Tag Archives: Scaled Composites

Scaled Composites has posted the logs for several successful engine test results on its webpage.

Some real news about SpaceShipTwo: Scaled Composites has posted the logs for several successful engine test results on its webpage.

The information is sparse, but it suggests that these tests are attempts to run the engine through a full simulated flight.

Brian Binnie, the man who flew SpaceShipOne for Scaled Composites, has left that company for competitor XCOR

Brian Binnie, the man who flew SpaceShipOne for Scaled Composites, has left that company for competitor XCOR.

It might simply be the man got a promotion, but it also might be that he knows the problems SpaceShipTwo is having and sees his chances of flying there going down. His willingness to work for XCOR instead could also be looked at as a kind of endorsement of that company’s chances of success.

SpaceShipTwo is outside its hanger today, undergoing cockpit pressure tests.

SpaceShipTwo is outside its hanger today, undergoing cockpit pressure tests.

The article also provides some additional information about the rumored engine issues of the spacecraft, suggesting that the company is working hard to replace its nitrous oxide-rubber engine with a nitrous oxide-nylon engine.

Scaled Composites did an engine test today in Mojave of an alternative engine for SpaceShipTwo.

The competition heats up: Scaled Composites did an engine test today in Mojave of an alternative engine for SpaceShipTwo.

In this case, the company is even competing with itself, in that its first engine design is now in competition with another engine design. Considering the rumors about problems with that first design, I suspect the new design is probably winning.

SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its third powered test flight today.

The competition heats up: SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its third powered test flight today.

On release, SS2’s rocket motor was ignited, powering the spaceship to a planned altitude of 71,000 ft. – SS2’s highest altitude to date – and a maximum speed of Mach 1.4. SS2’s unique feather re-entry system was also tested during today’s flight. Two important SS2 systems, the RCS [reaction control system] and thermal protection coating, were tested during today’s flight in preparation for upcoming full space flights. The spaceship’s RCS will allow its pilots to maneuver the vehicle in space, permitting an optimal viewing experience for those on board and aiding the positioning process for spacecraft re-entry. The new reflective protection coating on SS2’s inner tail boom surfaces is being evaluated to help maintain vehicle skin temperatures while the rocket motor is firing.

In the past three months Scaled Composites has conducted nine tests of SpaceShipTwo engines.

The competition heats up: In the past three months Scaled Composites has conducted nine tests of SpaceShipTwo engines.

It also appears that one test was of an alternative engine to the one they have been planning to use. All told this suggests they are accelerating their effort to finish SpaceShipTwo.

A detailed look at the questions and rumors that continue to swirl around the engineering status of SpaceShipTwo.

A detailed look at the questions and rumors that continue to swirl around the engineering status of SpaceShipTwo.

If you want to get an idea why Virgin Galactic has not done any powered flights of SpaceShipTwo so far this summer you must read this article.

In new and apparently successfully ground tests of the SpaceShipTwo engine, Scaled Composites even destroyed one this week to test the operation of different components.

The competition heats up: In new and apparently successfully ground tests of the SpaceShipTwo engine, Scaled Composites even destroyed one this week to test the operation of different components.

More successful glide tests today for SpaceShipTwo, now with its engine attached.

The competition heats up: More successful glide tests today for SpaceShipTwo, now with its engine attached.

They are testing the flight characteristics of the spaceship with the additional engine weight. Once satisfied, they will then move on to powered flights.

Virgin Galactic reports that the recent tests of the engine for SpaceShipTwo have been a complete success.

The competition heats up: Virgin Galactic reports that the recent tests of the engine for SpaceShipTwo have been a complete success.

It appears that they are getting very close to putting the engine on the spaceship for the first powered flights. Things should get very exciting when they do.

Scaled Composites has posted the results of its latest test firing of the rocket motor for SpaceShipTwo.

The competition heats up: Scaled Composites has posted the results of its latest test firing of the rocket motor for SpaceShipTwo.

Though the test is dated August 9, more than a week ago, I expect the number of engine tests to go up in the coming months as the company works toward the first powered flights of SpaceShipTwo.

With its most recent glide test on Saturday it appears SpaceShipTwo has successfully fulfilled its glide engineering goals.

The competition heats up: With its most recent glide test on Saturday it appears SpaceShipTwo has successfully fulfilled its glide engineering goals. Hat tip Clark Lindsay at NewSpace Watch. To quote their flight summary:

With this latest round of six flights we have cleared the full glide-flight envelope for airspeed, angle-of-attack, CG, and structural loads!

The FAA has granted Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic a launch permit to begin rocket-powered test flights of SpaceShipTwo.

The competition heats up: The FAA has granted Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic a launch permit to begin rocket-powered test flights of SpaceShipTwo.

The Stratolaunch system has entered system design review.

The competition heats up: The privately-built Stratolaunch system has entered system design review.

The key quote from this article is this:

Scaled Composites, which is building the aircraft, has purchased two ex-United Boeing 747-400s, and is in the process of dismantling them. Stratolaunch will use the engines, hydraulics system and several other major components to build its own aircraft. The remaining fuselage and wing shells will be scrapped. SpaceX is building the rocket, which will launch approximately 13,000lb into orbit. “This is really going after the Delta II market,” says Steve Cook, Dynetics chief technologist. The group eventually hopes to qualify the system for human spaceflight and begin launched manned spacecraft. [emphasis mine]

Stratolaunch is not being built for NASA. It is aimed at the commercial market instead, with the intention of providing a cheaper alternative for getting large payloads into orbit.

SpaceShipTwo to resume flight tests in June after a nine month hiatus.

SpaceShipTwo to resume flight tests in June after a nine month hiatus.

The long pause in flight tests, as well as the apparent delays in flying the ship with its rocket engine, suggest that there have been engineering issues with the ship and engine that Scaled Composites hasn’t revealed. Hopefully the resumption of testing is an indication that these issues have been overcome.

Rutan, Allen, Musk, Griffin team up to develop an air-launch rocket system to fire hardware and humans into orbit.

Superstars of space: Rutan, Allen, Musk, and Griffin have teamed up to develop an air-launch rocket system to fire hardware and humans into orbit.

Their concept calls for Rutan, a noted aircraft designer, to create a carrier jet with a 385-foot wingspan and six engines to ferry a liquid-fueled, 120-foot-long rocket built by SpaceX and outfitted with five main engines to altitude where the winged booster will be released for launch into orbit.

Test flights of SpaceShipTwo resume

After a summer break, the flight tests of SpaceShipTwo have resumed. Thursday’s test appeared to a bit more exciting that previous flights:

Test card called for releasing the Spaceship from WhiteKnightTwo and immediately entering a rapid descent. Upon release, the Spaceship experienced a downward pitch rate that caused a stall of the tails. The crew followed procedure, selecting the feather mode to revert to a benign condition. The crew then defeathered and had a nominal return to base. Great flying by the team and good demo of feather system.

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