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SpaceShip Two makes first glide flight

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posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 10:55 PM
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After completing four captive carry test flights, Virgin Galactic has completed the first glide test of the new SpaceShip Two. It was built to replace the first SpaceShip Two that was lost in a test flight accident in October 2014. The craft broke up over the test range after one of the pilots deployed the feathers too soon.

The first glide flight was scheduled for a month ago, but weather and technical problems have delayed the flight until today. The new SpaceShip Two has several improvements over the previous ship. They plan on 10 glide tests, but could see them completed in as few as 8, or take more than 10. Once those are completed they plan on starting powered flights. They'll start with flights around Mach 1, then move all the way to off nominal conditions. Their big target is supersonic reentry to test the feathering system.


Virgin Galactic has begun glide flights of the second, and significantly improved, SpaceShipTwo (SS2) sub-orbital vehicle three days after completing a fourth, and final, captive carriage flight under the WhiteKnightTwo mothership.

Flying on December 3 from Virgin’s test site at Mojave, California, the spaceplane and its carrier aircraft took off at around 6:50 am Pacific time. After climbing over the Owens Valley area to a release altitude of 50,000 ft., the spaceplane separated over the mountains northwest of Tehachapi around 50 minutes into the flight. Piloted by Virgin Galactic chief test pilot David Mackay and company test pilot Mark Stucky, the spaceplane glided back to Mojave for a smooth landing about 10 minutes later.

Virgin Galactic’s chief executive, George Whitesides, tweeted that the crew reported “excellent flight qualities” from the spaceplane, which incorporates several improvements over the first vehicle that was lost in a flight test accident in October 2014. The initial glide flight was originally targeted for just over a month ago but was thwarted by high winds. A series of undisclosed issues then prevented airborne release on Nov 3 and a further captive carry flight was undertaken on Nov 30 to evaluate what the company described as “tweaks.”

aviationweek.com...
edit on 12/3/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 02:46 AM
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Why are you excited, do you have a million to spend? TBH with tech military has we could have had space tourism for years and years
edit on 4-12-2016 by suvorov because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 07:29 AM
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originally posted by: suvorov
Why are you excited, do you have a million to spend? TBH with tech military has we could have had space tourism for years and years


Because at least it's being done. Same reason why I'm excited by the Tesla - I can't justify buying one, but it creates a use-case for practical application of technology and encourages more R&D.

Lots of things we take for granted now started off as a rich man's toy. Cars? Planes? Personal Computers? Even that smartphone in your pocket that has more computing power than the Apollo missions is a result of rich people in the 80s providing a market for the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (the first commercially available cell phone).

Humanity has always depended on bored rich people to fund technological development that eventually filters down to the general populace.



posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 08:53 AM
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a reply to: suvorov

Actually, a ticket on Virgin Galactic is pegged at $250,000, not $1,000,000. Which, I'll admit, for the likes of me - and most other posters, I'd expect - is a distinction without a difference...

I'm glad to see them back doing glide tests, but I'll be taking anything Virgin has to say with a good-sized grain of salt. The investigation of the 2014 crash of the VSS Enterprise showed that Virgin and Scaled Composites had made some highly questionable choices in terms of both design and processes. There was also some very well-informed speculation that they were rushing their schedule before that accident in order to get Banson into space before the end of 2014.

I hope they are, ultimately, successful, but I hope they don't develop another case of go fever.



posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 01:12 PM
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a reply to: suvorov

As others have said, you start with baby steps. I don't have enough money to fly on a 787 or A350 right now, but I'm excited to see them built. They expand our knowledge base. Eventually the technology will trickle down. All the advances we have didn't start out designed for the average person, but were designed for the military or for rich people and worked their way down to everyday use. The same will eventually happen here too.
edit on 12/4/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2016 @ 04:53 PM
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I would love to get a ride into space but not as a passenger. But it would be cool!



posted on Dec, 5 2016 @ 12:03 AM
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Fly safe guys..Pushing the envelope is a hard thing..



posted on Dec, 5 2016 @ 10:17 AM
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originally posted by: Blackfinger
Fly safe guys..Pushing the envelope is a hard thing..

Flying safe is one hand on the stick and the other on the ejection handle.



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