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200 comments

Windows is hated by no one?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580697)

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Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580704)

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Re:Blood engorged meat!! (-1, Troll)

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Already slashdotted (-1, Informative)

menuconfig (759076) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580709)

For the good of the community :)

Combined White Knight / SpaceShipOne Flight Tests
[back to top]

Combined Flight Test Legend:

C = Captive Carry
L = Launch
G = Glide
P = Powered

The first letter represents the intended mission for the flight and the second letter, if present, represents the actual mission flown. For example, first glide will for the space ship will be 03G. If the flight aborts or doesn't release for whatever reason, the nomenclature becomes 03GC.

Flight 49L / 12G
Date: 11 MAR 04 Flight Time: 1.3 hours / 18 mins 30 secs
White Knight Pilot: Binnie White Knight Copilot: Stinemetze
White Knight Flt Engineer:
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Siebold
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Karkow
Low Chase-Extra Pilot: Melvill / Coleman

Objectives:
The twelfth flight of SpaceShipOne. Objectives included: pilot proficiency, reaction control system functionality check and stability and control and performance of the vehicle with the airframe thermal protection system installed. This was an unpowered glide test.
Results:
Slashdot's editors are facists.
Launch conditions were 48,500 feet and 125 knots. All systems performed as expected and the vehicle landed successfully while demonstrating the maximum cross wind landing capability.

Flight 43L / 11P
Date: 17 Dec 03 Flight Time: 1.2 hours / 18 mins 10 secs
White Knight Pilot: Siebold White Knight Copilot: Bird
White Knight Flt Engineer:
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Binnie
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Karkow
Low Chase-Extra Pilot: Melvill / Coleman

Objectives:
The eighth flight of SpaceShipOne and first powered flight. 15 second burn of the rocket motor and supersonic flight. Motor light off at altitude and inflight engine performance. Vehicle handling qualities through transonics and feather performance from altitude.
Results:
Launch conditions were 47,900 feet and 112 knots. Motor light off was achieved at 44,400 feet and 0.55M. Burnout occurred at 1.2M and apogee was 67,800 feet. There was no noted flight control flutter or buzz during the climb. Feather recovery exhibited a +/-30 roll initially and then settled down into the familiar falling bathtub mode. The wing was de-feathered and locked by 35,000 feet. A nominal landing pattern was flown but touchdown caused the left main gear to collapse and the vehicle rolled to a stop off the runway in the soft sand. Although the damage was not major, repairs are expected to take approximately three weeks to complete.

Flight 42L / 10g
Date: 4 Dec 03 Flight Time: 1.3 hours / 13 mins 14 secs
White Knight Pilot: Siebold White Knight Copilot: Stinemetz
White Knight Flt Engineer:
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Binnie
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Karkow
Low Chase-Extra Pilot: Melvill / Coleman

Objectives:
The seventh glide flight of SpaceShipOne and new pilot check out. Full functional check of the propulsion system by cold flowing nitrous oxide. Completed airspeed and positive and negative G-envelope expansion.
Results:
Launch conditions were 48,400 feet and 115 knots. All propulsion components, displays and functionality performed as designed. The feather was extended after a 4G pull-up to the vertical at 24,500 feet and rudder used to induce sideslip and yaw rates while "going-over-the-top". The vehicle recovered to a stable attitude and descent after only a single oscillation. The landing pattern was flown following established procedures resulting in a satisfactory touchdown.

Flight 41L/09G
Date: 19-Nov-03 Flight Time: 2.1 hours / 12 mins 25 secs
White Knight Pilot: Binnie White Knight Copilot: Bird
White Knight Flt Engineer:
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Siebold
Low Chase-Duchess Pilot: Coleman / Stinemetze

Objectives:
The sixth glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Test pilot Mike Melvill's first flight with the enlarged tails. Emergency aft CG handling qualities eval and simulated landing exercise with the new tail configuration. Airspeed and G envelop expansion and dynamic feather evaluation.
Results:
Launch conditions were 48,300 feet and 115 knots. Satisfactory vehicle handling characteristics at the emergency CG limit. Melvill reported improved stability, improved control powers and improved stick forces throughout the flight profile. The feather was extended after a 3G pull-up to the vertical at 30,000 feet. The vehicle recovered to a stable attitude and descent after a few mild oscillations. The landing pattern was flown at a higher airspeed than previous flights which allowed for a more controlled flare and landing at the nominal touchdown point.

Flight 40L/08G
Date: 14-Nov-03 Flight Time: 1.4 hours / 19 mins 55 secs
White Knight Pilot: Binnie White Knight Copilot: Stinemetze
White Knight Flt Engineer:
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Siebold
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Karkow
Low Chase-Duchess Pilot: Melvill/ Coleman

Objectives:
The fifth glide flight of SpaceShipOne. New pilot checkout flight. Stability and control testing with the new extended horizontal tails. Tests included stall performance at aft limit CG and evaluation of the increased pitch and roll control authority. Other objectives included additional testing of the motor controller (MCS) and handling qualities in feathered flight.
Results:
Launch conditions were 47,300 feet and 115 knots. Satisfactory stability and control at aft limit CG. A notable improvement in control power, particularly in roll. Handling qualities into and out of feather remained excellent with good nose pointing ability. Adjusted landing pattern altitudes resulted in a touchdown at the targeted runway aim-point.

Flight 38L/07G
Date: 17-Oct-03 Flight Time: 1.1 hours/ 17 mins 49 secs
White Knight Pilot: Siebold White Knight Copilot: Bird
White Knight Flt Engineer: Moore
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Binnie
Low Chase-Extra Pilot: Coleman
Objectives:
Fourth glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Primary purpose was to examine the effects of horizontal tail modifications at both forward and mid-range CG locations (obtained by dumping water from an aft ballast tank between test points). The tail modifications included a fixed strake bonded to the tail boom in front of the stabilator and a span-wise flow fence mounted on the leading edge of each stab at mid-span. (See the write up under the SPACESHIPONE GROUND TEST section that describes our Ford-250 wind tunnel which was used to help derive the current flight configuration). Other test objectives included a functional check of the rocket motor controller, ARM, FIRE and safing switches as well as the oxidizer dump valve. Additional planned maneuvers included full rudder pedal sideslips and more aggressive nose pointing while in the feathered configuration.
Results:
Launch conditions were 46,200 feet and 115 knots and produced a clean separation. The tail performance was examined by flying "longitudinal stability" points between stall and 130 knots and showed considerable improvement of the airfoil's lift coefficient as well as its post stall characteristics. No vehicle pitch up tendency was noted as the main wing now stalls first. Real time video of the tufted tails fed back down to mission control helped considerably in assessing the performance of these aerodynamic improvements. More aggressive maneuvering in the feather made it evident that the pilot could readily point the vehicle's nose where desired and all rocket motor functionality tests were satisfactory.

Flight 37L / 06G
Date: 23-Sep-03 Flight Time: 1.5 hours / 12 mins 15 secs
White Knight Pilot: Siebold White Knight Copilot: Stinemetz
White Knight Flt Engineer: Johnson
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Karkow
Low Chase-Duchess Pilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Third glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Aft CG flying qualities and performance evaluation of the space ship in both the glide and re-entry or "feather" mode. Glide envelope expansion to 95% airspeed, 100% alpha and beta and 70% loadfactor. More aggressive post stall maneuvering and spin control as a glider and while feathered. Nitrous temperature control during climb to altitude and performance of upgraded landing gear extension mechanism and space-worthy gear doors.

