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Go through to the extended portion of this video to see video of the take-off and landing
And read more about the maiden flight of SpaceShipTwo’s mothership here
Watch the take-off here and below is the landing
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assembly, branson, democrat, DGA, Express MD-2, funded, Mojave, recycle, rules, ss2, tourism, virgin galactic, whiteknighttwo, wk2
I never thought it would fly, but hats off,it has,congratulations to all concerned
You certainly don’t see too many twin fuselage aircraft flying around
Yes our videographer has not been snatched by any foreign intelligence service. As for who that person is. Who are you, space.com? All anybody needs to know is that Flightglobal got there first, as always
Now that is impressive. I’ll soon be starting my Master’s in Aerospace engineering, with hopes of one day working in space tourism. I look forward to more videos!
Another milestone in the history of space exploration. We are one step closer to allowing the common man to experience space!
Congrats to those with the vision to fund, engineer and build the foundation stone to private space access!
Oh, and thanks for the video! Also greatly appreciated.
Nice exclusive… but too bad I can’t watch it. The videos don’t load any more…
I take that back. They’re loading now. Must have been the crazy demand!
Probably just the demand.
We have also blocked others from embedding our video into their websites. This is because we found that with the taxi trial videos people were embedding them into their blogs etc and they were essentially claiming that they had got hold of the video.
We paid for that video and because of the abuse of the embedding system we have suffered I am not going to allow exclusive videos we obtain to be embedded by others in future.
Mattie, indeed you are making a very smart move. No doubt there will be work for you in space tourism once you graduate.
Rob, that’s a shame about others trying to rip you off as I see how hard you work. Double-edged sword of the internet, I suppose. Keep up the good work though. There are many out here who know you are doing a great job.
The first video didn’t show the take-off, it shows only the machine already airborn. Okay, if it’s airborn, it should have taken off but I’d like to have seen the full take-off sequence (with the last second or so of the acceleration-phase on the ground)…
You can see the take-off in the still image at the top of the blog post. Our photographer had to switch between still and video and that is why they were not able to video the take-off as you would have liked. Virgin Galactic will in due course release video of it, they had a camera team in the Beechcraft King Air chase plane you can see in the background of our take-off photo. We aren’t CNN and so can’t provide everything. Maybe for the first flight of WK2 with SpaceShipTwo attached
Forgive my ignorance, but where did this take off from? Anyone know if we are we still on track for a SpaceShip 2 test in late 2009?
If you go here, you can read the article and it says it took off from Mojave air and space port
I think we will see SpaceShipTwo drop/glide tests in late Q4 2009 as I don’t expect the rocket motor to be ready until early 2010.
I really looks like a decent wind sheer could rip that aircraft in half at the center wing. Why use such a fragile, risky design? I don’t get it.
Congratulations to the development team on this milestone! Look forward to seeing it in person at Airventure and on the evening news with the first paying passengers on board.
And thanks, FlightGlobal for posting these images for us mere earthlings to enjoy!
Another success for Burt Rutan. The guy that was saying that it looked like a good wind could tare it apart doesn’t know Burt and his designs. I myself built one of his kit planes and helped on others. This man is a great engineer and a wonderful designer. Thanks Burt
Leave it up to Burt Rutan to design a “wierd” looking flying machine. Funny thing is….they fly.
It appears that this design would be a “bear” to control in any kind of a wind other than right down the runway. We won’t even mention loss of two engines on the same side shortly after takeoff !!!!
Right on, rodneyj43. That Rutan boy knows absolutely NOTHIN’ ’bout flyin’ machines! NOT.
One small step…in the spaceward expansion of free men and women. Thanks too, Rob, for the editorial responses. Be there, be first and protect your intellectual property. It is so nice to have someone who knows what they are doing. Keep up the good work.
Pilot, Adventurer, Explorer
Unbelievable! It’s a great Country! I have to say Burt, your design creativity is unparalleled, but by looking at the video I’m concerned that you horizontal stab surface area is will be insufficient when you add Space Ship Two to the aerodynamics
WOW!!!!!! Now that’s impressive. I’m sure the cross beam structure between the two fuselages is more than sufficient to handle any windshear it may encounter….not to mention the ability to carry SpaceShipTwo.
