credit Virgin Galactic / caption: Virgin group chairman Sir Richard Branson with WhiteKnight Two, SpaceShip Two
Virgin group chairman Sir Richard Branson hailed what he calls "our successful quest to find a re-entry mechanism" in an answer to questions from flightglobal.com readers on Monday 8 June
SpaceShip Two (SS2) and SpaceShipOne (SS1) chief designer Burt Rutan might take issue with that as the "feathering" mechanism, where the spacecraft's booms are moved to a perpendicular position relative to the fuselage to change the aerodynamics, was designed for SS1 long before SS2 was thought of. Unless of course there is more to SS2's re-entry than just dropping like a stone a la SS1?
Branson answered readers' questions when "guest editing" flightglobal.com on 8 June. Read the full question from Dutchman Thijs van der Tuin and Branson's answer below:
Virgin Galactic is going to offer a service that can't be matched by anyone else at this moment. It brings the possibility of space flight to a lot people. What has surprised you the most since you gave the green light to Virgin Galactic? For example: are there things you thought that wouldn't be possible, but now they are? Media feedback? The amount of time it consumes in your daily life? PS compliments to you for signing with Brawn G.P. Thijs van der Tuin - The Netherlands.
RB: What has surprised me is our successful quest to find a re-entry mechanism. It has made Virgin Galactic possible and it is something that has plagued NASA before. I'm pleased to say Virgin Galactic consumes much of my time and I'm confident our great team will make it happen shortly. I can't wait to be on the first flight with my family. Thank you for your kind comments on Brawn G.P. Jenson Button has done a great job with a great car.