[FPSPACE] a new Swiss wannabe

Paolo Ulivi pao.ulivi at gmail.com
Sat Sep 27 08:31:39 EDT 2014

sounds like S3

On Sat, Sep 27, 2014 at 1:56 PM, Keith Gottschalk <kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za>

>     Yesterday, Friday 26th, al-Jazeera English channel broadcast an
> interview with a Swiss start-up whose name I didn't catch.
>      The start-up proposes to use an Airbus with a winged upper stage
> rocket clamped onto its roof, in principle similar to the Sanger project of
> the 1960s or 1970s.  At the Airbus's highest altitude, the winged upper
> stage rocket is ignited, to either take passengers across the North
> Atlantic in two hours; or to in turn go to its highest altitude, from where
> it launches satellites, each attached to a third stage. The broadcast
> showed a computer animation of this, plus a one metre scale model in a wind
> tunnel.  What immediately aroused my skepticism was that:
> 1) Although I do not have a B.Eng (Aeronautics) I spotted that they do not
> propose to remove the Airbus tail fin right behind their winged upper
> stage, & replace it with two tail fins, each (say) five metres or so to the
> side of the fuselage. This leaves them with no safety margin for winged
> staging in the atmosphere.
> 2) Although I do not have a B.Com I spotted that their upper stage looks
> unlikely to seat more than 4 or 6 passengers. To hire an Airbus jumbojet to
> send say 6 passengers from Zurich to New York - what air fares are we
> looking at per passenger? To merely save four hours on a flight?
> 3) Their proposal for air-launched satellites appears to be the only
> viable part of their business plan. But they will be competing against
> Virgin Galactic & others for a share of the micro- and midi-satellite
> market.
> 4) The broadcast was just gee-whiz techno, but gave no indication of their
> success in raising capital, compared to any of, say,  SpaceX, or Blue
> Origin.
>     All in all, I don't think that we will hear of them again.
> warm regards, Keith.
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