Space

August 18, 2012

SpaceShipTwo glide flight envelope cleared

by Raphael Jaffe
staff writer

In the last month and a half, SpaceShipTwo has had six consecutive successful glide tests.

Starting June 26, there have been about weekly droop tests from its mother ship, WhiteKnightTwo. The flight durations have ranged from about 8 to 11 minutes.

The Scaled Composites flight log report, usually just the bare facts, states that after the Aug. 11 flight “With this latest round of six flights we have cleared the full glide-flight envelope for airspeed, angle-of-attack, CG and structural loads!” This was glide flight 22 for SS2.

Objectives for these last tests included: maximum glide flight Mach and airspeed envelope expansion; horizontal tail load expansion; heavy weight aft and forward cg landing; strake evaluation; and control surface flutter data collection.

There was pause in testing after the Sept. 29, glide flight 16 test. For that test, the log states: “Test card called for releasing the Spaceship from WhiteKnightTwo and immediately entering a rapid descent. Upon release, the Spaceship experienced a downward pitch rate that caused a stall of the tails. The crew followed procedure, selecting the feather mode to revert to a benign condition. The crew then defeathered and had a nominal return to base. Great flying by the team and good demo of feather system.” The log for test 17 indicates “Great return to flight.”

The next step in the test program would evidently be to fire the rocket motor. Scaled and Virgin Galactic have previously indicated that there will first be short firings of the rocket motor. Schedules have never been openly discussed.

A new name appears as copilot for SS2 for the Aug. 7 test. Keith Colmer has become the second pilot selected by Virgin Galactic. Colmer is a former U.S. Air Force test pilot. He was the first Air National Guard pilot ever selected to attend the USAF Test Pilot School, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. He served as operations officer for the 416th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards where he led F-16, F-15 and T-38C flight test operations, specializing in high angle of attack flight test and training on the F-16. Colmer was copilot on glide flight 21.

 




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


 
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA Goddard

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission passes critical milestone

Image courtesy of NASA Goddard Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. mission to return samples from an asteroid to Earth. NASA’s groundbreaking science mission to retrieve a sample from an ancient space rock has mo...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin begins final assembly of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft

Lockheed Martin photograph In a clean room facility near Denver, Lockheed Martin technicians began assembling NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft that will collect samples of an asteroid. In a clean room facility near Denver, Lo...
 
 
ball-CDR

Ball Aerospace GEMS instrument passes critical design review

The Ball Aerospace air quality sensor being built for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute under South Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research in the Ministry of Environment has passed a major milestone tow...
 

 

Year in space starts for one American, one Russian

Three crew members representing the United States and Russia are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m., EDT, March 27. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend about a year living and working aboard the...
 
 
NASA photograph

Orion parachute testing conducted at AEDC NFAC facility

AEDC engineers were part of a test team that performed wind tunnel testing on the parachutes for NASA Orion spacecraft in January. The test team also consisted of NASA, Airborne Systems, Jacobs Engineering and NFAC personnel. P...
 
 

Ninth Boeing GPS IIF reaches orbit, sends first signals

Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites are steadily replenishing the orbiting constellation, continuing to improve reliability and accuracy for users around the world. The ninth GPS IIF reached orbit about three hours, 20 minutes after launching today aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and...
 




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>