Results:
Launch conditions were 46,800 feet and 115 knots and produced a clean separation. First stall entry maneuver resulted in an un-commanded nose rise before reaching the wing stall angle of attack. Lateral/directional controls were used in conjunction with forward stick to effect recovery. This aft-cg stall characteristic was worse than predicted and will likely require aero modifications to fix. The feather entry was not explored and the rest of the glide flight used to assess the handling qualities of the vehicle leading to an uneventful landing. The White Knight's heating system was able to keep the Spaceship's nitrous oxidizer conditioned during climb, such that the maximum N2O pressure variation was less than 6 psi.

Flight 32L / 05G
Date: 27-Aug-03 Flight Time: 1.1 hours /10 mins 30 secs
White Knight Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Bird
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Siebold
Low Chase-Duchess Pilot: Karkow

Objectives:
Same objectives as the aborted flight 31LC/04GC earlier today. Second glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Flying qualities and performance in the space ship re-entry or "feather" mode. Pilot workload and situational awareness while transitioning and handling qualities assessment when reconfigured. As a glider, stall investigation both at high and low altitude and envelope expansion out to 200 kts and 4 G's. More aggressive, lateral directional characteristics including adverse yaw, roll rate effectiveness and control, including 360 degree aileron roll, and full rudder side slips.
Results:
Clean separation from launch at 48,200 feet and 105 knots, 8 miles north east of Mojave. First maneuver was a full stall, resulting in 70 KEAS at about 19 alpha. Good lateral control at minimum speed with ailerons and even better with rudder allowing timely control of roll-off tendencies. Second maneuver was unlocking the wing and commanding the full feathered mode (65 deg wing/tail jackknife). Transition to the feather mode occurred at 43,000 feet and 90 knots. As the tail booms and aft wing transitioned upward, the vehicle body smoothly pitched up and then returned to an approximately level pitch attitude during about 70 seconds of fully-feathered descent. The pilot noted the expected airframe buffeting and found the ship was very stable at an angle of attack of about 70 degrees. He was able to turn the vehicle both left and right with either rudder or aileron controls. As expected, full pitch control inputs had little effect on the flight path. Average sink rate was greater than 10,000 feet per minute. Reconfiguration back to the normal glider mode occurred at 30,000 feet with a positive wing lock indicated by on-board instrumentation and cameras. Third and forth maneuvers were the airspeed and G envelope expansion which were flown without incident. Fifth maneuver was roll-performance, which resulted in a low amount of adverse yaw but lower roll rates than expected. Three-axis vehicle flight characteristics again showed close correlation to the vehicle simulator. Shifting winds at the field during later stages of the descent allowed the pilot to exercise the avionics' flexibility for landing cuing back to Runway 12 vice the planned runway 30 at Mojave. A smooth touchdown was made ten and a half minutes after launch. The video cameras mounted on the spaceship recorded dramatic views particularly during the unique feather maneuver. Observers in the chase Starship were treated to a closeup bizarre view of the spaceship plunging downward in a rock-stable near vertical feathered descent. First public showings of these videos will be on 26 September at the annual SETP symposium in Los Angeles.

Flight 31LC /04GC
Date: 27-Aug-03 Flight Time: 1.1 hours
White Knight Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Bird
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill
High Chase-Starship Pilot: Siebold
Low Chase-Duchess Pilot: Karkow

Objectives:
Second glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Flying qualities and performance in the space ship feather mode. Pilot workload and situational awareness while transitioning and handling qualities assessment when reconfigured. As a glider, deep stall investigation both at high and low altitude and envelope expansion out to 200 kts and 4 G's. Lateral directional characteristics including adverse yaw, roll rate effectiveness and control including aileron roll and full rudder side slips.
Results:
The flight was aborted about 20 minutes before launch, after a GPS navigation malfunction occurred in the SpaceShip avionics system. The mated pair continued to test other systems including Spaceship fuselage heating, then returned for a mated landing.

Flight 30L / 03G
Date: 7-Aug-03 Flight Time: 1.1 hours / 19 minutes
White Knight Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Bird
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill
Objectives:
First glide flight of SpaceShipOne.
Results:
The space ship was launched at 47,000 feet and 105 knots, 10 nm east of Mojave. Separation was clean and positive with no tendency to roll off or pitch bobble. An initial handling qualities evaluation was very positive, supported close correlation to the vehicle simulator and with that confidence, the first flight test cards were executed as planned. The flight provided handling quality and performance data over 60% of the expected subsonic flight envelope from stall to 150 knots. Trim sensitivity, stick forces, control harmony and L/D performance were all as expected. The on-board avionics and energy management cueing displays performed flawlessly, the gear extension rapid, and the vehicle made a smooth touchdown at 7:56 local on Runway 30 at Mojave. The entire flight, from launch to landing, was viewable from the ground and SpaceShipOne with its unique planform was intriguing to watch as it cut gracefully through the air and was put through its paces. See photos in the Tier-1 section. A special thanks to Robert Scherer, www.bobscherer.com for his flight test support and his beautiful Starship that provided primary chase for this milestone event.

Flight 29C / 02C
Date: 29-July-03 Flight Time: 2.1 hours
White Knight Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Bird
SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill
Objectives:
First manned captive carry flight of SpaceShipOne. A man-in-loop launch rehearsal and inflight checkout of all ship systems including flight controls and propulsion sytem plumbing.
Results:
Complete full up rehearsal for SS1's first glide flight, including airspace, range control, Scaled mission control, data and video TM and high and low chase platforms. Providing high chase was one of Burt Rutan's earlier designs - the StarShip, owned and operated by Robert Sherer. See accompanying photos in the Tier-1 Photo section for the unique formation of the Starship, Spaceship and White Knight. All SpaceShipOne's systems were exercised, including the environmental control, electrical, pneumantic and avionics. Flight control force versus displacement data was obtained to validate simulation modelling and even the space ship's feather control was exercised after cold soak at altitude. All systems performed satisfactorily including nitrous tank heating by WhiteKnight bleed air and the pilot controlled N2O dump valve.

Flight 24C / 01C
Date: 20-May-03 Flight Time: 1.8 hours
Pilot: Siebold Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
First captive carry flight with mated White Knight and SpaceShipOne. Vibration and aerodynamic interface assessment. Mated handling qualities evaluation. Envelope expansion to 130 knots / Mach 0.5 above 45,000 feet. Stalls and 2/3-rudder sideslips. SpaceShipOne systems inactive, controls locked and cabin unmanned. Launch system was qualified and functional for this flight.
Results:
Excellent two-ship stability & control throughout the envelope. No interference or vibration issues. Smooth surface flows on SS1 except around rocket nozzle. Two-ship performance was as predicted. Mach .53 was achieved at 48,000 ft. Climb rate at 48,000 ft was 700 ft/min. Envelope was cleared for future manned captive carry and glide flights.

