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What Happens During The Actual Flights

The Rocket will be tethered to a fully reusable helium balloon and floated to an altitude of 70,000 feet. The sequence starts with ground launch of the balloon with the da Vinci Project spacecraft tethered 250 meters below the base of the balloon at a 75 degree up angle.


Approximately 90 to 120 minutes will pass to arrive at the minimum 70,000 foot launch altitude. Following a series of launch procedures, a 120 second automatic countdown sequence is initiated and the engines are ignited. The computer is in full control of starting the engines. There is both an automated and manual shutdown capability for the rocket engine.


Immediately on engine start the rocket releases from the balloon tether and for the next 8 seconds a 75 degree angle flight occurs followed by thrust vectoring to 90 degree up angle for the balance of flight. Rocket engine thrust is 18,000 lbs. Burn time is 90 seconds.


Main engine cut off occurs at 62,800 meters (206,000 feet) - 3.5G's and a maximum speed of 2,670 miles per hour (1.19 kilometers per second) have been reached. The rocket continues up to apogee. At 85 kilometers altitude (53 miles) the capsule separates from the propulsion section. Peak altitude is reached about 100 seconds later at 110 kilometers (68 miles) free fall continues for 105 seconds. Total zero G time is about 3.5 minutes.


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