Benson’s low-G reentry plan

In his speech at the ISDC in May, Jim Benson said that the reentry forces that his company’s redesigned suborbital spacecraft would be less than the 6 Gs that SpaceShipTwo will experience. He wasn’t more specific then, but this week the company announced that their vehicle will subject passengers to no more than 3 Gs during reentry by spreading the deceleration forces over a wider range of altitudes. The vehicle will accomplish this through something called “Variable Ballistic Coefficient” slowing, which involves a number of vehicle configuration changes, most notably the dive brakes; the company has filed a patent application for this approach.

Something like this could prove to be a good differentiator over time: lower G forces will result in a more comfortable experience for passengers and perhaps allow people that for health reasons can’t tolerate higher G forces to fly at all. It may be less of an issue in the near-term, though, since people who are the most eager to fly (and have the means to pay for the flight) will probably be willing to put up with the inconvenience of a momentary surge of G forces.

2 comments to Benson’s low-G reentry plan

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>