Tag Archive: SpaceShipTwo

  1. Virgin Galactic Receives FAA License To Begin Testing Its SpaceShipTwo Vehicle

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    Virgin Galactic

    Virgin Galactic

    Virgin Galactic can officially begin flight-testing its SpaceShipTwo vehicle.

    Better known as its spaceplane, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo was recently granted a commercial operating license from the Federal Aviation Administration, moving the vehicle one step closer to transporting passengers into sub-orbital space.

    “We’ve still got a bit more work to do before [SpaceShipTwo] takes to the skies, but this effectively means that when we feel ready to start flying, we can start flying,” said Will Pomerantz, vice president for special projects at Virgin Galactic. “The key permissions are in place.”

    The FAA license can be viewed in full here, which notes Virgin Galactic can only fly “non-deployed scientific, experimental, or inert payloads” at the moment.

    Obviously, a lot of testing must be done before Virgin gets the go-ahead to conduct SpaceShipTwo flights with human passengers onboard but that is ultimately the company’s end goal.

    After proving to the FAA that the vehicle’s hardware and software work properly during flight tests, the idea of “space tourists” will become a much more realistic possibility.

  2. Wings Deployed Prematurely Before SpaceShipTwo’s Crash

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    Virgin Galactic

    Virgin Galactic

    The National Transportation Safety Board is reporting that SpaceShipTwo’s wings deployed prematurely at approximately Mach 1.0 before breaking apart in flight.

    The wings were supposed to be raised into the “feathering” position to create drag and reduce speed at Mach 1.4 or later but it was determined the wings moved before hitting the correct speed and without full pilot input.

    While this error may have contributed to the crash, the NTSB is still gathering details and not yet ready to declare the cause of the accident.

    NTSB acting chair Christopher Hart says, “We have months and months of investigation to determine what the cause was. We’ll be looking at training issues; we’ll be looking at [whether there was] pressure to continue testing; we’ll be looking at safety culture, the design, the procedure. We’ve got many, many issues to look into much more extensively before we can determine the cause.”