Author Topic: Is Branson an astronaut?  (Read 2659 times)

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Offline fohat.digs

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Is Branson an astronaut?
« on: Sun, 11 July 2021, 11:51:00 »
I think that a quickie little up-and-down is not really going to space.

Alan Shepard, well maybe, he went well over twice as high as Branson, but back in the day some Air Force pilots were given astronaut's wings just from flying their planes high enough.

But in my opinion getting into orbit should be the minimum criterion for a realistic claim of a person being an astronaut. Otherwise you have just barely gotten away from Earth's surface, and, of course, actual "escape" is an additional achievement of a much higher order.
 
Over the past few decades there has been a redistribution of dignity — upward. The Republicans valorized entrepreneurs, CEOs and Wall Street. The Democratic Party became dominated by people in the creative class, who attended competitive colleges, moved to affluent metro areas, married each other and ladled advantages onto their kids so they could leap even farther ahead. There was a bipartisan embrace of a culture of individualism, which opens up a lot of space for people with resources and social support but means loneliness and abandonment for people without. Four years of college became the definition of the good life, which left roughly two-thirds of the country out. And so came the crisis that Biden was elected to address — the poisonous combination of elite insularity and vicious populist resentment. A group of people so enraged by a lack of respect that they are willing to risk death by Covid if they get to stick a middle finger in the air against those who they think look down on them. They are willing to torch our institutions because they are so resentful against the people who run them. The Democratic spending bills are economic packages that serve moral and cultural purposes. They should be measured by their cultural impact, not merely by some wonky analysis. In real, tangible ways, they would redistribute dignity back downward. They would support hundreds of thousands of jobs for home health care workers, child care workers, construction workers, metal workers, supply chain workers. They would ease the indignity millions of parents face having to raise their children in poverty.  – David Brooks NYT 2021

Offline F eq ma

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 11 July 2021, 13:10:47 »
Nope.   Just an ego with way too much money.   To me, being an astronaut is a profession and not a weekend jaunt.

Offline iri

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 11 July 2021, 14:21:57 »
Branson reached the altitude of 85km vs Gagarin's 327km. Certainly not a cosmonaut grade flight :p
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Offline absyrd

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 11 July 2021, 14:54:37 »
Some guy on the radio is apparently an “astronaut in the ocean”, so I suppose this is plausible.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 11 July 2021, 21:24:38 »
But in my opinion getting into orbit should be the minimum criterion for a realistic claim of a person being an astronaut. Otherwise you have just barely gotten away from Earth's surface, and, of course, actual "escape" is an additional achievement of a much higher order.
You can do an orbit without breaching "space", you just can't maintain it for long, also you can go quiet high without doing an orbit.

Height is the only valuable metric, though there is some argument about where "space" actually starts.


Personally, if only to snub Bezos, I vote Branson got there first.
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Offline geauxflying

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 11 July 2021, 22:10:39 »
It’s a huge accomplishment, and he’s spending his own money to advance science and explore our world. It’s kind of crappy to denigrate that. We can argue whether an orbit matters, or whether his altitude matters, or whether he left the atmosphere of earth, or blah blah blah… I would submit that none of it matters. He’s done something incredible, and it should be celebrated.

The curve of the earth is visible from around 35-40K feet. The ceiling of Class A airspace is 60k feet. Branson reached nearly 5x that altitude. The moon is still in earth’s atmosphere at ~240K miles, so no astronaut has ever completely left earth’s atmosphere. Whatever your personal definition of an astronaut is, you’ve probably not done anything close to this before, and it’s really a bummer to be denigrating it while we all geek out over soldering keyboards.

One day everyone may have the opportunity to be an astronaut. But it would never happen without people doing what Branson, Musk, Bezos, and new companies like Axiom Space are doing right now.

Offline jamster

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 12 July 2021, 01:40:32 »
I'd say yes, just because Bezos is a far bigger prick :)

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 12 July 2021, 06:55:16 »

It’s a huge accomplishment, and he’s spending his own money to advance science and explore

it would never happen without people doing what Branson, Musk, Bezos, and new companies like Axiom Space are doing right now.


I agree with both of these sentiments, and these are some of the rare examples of the ultra-ultra-wealthy who attempt to advance the species with some of their money.