Next flight should be a manned captive carry in which all SpaceShipOne systems (except rocket propulsion) will be tested at altitudes up to 50,000 ft. If successful, the glide flights will follow soon, since the systems preparation and pilot training requirements are the same.

White Knight Flight Test Summaries
[back to top]

The following list includes summaries of the flight test activity of the White Knight research aircraft. The White Knight is equipped with the same system components as SpaceShipOne (cabin, ECS, pneumatic, avionics, trim servos, electrical, backup air data, test data, video & TM). Thus, the flight test program of the White Knight includes many tests that focus on SpaceShipOne systems qualification and maturity. Flight crews include program pilots Doug Shane, Mike Melvill, Brian Binnie and Pete Siebold, Cory Bird (White Knight project engineer) and Rick Aldrich (crew chief). This list will be updated monthly.

Flight 39
Date: 5-Nov-03 Flight Time: 1.5 hours
White Knight Pilot: Siebold White Knight Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Avionics upgrade evaluation and landing pattern practice.
Results:
Satisfactory GPS-aided INS stability and position keeping through a normal launch and glide flight profile.

Flight 36
Date: 22-Sep-03 Flight Time: 1.7 hours
White Knight Pilot: Binnie White Knight Copilot: Stinemetz
Objectives:
Avionics upgrade evaluation
Results:
Satisfactory GPS-aided INS stability and position keeping through a normal launch and glide flight profile.

Flight 35
Date: 19-Sep-03 Flight Time: 2.1 hours
White Knight Pilot: Siebold White Knight Copilot: Binnie
White Knight Flt Engineer: Nichols
Objectives:
SpaceShipOne approach and landing profile review
Results:
Evaluated a variety of different profiles to assess ease of set-up, forgiveness to off normal starts and pilot situation awareness during the approach.

Flight 34
Date: 18-Sep-03 Flight Time: 2.7 hours
White Knight Pilot: Binnie White Knight Copilot: Melvill
White Knight Flt Engineer: Alsbury
Objectives:
SpaceShipOne approach and landing profile review
Results:
Evaluated a variety of different profiles to assess ease of set-up, forgiveness to off normal starts and pilot SA during the approach.

Flight 33
Date: 11-Sep-03 Flight Time: 2.7 hours
White Knight Pilot: Melvill White Knight Copilot: Binnie
White Knight Flt Engineer: Tighe
Objectives:
SpaceShipOne approach and landing profile review
Results:
Evaluated a variety of different profiles to assess ease of set-up, forgiveness to off normal starts and pilot SA during the approach.

Flight 28
Date: 11-Jul-03 Flight Time: 0.5 hours
Pilot: Siebold Copilot: Binnie Flight Engineer: Losey
Objectives:
Pilot proficiency. First flight for SpaceShipOne crew chief.
Results:
Made several practice SpaceshipOne approaches using various configurations and runways. Good exposure for SS1 crewchief Steve Losey on cockpit workload / crew coordination / cabin environment and human factors for Tier-1 mission.

Flight 27
Date: 11-Jul-03 Flight Time: 0.7 hours
Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Siebold Flight Engineer: Stinemetze
Objectives:
Pilot proficiency. First flight for SpaceShipOne lead engineer.
Results:
Made several simulated captive carry low sink rate landings as well as practice SpaceshipOne approaches to various runways. Good exposure for Matt Stinemetze on cockpit workload / crew coordination / cabin environment and human factors for Tier-1 mission

Flight 26
Date: 11-Jul-03 Flight Time: 2.0 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Binnie Flight Engineer: Rutan
Objectives:
First glide flight profile rehearsal / two ship checklist flow / airspace coordination / Command and Control responsibilities and handoffs. First flight for Burt in the White Knight.
Results:
Exercised all current checklists and SpaceShipOne first flight test cards. Simulated emergencies handled successfully. Good exposure for Burt on cockpit workload / crew coordination / cabin environment and human factors for Tier-1 mission. Flew eleven practice SpaceShipOne approaches from above high key, three with simulated failed avionics and some with other emergencies and runway changes. All were successful.

Flight 25
Date: 3-Jul-03 Flight Time: 2.2 hours
Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Siebold
Objectives:
First glide flight profile rehearsal / two ship checklist flow / airspace coordination / Command and Control responsibilities and handoffs.
Results:
Good exercise of all involved parties and agencies including the Edwards air Force Base, Joshua Control and Scaled Composites, Utility Mobile ground station.

Flight 23
Date: 2-May-03 Flight Time: 2.3 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Rick Aldrich
Objectives:
Engine performance at altitude. New pilot masks and ECS airflow routing. Regulated bleed air control of the aft cabin temperature (to test the capability to heat SpaceShipOne's nitrous oxidizer. Appraisal of new traffic alert system.
Results:
Engines showed much improved performance up to 50,000 feet. ECS changes confirmed to assure clear windows for landing. Successful bleed air heating test: good control and sufficient energy for SS1 propellant heating.

Flight 22
Date: 26-Apr-03 Flight Time: 0.3 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Airshow for the 'friends and family' unveiling
Results:
Good show for 1000+ guests. Broadcast media included CNN, ABC, PBS, Tech TV, Discovery & National Geographic TV.

Flight 21
Date: 18-Apr-03 Flight Time: 0.2 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Formal media rollout
Results:
Good show for the VIP/media audience

Flight 20
Date: 15-Apr-03 Flight Time: 0.7 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Repeat airshow maneuver practice
Results:
Minor tweaks to refine the airshow demonstration maneuvers.

Flight 19
Date: 15-Apr-03 Flight Time: 1.2 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Airshow maneuver practice. First flight with Spaceship launch system installed.
Results:
Satisfactory airshow results for various wind conditions. Launch system satisfactory.

Flight 18
Date: 7-Mar-03 Flight Time: 3.3 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Cory Bird
Objectives:
Revised ECS configuration evaluation. Multiple SFO (simulated flame out) approaches to assess updated flight director steering cues.
Results:
New ECS configuration results encouraging. Engines returned to depot facility for second overhaul repair.

Flight 17
Date: 24-Feb-03 Flight Time: 2.8 hours
Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Melvill
Objectives:
Evaluate performance of updated engines. Measure effect of new canted wingtips. Test new landing gear doors and upgraded INS hardware.
Results:
New and different engine irregularities at highest altitudes. Further mods are needed for adequate ECS humidity control. Canted wingtips solved the dihedral effect problem. No flying qualities issues remain.

Flight 16
Date: 12-Nov-02 Flight Time: 2.0 hours
Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Siebold
Objectives:
Continued engine, ECS and avionics evaluation. Simulated wheel brake failure landing rollout.
Results:
Conclusion: aircraft can be landed at MHV if a wheel brake fails. More engine irregularities at high altitude. Engines removed and sent to test cell for fuel control calibration and adjustments.

Flight 15
Date: 6-Nov-03 Flight Time: 2.4 hours
Pilot: Siebold Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Continued engine, ECS and avionics evaluation. High-rate nose wheel steering assessment.
Results:
Difficulty maintaining afterburner on left engine near 50,000 feet. Improved ECS configuration showed improved resistance to fogging. Nose wheel steering gearing change about the same.

