SpaceShipOne Almost There

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Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2009
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Scaled Composites reached new heights with the third powered flight of SpaceShipOne. Altitude of 211,400 ft. (almost 41 miles) and velocity of Mach 2.5 with a 55 second hybrid burn.

Launch conditions were 46,000 feet and 120 knots. Motor light off occurred 10 seconds after release and the vehicle boosted smoothly to 150,000 feet and Mach 2.5. Subsequent coast to apogee of 211,400 feet. During a portion of the boost, the flight director display was inoperative, however the pilot continued the planned trajectory referencing the external horizon. Reaction control authority was as predicted and the vehicle recovered in feather experiencing 1.9M and 3.5G’s. Feather oscillations were actively damped by the pilot and the wing was de-feathered starting at 55,000 feet. The onboard avionics was re-booted and a smooth and uneventful landing made to Mojave.

The next flight should break the 50 mile mark and probably the 100 km (62 mile) mark. The X-Prize should be claimed by Scaled Composites by July 4.

Check out the paper models here

Bob Krech
I've been reading about their flights/testing, but i havn't been keeping up lately... thats cool. I hope all the other people who are close don't give up even when the X-prize is clamed (assuming that happens soon, wich it seems like it will), i'd like to see more than just one group get into space, and mabye start offering comercial rides into space. We are on the brink of opening space up to private travel!!
Same here... I was following it alot, but then I didnt hear anything for a while, and didnt try to find anything more out...:(

Thats very cool! What do the other teams have for rockets?

The next "survivor" show:

Survivor: Space

Or maybe...

Survivor: Alpha Centauri
:D ;)
Originally posted by Neil
Survivor: Space
Scene: five suited spacewalkers are positioned around the "judgement node" attached to the ISS. Each walker is hanging on to a handle outside an airlock door, three more airlocks are unattended. The host looks out at them from a window bubble in the top of the node.

Host: "And now the votes: Ted. Valerie. Ted. Ted. Mike. Ted."

Ted: "Oh God, no! I... no! I wanted a ride back on the shuttle!"

Four of the airlock doors open, and the spacewalkers enter; the remaining walker tries to scramble around to another door, but it closes before he reaches it.

Host: "The crew has spoken."

A small hatch on the node opens, and a package the size of a large backpack emerges. A large decal across the back displays the General Electric logo, and the letters "MOOSE". The lone spacewalker moves toward it, puts it on, and a small rocket motor pushes him away from the ISS. Roll credits.
Originally posted by bobkrech

The next flight should break the 50 mile mark and probably the 100 km (62 mile) mark. The X-Prize should be claimed by Scaled Composites by July 4.

Bob Krech

Incredible!! Good luck!
very cool, we are sending an experement into space here at school, big price tag though, about $75000. I have a good feeling this might be a more cost effeicant method
Just thought I'd pass along some of what we heard a couple weeks ago...

My unit was conducting some testing for the Airborne Laser program out here at WSMR. The platform being used was the Scaled Composites Proteus, and we found out during our conversations with the aircrew that one of the pilots was also one of the pilots for Space Ship One (can't remember the gentleman's name off the top of my head).

He told us then that they were four flights from the "big one" and would likely not have any trouble completing the X-Prize missions by this fall.

Between that and the fact that NM was just selected to host the follow-on X-Prize Cup (with the first one or two likely happening on WSMR while they build the NM Space Port), we're pretty pumped about what's going on in the X-Prize arena out here.

Of course, the USAF will almost certainly move me next year, so while I'll get to help with WSMR's X-Prize cup planning, I probably won't get to see it first hand...
Boy, we could almost start a betting pool here!

My guess is the next flight will either:

a) An exact repeat of yesterday's within the next two weeks to simulate an X-Prize ops cycle, or...

b) They're just gonna go for it. My bet is on the first choice.
I'm With you Chilly, I'd oput money on Mr. Rutan testing the 2 week turnaround Ops test in the nest flight. Come on SS1:D

I'll attach the Micro-Maxx one page plan if anyone would like to build one. I'm sure it can be upscaled if you'd like If you need a better dpi print this plan is posted in the files section of the micro-maxx group in pdf format
I think a minimum safe test flight sequence will go something like this.

First, the SSO will be flown in a single pilot configuration on the necessary altitude/velocity flight profile to prove the system capability. That will probably occur in two steps.

I'm speculating the next flight will break the 62 mile mark with a single pilot and test the flight altitude/velocity profile. This will probably sometime in June. (In my mind, if this is successful, the concept is proved.)

The next flight(s), probably two, will occur sometime in July/August timeframe, in a pilot only configuration with a vehicle weight equivalent to the full passenger load. This flight(s) may or may not be to full altitude. I'll guess two flights: one with full payload and same fuel load as the 62 mile flight but to a lower altitude, and the second with the full payload weight and the full motor fuel load to full altitude. That's three more flights to the main event.

After this, then it off to the races with a live passenger load. I'm guessing sometime in September, maybe even as early as Labor Day weekend.

Bob Krech
The buzz seems to be they're planning to have it all sewn up by Labor Day.
Question: do they actually need 3 people on board for the X Prize flights, or just be capable of carrying 3? I'm thinking it's "capable".
Question: do they actually need 3 people on board for the X Prize flights, or just be capable of carrying 3? I'm thinking it's "capable".

I just checked and you are correct. Capable is the operative word. It is certainly doable by Labor Day, but I do think that Burt's second full altitude, full payload flight will have a 3 man crew, and I wouldn't be surprised if the passengers were Burt Rutan and Paul Allen.

Bob Krech
I would certainly hope so! They put the money and sweat into it, they sure enough deserve the first ride.

I've said this before, but pay attention over the next ten or so years. I think we're nearing a turning point in human spaceflight, and private interests are going to lead the way.