'A Dream Realised'
Kulangara becomes the first Indian Space Tourist. The Virgin
Galactic, a venture of Sir.Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic is
behind this dream flight. They have confirmed the seat as
passenger number 38.
The authorities of the flight have allowed Santhosh George to
film the entire process of preparations and flight sequences.
There will be three days of flight preparations, to equip with
the basic knowledge for the trip.
Santhosh George will spend three hours in zero-gravity
Santhosh George successfully
completes the second phase training
The first Indian space
tourist designate Santhosh George Kulangara has successfully
completed the second phase training for the space travel
conducted on July 28, 2008. The training was conducted at the
NASTAR (National Aerospace Training and Research) Centre in
Southampton, Pennsylvania, America.
The training was primarily focused on making the space tourists
familiar with the tremendous fluctuations and changes in gravity
that occur while entering into space and re-entering the
atmosphere. When the travellers get into space, the gravity will
rise up to 3 times and while returning to the atmosphere, it
will grow up to 6 times. This will cause severe physical and
mental pressures to the travellers. In order to overcome these
kinds of problems, the travellers were given training such as ‘G
Tolerance Flight’ and ‘Sub Orbital Flight’. The training was
given in the centrifuge simulator, which can artificially create
six times stronger gravitational force.
The unveiling ceremony of the mother ship developed by the
Virgin Galactic Company was also held in connection with this.
The mother ship named ‘White Knight II - Eve’ was unveiled by
the chief of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, and designer
scientist Burt Rutan at the Mojave Space Port in America.
Santhosh George Kulangara also attended the ceremony along with
several dignitaries and international journalists.
Santhosh George Kulangara
Experienced Zero Gravity
Florida : Santhosh George Kulangara, the first Indian
space tourist designate, has successfully completed the ‘zero gravity’
training. It was in the special aircraft named G Force One which
took off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA that he got
the training. The special training for zero gravity state was
conducted at the fag end of the three-day-long training
programme meant for the space tourists. The zero gravity
training that started at one o’ clock IST on August 12, lasted
for about four hours. The travellers on board were in zero
gravity state for about one hour, during the training.
Besides Santhosh George Kulangara from India, two British and
ten Americans had undergone the training during this time. There
were also 12 other members inside the training vehicle,
including trainers, technical experts and medical team. The G
Force aircraft was taken to a height of 40,000 feet above the
ground level and was brought down quickly to create zero
gravity. During this time, the travellers including Santhosh
George glided along inside the hall-like area in the aircraft.
During these four hours the G Force aircraft went up several
times and came down vertically. After each training flight, the
medical team examined the travellers. Santhosh George was found
ok in the medical examination.
Santhosh George said it was an exciting experience to glide
inside the G-Force vehicle with the co-travellers. He has
captured all these training sessions in his camera as well.
The training programme for the space tourists was organised by
the Zero Gravity Corporation in association with Virgin
Galactic. The same facilities used for training the NASA
astronauts were used for training the space tourists.
The G Force vehicle took off from the same Space Port from where
the Endeavour Space Shuttle had been launched to the
International Space Station with seven astronauts recently. It
was informed earlier that the zero gravity training might be
postponed if the Endeavour launching faced any delay. Santhosh
George said that he had seen the preparations for the re-entry
of Endeavour there.
GALACTIC AT A GLANCE!
The Ansari X Prize
• Objective: to provide the catalyst for private sector
innovation in the field of manned space exploration.
• Rules: private funding, design and manufacture of a vehicle
capable of delivering the weight of 3 people including one
actual person to sub-orbital space defined as an altitude of at
least 100kms. The vehicle had to be 80% reusable and fly twice
within a two week period.
• Winner: Mojave Aerospace Ventures a Paul G Allen company with
Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne on October 4th 2004. Pilot Brian
Binnie (see www.scaled.com)
• Project funded by Paul Allen – co founder of Microsoft at an
approx cost of £26m
• Designed at built by Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites in
• Flew to space 3 times in 2004
• The world’s first private manned space vehicle
• Now hanging in the Milestones of flight gallery at the
Smithsonian Museum, DC
• A completely new approach to manned space travel
• Air (horizontal) launch from the “WhiteKnight” purpose built
aircraft not ground (vertical) launch – intrinsically safer and
more environmentally friendly
• All composite construction not metal – light strong and
• Hybrid rocket motor uses benign fuel and oxidiser (rubber and
nitrous oxide for SpaceShipOne) and is controllable
• Re-entry controlled aerodynamically by unique wing feathering
design – heat free and carefree
• Un-powered (glide) runway landing
• Seeking investment opportunities since late 90’s when Galactic
name was registered
• News of Burt Rutan’s credentials through sponsorship of the
Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer – world’s most fuel efficient
• Agreed with Burt Rutan and Paul Allen to invest in development
and construction of second generation vehicle for commercial
venture – the world’s first spaceline
• Ordered 5 SpaceShipTwo’s and 2 WhiteKnightTwo’s to be
manufactured by the SpaceShip Company (a JV between Scaled
Composites and Virgin) and operated by Virgin Galactic
• Uses all the same basic technology, construction and design as
• Is around twice as large
• Will carry 6 passengers and 2 pilots
• Cabin approx the size of a Falcon 900 exec jet
• Whole fuselage used for passenger cabin – no “floor”
• Large windows positioned right round the cabin
• Reclining seats to maximise cabin space in zero g and for
• New carrier aircraft will have approx wing size of a 757
• SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo now under course of
construction at Scaled Composites.
• Unveiling of new vehicles within the next 12 months or so
• Testing to commence shortly after unveiling
• Test flight period envisaged 12 – 18 months
• Safety first, we are not in a race, we will launch when Burt
and Virgin believe it is safe to do so
• We aim to fly 500 people in the first year and 50,000 in the
first 10 years
• First commercial flights likely to operate from Mojave
• Move to New Mexico “Spaceport America” in 2010/11
SpaceShipTwo Flight Stats
• Total flight time around 2 hours
• climb phase 60 mins, rocket boost 2 mins, zero g 4 -5 mins,
re-entry 2 mins, glide phase 50 mins (all approx)
• G Forces: rocket boost max 3.5 G (x and z); re-entry max 6 G
(x only whilst reclined)
• Speed: supersonic within 10 seconds of rocket ignition and
approx Mach 3 within 30 seconds of rocket ignition
• 3 days of preparation, medical checks, bonding, G force
acclimatisation as part of flight cost.
• WhiteKnightTwo will act as a training platform with a
passenger cabin that replicates the spaceship.
• All passengers will be able to leave their seats and float in
zero G should they wish and enjoy view of space and the earth
stretching for around 1000 miles in any direction
• Air launch means short rocket burn – around half of it occurs
outside the atmosphere
• Reusable spaceship – no space debris
• WhiteKnightTwo uses latest highly efficient turbo fan jet
• SpaceShipTwo uses momentum and gravity from the time the
rocket motor shuts down to landing
• Co2 emissions per passenger on a SpaceShipTwo flight will be
approx 60% of a per passenger return commercial London / New
York flight. Around 70% of the spaceflight Co2 emissions come
from the WhiteKnight carrier aircraft. This is a clean
• SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo will provide space access,
first to paying passengers and then for science research and
payload deployment, with an incomparably smaller environmental
impact than anything that has gone before. We need space but we
need better access to it.