Flight 14
Date: 24-Oct-02 Flight Time: 0.3 hours
Pilot: Siebold Copilot: Shane
Objectives:
FAA-monitored flight for pilot "Type Rating".
Results:
Rating issued

Flight 13
Date: 24-Oct-02 Flight Time: 0.3 hours
Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Siebold
Objectives:
FAA-monitored flight for pilot "Type Rating".
Results:
Rating issued

Flight 12
Date: 24-Oct-02 Flight Time: 0.3 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Shane
Objectives:
FAA-monitored flight for pilot "Type Rating".
Results:
Rating issued

Flight 11
Date: 24-Oct-02 Flight Time: 0.3 hours
Pilot: Shane Copilot: Melvill
Objectives:
FAA-monitored flight for pilot "Type Rating".
Results:
Rating issued

Flight 10
Date: 17-Oct-02 Flight Time: 1.1 hours
Pilot: Siebold Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
SpaceshipOne boost profile and steering capture practice. Simulated SS1 glide approaches.
Results:
SS1 simulation good up to at least ~ 70 degree flight path angle.

Flight 9
Date: 17-Oct-02 Flight Time: 2.2 hours
Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Siebold
Objectives:
Boost phase pilot training. Formation flying and air-to-air photography with the Proteus aircraft.
Results:
Adequate visibility and satisfactory flying qualities for formation flying. A photo from this flight later appeared on the cover of Aviation Week (21Apr03 issue).

Flight 8
Date: 16-Oct-02 Flight Time: 1.6 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Envelope expansion above 50,000 feet and 0.55M. Avionics software upgrade. Practice SpaceShipOne glide approaches
Results:
Climbed to 53,000 feet and 0.53M in Military power. Cleared the full required envelope needed for SpaceShipOne launch operations. Flying qualities at highest altitude are satisfactory and will not require dampers. Window fogging not an issue until the cabin was depressurized at 10,000 feet.

Flight 7
Date: 10-Oct-02 Flight Time: 3.0 hours
Pilot: Shane Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Completion of Flight 6 objectives. Airspeed and altitude envelope expansion, 45,000 feet / 160 knots / 0.5M
Results:
No structural damping issues found. Engine operation satisfactory. Some window fogging on descent. Some degradation of pneumatic actuators due to cold soaking. Insufficient dihedral effect at high speed/high altitude.

Flight 6
Date: 09-Oct-02 Flight Time: 0.9 hours
Pilot: Shane Copilot: Binnie
Objectives:
Evaluate rudder mass balance modifications. Effectiveness of engine bleed air heating of the fuselage aft of the cabin (first test of SpaceShipOne Nitrous heating system).
Results:
Rudder vibration problem resolved. Flight cut short due to suspected over-temp of aft cabin bulkhead from engine bleed air.

Flight 5
Date: 06-Sep-02 Flight Time: 2.0 hours
Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Shane
Objectives:
New pilot qual eval. Envelope expansion out to 45,000 feet and 160 knots / 0.5M. Practice SpaceShipOne glide approaches. Effectiveness of new tail vortex generators and clipped outboard speed brakes.
Results:
The new VGs eliminated the high-altitude rudder dead-band. Encountered undamped rudder vibration at 25,000 feet and 160 knots during flutter envelope expansion. Engine flameout at 45,000 feet. Un-safe main gear indication for landing (a microswitch adjustment). Clipped otbd speed brake showed no change.

Flight 4
Date: 27-Aug-02 Flight Time: 2.5 hours
Pilot: Siebold Copilot: Shane
Objectives:
New pilot qual eval. Envelope expansion out to 35,000 feet and 150 knots / 0.4M and 3 G's. Engine relight performance. Avionics software upgrade.
Results:
Experienced a rudder dead-band (poor centering) at the higher altitudes. Dihedral effect is neutral at higher speeds. Window fogging on descent. Numerous flight director attitude display resets.

Flight 3
Date: 19-Aug-02 Flight Time: 2.8 hours
Pilot: Melvill Copilot: Shane
Objectives:
New pilot qual eval. Envelope expansion out to 25,000 feet and 150 knots. First flight with the cabin pressurized for environmental control system tests .
Results:
Satisfactory handling and performance. Buffet barriers determined for inboard and outboard speed brakes. Significant window fogging experienced after cold soak at altitude.

Flight 2
Date: 05-Aug-02 Flight Time: 1.5 hours
Pilot: Shane Copilot: Siebold
Objectives:
First flight test card repeat. Flying qualities assessment and basic performance evaluation. Avionics and pneumatic systems evaluation. Cabin un-pressurized.
Results:
Envelope expansion to 15,000 feet and 140 knots. Overall satisfactory stability, good control harmony and impressive performance. Heavy airframe buffet at high speeds with both sets of speed brakes deployed. "Best airplane the company has ever built"

Flight 1
Date: 01-Aug-02 Flight Time: 0.2 hours
Pilot: Shane Copilot: Siebold
Objectives:
First flight. Handling qualities assessment and basic performance evaluation. Systems evaluation. Cabin un-pressurized.
Results:
Un-commanded hammering auxiliary spoiler deployments after takeoff. Flight aborted to downwind for an uneventful landing. No apparent flying qualities issues noted. Auxiliary spoilers were disabled for future flights.

SpaceShipOne Ground Test
[back to top]

The ground test program for SpaceShipOne, including rocket propulsion integration, has been active since the summer of 02. As of May 03, SpaceShipOne had completed most structural tests and systems qualification tests. Tests remaining to qualify the ship for glide testing are cabin pressure proof tests, some control system proof tests, additional landing gear functional tests and the GVT program. The following includes tests after mid May 03, and will be updated monthly.

Date: 8 - 21 Oct 2003 Horizontal Tail Modification Aerodynamic Tests

Objectives:
SpaceShipOne, being the first manned winged aircraft with outboard horizontal tails, is a bit of a pioneer. The outboard tail operating in an upwash flow-field, is significantly more effective than a conventional tail. However, its span traverses the main wing's tip vortex and thus sees a non-uniform angle of attack. Our CFD analysis was not complete enough to predict the tail's airflow separation, which led to the nose rise departure during aft-cg stall testing (Flight # 37L / 06G). In response, Scaled conducted full-scale "wind tunnel" tests of the SS1 boom-tail using a modified Ford-250 pickup truck to provide the necessary flow field. A couple pictures of the test set-up is shown in the "photos" section. The purpose of these tests was to examine various changes to SpaceShipOne's tail assembly to provide for better horizontal tail lift and tail lift-slope characteristics.

Results:
The testing conducted from 8 to 21 October successfully validated several aerodynamic fixes to solve the tail stall problem. The fixes were first flown on Flight 38L / 07G.

Date: 14-24 July 2003 System Tests

Objectives:
System level qualification tests for several subsystems
Results:
Completed landing gear qualification tests, brake tests and low speed taxi tests. Required changing the nose skid material to prevent excessive wear. Finalized cabin proof pressure test and leak rate tests. Completed structural load tests of the horizontal stabilizer, flight control system and feather mechanism.

Date: 24 Jun - 09 Jul 03 System Tests

Objectives:
To ensure the as-built systems meet the vehicle design requirements
Results:
Landing gear functional tests completed. Flight control system and structural qualification tests completed. Flight test data calibrations completed.

