Local

September 6, 2013

Virgin Galactic flexes SpaceShipTwo’s unique feather mechanism in second supersonic flight

virgin-galactic
 

MOJAVE, Calif. – Sept. 5, Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, successfully completed the second rocket-powered, supersonic flight of its passenger carrying reusable space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo.

In addition to achieving the highest altitude and greatest speed to date, the test flight demonstrated the vehicle’s full technical mission profile in a single flight for the first time, including a high altitude deployment of the unique wing “feathering” re-entry mechanism. All of the test objectives were successfully completed.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to have another major supersonic milestone under our belts as we move toward a 2014 start of commercial service,” said Branson.

“It was particularly thrilling to see for the first time today the whole elegant system in action during a single flight, including the remarkable feathering re-entry system. It was this safety feature more than anything else that originally persuaded us that the overall design of the system was uniquely fit for purpose. Everything we have seen today just confirms that view. Congratulations to all involved!”

At approximately 8 a.m. local time from the Mojave Air and Space Port, the company’s WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft took off carrying SS2 to an altitude of 46,000 feet. Virgin Galactic Chief Pilot Dave Mackay was at the WK2 controls, assisted by Scaled Composites (Scaled) co-pilot Mike Alsbury and The Spaceship Company Flight Test Engineer Scott Glaser. Upon release from WK2, SS2 pilots Mark Stucky and Clint Nichols, both of Scaled, ignited the rocket motor for the planned 20-second burn propelling the spaceship to 69,000 feet. During this time, SS2 achieved a maximum speed of Mach 1.43. SS2 landed in Mojave at 9:25 a.m. local time completing the flight test with the pilots reporting a flawless flight.

“This flight milestone represents a key step forward for the Virgin Galactic team,” said H.E. Khadem Al Qubaisi, chairman of aabar Investments PJS. “The successful completion of all major aspects of the flight mission demonstrates that we are very close to achieving one of Galactic’s key goals: commercialising access to space for the broader public.  I would like to congratulate the whole team on their continued success.”

George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic CEO, said “Today, we expanded the SpaceShipTwo rocket-powered flight test envelope with a longer burn duration and robust testing of the feather mechanism, supersonic aerodynamics and wing lift structure.

“Each powered flight of SpaceShipTwo yields cumulative progress that builds the foundation for safe and exciting commercial space flights.”




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


 
 

 

News Briefs July 29, 2015

U.S. Navy examines health concerns near Guantanamo court A complaint lodged with the Pentagon has prompted the U.S. Navy to look into the possible presence of anything that may cause cancer in a section of the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military spokeswoman said July 28. The Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center and...
 
 

News Briefs July 27, 2015

Putin OKs maritime code calling for strong Atlantic presence Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new version of the country’s maritime doctrine that calls for maintaining a strong Russian presence in the Atlantic Ocean amid concerns about NATO expansion. The doctrine, which covers naval, merchant marine and scientific maritime issues, also adds the Antarctic...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Darin Russell

Joint Strike Fighter ITF ground testing F-35 gun

Lockheed Martin photograph by Darin Russell An F-35A, tail number AF-2, fires a burst of rounds down range at the Gun Harmonizing Range July 17. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force at Edwards AFB is in the proce...
 

 

Scaled Composites celebrates historic New Horizons mission with SpaceShipOne memento

MOJAVE, Calif. — The first privately-funded vehicle to reach space and one of the most innovative crafts ever flown is part of space history again. A three-inch piece of SpaceShipOne was selected by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to accompany eight other mementos on the New Horizons spacecraft’s extraordinary journey to Pluto.   “SpaceShipOne is...
 
 
BlueStarMothers01

Blue Stars Mothers help stuff a hummer

Members of the Blue Star Mothers, the National Guard and Vietnam Veteran Legacy motorcycle club participate in a “Stuff the Hummer.” Donations for troops included batteries, baby wipes, dental floss and a favorite &...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Christian Turner

Can you see me now? Lakebeds ‘restriped’

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber An oil spreader truck applies SSH1 to a quarter-mile marker along the fly-by line as part of the annual lakebed restriping process.   Edwards Air Force Base is a prime location for fli...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>