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Hypersonic Race - The eyeball vs the swoosh


  • CoE Student Org Training

  • Engineering Expo

  • Faster Headlines

  • Cascadia Rail Project

  • SpaceX vs Virgin Galactic Tech


Faster Headlines

Los Angeles Times

California HSR

Railway Age


The Daytona Beach News Journal

Nikei Asia

East Bay Times

Discover Magazine

The Motley Fool




From the Captain

The eye versus swoosh - Why to like Virgin Galactic more than SpaceX

Gasp? I know! How could I say something like that?

However, this is like comparing Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Both SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are doing incredible things and changing the future. So this is not a dis on SpaceX. In fact, both companies serve very different markets. SpaceX is heavy lift to space, while Virgin Galactic (VG) is passengers. Even VG’s sister company, Virgin Orbit is in a different segment with serving micro sattilites vs SpaceX's heavy lifting. What I am focusing on is not space, but rather hyper sonic intercontinental travel. This is where VG excels.

The reason we don’t have supersonic or hyper sonic passenger travel today is because of the sonic boom. Not only does the sonic boom cause noise pollution, but it is very costly to push through. This is why the Concorde failed…the economics didn’t work. Burning that additional fuel to push through the sound barrier was too expensive. However, what if you went over the atmosphere instead?

Back in 2017 Elon Musk revealed how their Starship program could be modified for intercontinental travel. However, you can also take a coach bus to go the local grocery. Yes, you can do both, but would you want to? Starship and a coach bus are too big, too expensive, too time consuming (I mean you where do you think you are gonna park that thing), and would pollute the environment like crazy. Starship is a great design for heavy lift to orbit and a coach bus is great for cross country trips; but use your Honda Civic instead!

This is where VG comes in. The whole operation takes off and lands like a traditional airplane. This means the vehicles could use any airport around the world! No special landing pad needed.

Today, Spaceship2 goes up to 68 miles, and hits 2,600 mph on reentry landing at the same point it took off. So it is essentially a giant elevator. However, this elevator has wings, so why not use them!

Which leads to the next question, instead of a straight up and down it is not a long stretch to do a parabolic curve. The only restriction is figuring out how to stay in space longer, which only needs a little more thrust. Easy-Intercontinental-Peasy.

We could literally be looking at the technology that by 2030 will allow passengers to take off from Los Angeles International Airport and land in Tokyo 90 minutes later! No launch pad, no big blast off, no landing on a special pad, and no big bang on landing. Just a simple plane ride with a rocket motor attached.

- Mike Schlicting


Cascadia Rail Team:

So last week we asked who would be interested in looking into a Cascadia Rail Project. Rather than just 2-3 people signing up, nearly everyone did.

So we are going to handle the next three weeks like a book club/seminar. We will read a chapter, then discuss that chapter in the meeting. The goal is to take what California has written and apply it/compare to Cascadia Rail project.

Then in late March/early April we will discuss the project with the head of Cascadia Rail, Paige Malott

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Other helpful links for the Cascadia Project:


Student Org Training:

As a College of Engineering Student Organization, the Leadership Team needs to attend a professional development training session. Here are the dates:


Authentic Leadership Thursday, April 15th @ 10-11am

Communication and Conflict Management Tuesday, February 9th @ 1-2pm


Identity/Multicultural Wednesday, February 24th @ 6pm

Positional Leadership Thursday, March 4th @ 11-12pm

Responsible Community Partnerships Tuesday, March 16th (time TBD)


Financial Planning Tuesday, April 30th @ 9-10am

Team Building

CliftonStrengths Test and group facilitation (by request only)

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