The Air Force Museum is just an all around one of the best aviation museums to go anyway.
If you're an aviation geek who likes to linger and read, plan on two days. I went a couple years ago. I got there when they opened and spent the whole day there. I had to blitz through the last hanger because they were closing and I didn't even get to see any of the outdoors exhibits or a movie.
In an amazing stroke of luck, one of the VC-25s was doing training that day too. So we have videos of the WWII planes flying by, then pan over to a VC-25 in the same shot. Just an amazing combination to see in the air at the same time.
They have a few hangars full of airplanes, space ships, satellites, rockets, fighter jets, drones, etc.
It has some tiny wings for you to control it but we couldn't include any landing gear so we gave it some flimsy skids instead. We were hoping you would at least find them cute even if they aren't particularly useful.
We included a diaper in your pressure suit that will be helpful if you get scared. You also don't have to worry about taking off, but when you try to land please make sure that you descend at the right angle so that you don't accidentally take a joy ride to Alpha Centauri.
Please be careful with our flying bomb with tiny wings and cute little skids. While it may be just a cockpit strapped to a flamethrower, it still cost $999 million to build, so no dents, please and thank you."
I can’t imagine what it must be like to go to space as a profession, and then need to leave or retire. A bittersweet thing, to be sure.
_Phases of Gravity_ by Dan Simmons takes it head-on with an astronaut whose days flying are over.
More obliquely a national loss of space capability is taken on by Norman Spinrad in _Russian Spring_.
Both great reads, and sad.
It literally says it right there. The ISS is not a piloted, powered aircraft. Also it was Mach 6.7, not 6.2.
Incidentally, the speed record for a crewed vehicle was set by Apollo 10 at 11.08 km/s - almost half as fast again as the ISS.
> [after hearing he has to take the top off of the Mars Ascent Vehicle] I know what they're doing. I know exactly what they're doing. They just keep repeating "go faster than any man in the history of space travel", like that's a good thing. Like it'll distract me from how insane their plan is. Yeah, I get to go faster than any man in the history of space travel, because you're launching me in a convertible. Actually it's worse than that, because I won't even be able to control the thing. And by the way, physicists, when describing things like acceleration do not use the word "fast". So they're only doing that in the hopes that I won't raise any objections to this lunacy, because I like the way "fastest man in the history of space travel" sounds. I do like the way it sounds... I mean, I like it a lot.
Fair record category would be “takes off under own power, sets record, lands by itself with all the equipment”. X-15 definitely doesn’t qualify.
"Takes off under it's own power" is a qualification you're not the first in proposing, but it's controversial because it would disqualify many famous aircraft, such as the Bell X-1 and according to some (mostly Brazilians) the Wright Flyer. There is also the matter of carrier-launched aircraft that take off when the carrier is running flat out into the wind, let alone with a catapult; it's easy to say they are not taking off entirely under their own power. You could make a similar argument for rocket-assist JATO configurations, if the plane drops the JATOs after takeoff.
“Takes off under it’s own power and brings all equipment back” is good limitation - otherwise you can trivially design a system that drops multi-stage booster and lands tiny glider after setting a record.
You mean twice as fast as the ISS, don't you?
11 km/s is escape velocity at ground level: no way ISS could stay in orbit going twice that fast!
But aren't the Soyuz capsules that dock with the ISS piloted and powered ?
You could make a stronger argument for the Space Shuttle, which re-enters at about Mach 25, IIRC, and is gliding. But it's not doing so under power.
While I suspect you're right, Soyuz capsules do use aerodynamic lift to control descent rate and steer to the landing site. In some ways they are very, very (very) inefficient gliders.
It is possible to do something sort of like this in a space capsule returning to Earth, where you muck up your entry vector and come in at too shallow an angle. You can then (depending on the circumstances) bounce off the atmosphere, and gain altitude briefly. And then you probably come back in the atmosphere on too steep an angle, and die due to g-load or overheating.
Hahah, when compared to Mach 22, is that pedantry relevant?