Date: 21-23 May 03 Ground Vibration Testing (flutter qualification)

Objectives:
To update the stiffness and mass distributions of the SpaceShipOne structural model so the analytical predictions match the actual vehicle frequency and modal response to a series of different forced vibrations. Since most flutter issues are critical for the rocket-powered flight tests, a rocket motor CTN was installed in SpaceShipOne for the GVT shake testing. The motor was one that had been fired for 15 seconds so its remaining fuel mass best represented that for the max-q portion of the boost flight.
Results:
The entire ship was hung on springs for the tests. The shakes were completed on schedule. The flutter analysis is in-work.

Rocket Motor Ground Tests
[back to top]

The rocket motor main components, the composite nitrous oxidizer tank and CTN (unitized motor case/throat/nozzle) have been in development at scaled since mid 2001. Those components passed their qualification tests by late 2002. The other motor components (controller, valve, injector, aft bulkhead, head insulation, ignition system and fuel) are being developed and tested by two competing subcontractors. The two companies are eAc and SpaceDev .

Due to the competitive nature of the current rocket ground test program, test details cannot be divulged. After vendor selection we may be able to provide additional details about the rocket ground firings. The following are the dates of the full-scale motor firing events. This list does not include sub-scale or cold flow tests. All these tests have used full-scale, flight-article components, mounted on our mobile rocket motor test stand. The test stand uses the same tank, CTN and adjacent structure as SpaceShipOne.

VENDOR

DATE OF TEST

INFORMATION
SpaceDev

21 Nov 02

eAc

16 Jan 03

eAc

22 Feb 03

SpaceDev

12 Mar 03

SpaceDev

19 Mar 03

eAc

22 Mar 03

SpaceDev

03 June 03

eAc

19 June 03

eAc

24 July 03
full-duration
SpaceDev

31 July 03
full-duration
eAc

4 Sept 03
full-duration
SpaceDev

18 Nov 03
Flight motor qualification run. A ground test to validate the first two planned powered flights of SpaceShipOne. All performance requirements and safety limits were met.

Re:Already slashdotted (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580779)

this is the only real post so far and it gets a negative one?

Re:Already slashdotted (0)

1SmartOne (744638) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581058)

The mod who chose that probably thought he was karma whoring. Should have posted it as an AC.

Re:Already slashdotted (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580783)

PWNED, troll!

Re:Already slashdotted (2, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581062)

For the good of the community :)
[...]
Results:
Slashdot's editors are facists.
Launch conditions were 48,500 feet and 125 knots. All systems performed as expected and the vehicle landed successfully while demonstrating the maximum cross wind landing capability.


If it's for the good of the community, then don't put in your personal opinion in the middle of the post.

There may have been more random crap in there, this was the first one I saw. Feel free to remod the karma whore appropriately.

Cute text changes (1)

dschl (57168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581066)

Did anyone notice this in the first section?
Objectives:

The twelfth flight of SpaceShipOne. Objectives included: pilot proficiency, reaction control system functionality check and stability and control and performance of the vehicle with the airframe thermal protection system installed. This was an unpowered glide test.
Results:
Slashdot's editors are facists.
Launch conditions were 48,500 feet and 125 knots.
All systems performed as expected and the vehicle landed successfully while demonstrating the maximum cross wind landing capability.

Parent comment is at +5 as I post this. Either some moderators were sleeping, or else they agree with the assertion.

Re:Cute text changes (2, Insightful)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581097)

Either some moderators were sleeping, or else they agree with the assertion.

It's probably a bit of both, if you ask me.

Re:Already slashdotted (1)

MrScience (126570) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581214)

Just wanted to point out that they're getting more than 2 hours of unpowered flight. That's pretty cool.

2nd post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580710)

53k0n| ps0ttt

first post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580717)

first post!

My Penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580722)

Come suck my sweet penis.

Lucky 13? (3, Insightful)

dont_call_me_jim (472330) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580740)

So does that mean that SpaceShipOne will be making a run for the money soon?

Re:Lucky 13? (2, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580771)

if the 13th flight experiences major problems, and the pilot(s) survive heroically, Hollywood can make a movie out of it!

Rutan, we have a problem!
-

Re:Lucky 13? (5, Informative)

jwriney (16598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580838)

Any team wanting to make an attempt must notify the X-Prize officials at least a month in advance with the launch date and location. I would assume that this information would be released with some fanfare. Since no notification has been made yet, no official flight.

That's not to say they couldn't go to space unofficially, before going for the big money; in fact they probably will, as part of their test series.

--riney

Re:Lucky 13? (5, Informative)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581053)

Most likely they'll hit space with a lone pilot a couple of times first. Ever flight so far only has 2 in the WK and 1 in the SSO. To win the X-Prize they would need 3 people in the SSO. So far they have been playing it safe by only having just as many people as needed(as they should), I don't see any reason they'll change the play. All the test runs they are making is showing the strength of their system, if this were NASA the runs would be 6 months apart. Besides, it's not like there is any other group so close to winning the prize. Maybe some other team might just pop outta nowhere and grab that brass ring, but they would have to be awefully sneaky to do that.

Re:Lucky 13? (2, Informative)

NeoThermic (732100) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581250)

We also musn't forget the conditons of winning, that the three people who go up in the first flight must do it again in three weeks from the sucessfull landing.

With the results and proof that nothing has knocked SSO out of the contest, I do think that is perfectly possible for them to do this.

NeoThermic

I like that... (5, Funny)

Phillup (317168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580756)

They have a "falling bathtub mode".

Wonder how much they could make selling rides on that thing.

X Prize is impossible (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580763)

These weekend warriors do not have the resources to build a vehicle that can reach LEO, let alone land in one piece. I wish they would stop this nonsense and concentrate on something realistic.

Re:X Prize is impossible (4, Informative)

kclittle (625128) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580802)

The X Prize is NOT ABOUT LEO! It's about reaching 100KM, with at least 1 person, in a vehicle capable of carring 3, twice in 2 weeks.

Re:X Prize is impossible (1)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581119)

It's about reaching 100KM, with at least 1 person, in a vehicle capable of carring 3, twice in 2 weeks.

Which is slightly more frequently than your average rural bus service.

Re:X Prize is impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580983)

Dick Rutan? Weekend Warrior? Hmm. Ever hear of the Gossamer Albatross? Voyager?

Mr. Rutan is FAR from a weekend warrior. All-week genius, in my book.

Re:X Prize is impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8581017)

My bad. The Albatross was McCready, not Rutan.

Re:X Prize is impossible (1)

kclittle (625128) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581098)

Uh, you mean Burt Rutan, yes? Dick is no slouch of a pilot, but the genius in the family is Burt.

Re:X Prize is impossible (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8581230)

I agree with this post. These guys need to something worthwhile instead of this inane bullshit

missing flights? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580772)

so what happened to flights 9 through 11? The flight log jumps from flight 8 (first powered) to this latest one.

Re:missing flights? (3, Informative)

jnik (1733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581033)

11P 17 Dec 03 first powered
10G 4 Dec 03
09G 19-Nov-03
08G 14-Nov-03

Maybe they've updated the page since you looked, but they're all clearly there right now.

Failed Landing Gear? (-1, Troll)

Newt-dog (528340) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580776)

I thought that when the landing gear failed, the tip of the rocket got planted 3 feet deep into the terra firma?

