Monthly Archives: July 2008

Can someone lend me $200,000? I want to buy a ticket to space please.

OH BABY BABY! It may be a little wrong to be this happy, but oh well. Watching the news today, it was announced that Richard Branson company Virgin Galatic will be offering public space flight to the tune of $200,000 and can be taken off as early as 2010.

I am so there! Earth? Pssh been there done that. Outerspace? Beem me up scotty! Oh god! What to pack?

I am accepting donations to my space fund. If you would like to donate please contact me.

 

Taken from http://www.space.com

Virgin Galactic Unveils Space Liner Mothership
By Leonard David
Special Correspondent, SPACE.com
posted: 28 July 2008
11:06 am ET

This story was updated at 1:46 p.m. EDT.

MOJAVE, Calif. — With all the pageantry of a king’s arrival, the WhiteKnightTwo — a huge flying launch pad to support passenger suborbital space travel — made its public debut here Monday.

The rollout of the colossal composite plane signals the first phase of a critical test program to establish a private spaceliner business — a venture being bankrolled by British entrepreneur and billionaire, Richard Branson and his Virgin Group.

Looking like a giant catamaran for the sky, the twin-boom, two individual fuselages are topped by a large, 140-foot (42-meter) long stretch of wing. The aircraft will straddle and carry to drop altitude (around 48,000 feet) the SpaceShipTwo — a six passenger, two pilot craft that, once released, will rocket pay-per-view passengers to some 65 miles (104 km) above the Earth.

“This is a big airplane,” said Scaled Composites founder, Burt Rutan, and Chief Technology Officer and Chairman Emeritus of the company. “It is not an inappropriate claim to say this is the largest all-composite airplane,” he told SPACE.com.

With a giant screen featuring Virgin Galactic’s logo of an eye lifting upwards, the audience was treated to the dramatic unveiling of WhiteKnightTwo positioned on the outside tarmac — complete with Branson and Rutan waving from separate windows on the carrier craft. SpaceShipTwo, still under construction, was shrouded in a large black tarp just a few feet away during the unveiling of WhiteKnightTwo. The carrier aircraft has been christened “EVE” in honor of Sir Richard’s mother.

Four turbofan jet engines power the WhiteKnightTwo, an aircraft that has more capability than needed for SpaceShipTwo operations, Rutan explained. The mega-plane has undergone extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) testing, he said — that’s aerodynamic speak for utilizing electronic wind tunnel evaluations versus wind tunnel testing.

WhiteKnightTwo is the 40th aircraft of varying types to be rolled out by Scaled Composites, Rutan said. “I think that’s more than you’ll find in any other company by a large margin.”

“The beauty of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo is that they can help change our relationship with space,” Branson said after the rollout. “The other thing that I admire about the system is that it has the architecture that would someday be developed into passenger carrying vehicle able to take people from A to B around the planet, outside of the atmosphere at near orbital speeds.”

Branson said he thought it was very important that Virgin Galactic make a genuine commercial success of this project. “If we do I believe we’ll unlock a wall of private sector money into both space launch systems and space technology,” he said.

Downsize the uncertainty

While today’s show-and-tell festivities marked a major milestone, the true test of the WhiteKnightTwo and its flying attributes are still ahead here at the Mojave Air & Space Port.

Rutan noted that “you can’t have schedule pressure before you fly…because that’s not a safe thing to do. In terms of what the schedule will be to complete, you really don’t know anything until you start flying,” he continued, calling it a downsizing of the uncertainty.

“You don’t know when you’re going to be done until you march through the research flight tests,” Rutan emphasized.

Rutan said that the WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo system is not a Burt Rutan design.

“We’ve got some very talented people…so the credit for thinking and having the courage to try belongs to them,” he said, underscoring the expertise of such people as Bob Morgan, Jim Tighe, Matt Stinemetze, and Pete Siebold…part of a team of some 20 engineers that worked on the endeavor. “Of course, they had to sell me on it,” he added.

Spacious seating

The WhiteKnightTwo could be ready to do a space launch with only 40 flights — “if everything works,” Rutan said, “but more than likely we’ll run a few more than that.”

Largely driven by the need to snag market share of the public suborbital space tourism business, Rutan said that the WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo system is designed to yield a top-notch flight experience.

For one, SpaceShipTwo offers a roomy — yes, call it spacious — passenger cabin with great windows to afford a ticketed traveler a stunning sight, Rutan said.

