Business

June 28, 2012

Virgin Galactic successfully completes SpaceShipTwo glide flight test and rocket motor firing on same day

MOJAVE, Calif. – Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, announced June 28 that its passenger-carrying suborbital space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, successfully completed its first glide flight test on June 26 since a recent integration period for rocket motor systems and maintenance.

Also, on June 26, the spaceship’s engine, RocketMotorTwo, underwent another successful full duration test fire, marking the first time the company and its partners have undertaken test flight and test firing on the same day.

Both milestones prime Virgin Galactic to reach powered flight by the end of the year.

“Since receiving an experimental launch permit from the Federal Aviation Administration in May for SpaceShipTwo and its carrier vehicle, WhiteKnightTwo, there has been a rapid escalation of test activity,” said George Whitesides, CEO and president of Virgin Galactic. “In that timeframe, we’ve had seven successful test flights and three full-scale rocket motor tests. We are on track for powered flight by the end of 2012.”

The glide flight was performed by Scaled Composites, the prime contractor for the spaceflight system. To perform the flight, SS2 was air-released from WhiteKnightTwo at an altitude of 51,000 feet. At the SS2 controls were Scaled pilots Pete Siebold and Mike Alsbury. In the carrier aircraft were Scaled test pilot Mark Stucky and David Mackay, Virgin Galactic’s Chief Pilot. Flying in the chase plane for the test were Mike Melvill, who piloted the first private flight to space, and Virgin Galactic pilot Keith Colmer.

The rocket motor firing was performed by Sierra Nevada Space Systems, the prime contractor for the RM2 system. The 55-second test was the thirteenth full-scale flight design RM2 hot fire. All objectives were completed. In addition to this test, on June 20 a full-scale RM2 test firing took place for the first time at Scaled Composites’ test site in Mojave, Calif., under full direction of the spaceship’s Rocket Motor Controller. This firing provided an end-to-end test of the rocket motor systems – a critical step in preparation for powered flight.

This intense period of activity comes just weeks before Virgin Galactic, along with its Mojave-based sister manufacturing organization, The Spaceship Company, will gather customers and VIPs at the Farnborough International Air Show 2012. Guests will attend a special briefing from company founder Sir Richard Branson and other company executives.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 
 

Raytheon awarded first international contract for Paveway IV

Raytheon has received a contract from an international customer for Pavewayô IV precision guided bombs valued at more than $200 million. As part of the sale Raytheon will deliver hundreds of the advanced munitions, which are regarded as the ‘weapon of choice’ for the Royal Air Force. The contract represents the first sale of Pavewayô...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Northrop Grumman dedicates Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Florida

Northrop Grumman photograph Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, addresses the media with, from left, Florida State Sen. John Thrasher, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, U.S. Rep. Ron DeS...
 

 

Lockheed Martin GMLRS alternative warhead logs successful flight test series, shifts to next testing phase

Lockheed Martin successfully conducted the fifth and final Production Qualification Test for the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternative Warhead recently at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. During the long-range test, four rockets were fired from a HIMARS launcher and destroyed their respective targets approximately 65 kilometers away. The test is the final milestone...
 
 

Forecast International expects UAV market to rise strongly through next decade

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sent unmanned aerial vehicle production to record heights, but with the last U.S. military troops in Afghanistan slated to depart the country this year, the Pentagon’s demand for unmanned air vehicles is slackening. However, while fewer UAVs are expected to roll off the production lines from 2014 to 2023,...
 
 
sikorsky-china

China certifies Sikorsky S-76D™ helicopter

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced April 15 that the Civil Aviation Administration of China has issued a validation type certificate for the S-76D™ aircraft, allowing Sikorsky to begin delivering the commercial helicopter  to...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>