10 thoughts on “Spaceship 3”

  1. If they went with a liquid engine Rand, what type you think would be best for this scenario? I’m thinking a direct pressure fed system on propellant and oxidizer. Like an GN2 fed system? Thoughts?

  2. I thought the shuttlecock was that tail-snap-up thing? It looks like that got removed from V3, as there’s no visible line on the wing where it would hinge.

    1. Hmmm, the hinge line is very visible on the full-size image… I doubt they would have changed such a major part of the design.

    2. There appears to be a rather large seam on both wings in the more overhead views, and the seams appear to be too far forward to just be an aileron.

      But I don’t have any actual knowledge, just that observation of the photo.

  3. Elon makes Starship shiny because shiny and stainless steel, suddenly Branson decides that “to truly move forward you need to reflect on where you are, thus a reflective livery”, which I believe is still over a composite craft.

    I still remember watching in awe as SS1 set new records and eventually won the X-Prize. I was super excited for a new age in suborbital travel and eventually space. I was in my first job out of college (completely unrelated to aerospace), and we were still in our old building. Has it really been almost 16 1/2 years already?

    It’s quite shocking to compare the pace of development of vehicles for Virgin Galactic with SpaceX. I’m glad I didn’t pick a horse back in the early aughts, because I probably would have picked VG.

    1. Too bad it’s just shiny composite. Stainless steel would make a lot of sense for the vehicle. It would weigh more, but it could take much higher re-entry temperatures, allowing for higher (or rather, horizontally longer) flights of longer duration, as long as they also improved the fuel fraction and ISP to compensate for the increased dry weight. It would basically be a passenger-version of the Bell X-2, which first flew in 1952.

  4. If you look at the wing root of SS3, it is markedly different from its two predecessors. There is a bulbous protrusion along a large segment of the root chord. That’s rather surprising, since it appears even more anti-area ruled than the originals. But it would suggest the addition of large pressure vessels, which VG had at one point proposed for dealing with certain of their propulsion problems. I can’t say more than that.

    Also note that there’s no engine evident in the tail. This almost looks like a mockup.

    I know that a liquid propellant system had been designed for SS2 by an independent contractor, and it retained the use of nitrous oxide as the oxidizer. It appeared to have been accepted by VG, but was, at the last minute, thrown out.

    I wonder if they are ever really going to fly “tourists”. I was pretty confident that they had almost arrived at that point, until I saw this.

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