interesting, thanks for the reply. I forget that mass to an orbit is a factor of more things than thrust.
On the cost issue, I have to think his costs have been higher than expected because 1) he probably didn't really envision the massive staff and infrastructure that he is currently bankrolling, and 2) what must be spiraling r and d costs. I would guess that he is pricing them not based on cost but as high as he can and still be cheap enough to capture and grow the market.
He is the founder of a flourishing rocket company, telling us about his dreams for the future, not some paid spokesperson.
Instead of spending a few million on a PR department, he is just getting up and telling us about it himself. Who cares about a little stuttering? Grow up.
Not the most powerful? I don't follow?
quoted figures: Falcon Heavy, 53000 kg to LEO, Angara Heavy (A7V) is 'only' 40500 kg to LEO.
If the Falcon Heavy launches at all, it will be the most powerful available.
"once fuel runs out, you just fall to the gravity well."
The same could be said of virtually any powered aircraft. The length of time that they can spend 'aloft' is limited by the amount of fuel that they can carry. It's besides the point.
"If you're in the atmosphere, you can glide without using all that much fuel. You can't do that in space - certainly not at 100km altitude. In order to 'stay afloat', you need to do orbital velocity."
That's the issue; as long you're making enough power to overcome gravity, you can 'stay aloft' at any altitude, and you definitely don't need orbital velocity to do so. Orbital velocity is the speed needed for an unpowered craft to remain in orbit. It has nothing to do with a rocket plane flying around at 100m or 200km. Postulate a rocket plane big enough to hold the required fuel and nothing would stop it from flying up to 200km, maneuvering around 'aloft' for an hour and then flying back down.
"Of course, since it's not like atmosphere abruptly ends somewhere, the 'where to draw the line' can be a bit arbitrary, but the currently chosen one isn't impractical."
I never argued otherwise.
I have to disagree with your statement that ARCA is doing something 'genuinely innovative' by using a balloon for the first stage. The concept is called a 'Rockoon' and was pioneered in the US in 1949 and has been used extensivly by JP Areospace, (among others), a small US company that has been working with balloons and rockets for over 30 years.
At 100km in an aircraft, you need to fly at orbital velocities just to stay aloft, so effectively you need a spacecraft instead.
What??? Sorry, you need to go back and rethink that statement; it's not even close to true. Can you explain how SpaceShipOne, flying at 'only' Mach 3, was able to go higher than 100km? Thus, not only staying aloft at at 100km, but climbing? Or the X-15, which also flew higher than 100km, and also at significantly less than orbital velocity?
I like how a good authoritative sounding statement, (which happens to be false), got modded +4 informative.
I might be missing a joke somewhere in your post, and appologize if I am, but I'm getting the distinct impression that you're misinformed as to what the hardhack tag is for.
Hint: It involves hacking hardware as opposed to software....
Why all of the unfounded pessimism? Are you people completely unaware of how many rockets we launch into space every year?
nobody that knows anywhere near as much about rocket engines left.
Then who the hell designs and builds the rocket engines for the Ariane, or the Atlas, or the Delta, or the Falcon, or any of the half dozen or so other heavy lift rockets in operation or development around the world?
While the main engines for the Shuttle are somewhat of a marvel, I doubt they could be reproduced today either. The people resources simply aren't there - it would take 10 years of experimentation and learning about rockets.
What?? How do you think they refurbish them after the missions if they don't understand them completely? How was Rockwell able to build a new shuttle in the early 90's, including rocket engines, if no one is left? That space division, now owned by Boeing, still designs and builds new rockets. How can that possibly be?
I was surprised (naive, I know) that the link in TFS was not to the X-Prize website, so I went looking for it.
It turns out that deep ocean exploration is only one of several contending future exploration X-Prizes.
Is this an attempt to stack the deck in Cameron's favor by forcing the competition choice through publicity as if it's a forgone conclusion, and meanwhile he has maybe a six month head start on the competition?
You too should read "The Case for Mars". There are many reasons for colonizing Mars, not the least of which is as an offsite backup for humanity.
Other reasons range from the practical; with Mars as source of rare elements not available in sufficient quantities on Earth, to the esoteric, with the new Mars frontier providing the challenge that humanity needs to hone its pioneering edge.
The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.