Passengers riding in the WhiteKnightTwo launch aircraft will be provided a spectacular view as well — with SpaceShipTwo peeling away and blasting skyward toward space.

“Riding in the launch airplane to watch a launch is going to be a cool thing to do,” Rutan pointed out.

Moreover, WhiteKnightTwo will serve as training ground — albeit in the air — for future space travelers. The mega-plane can provide stints of microgravity for next-in-line SpaceShipTwo flyers, Rutan noted, with the aircraft also able to give clientele six to seven Gs to mimic the forces encountered during a suborbital space jaunt. 

Too early to say

“For us, this rollout is a really important event,” said Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic. “We’re going to be flying in a couple of months…ground testing starts almost immediately after this event is over,” he told SPACE.com.

Whitehorn said that as soon as that ground evaluations are finished and everyone is satisfied “we’ll put it into the air…perhaps in a few weeks or it could be about eight weeks at the maximum.”

Whitehorn added: “When we are all happy…then it will start flying. That could be very soon…but there’s no exact date.” In terms of money spent on the spaceliner system by Branson’s Virgin Group to date, he explained: “We’re at 100 million dollars that has been spent so far.”

As for the readiness of the suborbital SpaceShipTwo, Whitehorn said that the vehicle is now about 70 percent complete.

“Whether or not we fly the spaceship into space next year…it’s too early to say. But the ambition will be to fly it by the end of 2009 or early 2010 into space,” Whitehorn explained.

Marketing mode

Spotlighting the scope of what WhiteKnightTwo can provide on its own, Whitehorn offered some suggestions: “I think the market for WhiteKnightTwo will be a lot bigger than we’ve estimated.”

In addition to supporting suborbital space travel, Whitehorn said the WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane can satisfy a range of market needs from satellite launchings to deploying unmanned aerial vehicles, or toting large quantities of water to help squelch raging fires, as well as hauling hefty amounts of cargo from point to point.

“I really think we’re on the threshold of a new era of commercial space transportation,” said George Neld, head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial space transportation office in Washington, D.C. “This just makes it real…because we’ve got some hardware coming together and test flying starting. It’s going to be an exciting next couple of years,” he told SPACE.com.

Stuart Witt, General Manager of the Mojave Air & Space Port, said there’s a significance that might be missed given today’s rollout of WhiteKnightTwo.

“It’s all about results,” Witt told SPACE.com. “That’s why people come to Mojave. The WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo…they are one more example of a result that will yield breakthroughs in aerospace. Here at the Mojave Air and Space Port, we’re all about results.”

Witt said the Air & Space Port is ready to support WhiteKnightTwo and the SpaceShipTwo test program. “I am looking forward for Scaled Composites to get back into the rocket testing business…and on we go!”

Virgin Galactic to Offer Public Space Flights
By The Associated Pressposted: 27 September 2004
06:51 am ET

LONDON (AP) _ British entrepreneur Richard Branson said Monday that his Virgin company plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years.

The Virgin transport, entertainment and communications group has signed an agreement with pioneering aviation designer Burt Rutan to build an aircraft based on Rutan’s SpaceShipOnevessel, Branson said.

SpaceShipOne cracked the barrier to manned commercial space flight in June by flying 98,547 meters, or about 99 kilometers (328,491 feet, or about 62 miles) above Earth, just a little more than 120 meters (400 feet) above the distance scientists widely consider to be the boundary of space. The flight lasted 90 minutes.

SpaceShipOne’s effort was bankrolled by billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Virgin said its agreement to license technology from Allen’s company, Mohave Aerospace Ventures, could be worth up to 14 million pounds (US$25 million, €21 million) over the next 15 years, depending on the number of spaceships built by Virgin. The company said it planned to begin construction of the first vessel, VSS Enterprise, next year.

“Virgin has been in talks with Paul Allen and Bert throughout this year and in the early hours of Saturday signed a historical deal to license SpaceShipOne’s technology to build the world’s first private spaceship to go into commercial operating service,” Branson told a news conference.

The new service will be called Virgin Galactic and expects to fly 3,000 new astronauts within five years. Fares will start at 115,000 pounds (US$208,000, €169,000) for a suborbital flight, including three days’ training.

Branson said the business would “allow every country in the world to have their own astronauts rather than the privileged few.”

“Virgin Galactic will be run as a business, but a business with the sole purpose of making space travel more and more affordable,” Branson said.

