Monthly Archive for April, 2013

SpaceShipTwo Flight Test Summary

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Credit: Ken Brown

Credit: Ken Brown

WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo Flight Test Summary
Via Scaled Composites

Flight: 115/PF01
Date: 29 Apr 13
SS 2 Flight Time: 13 min
SS2 Pilot: Stucky SS2 Co-pilot: Alsbury
WK2 Pilot: Mackay WK2 Co-pilot: Nichols WK2 FTE: Maisler
WK2 Flight Time: 1.5 hours
GS Crew: Tighe, Shane, Bourgeois, Reid, Knupp, Bassett, Jaster, Bozarth, Gould, Colby, Zeeb, Morgan, Verderame, Keller, Cassebeer, Kalogiannis, Withrow, Kroese, Flynn

Objectives:
First powered flight
Launch weight expansion
Supersonic aero expansion (16 sec burn)
q structural expansion

Results:
Monday we “lit the candle” for the first time. SS2 control and handling was very positive during its first supersonic, rocket-powered flight. The motor operated as designed and provided a smooth but noticeable/ significant push through the sound barrier. The boost was terminated at the intended shutdown duration of 16 seconds. Trajectory was nominal with Mike & Mark topping out at 1.22 Mach and 56,200 feet. Post shutdown glide was nominal. The vehicle and the team performed as expected – excellent! We’d like to thank our team, our many vendors, and the support of Virgin for making today a possibility. The fun has only just begun!

Virgin Galactic Releases School Lesson Plans About….Oh Wait for it…Virgin Galactic

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Credit: Ken Brown

Credit: Ken Brown

Largely lost among all the hoopla and excitement over SpaceShipTwo’s first powered flight, Virgin Galactic’s educational initiative, Virgin Unite, announced the release lesson plans and resources “pitched” at impressionable students ages 5-18:

Virgin Galactic and Galactic Unite announce the first of their lesson plans and resources!

These aim to engage and inspire educators and students around Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo test flight milestones. You can now download free lesson plans, activities and resources below, which are pitched at students aged 5-18. Teachers can use these to enhance technology and engineering lessons, as well as help develop aerospace career paths for students around the world. We hope this encourages many more fledgling rocket scientists out there to reach for the stars!

The material includes:

  • Lesson Plan #1: Paper Airplane Designs for Safe Landing
  • Lesson Plan #2: WhiteKnightTwo
  • Lesson Plan #3: The Design and Test Flight Milestones of SpaceShipTwo
  • Lesson Plan #4: Careers in Aerospace
  • Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Lesson Plans Student Survey

Learn more here.

SNC: Yeah, We Lit that Candle and it Worked, Baby!

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SpaceShipTwo in its first powered flight over Mojave.

SpaceShipTwo in its first powered flight over Mojave.

Sparks, NV, April 29, 2013 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems is proud to announce that its Hybrid Rocket Motor propelled Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) sub-orbital vehicle on its first ever powered flight. SNC’s hybrid propulsion system is the largest hybrid ever used for space vehicle propulsion.

SNC manufactures two major subsystems on the SpaceShipTwo vehicle including the main oxidizer valve and the hybrid rocket motor, plus nitrous oxide dump system and nitrous oxide pressurization system control valves.

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Space Hacker Workshop This Weekend in Silicon Valley

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lynx_suborbital_vehicle
There is still time to sign up for the first Space Hacker Workshop for Suborbital Experiments this weekend in Mountain View, Calif. Come see how you can design a space experiment for –  and even fly aboard –  XCOR’s Lynx suborbital space plane. The workshop runs Saturday and Sunday.

The discounted $125 registration rate expires tonight at midnight PDT. If you show up at the door, it will cost you $150. Sign up at spacehacker.eventbrite.com.

A press release with a full description of the workshop follows after the break.

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ATK Solid Rocket Boosters Complete Major Space Launch System Program Milestone

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Credit: ATK

Credit: ATK

Arlington, VA., April 25, 2013 (ATK PR) − ATK (NYSE: ATK) has successfully completed its solid rocket booster Preliminary Design Review (PDR) with NASA for the new Space Launch System (SLS). The PDR milestone indicates the booster design is on track to support first flight of the SLS in 2017. The SLS vehicle will support NASA’s human spaceflight exploration to all destinations beyond low-earth orbit.

