Rick Newlands 2013 -
This should be boring if all goes as it should; nothing to do except look out the windows.
I’ll listen to music to calm my pre-
At 35 kilometres, the sky will be very black.
Once at 35 Km, hopefully in a pre-
And then I’ll manually arm the rocket by flicking a switch, and then, taking a deep breath, I’ll press the big red launch button!
Four lumps of solid propellant will then fire inside the four rocket engine combustion chambers to heat up the plastic fuel tubes, then a second later, a valve opens to let the nitrous into the chambers.
With a sudden roar, I’m on my way upwards at 3 gees. Assuming the automatic steering mechanism works, I’ll ascend at 80 degrees for a few seconds to steer clear of the balloon, and then ascend vertically.
I’ll feel that I’m toppling over backwards: a high gee vertical climb feels like it’s way past the vertical because my inner-
Despite the gees mashing me into my seat, I must monitor the engine instruments. If anything goes awry I can shut the engine down instantly by shutting off the nitrous supply valve. It’ll be difficult to see the instruments, because hybrids give rather a rough ride: a lot of vibration. I’ve designed the engine not to scream though: some nitrous hybrids burn horribly roughly due to poor injector design.
Assuming all goes well, the gees build up to four, and then at 41 seconds after ignition, the liquid nitrous runs out, and the thrust drops away as the engine now burns for a few seconds on nitrous vapour.
Then the thrust stops: burnout.
The most dangerous part of the mission is over. I now fire the explosive bolts to release me from the booster. A small rocket nudges me away from the booster to build up a good, safe, separation distance: I don’t want to meet it on the way down!
I’m way above the sensible atmosphere, so now I’m weightless (so-
Using my joystick, I fire the gas thrusters to steer myself around to admire the view.
I’m rising vertically upwards but with gravity continually slowing me down.
Eventually I stop rising, I’m at apogee (apo-
I rotate the cockpit 180 degrees to orient myself for re-
Here’s roughly what Scotland will look like from 120 kilometres up looking southwest, though the sky will infact be black:
From this altitude I can also see England, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, and Iceland’s just on the horizon.
I hit the atmosphere at over 1000 miles per hour.
At first there’s just the faintest whistle, which then becomes a loud shriek as the air rushes past at Mach 3.3
The airbrakes orient my craft vertically, with my cabin side-
The gees quickly build up to five, which hurts, but it doesn’t last long. Soon the gees are past, and my craft is descending vertically, and below Mach 1.
Now, unless some emergency dictates me getting to Earth in a big hurry, I transform my craft from a parachute into a glider by retracting the airbrakes and rotating the cabin 90 degrees so I’m flying head-
It’ll take about ½ an hour to glide down to Earth after re-
Basically, I’ll have to use my instruments (primarily my GPS sat-
Flying at very high altitude feels like driving on ice: there’s no aerodynamic damping to reduce any rotations that build up. With my fly-
Also, at high altitude I must keep my airspeed down or I’ll go transonic (there be dragons here).
Spacedare will have a glide angle of about 8 degrees (lift-
I’ll use the Space Shuttle’s pre-
For a greatly superior space-
The Spacedare can land on any beach or grass field, as well as any proper runway.
Two target runways I’d particularly like to glide down to are Scone (Perth) aerodrome, because my family the Newlands used to own the land, and my other fave destination would be the Glenforsa grass strip beside the Glenforsa hotel/restaurant on the magical isle of Mull. (Terrific food!)
A light breakfast before dawn (no roughage: can’t go to the loo inside the craft). “Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast.”
Then a quick blast on the simulator to warm-
I’ll have to breathe oxygen from a mask for two hours before takeoff to purge my blood of dissolved nitrogen: should prevent ‘the bends’ if there’s a major cabin leak below 50,000 feet.
My crew fill the gas balloon, and also fill the booster rocket’s nitrous tank some distance away downwind.
The balloon ascends, lofting a long attachment cable which eventually lifts me up with it.