Friday , December 3 2021

Virgin Galactic does the story with its first manned space flight: the achievement that revives the controversy about where space begins



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The company Virgin Galactic, of the magnate Richard Branson, made history this Thursday when he achieved his first manned space flight.

With this achievement, the company becomes first to achieve a manned commercial flight in space.

  • Why the Virgin Galactic flight is a milestone (and how much is missing so we can go as tourists to space)

Your goal is to be able to carry tourists in these space flights, with a price of $ 250 million ticket, something that may happen in 2019.

The company claims that SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, which ran off California manned by two pilots, reached 82.7 km in height.

The ship reached this height after it accelerated composite to another plane, from which it is unloaded to continue to increase a speed 2.9 times faster than the sound

"Some specific definition is arbitrareIA"said Phil Stooke, professor of planet science at Western University in Canada, to BBC World.

But even if there is no consensus there are some "Traditions", as Alex Ellery, Professor of Space Engineering at Carleton University in Canada, calls them to control the answer.

An invisible line

According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA, for its acronym in English), "there is no final team to determine where the national airspace really ends and where outer space begins. "

As a reference maximum height who has reached an aircraft is close to 37 km.

Above the atmosphere begins to turn too thin so that a conventional plane can fly. The air generates less push, so the ships need to achieve much higher speeds.

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The satellites surrounding the earth are located after 200 km, otherwise they would not be able to last for a long time.

Further down the atmosphere is still too dense and an "effect of drag"It would pull them back to the surface.

For longer missions, satellites must go far higher. For example, the Hubble space telescope is almost 600 km high.

Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope Circles 600 kilometers from Earth.

One of the most accepted limits to mark the beginning of space is the call line of Karman, 100 km above sea level.

The Karman line is taken by the International Air Organization (FAI), an organization that sets international standards in aviation technology and astronautics.

From that height you can no longer fly conventionally (with support like wings or propellers) and you have to track to avoid falling.

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"Most would argue that the Karman line would constitute the legal division in case of disputes," said Ellery BBC Mundo.

"However, there is no charter."

But …

Other institutions such as the US Air Force and NASA put the bar lower.

For them, space begins 80 km of height, ie 20 km below the Karman line.

Pilots and other specialists capable of flying over 80 km are officially considered astronauts.

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Under these conditions, Virgin Galactic qualifies as one space.

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Spaceon, by Elon Musk, launched a Tesla car in space as part of its Falcon Heavy rocket project

"At a time between 50 km and 200 km there is an area where you can not fly (conventional) and you can not run (like a satellite or a spacecraft)", explains Stooke.

"The edge of space is somewhere between these points. "

Crossing the border

Another way to define what it means to get to space is to determine which point atmosphere of the earth.

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In that case it would have to rise the 10.000 km that some authors assign the exosphere.

According to the definition, as explained by NOOA, the International Space Station, located 400 km away, or a spacecraft circulating more than 300 km should not be considered in place.

earth

There is no agreement about where space begins

"Basically, it means being in space be in one vacuum above the atmosphere, "said Jeffrey Hoffman, Professor of Space Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"But also at Orbitalhöjder For hundreds of kilometers, it is still a very thin atmosphere. "

Thus, while the experts agree where to locate spatial boundary, engineers and pilots still work fast to reach the limit … no matter how far they put it.

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