Newt-dog

This should be really cool (1, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580782)

I'm probably camping in Death Valley this coming Thanksgiving and it would be pretty cool to swing past this site on the way and catch a flight or landing. Doesn't look like they publish when they're going to do things though.

At least with my telescope I could spy on them 8^)

In Canada... (0, Offtopic)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580813)

"I'm probably camping in Death Valley this coming Thanksgiving..."

In Canada, we call it "Easter".
-

Re:In Canada... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580948)

We do in the UK as well, I know they do in South America as well and in all the places in Europe which I've been to.

Re:This should be really cool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580841)

YES!!! BurtRutanShowerCam.com, I've been waiting so long for this!!!

For those who don't know (5, Informative)

ferralis (736358) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580785)

the "P" stands for Powered... looks like they're tipping their hand and the next flight will be with boost!

WOOHOO!!!

Check out the test updates here. [scaled.com]

AFAIK, these guys are the closest to winning the X-Prize- go team!!!

Minimal info (4, Interesting)

apsmith (17989) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580788)

Looks like the flight was a few days ago (March 11) - why is this the first report? They're being very quiet about this. And how did Joe Silva track this down?

Re:Minimal info (2, Insightful)

ferralis (736358) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580809)

He's probably doing the same thing I am- hitting their site periodically for an update.

Re:Minimal info (1)

JoeSilva (215173) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581370)

Yeah, I checked their site to see if there was anything new. Funny though, I had stopped doing that late last year because it seemed the space news sites like space.com [slashdot.org], ...spaceflightnow.com [slashdot.org], and spaceref.com [slashdot.org] were reporting any news the day it happened. Last night I was in need of some inspiration, so I was reviewing what they had done.

Re:Minimal info (5, Insightful)

SeaDour (704727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580893)

To say they're "being very quiet about this" is an understatement. They didn't even announce the project until well after it had gone through the design and prototype phases. Additionally, the test flights have usually been announced and discussed at least a week after their occurance. Also, we're still not even sure who all the investors in the project are. I would guess that the main reason they're keeping it so secretive is to prevent other teams from gaining the upperhand.

Re:Minimal info (1, Interesting)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581060)

This might seem like flamebait or a troll but i think i recall hearing rumors about SSO being partially funded by an MS co-founder. (e.g. Paul Allen)

http://www.space.com/news/allen_rutan_031217.htm l

i doubt microsoft has a whole lot to do with it, i think its just probably him trying to get some fame by getting them into space.

Re:Minimal info (5, Insightful)

Ed_Moyse (171820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581172)

i doubt microsoft has a whole lot to do with it, i think its just probably him trying to get some fame by getting them into space.

Or maybe he's just unbelievably rich, thinks that this is a cool project and wants to support it? Lets go easy on the cynicism folks!

Re:Minimal info (1)

bwy (726112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581414)

I really respect what they've done. Too many people today go to the press with a bunch of vaporware when someone in the organization has a potential idea for a project, only to leave the interested geeks like us waiting around through delays, cancellations, and things that never materialize.

Global Flyer (5, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580804)

While you are there check out the Global Flyer [scaled.com] It is just as cool in my book. The similarity in the designs of the craft are interesting. The idea of flying around the world on one tank of gas is pretty wild.

Re:Global Flyer (4, Informative)

CXI (46706) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580982)

Dick Rutan did a similar flight with two pilots back in 1986 with Voyager. [dickrutan.com]

Talk about similar designs... Burt Rutan designed Voyager. :)

Re:Global Flyer (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581188)

That is totally cool. I bumped into the global flyer checking up on the space ship progress last week. I didn't even know about Voyager. Kind of takes a little of the wow factor out of Global Flyer for me, seeing as they did it 18 years ago. Thanks for pointing that out.

Armadillo Aerospace (5, Insightful)

Sparky77 (633674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580808)

I've been following the X-Prize work at Armadillo [armadilloaerospace.com] for the last year or so. If nothing else than for the John Carmack factor. They seem to have stalled lately, always reengineering their rocket motors and such. I'm still cheering them on anyway though I can't see them surpassing Scaled Composites at this point.

Re:Armadillo Aerospace (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581082)

I wouldn't worry too much. Rutan seems to be putting on a show more than actually at a "space capable" stage. IIRC, the X-Prize requires that the craft reach 100KM. Rutan's craft has only reached ~14Km, about where a 747 flies. Actual LEO is really 200km - 1500km.

FWIW, it looks like Carmack is taking the time to understand his engines before shooting them off and hoping they fly. This is particularly important since his Monoprop fuel has an Isp of a mere 160. (Shuttle SRBs get 250, and LHOx like the Shuttle main engines get 450.)

Looks good (4, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580821)

Ship looks pretty tight, IMO.

Of course, the project we have to compare it to is John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace venture (since they have the decency to provide week-by-week status reports, which I consider manditory Monday reading). The folks at Armadillo are still working on getting their engines to light reliably (extra important since they're using five of them) and still haven't had anything like a successful test flight.

I dunno, man -- If I'm Carmack, I'm thinking it's time to really get at it if you're still serious about winning the X-prize. The SpaceShipOne folks seem to be putting them further and further into the rear-view. Which isn't to say they *can't* catch up; if the Armadillo team can get their engines lighting reliably, they should be about ready to bolt the thing together and start flying.

Man, this beats the heck out of money pits like the ISS, eh? Nothing like a little old fashioned get-the-prize competition to turn up some interesting stuff. Maybe a $100 billion prize for the first company to land people on Mars and bring them back ought to be next -- get the government to cooperate with permits and NASA to share their tech. I'd bet you'd see people there inside a decade.

Re:Looks good (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580924)

> Man, this beats the heck out of money pits like the ISS, eh? Nothing like a little old fashioned get-the-prize competition to turn up some interesting stuff. Maybe a $100 billion prize for the first company to land people on Mars and bring them back ought to be next -- get the government to cooperate with permits and NASA to share their tech. I'd bet you'd see people there inside a decade.

Proposal: The first human being(s) to survive one year on Mars and return safely to earth... gets their choice: $100B of Government Pr0k, or ownership of Mars. Mars becomes his/her/their personal property, to sell to anyone whom he/she/they please, most likely the employer who put him there and brought him back.

(Yes, this is a shameless alteration of a more ideologically-proposed proposal I found here [capmag.com] -- in which the only prize in the original scheme is ownership of Mars with the government pr0k option removed.)

Re:Looks good (2, Insightful)

Orne (144925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581295)

I wouldn't get too down. This is the USA after all, and the race is rarely won by the "first", and usually won by the "cost efficient" (or, if you're a cynic, it's won by the "heavily marketed").

After all, today's commercial airline industry [airlinetechnology.net] isn't flying planes built by Burgess, Curtiss, or Loening [centennialofflight.gov]... It was Boeing who got the contracts for training planes during World War I, and commercial transport planes afterwards...

This is not a troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580824)

NIGGERS!

Re:This is not a troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580889)

"White Knight"?!!! Is Rutan some sort of white supremacist or what?!!!

And what's up with that damn mural in his livingroom?!!! Does he think that Aryian aliens built the freakin' pyramids?!!!!