“Those privileged space pioneers who can afford to take our first flights will not only have the most awesome experience of their lives, but by stepping up to the plate first they will bring the dream of space travel for many millions closer to reality.”

The above articles from space.com has be reproduced without permission if the copyright holder(s) would like me to remove it from my blog. Please contact me, and I will immediately remove it. 

 

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Homesick for Venice? I’m not even from Venice!

While avoiding the many task of my day, I go to my usual place for procrastination and wasting time – facebook. I got to a page dedicated to Venice.  I click through the hundreds of fan submitted pictures and I am transformed to this place that stole my heart.

I don’t think I could ever fully describe Venice. From it’s smell, it’s sights and sound it’s atmosphere it’s… it’s… it’s enchanting, wonderful, amazing. When I was a little girl I was obsessed with fairy tales, princesses, unicorns, magical lands. Arriving on the boat to the Venetian Islands for the first time at 22, Venice was exactly how I pictured my fantasy kingdom. All Venice was missing was me as their princess and a handsome Prince Charming for me.

I’ve said a thousand times before, if I could get a job there I would have moved there yesterday. Which brings me to how I have been feeling lately. It’s been a rough last month. When rough times happen on the road I miss home. But now that I am home I find myself missing, longing to be back in Venice. With my trip to Uganda next year, I found myself crunching numbers to see if I can afford a stop off in Venice before or after Uganda. Is it really possible to be so homesick for a place you don’t really call home?

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Follow your childhood dreams

After a particular “crap” day, I was cruising other blogs here on Word Press and happen to come across this blog The Political Fancier http://maremare1225.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/last-lecture-professor-passed-away/. The entry I read was on the death of Randy Pausch who famous “Last Lecture” is an extremely popular and inspirational lecture which can be viewed on YouTube (click Political Fancier’s link to watch the entire lecture).

I only wish I was introduced to this man, and this lecture earlier. The major idea of this lecture is to live your childhood dreams. Help others live their childhood dreams, and to learn lesson from other. While he wasn’t referring directly to travel, but for many of us travel is a childhood dream, through travel we can help other achieve their dreams, and through travel we learn many lessons that we can bring back and use in our life.

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Top 10 songs to listen to when you miss someone while travelling

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It’s cliche because it’s true: there’s no place but home, home is where the heart is. As a solo traveller (by choice 90% of the time) I often leave family and friends and occasionally a special someone at home.  Music as a big part of my life helps me cope with this little bit of homesickness I get once and a while on the road.

My Current top ten playlist of songs to listen to while missing someone on the road:

1. Wake me up – The Summer Obsession http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3Z9bb7wvm8

2. When I’m with you – Faber Drive http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jdobv1CtZLo

3. Life Of A Soldier – IllScarlett http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SURuTS1DRaA

4. I miss you – Blink 182 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1tAYmMjLdY
5. Wish you were here – Pink Floyd http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXdNnw99-Ic

6. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynard Skinard http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwWUOmk7wO0

7. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_m-BjrxmgI

8. Jersey – Mayday Parade http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-U37Jtkv_k

9. Around the World – Aqua http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDt81xu_qgc

10. Stand by me – The Temptations.

 

What are your favorite songs to listen to while travelling when you’re missing someone back home? Leave me a comment and let me know.

****Don’t forget to vote http://www.getridofme.com/users/joc *******

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Top 10 Disney Movies That Make You Want to Travel

At 24 years of age, some  may consider me to be too old to be watching Disney movies. I don’t care! Disney (especially old Disney) is awesome. Some of my very first travel inspirations came from Disney movies.

1. The Lion King – Beautiful African landscape and animals.

2. The Muppet’s Treasure Island – Let danger call my name.

3. National Treasure 1 and 2

4.  The Jungle Book – not my favorite movie but still inspired me to travel

5. Aladdin – A whole new world.

6.  Wizard of Oz – We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto

7.  Under the Tuscan Sun – one of my favorite movies, I had no idea it was a Disney film until I started to write this.

8. Homeward Bound 1 and 2 – What?

9.  The Muppet’s take Manhattan

10.  Operation Dumbo Drop.

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Paranoid Parents

I knew telling my parents that I was planning on spending a month in Uganda working as a volunteer with i-to-i Travel was not going to be an easy thing, seeing how when I told my mother that I wanted to go to Africa and that I was thinking of Kenya in particular, she told me to “pick some where else. Anywheres else but there. Go to Greece you like the ancient ruins.”

