Branson’s Virgin Galactic Flying beyond the altitude of 80 kilometers (or about 262,000 feet) that the United States recognizes as the boundary of the universe, Bezos’ Blue Origin exceeds 100 kilometers (or about 328,000 feet), commonly known as the Karman line. To fly.
After Branson said he plans to launch just nine days before Bezos’ previously announced space flight, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith called Virgin Galactic’s approach “not flying above the Karman line.” Therefore, he accused him of “a completely different experience.”
Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Korgrazier replied briefly: “We are beyond the boundaries of astronauts,” he added, adding that he is “the only commercial company that has ever piloted a private astronaut.”
Virgin Galactic Sir Richard Branson (left) and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.
On Sunday, Branson will begin Virgin Galactic’s fourth spaceflight test to date. He founded the company 17 years ago and is about to complete development testing this year so that space travel passengers can begin flying in early 2022. Bezos’ Blue Origin has goals other than tourism, but millionaires are also aiming to fly to the edge of the space launched by the company’s first crew on July 20th.
At the heart of the 2 billion controversy is that the line at which the universe begins is not universally agreed upon in terms of altitude. This is a fact emphasized by astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell in an interview with CNBC.
“The United States is one-way and not everyone else is in the opposite direction … there is no real international agreement,” McDowell said.
There are various reasons McDowell claims that 80 kilometers is the clearest boundary of the universe, including scientific measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere, gravitational physics, and historical precedent. This includes the closeness of the original line of Hungarian-American engineer Theodore von Kalman. From 100 to 80.
McDowell is an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysicist Center. In 2018, we published a treatise detailing the proposed debate over the boundaries of the universe... Asteroid (4589) McDowell is named after him.
VSS Unity was released on the carrier-based aircraft VMSEve at the start of the third space flight on May 22, 2021.
The key to understanding the controversy is the difference between the company’s spacecraft. First and foremost, neither Blue Origin nor Virgin Galactic go into orbit — neither spacecraft is defined as in orbit, allowing passengers to reach the edge of space and float in microgravity for up to a few minutes.Orbital flight like Of Elon Musk SpaceX costs tens of millions of dollars and usually spends days or weeks in space.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is launched vertically from the ground, and capsules for six passengers are cut from a rocket booster near the top of the flight. The capsule will then return to Earth under the control of a set of parachutes, allowing the boosters to land separately and re-launch.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo system is launched into the air by carrier-based aircraft before launching a rocket engine and ascending. After a slow backflip under microgravity, the spacecraft glide back to Earth to land on the runway.
A New Shepard rocket will be launched in a test flight.
The difference in altitude reached by each spacecraft is about 15 kilometers, or 50,000 feet. The difference is “not dramatic” to passengers, “about 20% higher” and “probably noticeable,” McDowell pointed out.
“Experienced, I think it’s pretty similar,” McDowell said. “The important things are: [The difference] It’s a little arbitrary. “
In the discussion between altitudes of 100 and 80 kilometers, McDowell emphasized that “it is not really correct to say that other parts of the world recognize 100 kilometers.” He said the International Aviation Federation (FAI), the aviation record holder, is “the only official place” for 100 km, not “international law.”
Nevertheless, Blue Origin doubled the Karman line view in a tweet on Friday.
“For 96% of the world’s population, space begins 100km above,” the company said.
The United States recognizes 80 kilometers for several reasons, including regulations on space weapons and historical precedents for early military astronauts. In the 1960s, the Air Force awarded pilots of rocket-powered X-15 aircraft the wings of an astronaut after flying over 80 km.
In terms of weapons, McDowell emphasized that “the United States does not want the universe to be defined too clearly” and “resists on the existence of international agreements” on the boundaries of the universe.
“Then it becomes clear that missiles can pass through space and be subject to space law,” McDowell said. “The general idea is that the United States [military] If not defined, you have more freedom of action. “
On a scientific basis, McDowell made an 80-kilometer physics-based discussion based on the density of the upper atmosphere. Through modeling, his work has shown that the edges of the atmosphere are “less swaying” and fairly consistent in their impact on spacecraft.
“Looking at elliptical orbiting satellites, we can survive when the closest orbit to Earth is in the mid-80 km, but when it goes down in the mid-1970s, it burns out.” It was.
Finally, McDowell states that Theodore von Kalman himself “did not initially choose” 100 kilometers as the edge of the universe. His approach was also a “physics-based idea”, “somewhere” in the mid-80 kilometers range. But over time, McDowell said the people involved in Kalman’s work decided to “round to 100” rather than “identify it exactly.”
“The Karman line has become synonymous with 100 kilometers, but it wasn’t originally a definition of the Karman line,” McDowell said.
Bezos’Blue Origin vs. Branson’s Virgin Galactic