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Doubts on da Vinci

Published by Cathleen Manville on Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:45 pm
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chabot imageThe Saskatoon StarPhoenix published not one, but TWO articles today on doubts that some have concerning the da Vinci Project’s Wild Fire launch scheduled on October 2nd:

Da Vinci rocket pilot faces real dangers

Darren Bernhardt
The StarPhoenix
Friday, August 20, 2004

Sophisticated aerodynamics, physics and engineering will propel Brian Feeney’s attempt at the world’s first private space mission, but these measures won’t eliminate the danger of his planned launch from Kindersley and subsequent return to Earth.

When the Torontonian dons his space suit on Oct. 2, he risks being killed in an explosion or in a spectacular crash should his rocket engines fail to ignite or should the balloon that is supposed to carry him on the first leg of his journey deflate.

“If there are any problems, the chances of surviving are zero,” said Ted Llewellyn, a professor of engineering and physics at the University of Saskatchewan.

“The temperature at 24 kilometres is not warm. It’s colder than Saskatoon in the middle of winter. The polyethylene balloon can become brittle and if it goes upwards too fast, it could shatter.”

The balloon, reputed to be as big as three football fields, should also be a concern before it ever starts reaching for the sky.

“This thing’s going to be so big on the ground that any wind greater than one kilometre per hour is going to kill him,” said Llewellyn.

Feeney is not presently doing interviews.

(continued) read the whole article at The Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Saskatoon potential target should rocket stray

Darren Bernhardt
The StarPhoenix
August 20, 2004

The da Vinci Project team, which is poised to launch a manned rocket from Kindersley in October, may be in for a rude awakening — and Saskatoon should be prepared in the event the rocket becomes a missile, says a University of Saskatchewan physicist.

“Saskatoon and Kindersley, of course, are going to be within bombing range. If he loses control and goes on a ballistic trajectory, Saskatoon is in sight. It’s probably on the limit but it’s there,” said Ted Llewellyn, a professor of engineering and physics at the U of S.

“I’m not pouring absolute cold water on (the project) and saying it can’t be done. But I have a lot of questions. Let’s not kid ourselves, his payload is big: essentially 4,000 kilos — four tons.”

Llewellyn has been involved with the Canadian Space Program since 1964 and says he has “been associated with more rocket launches than I like to consider.”

(continued) read the whole article at The Saskatoon Star Phoenix

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