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More problems for Virgin Galactic: A news story today reports that cracks have been discovered in the wings of WhiteKnightTwo.
Sources tell me the cracks are along the spars that run the length of the wings. Specifically, they are located where the spars connect with the fuselage. My sources tell me the cracks have caused quite a bit of concern among the engineers at Virgin and Scaled. One particularly worrisome aspect is that nobody knows why or when they occurred.
I’m told there is some comfort in the repairs being made based on previous Scaled experience in patching composites. However, since the cause of the cracks is uncertain and WhiteKnightTwo is unique in terms of its size and the stresses placed on it by SpaceShipTwo, the engineers are in uncharted territory. They don’t know if they have addressed the root cause, or whether the problem will reoccur.
If this story turns out to be trie, it will likely be a disaster for Virgin Galactic. Not only can they not yet fly SpaceShipTwo because of engine issues, the mother ship that puts the spacecraft into the air can’t fly either.