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Old 12-17-2016, 11:47 AM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Manor Farm
Posts: 17,215
Jesus fucking Christ, this is a completely fact-free discussion. Setting aside the legal and regulatory issues I'll note that Virgin Galactic has yet to demonstrate putting as much as a single peanut in Earth orbit. Their advertised capability for the LauncherOne vehicle is 300 kg to at 500 km sun synchronous orbit, which is suitable only for the lower end of Earth observation missions, and not for the kind of long duration comprehensive Earth observation missions that NASA is uniquely suited to operate. For instance, here is the EOS AM-1 'Terra" earth observation satellite, which (because of lack of authorization for many replacement satellites has been operating for more than ten years beyond design life). Here are a few of the orbital and satellite vehicle characteristics:
Type: Near-polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing: 10:30 a.m. Altitude: 705 km
Inclination: 98.1
Period: 98.88 minutes Repeat Cycle: 16 days
Dimensions: 2.7 m 3.3 m 6.8 m Mass: 5,190 kg
Power: 2,530 W
The Virgin Galactic launcher couldn't even get close to that. The pre-"Full Thrust" Falcon 9 would be challenged to make that orbit with that payload.