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Space Ship II, White Knight II - projects, flights, info

AeroFranz

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Hmmm...i'm still not sure they're implying that Alsbury commanded feathering (pilot error) besides arming the system.

I know that relying on sensors can add it's own layer of failure modes, but it seems odd to me that there wasn't a safety feature allowing feathering only below a certain dynamic pressure, easily measurable with a pitot that they should have anyway. You can always allow a manual override if need be. Maybe their philosophy was that the least systems there are, the least things can go wrong? just wondering...
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-12/pilot-who-survived-spacecraft-crash-says-parachute-opened-itself.html
 

bobbymike

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http://www.space.com/28203-dream-chaser-space-plane-propulsion-milestone.html?adbid=553249808735952896&adbpl=tw&adbpr=15431856&cmpid=514648_20150108_38453647
 

bob225

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BBC News has a little bit of news about spaceship II and current ongoing work


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33002052
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.wired.com/2015/07/blame-catastrophic-blindspot-virgin-galactic-crash/
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11817353/Virgin-Galactic-passenger-numbers-almost-recovered-after-space-crafts-fatal-accident.html
 

fredymac

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Virgin Galactic video illustration of SpaceShipTwo breakup.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CPJvjxw00c
 

Flyaway

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In February, Virgin Galactic will unveil its new replacement spaceship in the Mojave. There are no major changes in the design compared with the ill-fated SpaceShipTwo, Sir Richard said, except that there will be a fail-safe mechanism to prevent pilots from prematurely engaging the “feathering system” which controls the plane’s descent – the cause of the 2014 disaster.

Sir Richard has invited the theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking to name the new plane at the unveiling. He has already offered the scientist Virgin Galactic’s only free ticket into space – which Professor Hawking has accepted, provided his health allows it.

“Obviously, we had a year’s delay after the accident and it’s tremendous that Stephen Hawking has agreed to come and name the new spaceship,” Sir Richard said.

“He has made it very clear that he thinks mankind and womankind need to work very hard to try to colonise other planets and that space is very important for people back here on Earth,” he said.

“He has spoken in the past about the need for colonising other planets should anything ever happen to people back here on Earth, so that all those years of evolution will not be wasted.

“There is an enormous amount of things that can be done in space, have been done in space, and will be done in space; and I think commercial space travel will play a big role in that.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/richard-branson-virgin-galactics-plans-uk-spaceport-a6794171.html
 

Grey Havoc

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http://gizmodo.com/adidas-is-partnering-with-virgin-galactic-to-design-the-1752941606​
 

marauder2048

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Great..they've already managed to decapitate the pilot.
 

Sundog

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marauder2048 said:
Great..they've already managed to decapitate the pilot.
LOL...yeah, that's what I thought when I first saw the pic, but then I saw what the story was about and then it made sense.
 

ouroboros

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marauder2048 said:
Great..they've already managed to decapitate the pilot.
No no, just being disability EOE compliant. Dude is a former pumpkin farm ag pilot from a small New England town called Sleepy Hollow...
 

Grey Havoc

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http://gizmodo.com/spaceport-america-wants-2-million-more-from-taxpayers-1755252309
 

Flyaway

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Virgin Galactic will unveil its new spaceplane tomorrow

Tomorrow, private spaceflight company Virgin Galactic will unveil the newest version of SpaceShipTwo — the reusable spaceplane that will become the company's primary vehicle. The company has been without a main vehicle since October 2014, when a crash killed one test pilot and seriously injured another. After the accident, many journalists and industry experts expressed skepticism about Virgin Galactic’s reliability. This new vehicle could help the company stage their comeback.
Of course, that all depends on how well SpaceShipTwo performs. The new vehicle will be structurally identical to the one that was lost, but there will be more automation, Virgin Galactic has said. The design change is in response to the 2014 cash, which was partly due to pilot error. New failsafes have been added to prevent such mistakes from happening in the future, the company has said, without explaining any specific details.

The first test flights of SpaceShipTwo will begin sometime this year, and that’s when the changes will be truly evaluated. Virgin Galactic has had trouble in testing before. Besides the 2014 crash, a rocket engine exploded in 2007 during testing, killing three people.
http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/18/11045184/virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-reusable-spaceplane-unveiling
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Just unveiled a little while ago.

http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/19/virgin-galactic-unveils-the-new-spaceship-two/
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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Another piece from Gizmodo

http://gizmodo.com/here-is-your-first-look-at-virgin-galactics-new-spacesh-1760089065
 

Flyaway

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Update From Mojave: The Next Phase Of Flight Test

In September, VSS Unity took to the skies for the first time. It was a fulfilling and emotional experience for our team—but even more so, it was an opportunity to collect great data. Using our carrier airplane, WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve, as a ‘flying wind tunnel,’ we captured terabytes of extremely valuable data from a nearly four hour long flight.

