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Above: Sir Richard Branson is seated aboard WK2 in the flight engineers seat awaiting his flight demo
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Wow, what a simple, beautiful front office! This should also be very close to the cockpit in SS2 as well!
This is the mother ship – it shouldn’t ever reach zero G…
Re the two zero g comments:
Yes, while it is true that the WK2 will never reach space, and never reach sustained zero g, I believe it is explicitly the plan of Virgin Galactic to use the WK2 as a training vehicle for a short zero-g descent for the folks who will be going up in the SpaceShipTwo a day or two later.
I thought the mothership would fly parabolic flights. That’s as “zero G” as the actual spaceship, just not for as long at a time.
Can anyone tell me what is that over the right hand side cockpit window?
In my opinion, Virgin’s WhiteKnightTwo plane because of its planning might face technical problems. The plane with its additional plane like body along its main body create a lot of drag force, and a plane with this kind of planning is heavier naturally.
Aircraft electrical systems technician
Even funnier how there is a handheld mirror above one of the pilot seats. Probably for when it hits zero g’s or so Sir Richard Branson can make sure his hair is still flowing.
The device over the right window is almost certainly a HUD (heads up display) of some kind. The hand mirror is for looking towards the rear of the aircraft while still strapped in the seat (either the inside or, through the side window, the outside, eg wings). Some aircraft and spacecraft have such mirrors built in.
On the right side is a deice system. The mirror no doubt is to see if anything is flying around in the rear of the plane during agressive maneuvers. As for the “sparten”ness, this is a prototype and not at all what the actual passenger interior will look like. If you have to access something on a prototype, you do not want to first remove unnecessary interior items. And by the way, the control column is a two handed stick, not a yoke. Notice the fighter style grip on one side of the bull horns.
I wonder if the flight engineer will be on board during future passenger missions or just for this WKII prototype.
What is the role of the second fuselage??
From what I understand, the second fuselage will be used (it’s empty and windowless in this prototype)for both training of future “astronauts” and for potentially allowing others to come along and watch the actual space launches. I suppose though that it could be used for just about anything… Rutan and company have some pretty fertile imaginations!
The mirror could also be used for checking whether the WK2 is detached from the second fuselage and for checking the rear of the aircraft for icing, etc. This is a prototype and you cannot expect it to look like something from an over budget sci-fi either, people. As far as the control column is concerned, I am glad that they have gone with the traditional and not the stupid new-age joystick crap you find in airbus. It will be a great aircraft because the concept is very good, allowing that they take all into consideration as the WK2 will be going into zero-g and entering space soon.
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