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This Week on The Space Show

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This week on The Space Show with David Livingston….

1. Monday, April 29, 2013, 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST, 4-5:30 PM CST): ED WRIGHT joins us for Citizens in Space updates and info about the upcoming Space Hacker Workshop in Silicon Valley: http://spacehacker.eventbrite.com/#.

2. Tuesday, April 30, 2013 2013, 7-8:30 PM PST (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST): Retired astronaut JERRY ROSS is with us to discuss his new book, “Spacewalker.”

3. Friday, May 3: , 2013, 9:30-11 AM PST (11:30- 1 PM CST, 12:30PM-2:00 PM EST): As of press time, our guest for this program is yet to be determined but will either be DR. SARAH CRUDDAS of the UK or FRANK STRATFORD from Australia. We are awaiting final scheduling requirements. Please check the website newsletter for guest details and any program time changes for this Friday program. You can find the website newsletter at www.thespaceshow.com/newsletterfinal.htm.

4. Sunday, May 5, 2013, 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST). We welcome HU DAVIS AND BILL KETCHUM to the show to discuss space policy, SSP, and much more, all from two highly regarded and well respected space veterans.

Reserve Your SpaceShipTwo Seat Now — Big Price Increase Coming Soon

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 Sir Richard Branson and daughter, Holly, look through the window of a SpaceShipTwo shell. (Photo credit: Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic)

Sir Richard Branson and daughter, Holly, look through the window of a SpaceShipTwo shell. (Photo credit: Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic)

Although Virgin Galactic has promised to eventually lower prices on its suborbital space tourism flights aboard SpaceShipTwo, it looks like prices are actually going up 25 percent in the near term.

In an interview broadcast Monday night on KABC-TV 7 News Los Angeles, Branson said a seat on the suborbital space plane would now cost $250,000 — an increase of $50,000 from the price the company has been advertising for eight years.

Now, does that seem a bit counter-intuitive, wouldn’t it? Absolutely. But, this is actually a clever marketing move. How so? Now, you really didn’t think I’d tell you before the break, did you?

Read on.

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SpaceShipTwo Post Flight Photos with Branson, Rutan and More

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Sir Richard Branson "high tens" with SpaceShip2 test pilot Mark Stuckey following the successful first powered flight of SpaceShipTwo. At left is Mark Stuckey's wife Cheryl and at right is Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides..  The spacecraft was dropped rom its "mothership", WhiteKnight2 over the Mojave, CA area, April 29, 2013 at high altitude before firing its hybrid power motor. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Sir Richard Branson “high tens” with SpaceShip2 test pilot Mark Stuckey following the successful first powered flight of SpaceShipTwo. At left is Mark Stuckey’s wife Cheryl and at right is Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides.. The spacecraft was dropped from its “mothership”, WhiteKnight2 over the Mojave, CA area, April 29, 2013 at high altitude before firing its hybrid power motor. (Credit: Mark Greenberg)

Sir Richard Branson hugs designer Burt Rutan as they are surrounded by employee's of Virgin Galactic, The SpaceShip Company and Scaled Composites watch as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip2 streaks across the sky under rocket power, its first ever since the program began in 2005. Burt's wife Tonya Rutan is at right taking their photo. The spacecraft was dropped from its "mothership", WhiteKnightTwo over the Mojave, CA area, April 29, 2013 at high altitude before firing its hybrid power motor. (Credit: Mark Greenberg)

Sir Richard Branson hugs designer Burt Rutan as they are surrounded by employee’s of Virgin Galactic, The SpaceShip Company and Scaled Composites watch as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip2 streaks across the sky under rocket power, its first ever since the program began in 2005. Burt’s wife Tonya Rutan is at right taking their photo. The spacecraft was dropped from its “mothership”, WhiteKnightTwo over the Mojave, CA area, April 29, 2013 at high altitude before firing its hybrid power motor. (Credit: Mark Greenberg)

Watch SpaceShipTwo Break the Sound Barrier

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Pictures of SpaceShipTwo’s First Powered Flight

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SpaceShipTwo in its first powered flight over Mojave.

SpaceShipTwo in its first powered flight over Mojave. (Credit: MarsScientific.com and Clay Center Observatory

Boom camera shot. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Boom camera shot. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SpaceShipTwo in powered flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SpaceShipTwo in powered flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

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