Rick Newlands 2013 -
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 worst) my M.E. is about a 6 or a 7, so I had to design a mission tailored specifically to a 6-
Like many with M.E. I’ve got orthostatic intolerance: my cariovascular system has been affected by my illness and the distribution of blood pressure around my body is screwy: I won’t be able to take high gee acceleration unless I’m lying with my back flat, and I can’t sit upright for the two-
Also, my arms are rather weak. Solution: use electrically power-
I used to be a pilot, but I’m out of practice, and my reaction time isn’t what it was. Solution: make something small and easy to fly and easy to land.
Not many aircraft have been flown lying on your back but there’s a basic geometry problem: a vertically ascending rocket but with a horizontally-
I’m enclosed by a pressurised carbon-
The capsule is filled with air from a large bottle whilst I breathe from an oxygen mask.
Pure oxygen allows me to breathe happily at a reduced gas pressure inside (a cabin pressure of 8.5 psi which is equivalent to an altitude of 14,000 feet), which lowers the weight of the capsule. To reduce the buildup of exhaled water-
(A rebreather is a breathing apparatus that absorbs the carbon dioxide of a user's exhaled breath to permit the rebreathing (recycling) of the substantially unused oxygen content of each breath. Oxygen is added to replenish the amount metabolised by the user.) Spacesuits and space capsules use rebreather technology.
The capsule is foam-
All of the aerodynamic controls are electrically powered, which is called ‘fly-
To allow me to get the best view when in Space, there are little compressed-
Nobody’s ever flown a Mach 3 home-
One advantage of a fly-
A list of my current technical thoughts on the design can be downloaded here: thoughts
I need a very big firework to reach space (officially defined as 100 kilometres above your head). Or, better still, start a third of the way up to space from a big balloon: that’d require a smaller rocket.
Actually, starting from a high altitude balloon means you can use a much smaller firework. We live at the bottom of an ocean of horrendously thick and heavy air. The atmosphere’s so thick that if you can rise above it on a balloon rather than having to plough through it, the amount of rocket fuel you then need drops hugely for this mission.
Also, launching from on high from a balloon is so much safer than launching vertically from the ground: if the engine quits, you have plenty of time to bail out before smacking into the ground and exploding.
My first idea was the Spacelouge, which was a bed in a cockpit that sprouts hanglider wings on the way down for re-
But now I’ve reviewed my technical decisions in designing Spacelouge, and that’s led me to a new design called Spacedare, so named because on the way down the pilot lies prone on his stomach like the pilots in the venerable old British Dan Dare comic, or a hanglider pilot.
Lying prone on your stomach you can comfortably handle 15 gees of acceleration (with a padded chin-
Spacedare should fly better after re-
As for mission control, nowadays it all fits on a little tablet computer next to my head. And don’t worry about the heat of re-
Will the U.K. authorities let me fly? Foolishly, they’ve decided to de-