Poll

What will be the next US spacecraft to cross the Karman line with people aboard?

Boeing CST-100 Starliner
16 (10.4%)
SpaceX Crew Dragon
66 (42.9%)
XCOR Lynx
0 (0%)
Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two
18 (11.7%)
Blue Origin New Shepard
46 (29.9%)
Sierra Nevada DreamChaser
0 (0%)
Lockheed Martin/NASA Orion
3 (1.9%)
Other
2 (1.3%)
None (a most depressing thought!)
3 (1.9%)

Total Members Voted: 153

Voting closed: 02/10/2016 05:07 pm


Author Topic: POLL: The next US craft to cross the Karman Line with people aboard?  (Read 5444 times)

Offline Bubbinski

I just finished the 1/72nd scale Mercury model by Horizon Models and it's now a proud part of my collection of 1/72nd scale US crewed spacecraft.  Which craft will be the next one to join the pantheon of US built (or largely US built) spacecraft to take people above the Karman line?

« Last Edit: 12/12/2015 05:13 pm by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Patchouli

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Mostly likely SS2 or New Shepard.

SS2 will likely cross the line soon after testing resumes in 2016 and New Shepard probably will on it's first crewed flight.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2015 09:04 pm by Patchouli »

Offline QuantumG

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SS2 will likely cross the line soon after testing resumes in 2016

Umm.. has VG gone back to saying SS2 will go to 100 km now? Last I heard they were anticipating no more than 50 miles.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline mme

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I voted Blue but regret it having belatedly found Bezos actual quote on the matter.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Well, it was either going to be VG, Blue, SpaceX or Boeing. I picked the amazing people option.
Resident feline spaceflight expert. Knows nothing of value about human spaceflight.

Offline intrepidpursuit

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SpaceX has the first scheduled flight above the Karman line. They tend to slip, but so does everyone else. CST-100 is close to neck and neck, but they are more about paperwork than flight, so I don't think they'll be in any hurry. Blue doesn't think they'll put people on very soon, but they'd be my next bet. Orion might take people up on the planned test launch in 2018 (or 2019, or 2021, or 2023, whenever), but that jobs program is all about building and not about launching and they have no mission so they are in no hurry to make the pointless flight. SS2 is unlikely to ever cross the Karman line. XCOR is likely about to fall apart and will likely never fly. DreamChaser is not a manned vehicle anymore.

Does that sum it up? Perhaps I'm pessimistic, but what makes a launch happen is a goal, ambition, talent and money. You need all 4. Any combination of 2 or 3 have failed repeatedly throughout history.

Offline Comga

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This poll sets a pretty low threshold for a 100 km high goal.
"people" not passengers
"cross" not time above or orbits or revisits
VG has their machine mostly built, and without passengers they have to be able to goose it over the line.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline QuantumG

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Last I heard they didn't expect SS2 to get to 100km. Have you heard otherwise?

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Darkseraph

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I still believe it will be Blue Origin, that they will do it  and announce it later with a high production video released the next day. That seems to be their style so far, to do an amazing thing out of the Blue!! Other companies make wonderful promises on schedules they later have to inevitably break. Blue is backed by a pretty comfortable billionaire so they can afford an approach of "When it's done!".

I would be surprised if Blue Origin have not flown a test pilot beyond the Karman Line within a year and a half from now. I've low confidence in Virgin Galactic for entirely obvious reasons. I don't believe SpaceX are going to take any huge risk with Dragon 2. Killing an astronaut by rushing their Dragon program would be very very bad for them. Some politicians would go as far as trying to axe the entire CC program if a provider killed a test crew.  They will play it pretty safe.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline jongoff

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I voted Blue Origin, though I doubt they'll beat SpaceX and Boeing by much. Based on what I've heard publicly it sounds like Blue has several unmanned flights planned for next year. And they have multiple capsules and multiple booster stages. Even if they run into issues, I wouldn't be surprised if they had over a dozen suborbital flights under their belt by the end of the year. I wouldn't be surprised if they went for a crewed test flight by first half of 2017. Though I think their odds of beating SpaceX are only a little over 60%.

~Jon

Offline deltaV

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One of the best ways to wreck Virgin Galactic's business model would be to remind potential customers that revenue SS2 flights won't actually go to space according to the internationally recognized definition. If I were Virgin Galactic I would actively avoid ever sending SS2 on a test flight above the Karman line so the press doesn't have an excuse to write articles about how SS2 isn't going to accomplish that feat on revenue flights. I therefore do not expect Virgin to try to win this poll even if they could.

Offline Darkseraph

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I don't think the Karman line is going to be a major problem for Virgin Galactic or that pointing it out will do major damage to their credibility. Most of the public frankly don't understand the difference between suborbital and orbital spaceflight like when Blue Origin landed it's booster in November. It upstaged Elon for the general audience despite his tweets and a slew of articles explaining the difference. Spaceflight enthusiasts on boards like this know the difference, but they're a tiny sliver of the public. The difference between the Karman line and the altitude the U.S air force defines as space is too subtle to be critical.

What will kill their business is killing another pilot. They're finished if that happens. Blue Origin has an obvious edge here because it can perform dozens of unmanned flights to work out the bugs before putting a human on board.
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Offline koshvv

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I think it will be Blue.
They'll launch a few weeks before SpaceX and then Jeff will welcome Elon to the club again ;)

Offline rcoppola

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I'd say SpaceX. if they stick to their current timeline, they'll be in orbit in roughly 14 months.

I have no idea where in the development process Blue is wrt actual crew support systems for their capsule. I seriously don't think they are in any rush wrt to people.

VG...based on their track record, they make SpaceX look like Masters-Of-Timelines.

Orion, definitely not. ECLSS won't even be ready to be flown until 2021 to 2023.

CST, possibly, but they so stacked 2017 with milestones, Pad Abort, Uncrewed flight, then Crewed flight...I'd say no.

DC, obviously not.

Edit: It's a fun poll in that it's limited scope allows more vehicles to be included. However, the effort of sub-orbital, vs LEO/ISS, vs BEO are orders of magnitude in increasing complexity and accomplishment.
« Last Edit: 01/10/2016 10:19 pm by rcoppola »
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Offline billh

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Blue, because they are the only ones who have already made the exact same flight unmanned, using the same vehicle that will carry people. Since they seem to be cautious and slow, however, there is a chance that SpaceX or Boeing might beat them. But with Congress not fully funding Commercial Crew, I predict delays for those two. Sadly, I believe Virgin and XCOR are a long way from flying people to the Karman Line.

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