Vaporware is common in aviation. Bold claims about futuristic aircraft tend to never materialize. But when the legendary Burt Rutan reveals a new project, we take him at his word. This week he revealed the SkiGull amphibian, his personal dream plane, which could be one of the most versatile flying machines ever.
Yesterday morning, an unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 v. 1.1 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station (ISS) exploded shortly after launch. While this is a setback to SpaceX, we have to view it in the context of a series of failures that have plagued commercial spaceflight in the last year.
This is not a fantasy project. This is going to be real: a gigantic 385-foot wing span, 544-tonne plane powered by six 747 engines that will serve as a flying launch platform for 490,000 pound orbital rockets.
The days of high-tech metal mountings to hold spacecraft together are gone, according to the man designing Virgin Galactics' commercial spaceplanes. Apparently, all you need is glue. Knowing that, suddenly we're much more worried about flying in a Virgin ship.