ANSWER ME! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580952)

See it here [wired.com] in this article [wired.com] from Wired.

I'm not fucking trolling you.

You're teh ghey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8581044)

Sho' nuff.

Re:You're teh ghey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8581078)

That may be, but nonetheless, I still want to know is Rutan some sort of closeted NAZI?!!!! His damn "SpaceshipOne" looks supiciously like a 12-st century re-enginering of the V2.

heat shielding (5, Interesting)

black ninja (737113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580826)

I'm just a lowly undergrad of physics, but won't they need more than just a heat shield on leading edges? Any aero-eng guys out there? I slow to landing speed as you come out of orbit I think you have to come in at a fairly high angle of attack so that you present a large cross-section to the air, and let the drag slow you down. That is why the space shuttles underbelly is all thermo-shield.

Also, IMHO the ship looks like some high-school science project with way to much duct-tape with the leading edges done the way they have it.

Re:heat shielding (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580866)

You know more about physics than I do probably so I'll leave that- but I'm sure the appearance in the photo is not what the finished product will look like. I would guess that all the tape over things like the windows is there for protection during installation and probably painting.

What was more funny to me is that the nose piece looks like a giant shuttlecock.

Re:heat shielding (5, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580906)

This is a sub-orbital flight. A parabolic up-down with "comparativly little" speed WRT the ground. A true orbital flight needs momentum to balance out gravity. This means a lot higher ground speed for an orbital flight.

As this is not an orbital flight there is no excessive velocity to burn off. Hence, the bathtub mode of recovery from altitude.

Stop modding this up (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580915)

If you'd read anything about the X-prize, or even the other posts in this thread, you'd know that the ships are aiming for a sub-orbital flight (for those of you who went to public school, that means they're not coming back from orbit at the end of the flight, either), and therefore no space shuttle-style thermal tiles are required.

Re:heat shielding (1)

mamba-mamba (445365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580928)

They're not going all that high. They aren't even achieving escape velocity.

So the re-entry heating won't be all that great. This is one of the things that makes the x-prize achievable.

MM
--

Heat shielding is minor compared to orbital craft (5, Informative)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580951)

Remember (nobody ever seems to) that getting into space is not nearly has hard as getting into orbit. We're used to descriptions of the amazing technology that is used to protect astronauts and such on re-entry -- but that amazing technology is only needed because of the enormous speeds that orbital vehicles have to attain.

The kinetic energy required to accelerate a gallon of gasoline to orbital speed is more than the chemical energy contained in the gasoline.

By contrast, "merely" lifting something up 100km doesn't require much energy at all.

So, er, no, leading-edge heat shields ought to be just fine. Fiberglass or carbon-fiber composites might even survive a flight or two without any shielding at all.

Re:Heat shielding is minor compared to orbital cra (5, Informative)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581298)

I can't resist:

The energy content of gasoline is about 42e6 J/kg.

Orbital velocity (at the surface of the earth) is about 8000 m/s. Kinetic energy of 1 kg at 8000 m/s is 32e6 J. (That is, you need about 32 MJ/kg)

However for those who want the whole story, the parent to this is correct: to get all that energy out of the kg of gasoline, you *also* need about 2.8 kg oxygen. Gasoline-oxygen gets you about 11 MJ/kg, which is about a third of what you need to hit orbital velocity.

To get to 100 km altitude, you need only 0.96 MJ/kg, which is no problem for gasoline-oxygen.

Re:heat shielding (3, Informative)

CreatureComfort (741652) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580954)


The Space Shuttle comes in a lot faster and through far more atmosphere (Think angle of attack, not just vertical height). These guys are just barely getting out into "space", and aren't anywhere near the altitude or velocity required to get to even low earth orbit, so they don't need much heat shielding at all.

Of course LEO isn't a requirement for the X-prize.

Why yes, I am a rocket scientist.

Re:heat shielding (1)

black ninja (737113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580960)

Oh, my bad guys, I forgot that the thing their calling SpaceShipOne isn't supposed to be one, only 100km. Perhaps NotQuiteSpaceShip would have been a better name. Anyways, even at 100km I would think that re-entry like conditions would be encountered and you'd need the high angle of attack.

Re:heat shielding (2, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581040)

Anyways, even at 100km I would think that re-entry like conditions would be encountered and you'd need the high angle of attack.

If you read thier site (after the slashdotting subsides) you will see that the wings fold up 90 degrees during reentry which gives them a very large amount of drag, while maintaining a stable angle of decent.

Re:heat shielding (0)

kevlar (13509) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581216)

Ahh, Wrong. If the wings fold up at 90 angles during re-entry, it will reduce the amount of friction on the wings, not increase it. Folding up the wings allows it to accellerate negatively at a slower rate, without having its wings snap off from the force.

Re:heat shielding (1)

TamMan2000 (578899) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581071)

Did you even read the replies to your post? The fact that the TANGENTIAL velocity doesn't have to be high (since they only intend to go to space, not orbit, stricktly up and back down, not around...) is what is saving them. Angle of attack shouldn't enter this discussion.

If the Shuttle carried enough rocket fuel to slow it's tangential velocity to near 0 before re-entry, it would need very little heat sheilding. But... that is a hell of a lot of fuel, so it is easier to use the atmosphere (with all the inhearant risk and needed shielding) to slow the tangential velocity to those of normal flight...

Re:heat shielding (2, Interesting)

orac2 (88688) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580999)

Don't forget that Rutan's vehicle is suborbital (as are all the X-Prize contendors). The speeds of suborbital vehicles are much lower than orbital speeds: the shuttle has to dump a lot of energy in a short time when coming back from orbit and needs much more thermal protection as a result. For contrast to the shuttle, consider the X-15, which could just reach beyond the 50 mile boundary that marked whether or not you got to add U.S. astronaut to your resume: it didn't require tiles, or an ablative shield, just the careful application of iconel and other high temperature alloys.

Re:heat shielding (2, Interesting)

golgotha007 (62687) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581273)

consider the X-15, which could just reach beyond the 50 mile boundary

so, basically you're saying that i can win 10 million bucks if i can reverse engineer technology developed before 1959? yes, that's 45 or more years ago.

neato

Re:heat shielding (3, Informative)

PD (9577) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581067)

You'd need a lot of heat shielding if you were reentering from orbit, but that's not what this rocket ship is designed to do. It's a suborbital ballistic flight profile, straight up to 60 miles, then freefall back down. Orbital profiles have to go up 200 miles, PLUS they need to have 17,000 MPH of speed to maintain the orbit. The forward momentum of an orbital spacecraft is more energy than the potential energy in 200 miles of altitude.

Spaceship One will only generate temperatures of about 1000 degrees, and since they don't need to use an angle of attack of 40 degrees like the shuttle, they only need to protect the leading edge. The max speed is only about mach 3.5, and the decelleration is 70 seconds. The shuttle on the other hand decellerates from orbital velocity for 20 minutes.

How exciting! (1, Redundant)

SeaDour (704727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580827)

It looks like it's only a small matter of time before they actually launch this thing into suborbital flight. I'm willing to bet that the two flights will take place by the end of this year. How I envy the chosen pilot for the mission...