When my mother and I went home to Montreal for my grandmother funeral she was bragging about my travels to my grandfather. However when she told him where I wanted to go next, she told him South Africa. A place in Africa she presumed was safer especially since hearing of political unrest in Kenya.

So when I told them of my final plans to go to Uganda, I was some what prepared for their reaction.

“I fly into the airport near Kampala, then I take a 9 hour bu–”
“Wait! You’re going to Uganda” My father stopped me.
“Yeah? I take a 9 hour bus ride to Kabale”
“No! You’re scaring me now kid.” He injected again.
“Me too.” My mother added her two cents in with an extremely worried look. I rolled my eyes at my father’s haft accurate account of the current state of Uganda. It’s a war zone. Correction it WAS a war zone. Uganda has been under a cease fire since August 2006. It’s dangerous, rebels etc. The LRA have only been active in the northern part of Uganda near Gulu. I will be near Kabale a town in the South Western area of Uganda 10Km from the Rwanda border. The Canadian government at this time has no travel warning for this area. It recommends to avoid travel to the area by the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sudan border and the Northern region of Uganda. Area that I will NOT be traveling to. I will be register with the Canadian government that I am in the country, and hopefully the insurance I am getting will cover the cost of leaving the country should the event that I need to leave un expectantly. What about Malaria. They have pills for that.

“You better think about this!” My father demanded.
“I have! And I’m going!” I protested.
“Think two, three times about this.”
“I AM GOING. THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN SAY TO STOP ME! I AM GOING”
“I’m not saying don’t go but thi–”
“I am going. End of it!”

They have a year to warm up to the idea. Even if they don’t well suck it up princess, I am going! You can’t live your life in fear of what if’s. I can be shot, killed, rapped, robbed, kidnapped, catch a foreign disease here at home, if I am going to live in fear of what might happen I’ll never leave my house.

So I started my planning process, and working crazy hours to afford the 1625$ project cost, then just shy of 1900$ airfare, and 50$ Uganda entry visa, and spending money.

Uganda like the rest of Africa is not exactly roller luggage friendly, nor am I the type who is willing to use luggage that you have to carry in your hands (I’m klutzy, and on the bigger size with weak arms), I decided on a 60L internal framed hiking backpack from North 49. For 575 Air miles I got my bag for “free”. It arrived today by UPS. It’s a great bag, light weight, padded back, plenty of pockets and straps. Only down side, it’s not designed for a women. I can foresee it cutting into my breast.

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West side studios private Rm 103

This is my private room at West side stuidos hostel in NYC. Hostel was under construction. Not sound proof. Two bathroom for one floor. Never had to wait for the bathroom though. Great location, near subway stop, but in a residential area of NYC which gave the living in NYC feeling.

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May 24th 2008 2nd full day NYC

May 24th, 2008

It’s my second full day in NYC. I spent most of it lost. Understand at this time most of the subway system or at least any route I had wanted to take was underconstruction and had to deal with re routing on top of holiday schedules.

Friday I went to ground Zero, Trinity Church, Battery Park, Staten Island Ferry, Time Square. Ground Zero is currently being rebuilt into the freedom towers. It didn’t hit home as much as it would have a few years ago when it was just a gaping hole. Now it more like a contruction zone for a regular new skyscrapper. I must admit I stood there mad knowing what once was there and the lives that were lost, and how all that way taken away from me, and the people who were involve.

Today I went to the empire state building. Amazing view! For a line that long I was incredibly impressed how organized and fast moving it was. The Vatican Musume can learn a thing or two from them.

After the Empire State building I walked up Fifth Ave to Central Park. I had attempted to call my parents while walking. With all the street noise the call didn’t go well, and I spent .99/minute plus long distants to repeatly say “What did you say?” On the way I stoped by Rockerfeller Center. After spending hours in central park (I could have easily spent the entire day there) I made my way down Fifth Ave again to Central Park.

Later I went to ‘Top of the Rock’ for a better view of the City and the Empire State building.

(Skipped for privacy)

I am currently laying in bed of my spartan hostle room. In the center of a lumpy double bed, a window to the right and a single sink of the left. Not exactly sound proof either. I can hear t he guy in the next room laughing as he watches some spanish television show. I’ve thrown some things at the wall and he doesn’t even stop for a second.

New York City has been on my list of things and places to do before I die list. It’s great, dont get my wrong. But not nearly as great as I had once dreamt it to be.

Before leaving I was jokingly told not to get shot. So far I’ve never felt at risk of that happening. It like Toronto just a little faster pase.

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