After thoroughly analyzing that data and completing other planned work on VSS Unity, we are nearly ready to move into the next phase of flight. The results from September’s test were encouraging enough that the team agreed that no further captive carry flights are needed. The next time VSS Unity takes to the sky, we plan for her to be released from the mothership and to glide home on her own for the first time ever.

This test will be the first of a sequence of glide test flights. These flights will cumulatively allow us to test and prove the performance of the vehicle in a variety of conditions: both heavy (e.g. simulating the full weight of a load of fuel, oxidizer, and people) and light (with empty tanks) and in between, at a variety of flight path angles and airspeeds, and so forth.

This testing of the “corners of the box” is designed to demonstrate how VSS Unity will perform as it returns from space, after the feather system is retracted and the vehicle becomes a glider and lands on the runway like an airplane. In addition, this phase of flight will also demonstrate and test our abort modes – which culminate in a safe glide back to the runway.

Our team of flight test experts has developed a set of requirements for each planned test flight as well as detailing exactly what we need to test in order to be ready to proceed to the next phase of rocket powered flights. We will fly as many flights as we need to in order to achieve all these objectives.

Our first glide flight will be focused on testing the fundamental performance and handling qualities of VSS Unity. For this first test, we will keep the vehicle at a light weight and will place a “speed limit” on the pilots (Mach 0.6). Once we analyze the results from this test, we will be cleared to go faster on subsequent tests.

We’re excited to take this next step on our road to space. In the graphic below, you can see where this milestone puts us on that journey—a lot of hard work behind us and still a lot of important work yet to do.

Please stay tuned to this site and our social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn) for more information as our flight testing program progresses. Although we will not livestream the upcoming test flight, we will post information on Twitter in real time.
http://www.virgingalactic.com/update-from-mojave-the-next-phase-of-flight-test/
 

hesham

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Good news,they fix one of its two earlier problems,so it fly.
 

phrenzy

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Completely by chance driving through Mojave last year I got a few images there, is this white knight II with new Shephard in the background? I was so far away it was only with my micro 4/3 600mm equivalent f.2.8 lens I could see anything so if anyone is good at getting better detail out of raw data I can provide the full image, but I'd be curious to know if I got what I thought I did.

 

phrenzy

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That was my other guess, retired 15 years, makes me wonder if that's the original old white knight and they're putting together an exhibit or something.
 

sferrin

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phrenzy said:
That was my other guess, retired 15 years, makes me wonder if that's the original old white knight and they're putting together an exhibit or something.
You can see the engine nacelles under the wings of the plane in the foreground indicating it's the White Knight II.
 

Flyaway

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Richard Branson says he will be in space within six months

Speaking at the Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki, Finland last week, Mr Branson said: “We are hopefully about three months before we are in space, maybe six months before I'm in space.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/richard-branson-space-flight-exploration-mission-6-months-virgin-unity-a7992266.html
 

Flyaway

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Saudi Arabia investment in our space companies

Change is happening on a number of fronts in Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud has started to loosen societal restrictions and encourage a more progressive stance on areas such as women’s rights. There have been small steps to date but he is committed to bringing about these modern changes.

At the same time, the Crown Prince is making some bold economic moves as he guides the Kingdom away from its dependence on oil. On Tuesday he announced plans for a $500 billion new city in the north of the Kingdom and today I’m pleased to announce the intention of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), pending approval by the US government, to invest approximately $1 billion into our US based space companies, Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit.

This is exciting news for our companies. For our wonderful staff, customers and partners, this investment is a sign of confidence from the international investment community that our vision, our approach and our technology are the right path to commercialising space access. Both VSS Unity and LauncherOne are poised to reach significant technical milestones in the run-up to launch, and we are eager to build out R&D and our US facilities to support next generation vehicles and services.

We are now just months away from Virgin Galactic sending people into space and Virgin Orbit placing satellites around the Earth. This investment will enable us to develop the next generation of human spaceflight, more economic satellite launches and accelerate our programme for trans-continental point-to-point space travel. It also includes the possibility to develop a space-centric entertainment industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We will remain majority shareholders, and our companies will remain firmly rooted in Virgin brand values and based in southern California and New Mexico.

It is also exciting news for the people of Saudi Arabia. As I wrote before, it is time of transformational change in the country’s history thanks to Crown Prince and his bold Vision 2030. The country is putting its oil wealth into growing other sectors such as education, entertainment, tourism, and future forward technology.

