Saturday, December 03, 2005

Scaled Composites : Pioneering the Future of Travel

Scaled Composites , "an aerospace and specialty composites development company located in Mojave, California" is pushing forward the boundaries of commercial aviation, led by Burt Rutan (described by many as an "aeronautical legend" for his radical yet efficient designs). Two are most notable for making news this year.

Around the World in 67 hours with the Global Flyer.

The Global Flyer is a single-pilot craft made entirely of composite material which makes it strong yet light, and is powered by a single turbo fan engine. This aircraft was able to circumnavigate the world without stopping or refuelling , leaving Kansas (Salina) and landing on the same spot after 67 hours on March 3, 2005. The plane was piloted by Steve Fossett, who has over the years played with world records for both distance and time using hot-air balloons, gliders, etc.(also awarded the Gold Medal of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in 2002 ).

To the borders of space : SpaceShipOne, the first private manned (and funded) spacecraft to exceed an altitude of 328,000 feet (it was able to accomplish this twice over a period of 14 days which also proves one of the main points of the craft : reusability), won the Ansari-X prize, which equates to 10 million dollars plus prestige and honor (of course). The craft was piloted by Brian Binnie.

Commentary : Commercial "Space Flight" is just around the corner, as there is funding already for a technology that has been proven and tested. The concern for cost? This business endeavor may just be a window for a whole new future of "sub-orbital" adventures, not only for travel but for other areas of commerce, and the figures may just add up for more people to come forward and take a second look at what Scaled Composites has accomplished and what it means to the common people.

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