The one question I have is will the control surfaces between WK2 and SS2 be interlocked when the two aircraft are mated? If so, that should answer the question Airgeeker had!
Keep up the great work everyone! I plan on being a passenger someday!
And thanks Rob for letting us see it with our own eyes!!!!!!!
To the comments about lack of strength between fuselages (unproven, tear apart in wind shear) and apparent lack of sufficient horizontal stab area I’d like to respond with my (partly) speculative comments:
First, this design archetype has been well-proven in the experience of the original White Knight, which is of similar planform. Regarding the implication of airframe weakness in the center-section, a design incorporating internal structure or ribs at a 45-degree angle to the cordline, in addition to the stiffness of carbon fiber skins and spars, should provide over-margin in torsional rigidity. Lastly, in a tractor-style planform, as the Center-of-Gravity is moved aft, less stabilizer downforce is required to maintain level flight or to maneuver. Through management of the CG, there appears to be plenty of stabilizer/elevator authority available with the current-sized horizontal tail surfaces. I can only guess at the moment-arm calculations for a same-side two-engine-out scenario, but my conclusion would be that Burt & Co. have taken this into account and that the rudder authority is sufficient.
Great to see progress but that is one gangly craft if there ever was one! Why not mount the baby craft on top of a mamma machine and launch it that way?
Heck, the thing is barely suborbital.
I’ll pay attention when they orbit one.
Burt loves portholes for windows:)
BAD PLANNING! You’re never going to be able to smack your copilot with this arrangment! He’ll be over there making all kinds of faces and vulgar gestures and you’ll never know it.
As the previous poster noted, what the heck gives with Burt’s fixation with portholes for some daylight!
A short, so called sub-orbital blast into the atmosphere ain’t worth much to me. So, when Burt orbit’s a craft like the Space Shuttle that can carry a ‘bus load’ of adventuresome folk then I would consider a trip around the planet.
This venture so far is a lot of hype and hot air in my judgement.
Starshot: hard to drop an unpowered (rocket doesn’t light until AFTER the drop) aircraft when it’s sitting on top.
“Small portholes” of material that’s both heavier and weaker than the structure of the ship would seem to me to be a good idea. As long as there’s one per passenger I would guess there would be enough.
Mike: The Wrights flew thousands of people on short, low-level demo flights at the beginning of aviation. Are you saying they should have not bothered until they could fly cross country with a busload of passengers?
Personally, I think this is awesome! If man is ever to get of this planet and explore the creation beyond our earth, I personally don’t count on finicky governments to fund it. Therefore, someone is going to have to make some money to fund it. I think this is a great baby step toward future exploration. Way to go Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic!
Ok they can develop something as amazing as that and they can’t afford some decent video footage!!!!!!!!????? WTF!
The video is our video taken using, well, not a top quality video camera but it was sufficient and we got it uploaded super quick, about two hours after the flight ended if I remember correctly. They did take video, from chase cars and the chase plane and we are still waiting for that to be released.
Nice to see it fly. I never doubted that this team would succeed. I am looking forward to seeing WK2 at Oshkosh. The technology is advanced, for sure, and we do not need to know it ALL to appreciate it. As for a double engine-out in flight, I imagine it would be a maximum pucker factor! As any pilot knows, training and study can prepare us for many things that we hope will never happen. But then, they probably have a rule- keep all burners lit while in flight!
Congrats to Burt Rutan and the design team, Virgin Galactic et all, for ignoring the Nay-sayers and over- coming the engineering challenges. Brilliant work!
Just for fun: the WK2 reminds me of the craft we built for our 2004 movie “Flight of the Phoenix” – we never got airborne but did a lot of taxi/run-up tests. Our main concern was structural – would the fuselage hold?! We had consulted with Dick Rutan before filming – Dick wanted to build it from composites and fly the damn thing ( no doubt he could have) but with huge insurance implications (actors, studios etc) we could only taxi the full scale and then use a scale model for flying sequences.
Rob Coppinger and Flight Global: you guys are the best source on the web. keep it up!
Thanks John it’s always fantastic to hear that people like what we do. And great inside story on your movie. Dick and his brother Burt are ready to try to fly just about anything!
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