And, of course, Virgin Galactic has 600 applications for future flights ....
Over the past few decades there has been a redistribution of dignity — upward. The Republicans valorized entrepreneurs, CEOs and Wall Street. The Democratic Party became dominated by people in the creative class, who attended competitive colleges, moved to affluent metro areas, married each other and ladled advantages onto their kids so they could leap even farther ahead. There was a bipartisan embrace of a culture of individualism, which opens up a lot of space for people with resources and social support but means loneliness and abandonment for people without. Four years of college became the definition of the good life, which left roughly two-thirds of the country out. And so came the crisis that Biden was elected to address — the poisonous combination of elite insularity and vicious populist resentment. A group of people so enraged by a lack of respect that they are willing to risk death by Covid if they get to stick a middle finger in the air against those who they think look down on them. They are willing to torch our institutions because they are so resentful against the people who run them. The Democratic spending bills are economic packages that serve moral and cultural purposes. They should be measured by their cultural impact, not merely by some wonky analysis. In real, tangible ways, they would redistribute dignity back downward. They would support hundreds of thousands of jobs for home health care workers, child care workers, construction workers, metal workers, supply chain workers. They would ease the indignity millions of parents face having to raise their children in poverty.  – David Brooks NYT 2021

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 12 July 2021, 07:52:34 »
In my book, an "astronaut" is someone who goes to space to do something useful in space.

That makes any question of drive, enthusiasm or ego irrelevant. I'm sure that many "traditional" astronauts/kosmonauts/tachyonauts were also full of those things.
If Branson, Musk or Bezos goes to space and when they are there, they just look around, boss people around and have fun, then they are still just "space tourists", no matter how much money and effort they spent to get there.
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Offline yui

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 12 July 2021, 08:23:30 »
Branson and Musk may be space tourists but Bezos in space is just plainly a bond villain
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Offline Findecanor

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 12 July 2021, 08:52:02 »
Bezos is a Bond villain.
Musk aspires to be one.
The Bond-villainesque Hank Scorpio in The Simpsons has been said to have been modelled on Richard Branson.
Man must shape his tools lest they shape him
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Offline jamster

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 12 July 2021, 11:40:21 »

I agree with both of these sentiments, and these are some of the rare examples of the ultra-ultra-wealthy who attempt to advance the species with some of their money.

And, of course, Virgin Galactic has 600 applications for future flights ....

I think that what Branson is doing, whist very cool, has nothing to do with practical spaceflight. It's not something that can ever be scaled, nor can it ever result in achieving orbit.

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 12 July 2021, 12:59:43 »

applications for future flights


something that can ever be scaled


Not true. I have always believed that the law of supply and demand requires that demand be satisfied and that supply will come into being to satisfy it.
(and remember, of course, that demand is not wanting something - it is being willing to pay the price for something)

Perhaps not in our lifetimes (mine anyway, I'm an old man) but an orbiting hotel in space will attract a sizeable number of tourists.
Over the past few decades there has been a redistribution of dignity — upward. The Republicans valorized entrepreneurs, CEOs and Wall Street. The Democratic Party became dominated by people in the creative class, who attended competitive colleges, moved to affluent metro areas, married each other and ladled advantages onto their kids so they could leap even farther ahead. There was a bipartisan embrace of a culture of individualism, which opens up a lot of space for people with resources and social support but means loneliness and abandonment for people without. Four years of college became the definition of the good life, which left roughly two-thirds of the country out. And so came the crisis that Biden was elected to address — the poisonous combination of elite insularity and vicious populist resentment. A group of people so enraged by a lack of respect that they are willing to risk death by Covid if they get to stick a middle finger in the air against those who they think look down on them. They are willing to torch our institutions because they are so resentful against the people who run them. The Democratic spending bills are economic packages that serve moral and cultural purposes. They should be measured by their cultural impact, not merely by some wonky analysis. In real, tangible ways, they would redistribute dignity back downward. They would support hundreds of thousands of jobs for home health care workers, child care workers, construction workers, metal workers, supply chain workers. They would ease the indignity millions of parents face having to raise their children in poverty.  – David Brooks NYT 2021

Offline jamster

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Re: Is Branson an astronaut?
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 12 July 2021, 20:18:27 »

applications for future flights


something that can ever be scaled


Not true. I have always believed that the law of supply and demand requires that demand be satisfied and that supply will come into being to satisfy it.
(and remember, of course, that demand is not wanting something - it is being willing to pay the price for something)

Perhaps not in our lifetimes (mine anyway, I'm an old man) but an orbiting hotel in space will attract a sizeable number of tourists.


Low earth orbit is >160km. My understanding of Branson's approach is that it's a very high altitude plane launched off another plane (it can never get that high, hence not being practical) and vastly dependent on manual/pilot skill (hence not scalable).

At most, if there is a lot of demand, it will cater to people who want a certain view and five minutes of weightlessness, but it's not useful for research or industry.