Awesome Picture of Latest RocketMotorTwo Test

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rocket_motor_two_march82013

Virgin Galactic Facebook Caption: Another excellent rocket test! This photo from last Friday shows the second in a short series of final qualification tests prior to the first rocket-powered flight of SpaceShipTwo. The photo looks great, and the data looks even better.

Photo by Tom Nault, Scaled Composites

Editor’s Note: Sources told me last week that the test lasted around 15 or 30 seconds. This was the 26th test of the motor.

UPDATE (3/19/2013)

RocketMotorTwo Hot-Fire Test Summaries
Via Scaled Composites

Fire: 26
Date: 08 Mar 13

Objectives:

Twenty-sixth full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire. Continued evaluation of all systems and components:
- Pressurization
- Valve/Injector
- Fuel formulation and geometry
- Nozzle
- Structure
- Performance

Results:
All objectives completed.

  • Robert Gishubl

    Nice pics but until they do full duration tests (around 70 sec if I recall correctly) paying passengers are a long way off. If they keep going at this rate SpaceX will get passengers to orbit before Virgin gets sub-orbital.

    Any more on the rumoured all liquid engine?

  • dr

    It sounds to me like VG are trying a different approach. Test RM2 for say 20 seconds and verify that it is safe to fly for that amount of time. Fit it into Spaceship 2 and then expand the flight envelope on SS2 up to that 20 seconds burn time, meaning that SS2 would fly parabolic zero-g flights with a similar profile to what they would need to go into space, but with a much lower apogee.
    In parallel keep working on RM2 to try to get it working properly for full duration. Once that is done then the flight test envelope on SS2 can be expanded all the way to its design specification.
    This will mean that VG are making progress with their development programme, but without necessarily having fully resolved all their RM2 problems.

  • mattmcc80

    Even if SpaceX does have crewed flights before VG, they’re not really competing directly. Dragon isn’t suitable for tourist flights of the sort that VG plans on flying. Not much in the way of windows, 30% less interior volume than SS2, etc.