Virgin Galactic's suborbital vehicle does not have the capabilities required to reach low Earth orbit, and this is not going to change anytime soon. They would need to charter Falcon rockets from SpaceX or something similar.
On the other hand, it is interesting to speculate whether a true space tourism industry is possible. If prices for access to orbit were slashed tenfold, I suppose you could draw on a pool of thousands of clients.
from the load-photon-torpedoes dept.
darthvader100 writes "Gizmodo has run an article with some predictions on what future space battles will be like. The author brings up several theories on propulsion (and orbits), weapons (explosives, kinetic and laser), and design. Sounds like the ideal shape for spaceships will be spherical, like the one in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie."
Jason Sahler writes: "Arcology may sound like a made up word — probably because it is. A hybrid of architecture and ecology, it is essentially a mega city which packs a ginormous population into one hyperstructure — think Death Star, Zion in The Matrix or the Anthill of Antz fame. Now, a real-life a group of ambitious designers has taken their looming pyramidal arcology and placed it smack dab on the Mississippi River as a proposal for the rebuild of New Orleans which is currently in progress. This 30 million square foot beast-building with an array of green features is aptly named NOAH (Get it? Noah and the Arcology?), and is meant to house 40,000 mostly human residents"
An anonymous reader writes: "Business software maker VMware Inc has agreed to buy privately held SpringSource for $420 million, its biggest-ever acquisition, to beef up a portfolio of programs that help companies run data centers."
sundling writes: "Creator of the popular Java Spring Framework, SpringSource has been acquired by VMWare. SpringSource itself has acquired a number of companies itself including G2One (the company behind Grails, the Java contender for the Ruby on Rails crowd) and Hyperic. SpringSource has also become home to other important Java projects like AspectJ for Aspect Oriented programming. Of all the open source Java Enterprise players, Spring tends to have vision that will definitely expand into the cloud. It was already putting the pieces together, but being acquired by VMWare should accelerate that direction."
Dr. Damage writes: Netbooks have grown from tiny curiosities with 7" screens into surprisingly well-rounded little computers. The latest step? 11.6" displays with 1366x768 resolution and near-full-sized keyboards, believe it or not. Two such systems are available now for under $400 at U.S. retailers: an Aspire One at Walmart and the Gateway LT3103 at Best Buy. The Gateway packs an Athlon 64 processor and Radeon graphics, amazingly enough. The Tech Report bought them both and has compared them head to head in some depth, choosing a clear winner between the two.
smooth wombat writes: If everything goes according to plan, an experiment designed to test if plants can grow in the limited lunar gravity will hitch a ride with a competitor for the Google Lunar X Prize. The press release from Paragon Space Development Corporation outlines its partnership with Odyssey Moon to be the first to grow a plant on another world. In addition to the experiment, Paragon will be helping Odyssey with the thermal control system and lander design. To win the prize, Odyssey must land its craft on the lunar surface by the end of 2014.
More details about the experiment, and obstacles to overcome, may be found in this MSNBC article.
Hugh Pickens writes: "Europe is set to launch the Goce satellite to map minute variations in the pull of gravity experienced across the planet in one of the most challenging space missions to date. The super-sleek spacecraft will provide use data to improve own understanding of how the oceans move, and to frame a universal system to measure height anywhere on Earth. Goce's striking good-looks are a requirement of the extreme environment in which it will have to operate. "This is the most beautiful satellite that has ever been built — and for good reason," says Reiner Rummel, from the Technical University of Munich, Germany adding that arrow shape and fins are necessary to keep the spacecraft stable as it flies through the wisps of air still present at an altitude just under 270 km. At the heart of the spacecraft is a gradiometer consisting of three pairs of "proof masses", or accelerometers aligned at 90 degrees, across each axis and mounted inside an ultra-stable casing. "Imagine a snowflake, which has a fraction of a gram, slowly falling down on to the deck of a supertanker. The acceleration that the supertanker experiences from that snowflake is comparable to the sensitivity of our instrument," explained Rune Floberghagen, Esa's Goce mission manager."
"Detection of broadband signals from Earth such as AM radio,
FM radio, and television picture and sound would be
extremely difficult even at a fraction of a light-year
distant from the Sun. For example, a TV picture having 5
MHz of bandwidth and 5 MWatts of power could not be detected
beyond the solar system even with a radio telescope with 100
times the sensitivity of the 305 meter diameter Arecibo