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Future of Space Ship One and Two

space ship one

Burt Rutan (of first private spaceship SpaceShipOne) fame has talked to the Palm Springs Desert Sun newspaper about the future of SpaceShipOne and his plans for it's successor SpaceShipTwo (AKA Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise).

SpaceShipOne, despite receiving a lot of requests for flights and cargo runs, will be preserved in the Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington DC and will not fly again.

SpaceShipTwo, which will carry 9 people higher than SpaceShipOne, should be flying in two and a half years and should be starting commercial flights in four years.

In the longer term he things that in twenty to twenty-five years people will be able to visit hotels in orbit.

Put me down for a weekend stay at the hotel to celebrate my 55th or 60th birthday.

Full Interview

Posted December 23, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Jetpod Flying Taxi

Jetpod Flying Taxi

In 5 years you could be taking a flying taxi to London's Heathrow Airport instead of the usual black cab, and it will even cost about the same.

London-based developers Avcen have come up with a concept for the Jetpod Flying Taxi: a small (5 passenger) plane that can take off and land in 400ft, is ultra-quiet, and will cruise at 350mph.

The trip from the center of London to the Airport would only take 2 or 3 minutes: I just hope they don't make you turn up for the Jetpod 2 hrs before departure.

(daily mirror via tech digest)

Posted November 8, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Pioneer AVIC-N2 Navigation System

Pioneer AVIC-N2 Navigation System

I had a navigation system in my last car and used it all the time, it made it so easy to get anywhere I hadn't been before. My current car doesn't have a navigation system and I really miss it, so I'm very interested to hear about a new gadget from Pioneer: the Pioneer AVIC-N2 Navigation System.

The Pioneer AVIC-N2 Navigation System seems to have it all: a 6.5" LCD touchscreen, XM satellite radio access, DVD/CD/MP3 player, and 4x50w output.

If that isn't enough for you the Pioneer AVIC-N2 Navigation System also supports XM Radio's NAVTEQ traffic system that warns you of traffic holdups (in 20 major cities), although it's not clear if it automatically suggests an alternate route around holdups.

One downside to this device is that it only has 7.5mb of flash memory for caching driving/mapping information, which limits driving directions if you are listening to a CD/DVD instead of having the mapping DVD in the unit. Come on Pioneer, if I can buy a 1GB CompactFlash card for well under $100 you can put a bit more memory (or even replace the DVD with a 5GB microdrive) in your $2000+ navigation unit.

Press Release

(via gizmodo)

205mph Speeding Ticket

205 mph on a honda RC51

Did he or didn't he? Minnesota State Patrol claim they clocked a teenager by the name of Samuel Armstrong Tilley speeding at 205mph over a measured quarter mile on his Honda RC51 motorbike.

A regular RC51 can "only" go 165mph, so either something was wrong with the speed measurement or Tilley made some major modifications to his bike.

The 200mph+ club for motorcyclists is an exclusive club, achieving 200mph over a quarter mile is something usually reserved for well planned events at places like the bonneville salt flats.

If Tilley keeps behaving like this he will be up for a Darwin Award soon.

(more from CNN)

Fly into Space with Virgin Galactic

virgin galactic space flights on space ship one

Richard Branson and his Virgin company have announced a deal with Burt Rutan creator of SpaceShipOne to lauch a commercial space flight service.

The new service, Virgin Galactic, aims to fly 3,000 people into space in the next 5 years.

Virgin Galactic will operate a fleet of 5 space ships based upon Rutan's SpaceShipOne, which is expected to win the X-Prize for the first privately funded flights into space.

Virgin is investing up to $100 million into the venture and they expect flights to start in 2007. The price of a ticket: about $200,000 (including 3 days training).

Posted September 27, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

BMW H2R

bmw h2r fastest hydrogen gas powered car

BMW have announced that their H2R Hydrogen Gas powered car has set nine world speed records with a top speed of 174 mph.

The BMW H2R also went from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds and produces 232 horsepower.

The BMW H2R is, unfortunately, just a single seat test car based upon the engine from the BMW 7 series, and even if you could buy one you would spend most of your time searching for gas stations that sell hydrogen.

(BMW press release)

Posted September 25, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Hummer not Big Enough?

international cxt extreme suv truck pickup

Are you tired of everyone having a hummer?, tired of being able to fit into parking spots?, want to really look like you are making up for having a small *blank*? Then the International CXT may be the pickup for you.

Based on International's line of dump trucks and snowploughs, the CXT can tow up to 6 tons, seats 6, and has all wheel drive, 6 speed automatic transmission, and air brakes.

Expect the CXT to cost about $100,000, and at over 21 feet long expect it to be a real bitch to park outside the grocery store. On the bright side, at 9 feet high you will be able to see over the little Volkswagon Beetle you just crushed into the highway.

Posted September 16, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Night Vision for Cars

At the same time as announcing 3 green scooters Honda announced a new night vision system for cars that warn of pedestrians in the way.

The system can only recognize people from the shape of a head and shoulders so it won't work for people with umbrellas, on bicycles, and presumably those with silly large hats. I guess if it is raining you have to choose between staying dry or not getting run over.

Oh, and it only works when the temperature is below 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

More from MSNBC

Posted August 26, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Honda Green Scooters

honda fuel cell hybrid electric scooters

Honda has introduced 3 new environmentally friendly scooters, along with a photo of one of then painted green, witty huh?

These are concept vehicles so it isn't know if any will actually be built.

The all-electric version is really ugly and small, but the other two look ok.

The hybrid is based on a 50cc scooter and contains the obvious statement "Honda says this gas-electric scooter gets better mileage than gas-only peers."

The fuel cell version is based upon a 125cc scooter but they are having problems with wieght and no storage space. Definately a work in progress.

More at MSNBC
(via I4U)

Posted August 26, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Tire Pressure Monitor

doran tire pressure monitor

Doran has released a Tire Pressure Monitoring system for trucks that tells you the pressure of up to 34 tires and warns you when there is a problem.

Why don't car manufacturers have something like this built into new cars? over or under inflated tires lead to a lot of avoidable accidents, and slow leaks are a hassle that can be reduced by early warning of a small puncture.

Posted August 24, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Pedal-Powered Submarine

blue space pedal powered submarine

Researchers at the Saint Petersburg State Marine Engineering University are looking for investors to help create "Blue Space", a new kind of submarine.

Blue Space is "put in motion by means of a foot drive", which is marketing speak for pedal-powered, can stay underwater for 4 hours, and can be propelled at a speed 2-5mph on the surface and 2-3mph underwater.

THe submarine will carry two people (who stay dry inside it) and price is listed at a maximum of $19,000.

(more at Near Near Future via engadget)

Posted August 23, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Scramjet worked well

scramjet results

The Industrial Physicist has a detailed review of last years successful test of a scramjet.

Their description of "what is a scramjet" still left me wondering "what is a scramjet??" but basically its a conventional jet engine on steroids, where air at supersonic speeds is mixed with jet fuel and combusted. End result: very fast engine, reusable, much cheaper than the space shuttle.

In the NASA test last year the scramjet worked for 10 seconds and zoomed to a speed of Mach 7, or 5,000mph.

I know, you can't get far in 10 seconds, but the conclusion of the article is that this test proved the scramjet theories and that we should have scramjet missiles in 5 years, scramjet planes in 10 years, and scramjet spacecraft in 15 years.

Personally I can't wait for it to take 3 hrs to fly to Australia instead of 24hrs.

Posted August 21, 2004 in Planes Trains Autos | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)
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