Needed: Improved Fuels (2, Insightful)

stuffduff (681819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580863)

I think that the work being done by Scaled Composites will prove very useful in the next few years. Where I thank we need to see a much greater effort is in the fuels to drive these kind of vehicles. With advances in physical chemistry we could see an improvement of 2 or 3 orders of magnitude. With those kind of fuels one could put a bottle rocket into orbit!

Re:Needed: Improved Fuels (3, Insightful)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581031)

Give yer head a shake, lad. 2 or 3 orders of magnitude means 100 to 1000 times more (unspecified rocket fuel goodness).
Improvements usually come a few percent at a time.

Re:Needed: Improved Fuels (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8581045)

Uh, bullshit.

Cryogenic hydrogen/oxygen (LOX/LH2) is about the best you can get without big handling difficulties. You can go with flourine combos, but that only nets another 3%-4% ISP with truely horrid handling problems.

There's no "improvement of 2 or 3 orders of magnitude" coming anywhere.

And LH2 has the problem with needing huge tanks because it's so non-dense. If you consider tank size, you can actually get more into orbit on a smaller/lighter vehicle using LOX/kerosene like the Saturn V. The smaller & lighter tanks offset the lower ISP.

Insightful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8581057)

Insightful? He didn't say anything.

Praytell, exactly which advances which produce a 200x+ improvement in rocket fuels are you referring to, sir? Which brand new propulsion tech did the SpaceShipOne folks come up with? Or are you just talking out of your ass?

Re:Needed: Improved Fuels (5, Informative)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581102)

Where do you get that information from? I'm not a physical chemist, but the rocketry books I've read say that chemical fuels aren't going to get much past 450 to 500 seconds Isp. The SSMEs get about 450, I think. Isp (specific impulse) is directly proportional to exhaust temperature, which is always going to be an issue in practical rocket design.

The 1970's NERVA nuclear rocket program managed to get about twice the Isp of our best chemical rockets with a decent amount of thrust. Ion drives might give you an order of magnitude improvement over chemical rockets, but they don't have the thrust to be used in launch vehicles.

The only propulsion system I've seen proposed that could realistically produce 2 to 3 orders of magnitude increase in efficiency is the Orion drive. The government doesn't like the idea of building hundreds of small, clean nukes, though. Greenpeace gets a bit riled up about it, too.

Of course, if I had my way, they'd be welcome to protest right at the launch site.

Re:Needed: Improved Fuels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8581341)

I don't know, those big Estes model rocket motors that Scaled seems to be using look pretty darned powerful. http://www.scaled.com/projects/tierone/New_Index/p hotos/images/800/SS1WTPS_800.jpg

be careful what you wish for (1)

John_Sauter (595980) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581111)

With advances in physical chemistry we could see an improvement of 2 or 3 orders of magnitude. With those kind of fuels one could put a bottle rocket into orbit!
With those kind of fuels, a suicide bomber could destroy a medium-sized city.
John Sauter (J_Sauter@Empire.Net)

does this spaceship... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580875)

run linux?? boy i sure hope so because it would CRASH if it ran Win XP !! LOLLLER!

Armadillo Dreamin' (5, Interesting)

Ephboy (761440) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580895)

Apparently, Scaled Composites is one of two teams to have applied for a permit from the FAA [space.com] to launch a spaceflight. The other is Armadillo Aerospace [armadilloaerospace.com], run by John Carmack of Doom fame. It's interesting to compare and contrast the two companies. Rutan has a sleek ship with lots of cool round windows that launches from a funky big plane, and they have some good solid live testing. The Armadillo team's site really shows you the nitty-gritty of building something that flies in your spare time, with pictures of them welding engines together, making a crew capsule out of whatever they could find, and building a landing gear with some thick cable springs. I'm guessing that Rutan will win, but I'll hold out hope that the garage engineer can pull off at least some type of flight to give courage to that old entrepreneurial spirit....

Re:Armadillo Dreamin' (5, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8580991)

I'm not sure it's fair to characterize Rutan and Carmack this way.

Neither of these guys are professional rocket builders. They're both private individuals spending their (ample) money to compete for the X-prize. Rutan has previous experience building aircraft and has worked more at putting together a team and securing infrastructure to help with the build, but it's not as if Rutan is leading a billion-dollar team of button-down 1950's engineers at Boeing or something while Carmack is competing out of his back yard shed.

Just because Carmack posts his day-to-day struggles on the web for us all to enjoy (and I *do* enjoy it, BTW) doesn't imply that the SpaceShipOne team isn't encountering the exact same sorts of technical hurdles, supply problems, permit bullshit and etc. In other words, whichever wins will be a victory for the little guy because they're *both* the little guy.

Re:Armadillo Dreamin' (4, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581339)

They're both private individuals spending their (ample) money to compete for the X-prize.
Please note that neither of these teams got into this for the X-prize. Carmack wanted to put someone in space for the hell of it, and Rutan is trying to develop a commercial space tourism platform. For Carmack the advent of the X-prize meant aiming for an X-prize sized vehicle earlier than otherwise. In Rutan's case the X-prize will nowhere near cover the cost of development (which I've heard is around $30M, IIRC), but will certainly reduce it.

Re:Armadillo Dreamin' (3, Funny)

LS (57954) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581428)

Hmm, I don't know if I agree with your characterization either. So Rutan is not a rocket builder, but he has a massive aviation engineering background and physical infrastructure in place. The difference between the Carmack and Rutan teams is likely significant - to balance it out, I would bet that Rutan would have a hell of a time building a top-notch first-person shooter...

LS

A good thing too (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8580913)

They better not have any more delays like that last one, if they want to win the X-Prize. The $10 million dollar prize expires at the end of this year, and a lot of other groups are competing for it.

I think we'll see some exciting new developments in space technology over the next few years. I'm confident someone will win the X-Prize [xprize.com],(which is more a PR bonus for starting a space tourism company than anything else) the Bush Admin wants to send folks to the moon or Mars (probably using nuclear propulsion), and it's all but a foregone conclusion that someone [liftport.com] will try to build a Space Elevator soon.

Re:A good thing too (3, Funny)

LS (57954) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581350)

Dude, you're not a prophet, but you are a good Karma whore. What does the Bush administration and Mars have to do with this? How could you know what propulsion system is going to be used without NASA even working on it yet? And this Space Elevator company is a bunch of nerds building Lego Mindstorm models of their fantasy elevator!!!

Despite what it looks like... (4, Interesting)

CBob (722532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581022)

Rutan and Scaled are prob the Ultimate Gargage Engineers. He's done stuff that "experts" called impossible for years.

The "early" kit planes he designed are still works of "art".

(bad news, the site is /.ed)

Re:Despite what it looks like... (5, Informative)

captainClassLoader (240591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581319)

Yeah, no kidding. Bert Rutan has not one, but 3 aircraft designs displayed at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. These are the around-the-world Voyager, [si.edu], and the experimental homebuilts VariEze, [si.edu] and Quickie. [si.edu]

Love that Ship! (2, Funny)

Papatoast (245525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8581064)

It is soooooo Buck Rogers-esque!! Not the late 70's/early 80's TV show Buck Rogers, I mean the 1930's - 1940's Buck Rogers.

WOOT! fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8581416)

the proJect ffaces,
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