Their wish to invest in our space technology is positive progress of the larger societal transformation the Crown Prince seeks to bring to his country and citizens.

We look forward to welcoming KSA as our partners in opening access to space to change the world for good.
https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/saudi-arabia-investment-our-space-companies?amp
 

Flyaway

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Virgin Galactic signs SpaceShipTwo research flight deal with Italian space agency

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Virgin Galactic will carry out a dedicated research flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane for the Italian space agency ASI, with an Italian payload specialist on board, under an agreement announced Dec. 18.

Speaking at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference here, George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, said the letter of intent with ASI covered a flight of SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico in 2019. The agreement includes training of the Italian payload specialist who would fly on the mission.
http://spacenews.com/virgin-galactic-signs-spaceshiptwo-research-flight-deal-with-italian-space-agency/
 

Flyaway

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Virgin Galactic completes first rocket-powered test flight since 2014

Virgin Galactic’s second piloted suborbital spaceship made its first rocket-powered test flight Thursday, two-and-a-half years after the loss of an earlier model in an accident that killed one test pilot and injured another.

Designed to ferry paying space tourists and research payloads to edge of space, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo vehicle has been in development more than a decade. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, modeled the SpaceShipTwo design on SpaceShipOne, a smaller rocket plane that became the first privately-built craft to carry a person into space in 2004.

The winged vehicle, named VSS Unity, dropped from the belly of Virgin Galactic’s carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, around 9 a.m. PDT (12 p.m. EDT; 1600 GMT) Thursday and fired its hybrid rocket motor for 30 seconds, accelerating to a top speed of Mach 1.87, nearly twice the speed of sound, the company said in a statement.

Pilots Mark “Forger” Stucky and Dave Mackay were in the VSS Unity cockpit.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/04/05/virgin-galactic-completes-first-rocket-powered-test-flight-since-2014/
 

fredymac

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Didn't realize they go inverted at the apex.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s-zY86Ec-I
 

Moose

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Probably a smart move on customer-carrying flights, most people who paid for those seats are gonna want to see the Earth out the windows.
 

Flyaway

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https://twitter.com/AvWeekGuy/status/989889729037398017?s=20

Rare look inside @TheSpaceshipCo to see next 2 @virgingalactic SpaceShipTwo 'Etta' and 'Artie' in production
(link: http://aviationweek.com/space/next-two-virgin-galactic-spaceships-assembled-powered-flights-resume) aviationweek.com/space/next-two…
 

Moose

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Best look at the pressure vessel in i don't know how long.
 

Boxman

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Flyaway said:
https://twitter.com/AvWeekGuy/status/989889729037398017?s=20

Rare look inside @TheSpaceshipCo to see next 2 @virgingalactic SpaceShipTwo 'Etta' and 'Artie' in production
(link: http://aviationweek.com/space/next-two-virgin-galactic-spaceships-assembled-powered-flights-resume) aviationweek.com/space/next-two…
That pressure vessel struck me as familiar, and it's been bothering me for over a week, and then the Henschel HS 130 HZ thread shook the cobwebs in my head loose. ;D

From the Axis History Forum (https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=231383#p2105209):
 

fredymac

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Video discussing in-house development of the hybrid solid/liquid rocket. Thrust level is 70,000lbs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbaqDP7zC08
 

Flyaway

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Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson readies himself for space

Sir Richard Branson says he's training to be an astronaut and will take his first trip into space soon.
He told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme: "We're talking about months away, not years away - so it's close. There are exciting times ahead.
"I'm going for astronaut training; I'm going for fitness training, centrifuge and other training, so that my body will hopefully cope well when I go to space."
Monday's You and Yours programme is about future transport technology. It broadcasts at 12:15 BST and will then be available on the BBC Radio iPlayer.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44257670
 

Flyaway

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Richard Branson Welcomes VSS Unity Home from Second Supersonic Flight

The focus of today’s flight was to expand our understanding of the spaceship’s supersonic handling characteristics and control system’s performance with vehicle parameters that were closer to the ultimate commercial configuration. This involved shifting the vehicle’s center of gravity rearward via the addition of passenger seats and related equipment. The rocket motor burned for the planned 31 seconds and propelled Unity to a speed of Mach 1.9 and an altitude of 114,500 ft. As will be the case for future commercial flights, Unity’s unique re-entry feathering system was deployed for the initial descent before the final glide home to a smooth runway landing.
http://www.virgingalactic.com/articles/Richard-Branson-Welcomes-VSS-Unity-Home-from-Second-Supersonic-Flight/
 

fredymac

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2nd powered flight. Feathering configuration briefly shown in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIzx6X3ub2I
 
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