Virgin Galactic's Rocketplane Completes Powered Test Flight

#1
This is the first powered test flight of their sub-orbital rocketplane since they lost an earlier prototype several years ago.

It lit its engine for about 30 seconds, pulled into a steep climb and hit almost mach 2. The maximum altitude reached today was about 84,000 feet -- high, but not space. (It looks like space though, see the video below.)

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/05/virgin-g...light.html

There's some very cool video of the flight (including video taken by an on-board camera) on YouTube here (don't shoot YouTube!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_conti...s-zY86Ec-I

(Did you ever notice how the Mojave Desert looks like Mars?)


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#2
Love the chrome. Why the front landing skid plate instead of wheels?
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#3
(Apr 5, 2018 10:49 PM)Yazata Wrote: This is the first powered test flight of their sub-orbital rocketplane since they lost an earlier prototype several years ago.

It lit its engine for about 30 seconds, pulled into a steep climb and hit almost mach 2. The maximum altitude reached today was about 84,000 feet -- high, but not space. (It looks like space though, see the video below.)

same design team ?

the capsule filling with water
the space suit filling with water
the oxygen mix in the capsule
stiring the tanks

all things you would expect modern designers to know inside out and back to front.
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#4
They just conducted another successful powered test flight of the same reusable Unity rocketplane today and it's safely back on the ground.

Reportedly the object of this test flight was to evaluate the effects of changes in the vehicle's center-of-gravity on its handling characteristics.

I don't know what altitude they reached today.


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#5
(May 29, 2018 07:52 PM)Yazata Wrote: I don't know what altitude they reached today.

114,500 feet

Pretty good, but not space. Of course they weren't shooting for space on this flight, which had more technical aeronautical engineering objectives.
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#6
(May 31, 2018 07:54 PM)Yazata Wrote:
(May 29, 2018 07:52 PM)Yazata Wrote: I don't know what altitude they reached today.

114,500 feet

Pretty good, but not space. Of course they weren't shooting for space on this flight, which had more technical aeronautical engineering objectives.


Hard to believe an awful 1983 television B-movie is becoming tenable.

Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starflight...n%27t_Land

Starflight [...] is being prepared for a media-covered inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, a planned two-hour flight. The passengers bring some of their problems on board [...list of soap opera personal issues...] The fuel runs out just as Starflight reaches orbital velocity/altitude. NASA believes their orbit is good for 48–60 hours, but they need to conserve power and other consumables. The Columbia space shuttle is sent up to try to help; it brings a supply of hydrogen to refuel Starflight, and an airlock is brought to try to bring Josh Gilliam back to Earth to work on the problem. The astronaut who does the fueling looks at the engine control conduit at Cody's request, and she recommends shutting the line down. The power is cut on that line....

~
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#7
The Virgin Galactic rocket plane just completed its third powered test flight today. Not too shabby.

They are expanding the vehicle's parameters incrementally, step by step. This flight hit mach 2.47 and the altitude reached was 52 km. That's not technically space yet, but it certainly looks like space:


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One of the pilots Mike "Sooch" Masucci said in a statement: "Having been a U-2 pilot and done a lot of high altitude work --- or what I thought was high altitude work --- the view from 170,000 feet was just totally amazing. The flight was exciting and frankly beautiful."
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#8
Another test flight this morning. They ran the engine for 60 seconds and the vehicle reached 51.4 miles/82.68 km/271,000 feet. (100,000 ft higher than last flight.) The target altitude was 50 miles. It's now safely back on the ground.

That's technically space as defined by NASA and the US Air Force. So this is the first manned spaceflight launched in a US vehicle from US territory since the last Shuttle flight in 2011. It's also the first private manned spaceflight since Burt Rutan's little Spaceship One flew three times in 2004. (This vehicle is the direct descendant of that vehicle.) The two test pilots on this flight will get commercial astronaut status from the FAA.

One of today's two pilots is a former NASA astronaut who flew in the shuttle. So he becomes the only person to receive astronaut wings from both NASA and the FAA.

https://twitter.com/virgingalactic/statu...8523712513

https://www.virgingalactic.com/articles/...ce-flight/

https://twitter.com/planet4589

https://twitter.com/NASA/status/1073272440703328258

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacet..._to_Launch

Virgin Galactic photo:


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Here's Virgin Galactic's two new astronauts:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DuTgeBVVAAAB_qM.jpg

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DuTgXS_U0AA-cx-.jpg
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#10
Virgin Galactic's rocket plane went today, reaching 89.9 km and is back safely on the ground. In addition to its two test pilots, it carried a passenger, the woman who will be in charge of familiarizing future space tourists with the process. She was checking out the experience, even floating around the cabin a bit in free-fall.

https://twitter.com/virgingalactic

Virgin Galactic photos:


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