The X-15 still had to deal with the other aspects of atmospheric flight like weight (carrying its own fuel source), drag and heating due to friction etc.
But again, I wrote rather short comment, and part of it was:
> There are humans there, they got up to speed and regularly come back
To put it in other words, to get to ISS, crew has to accelerate to it's speed, and to get back, to lose it.
Re-entry is faster, but not powered. Other vehicles (missiles etc) achieve high speeds but are unmanned.
Also, mach number is dependent on altitude if I remember correctly.
On any of the ballistic / into space flights, you would experience weightlessness between the engine cutoff and the point where atmospheric forces became noticable -- this is what the space tourism companies are aiming for.
I do not know if any flights were conducted at a constant altitude, but note that the centrifugal force goes by the square of the angular velocity.
Also, Mach numbers depend on atmospheric temperature and therefore indirectly on altitude. Strictly speaking, a Mach number for the ISS is meaningless, and even if we are being lax, the figure of Mach 22 is not directly comparable to the X-15 record Mach number. The comparison must be made between speeds, which are, approximately, 17,000 mph for the ISS and 4,500 mph for the X-15 record.
If we disregard the relatively small difference in the radius (from the center of the earth), then my BOE calculation suggests that the reduction in weight is about 7%.
Note, however, that while the motor is running, its acceleration is the biggest contribution to weight (reaching up to 4g as the fuel weight goes down.) Once it is cut off, then our assumption of level (i.e. non-ballistic) flight assumes that the airplane is capable of generating lift equal to its weight, which implies sufficient atmospheric density for the small wings to generate that lift. This, in turn, seems to imply enough density to produce a non-trivial deceleration due to drag, which also contributes to weight. Therefore, I doubt that there is any phase of the flight where the centrifugal reduction of weight is the dominant effect.
I think you mean centrifugal force. Unfortunately, no, you don't feel quite that much less weight, because centrifugal force goes like the square of the velocity, so the ratio is the square of 6.2/22, or about 0.08, i.e., only 8%.
Consider a plane flying at ground level along the equator at groundspeed velocity v in the direction of the Earth's rotation. In the Earth's (rotating) reference frame there is a centrifugal acceleration based on the Earth's angular velocity and a Coriolis acceleration given by -2 W x v, where W is the Earth's angular velocity and v is the plane's velocity. This ends up pointing straight up in this configuration.
So in the plane's reference frame there is a straight-up centrifugal acceleration, given by (W + v/R)^2 * R = W^2 * R + 2W x v + v^2/R which is balanced by the aerodynamic and gravitational forces on the plane (which in this frame is non-accelerating), while in the Earth's reference frame there is a straight-up centrifugal acceleration given by W^2 * R and a straight-up Coriolis acceleration of 2W x v, and the plane is accelerating radially down at v^2/R due to gravity and lift combined.
Now to put numbers to this, the speed record for an X15 is about 2000 m/s, R is 6.4 * 10^6 m, and W is 1 revolution per 24 hours, or 1/86400 s^1. So the three force components look like this, if I am doing my numbers right:
W^2 * R is .00086 m/s^2
2W x v is 0.04 m/s^2
v^2/R is 0.63 m/s^2.
If you want some planes that live up to the other sense of "bad", here is an amusing article about several planes you might enjoy .
Anyway, I'd assumed it was going to be the SR-71, but yours looks awesome & I enjoyed the article either way!
> “I honestly can say I was so terribly focused on flying those profiles as closely as possible that I didn’t really have time to look out the window and see how pretty it was,”
Joe Engle, describing the X-15
Only twice, according to the standard everyone else uses. Saying the X-15 has been to space a dozen times is like weighing yourself in kilograms to make the number smaller. Certainly helps the ego of those Air Force pilots, and Blue Origin, though!
the story may just be X-15 folklore but my child self was impressed haha
That road was not really taken until now potentially with SpaceX. (The Space Shuttle had design / political issues that made it operationally very expensive.)
99% Certain it was this one:
Now I have to find one!