SpaceShipTwo’s First “Feathered” Flight

SpaceShipTwo’s has successfully completed its first “feathered” flight.

After a 45 minute climb to the desired altitude of 51,500 feet, SpaceShip2 (SS2) was released cleanly from VMS Eve [WhiteKnightTwo] and established a stable glide profile before deploying, for the first time, its re-entry or “feathered” configuration by rotating the tail section of the vehicle upwards to a 65 degree angle to the fuselage. It remained in this configuration with the vehicle’s body at a level pitch for approximately 1 minute and 15 seconds whilst descending, almost vertically, at around 15,500 feet per minute, slowed by the powerful shuttlecock-like drag created by the raised tail section. At around 33,500 feet the pilots reconfigured the spaceship to its normal glide mode and executed a smooth runway touch down, approximately 11 minutes and 5 seconds after its release from VMS Eve.