Conducted the third test flight of a commercial spacecraft SpaceShipTwo




Conducted the third test flight of a commercial spacecraft SpaceShipTwo

Company Virgin Galactic continues to develop its space tourism business, and last Friday held its third test flight of the spacecraft SpaceShipTwo (SS2). Worked within 20 seconds of the test run, the jet engine led unit on SS2 suborbital height of 18 kilometers, developing at the same speed of more than Mach 1.4, which is a record for the device itself. In addition were tested control system, landing and new thermal protection.

SS2 management was entrusted to the chief pilot of Virgin Galactic Dave McKay, for whom this was the first flight. Co-pilot in the third test was Mark Stuckey, test pilot aircraft company Scaled Composites, conducted before the first test flight two SS2.

SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of 11.7 kilometers raised dvuhfyuzelyazhny aircraft White Knight Two. Having reached the desired height, SS2 was dropped, and the work took its hybrid rocket engine capable of developing a maximum thrust of 267 kN for 70 seconds. Engine has been running for 20 seconds, a top speed of Mach 1.4 in the machine and delivered SS2 to a height of 18 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.


Photo from the aircraft White Knight Two (Photo: Virgin Galactic)

The first systems that engineers tested as part of this flight became reactive control system and a new thermal blanket tail unit. When the ship is in the atmosphere, height control is carried ailerons, elevator and wheel. The additional stabilization of the vessel is provided wings and tail. However, when the machine goes into space, all these controls become useless. For control of the spacecraft in space just need reactive control system. Control of the ship is transferred to his engine, which is due to changes in traction to stabilize the whole system. Virgin Galactic and engineers was vital to check its performance.

Additionally, engineers tested new internal thermal protection device installed in the tails. They surround the nozzle of a jet engine and require additional protection from overheating during operation. In previous test flights skin temperature in these areas was higher by design, so engineers decided that no harm will cover these areas special heat-resistant coating.



Job jet engine spacecraft SpaceShipTwo on full power (Photo: Virgin Galactic)

CEO of Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson, barely able to contain emotions after the third successfully conducted flight:

“I’m extremely happy that this new year, we met with a sense of a clear vision of the beginning of the first commercial tourist flights. With great joy we can say that 2014 will be the same year, when we are finally able to bring our awesome spaceship in his natural environment – space. Today our main pilot held immaculate supersonic flight, which proved the complete functionality of all systems necessary for the machine to be safely carry passengers into space, where they will receive the most memorable experience in my life. ”




Dave McKay, chief pilot of Virgin Galactic, which will carry Sir Richard and his family in the first commercial flight , said that last the test was akin to “A dream come true.”


SpaceShipTwo unit overlooks the landing trajectory (Photo: Virgin Galactic)

“I watched the development of SS2 for many years. This is an amazing vessel that will pave the way into space much larger number of people than is now “- says McKay.

“To manage this thing and flying in general – it’s just an unforgettable experience. Ship works perfect. ”

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Tags: SpaceShipTwo , Virgin Galactic .


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