s Tuner Tuesday: WhiteKnightTwo?

WhiteKnightTwo

Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic continued their quest to turn space into a tourist destination on Monday with the roll out of the new WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft that will ferry SpaceShipTwo and “thousands of private astronauts, science packages and payload on the first stage of the Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space experience”.

WK2 is the world’s largest all carbon composite aircraft, and at 140 ft., the wing spar is also the longest single carbon composite aviation component ever manufactured.

Powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW308A engines, WK2 will support up to four daily space flights, and reach a maximum altitude of over 50,000 ft (limited only by the atmosphere).

It might only be for the rich and famous right now, but soon, Virgin Galactic hopes that you’ll hop aboard SpaceShipTwo, and WhiteKnightTwo will whisk you away into the blackness of space for a quick lap around the Earth.

[Virgin Galactic]

[Via: Josh Spear]

…Michel Fournier is one crazy jumper?

Michel Fournier - The Great Leap

If all goes according to plan, Michel Fournier will complete a two decade and $20 million long journey today to balloon into the upper reaches of the atmosphere and then skydive back down in what he’s calling Le Grad Saut, or, The Great Leap.

His leap begins on the ground, where he will load into a 10 foot tall pressurized gondola that will hang from the bottom of a 650-foot balloon. This balloon will take him to a height of 130,000 feet (25 miles) over the course of two-hours, at which point he will open the door and step into the blackness of space.

To survive the fall, which will last for a full 15 minutes, he’s going to be wearing a special space suit and a parachute that is designed to automatically deploy when he’s 5,000 feet above the ground.

Along the way, he will reach, and then cross the speed of sound. (And then top out at a speed of around 1,000 MPH) If that sounds crazy, it is. Scientists are still unsure of what will happen when a person crosses the sound barrier unaided.

With those speeds, Fournier will also be breaking four new records: fastest free fall, longest free fall, highest altitude for a human balloon flight and highest parachute jump.

So what are the potential risks?

If his suit fails, the pressure would cause his blood could boil, and he would loose consciousness in less than five seconds. (Which sounds like a blessing if your blood is boiling during those five seconds!)

His first try was yesterday, and was canceled due to weather related complications, so let’s hope that today provides Michel with smoother sailing, and that he finds his way back to Earth in one piece!

[Via: The New York Times]

…My Dream App winners have been announced?

My Dream App

My Dream App, the Apple software revolution, is over. After calculating nearly 14,000 votes, three winners have been announced. Though they weren’t my top choices, Cookbook, Portal, and Atmosphere will soon see production as full-fledged Mac Apps, and the world should be a better place for it. My only hope is that some other app development teams jump all over the loosing apps, as there were a few ideas buried in there that I was really looking forward to seeing come to life. Congrats to those that made it, and condolences to those that didn’t.

[My Dream App]

[Via: Digg]