DC-X Reunion: Whitesides Talks SpaceShipTwo

17 Comments

Delta_Clipper_DC-X_first_flight
They’re are having a 20th anniversary reunion for the first flight of the DC-X experimental vehicle in New Mexico this weekend. Although I was unable to go, long-time reader Nickolai Belakovski is there, and he will be filing some reports for us.

Virgin Galactic President George Whitesides spoke earlier today and took some questions. Here’s Nickolai’s report:

He said they’re gearing up for the second powered flight, probably for that September date you wrote about recently. Mentioned there was no flutter in the first powered flight while going through supersonic, in general he seemed to imply that the first flight test went well. They’re building second carrier aircraft and second spaceship, making good progress on both. They even have the cabin for the third spaceship

Someone asked about first spaceflight. He declined to give a date and mentioned that VG has an opinion, scaled has an opinion, jested that his boss has an opinion, clearly referencing Branson’s Christmas wish. “We’ll have to see how it goes”.

I’ve heard the next powered flight might come earlier, possibly later this month. The September date that Nickolai mentions is a gathering of Virgin Galactic’s customers here in Mojave on Sept. 25. That event might include a glide flight.

  • therealdmt

    Back in the day, I was pulling for the X-33/VentureStar. In retrospect however, it looks like the DC-X was doable and it was a real screwup by the U.S. not to have developed it further. We bet on the wrong pony.

    (Looks like the composite tanks for the X-33 could actually be made now, but that train has apparently left the station)

  • Hug Doug

    Yup. I’ve often wondered why the X-33 program was never revived when we got better at making things out of composite materials, but it seems that the program was cancelled at very high levels in the Clinton administration.

  • Brainard

    The program was cancelled because it was borked. I guess you missed that. Too bad you weren’t around to comment on it.

  • Hug Doug

    yeah, there were myriad problems with it, i’m aware. overweight, COG problems, couldn’t get the composite tankage to work, etc.

  • Brainard

    And you were there all the while biting their ankles, right?

  • Hug Doug

    what the hell are you talking about? every post you make is more insane… you really should get some help.

  • Brainard

    That’s ok, Doug, I’m a well known ankle biter and the X-33 wasn’t the first program brought down by persistant ankle biting and it won’t be the last. SLS and Orion are merely the next on a very long list of failed NASA programs done in by persistent and pernicious ankle biting, You should try it once!

  • Hug Doug

    that makes no sense at all.

    by the way, SLS and Orion are active programs. not failed.

    get your head back in reality, man.

  • Brainard

    Sure, and Christianity and Islam are active religions as well.

    Not failed. Lol.

  • Hug Doug

    so what? your religious intolerance is both very far off topic and speaks volumes as to your character.

  • Brainard

    Yes it does, I’m intolerant of the NASA Cargo Cult as well.

    And get this, I intend to SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    As I said, this will not be a pleasant end for NASA.

  • Hug Doug

    right. sure. again, this is but your useless and worthless opinion!

  • Brainard

    Of course your opinion is very valuable, Doug. Thank you, I just don’t know how the program could go forward without it.

  • Hug Doug

    whereas i’m sure people are willing to listen to what you have to say, but only out of morbid curiosity.

  • Brainard

    Fortunately they don’t have to listen to what I say, they can read it, since I publish it freely for them to read.

    Isn’t America and science grand?

  • Hug Doug

    oh, i’m you’re a self-made man. It’s nice of you to take the blame.

  • Brainard

    I always take the blame for the UTTERLY stupid shit my country and its citizens do. This is a minor disaster.

    Got any other stupid shit you want to do or say?

    I’m embarrassed for America.