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.


 
 

 

F-16V completes major capability milestone

The newest configuration of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-16V, has reached a major capability milestone with the integration of a new Active Electronically Scanned Array radar. Completing this milestone on schedule demonstrates our ability to meet program commitments, said Roderick McLean, vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Robots moving robots: Lockheed Martin conducts first fully autonomous mission

Lockheed Martin photograph A K-MAX unmanned helicopter delivers an SMSS unmanned ground vehicle during a fully autonomous mission demonstration at Fort Benning, Ga. A safety pilot was on board K-MAX but did not operate the cont...
 
 

Lockheed Martin introduces maritime test bed

Using a newly developed advanced maritime test bed, Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated how continually evolving technologies such as data fusion and predictive analytics can be used to share intelligence quickly and securely – even in limited bandwidth naval settings. This new software test platform, designed to mimic different naval environments at sea and ashore, allowed...
 

 

Aerojet Rocketdyne awarded defense contract for large scale additive manufacturing

Aerojet Rocketdyne was recently awarded a contract by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, through the Defense Production Act Title III Office for large-scale additive manufacturing development and demonstration. The contract will secure multiple large selective laser melting machines to develop liquid rocket engine applications for national security space launch services. Aerojet Rocketdyne ...
 
 

U.S. Navy to test, evaluate Lockheed Martin industrial exoskeletons

Lockheed Martin has received a contract through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences for the U.S. Navy to evaluate and test two FORTIS exoskeletons. This marks the first procurement of Lockheed Martin’s exoskeletons for industrial use. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The FORTIS exoskeleton is an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator’s...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki

Northrop Grumman, Navy integrate manned, unmanned flight ops

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqiOzO8yV4A&feature=youtu.be Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki The U.S. Navy’s unmanned X-47B conducts flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (C...
 




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>