Space

Frogs in Space

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Europe looks up, notices space, decides to give it a shot:

EADS Astrium, Europe's biggest builder of satellites and rockets, is this week expected to announce plans to carry tourists into space. The firm is due to unveil plans at the Paris air show for a spacecraft that will carry tourists out of the atmosphere for a brief ride at 3,000mph before ferrying them back to Earth….

A spokesman for EADS Astrium said: "We are going to reveal a space tourism project next week for the Paris air show." The scheme is thought to be the first step in a plan to take space tourists into orbit and even to dock at a "space hotel".

The more, the merrier, I say. Optimism about falling prices abounds:

So far there have been five space tourists, who have paid millions of pounds to board Russian rockets. Experts believe that the price will come down drasti-cally in a matter of years.

John Zarnecki, who is a professor of space science at the Open University, said: "I am still waiting for the easyJet and Ryanair treatment of space travel."

Read all about Americans (and other Commonwealthers) in space here.

In other news, frogs have already been to space.

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  1. Former space shuttle inhabitant (and French astronaut) Michel Tognini might have a thing or two to say about that headline…

  2. a spacecraft that will carry tourists out of the atmosphere for a brief ride at 3,000mph

    Aw CRAP my goat’s missing again. Someone must have got it.

    There’s nothing dumber than when a spacecraft is reported as moving at 3,000mph when what they really mean is 0mph. Because as Newton implied, Mach elaborated on, and Einstein used as a solid foundation, all inertial frames of reference are equivalent.

  3. “Frogs in Space at Gunpoint” would have made a better title.

  4. Warren,

    To take that a step further (being quasi-serious here), than since everything is moving around to the stationary observer, than technically, the world revolves around me?

    I’ve been trying to tell people that for years. Eureka! I have proof!

  5. I would say that the 3,000mph top speed of the vehicle relative to the ground is a worthwhile number. Granted, it’s fairly irrelevant in freefall, but it is interesting to the passengers to know how much faster than an airplane they traveled, and it is interesting to those who want to know much of the way into orbit the vehicle can get.

  6. Go, Dan! Beat your running gag into the ground! At gunpoint!

  7. Those frogs should have known they were going into space. After all, it was their lot in life after they signed the social contract.

  8. …all inertial frames of reference are equivalent.

    Paging Dave W. Will a Mister Dave W. please report to the “Frogs in Space” thread to discuss how he is the Center of the Universe.

  9. than technically, the world revolves around me?

    Sorry, you’re not an inertial frame of reference.

  10. “There’s nothing dumber than when a spacecraft is reported as moving at 3,000mph when what they really mean is 0mph. Because as Newton implied, Mach elaborated on, and Einstein used as a solid foundation, all inertial frames of reference are equivalent.”

    For someone who’s so smart, you sure do say some really stupid shit at times.

    🙂

  11. http://ppx.popsci.com/security/view.php?symbol=VRGNFLTS

    On the Popular Science web site, you can bet on whether Virgin Atlantic flies 10 missions without a fatality. At least that gives you something to root for.

  12. Dan, could you give me your home address, schedule, and list of phobias? At gunpoint?

  13. The great thing about reference frames is that you can always pick a reference frame in which an object is stationary and stand there and nitpick what somebody was saying.

    Great way to win arguments on technicalities. Horrible way to explain or gain insight.

  14. The world does not revolve around me. That’s impossible. Instead try only try to realize the truth. That I am the center of the universe. Then you will see that it is not the world that revolves, it is only yourself. 🙂

  15. This isn’t tourism, but a thrill ride complete with a big view and weightlessness, and bragging rights for status – value added.

    Talk about Global warming with scientists agreeing, then just where does this feul expense and at high altitude fit in the ‘green’ minded world? Oh yeah, they’ll plant a forest to off set it. That will make it all A-OK.

  16. I’ll wait for the Senor Frog in space.

  17. Great way to win arguments on technicalities. Horrible way to explain or gain insight.

    I’m not sure I’m following you here thoreau. I think it’s the central insight.

    In this case, a ship in freefall, moving at 3,000mph relative to… what exactly? Let’s assume it’s relative to the pointy end of the Washington Monument. What does that mean to the tourists who took out a second mortgage for the ride? They are in free fall. As far as they’re concerned they are at rest. When they look out the window, they will still feel as if they are standing still, it will appear as if the earth was revolving beneath them. And the sun rising and setting every somany minutes. It is a meaningless number. Better to tell them how many Gs they will experience during lift-off/reentry and what altitude they will attain.

  18. Warren,

    Actually, in the IRF of the Andromeda Galaxy’s center, they’re moving at a clip of 300 km/s (~670,000 mph).

  19. In this case, a ship in freefall, moving at 3,000mph relative to… what exactly?

    Relative to everything on the planet they took off from and will return to! But that does include the top of the Washington Monument, so we can go with that.

    3,000mph is presumably the speed you were going when free fall started. 3,000 miles per hour is 50 miles per minute. 32 feet per second per second is 22 miles per minute per minute. So the time until your 3,000mph up becomes 3,000mph down is (50+50)/22 or four and a half minutes. Presumably there is still more falling before you hit atmosphere to give the 6 minutes total cited in the article.

    Furthermore, if that 3,000mph were horizontal, it represents one sixth the speed it takes to get to orbit and one thirty-sixth the energy it takes to get to orbit — an important comparison with other craft.

    If the 3,000mph were meaningless, I could not have done that math. Indeed, the 3,000mph is quite meaningful and interesting.

  20. “Frogs in Space at Gunpoint” would have made a better title.

    Huh? EADS Astrium is going to sign up space tourists at gunpoint? Your joke rocketed over this simple earthling’s head.

  21. To put it another way…

    The single most important metric for a rocket is its delta-V, how much it can change its own velocity with its own engine.

    To say that the rocket’s speed before applying the delta-V is zero relative to itself and the rocket’s speed after applying the delta-V is zero relative to itself pretty much misses the point of the rocket.

  22. I don’t care.
    3,000 mph is still friggin’ fast.

  23. Speed is relevant when there is something not moving and you’re speeding towards it.

  24. MikeP,

    3,000mph is presumably the speed you were going when free fall started.

    I see no reason to presume that, but OK lets presume. The rest of your math seems to be assuming near earth freefall. Which in fact may be the case for these flights. At any rate the calculations don’t tell me anything of interest. But if they amuse you, well and good.

    The single most important metric for a rocket is its delta-V, how much it can change its own velocity with its own engine.

    That metric is only meaningful when measured in space. Change in velocity when climbing out of a gravity well isn’t the point. It’s how high up that matters.

  25. ed,
    You think so? Because right now you are moving at over 65,000mph (around the sun).

  26. Change in velocity when climbing out of a gravity well isn’t the point.

    If the goal is to reach orbit and beyond, then change of velocity is all that matters.

    It’s how high up that matters.

    Unless you get mind-bogglingly high, if you can’t get going 18,000 miles per hour horizontally, you are going to fall back to earth.

  27. Or, using the cosmic microwave background radiation as a frame of reference, we’re moving at nearly a million miles an hour.

    Whoa, I’m getting dizzy.

  28. Moving at one million miles an hour
    using my power
    I sell it by the hour
    I have it so I market it
    you really cant afford it-yeah
    Really cant afford it

    shooting stars never stop
    even when they reach the top
    Shooting stars never stop
    even when they reach the top

    there goes a supernova
    what a pushover-yeah
    There goes a supernova
    what a pushover

    were a long way from home
    welcome to the pleasuredome…

  29. How do I get off this thing?

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