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Space Ship 2 Updates thread....

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docm

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Virgin Galactic A statement from Burt on Sunday’s milestone

"I offer my congratulations to all those on our commercial manned sub-orbital spaceship program for yesterday’s milestone first flight of SpaceShipTwo.

Configuration/aerodynamic designer, Jim Tighe got it right the first time; our spaceship demonstrated impressive flying qualities right out of the box. Its flight test-measured stability and gliding performance exceeded the pre-flight predictions.

Systems that usually require post-first flight tweaking, like the unique Michael Fuchs-designed landing gear and the SS1-based flight-director/avionics system, developed by the Pete Kalogiannis-led team, performed to perfection. The flight control, electrical, pneumatic, ECS and launch systems were also flawless on the first flight, giving us confidence that we can move forward with the testing without major modifications. Scot Story’s team also deserves kudos for their work to develop a light, robust all-composite airframe structure.

Flown by both pilot Pete Siebold and co-pilot Mike Alsbury on the first flight, the test crew opened up two thirds of SS2’s required subsonic speed envelope, maneuvered it above 2-g, checked its dynamic and sideslip handling, exercised its flight-path control system and made a perfect landing; spot-on the runway target.

I congratulate Project Lead Matt Stinemetze, Mission Control Lead Brian Binnie and their team of talented engineers as well as Crew Chief Steve Losey and his team of fabricators who built and maintain the first commercial manned space system. There is not a better group of research and flight test talent in the world.

We at Scaled look forward to an aggressive flight test schedule. The fun started on 10/10/10 and will continue as we reach our goal of passing onto our customer a spaceship capable to provide the space experience to thousands of adventurers."

Burt Rutan
 
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SS1 had the same arrangement. Do it right and its not a problem, and probably lighter.
 
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EarthlingX

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SDC : First Person: How I Trained to Fly in Space (Without Leaving Earth)
By Clara Moskowitz
SPACE.com Senior Writer
posted: 15 October 2010
08:04 am ET



This week, a private spaceship designed to take passengers for joy rides in suborbital space made its first glide flight above California's Mojave Desert. The stage is set for space tourist flights as early as next year, but what will those intrepid space tourists feel during the flight?

That's what I found out in a recent training session, and wow, was it a wild ride.

The spaceship, of course, is Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo: an eight-person space plane designed to drop from a huge mothership at high altitude, launch into suborbital space and then glide back to Earth for a runway landing. The trip, including views of Earth from space and a few minutes of weightlessness, costs a cool $200,000. [Photos: My Training for Suborbital Spaceflight]
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EarthlingX

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This could fit in a couple of threads, but anyway :

edition.cnn.com : Experts: Huge space tourism expansion just months away
By Thom Patterson, CNN

October 15, 2010 -- Updated 1241 GMT (2041 HKT)

(CNN) -- It's unlikely that you've heard of PJ King, despite the fact that he's about to set himself apart from most humans who've ever walked the planet. In as soon as 18 months, King could be launching into space as a paying commercial space tourist.

King, a 41-year-old Irish businessman, is one of hundreds of travelers who've signed up and trained to be among the first paying passengers aboard Virgin Galactic's trips to suborbital space -- 62 miles above the Earth.

"One of the reasons I'm doing this is precisely because I want these things to be ordinary," King said. "Part of the problem with space travel is that it is special."

King believes the $200,000 he and other passengers pay for a seat on a Virgin Galactic spacecraft will help create a new future when "flights like this are happening every week, when lots of people go, and the cost has been massively reduced due to the economics of scale."

Prices are coming down, even before space tourism has started taking off.
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Apparently they get some of their supplies here....

Scaled Composites - the Michigan connection....

Bay City business providing materials for Virgin Galactic 

BAY CITY — If commercial space travel ever comes to fruition, tourists rocketing to the stars will be thankful to have a Bay City company onboard.

Gougeon Bros., 100 Patterson Ave., supplies epoxy and resins to Scaled Composites, the company that builds spacecraft for Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s brainchild for commercial spaceflight.

“They use (our) products to assemble some parts and build molds and tooling and that sort of thing,” said Joe Parker, Gougeon Bros. product manager. “They use one of our laminating resins to join the pieces together.”

Scaled Composites has been manufacturing spacecraft for Virgin Galactic for the last half-decade, but the company was a customer of Gougeon Bros. long before that, Parker said.

“We’ve been doing business with them for about 15 years,” he said. “It’s a good account. We like them a lot and they buy product consistently, but it’s not a huge account. We’d like to get more of their business, but we don’t have it yet.”

That could change, though.

On Sunday, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its first manned gliding test flight when it landed at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California after beginning at an altitude of 45,000 feet.
>
 
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aaron38

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The NatGeo show on Virgin Galactic that aired last night was pretty good. A lot of behind the scenes looks at their factory and build process, and the first flight for WK2.
 
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EarthlingX

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www.physorg.com : Virgin spaceship to pass new milestone
October 22, 2010



The world's first private passenger spaceship will pass another milestone toward its commercial lift-off Friday, at a remote spaceport in the New Mexico desert.

Flamboyant British multi-millionaire Richard Branson will commemorate the completion of the main runway at Spaceport America, near the town of Las Cruces where the Virgin Galactic project is based.

SpaceShipTwo, which could carry paying customers into suborbital space by early 2012, had its maiden flight in the California desert in March.

On Friday, the aircraft -- re-Christened the VSS Enterprise -- will stage a flypass high above the new two-mile (3.2-kilometer) long, 200-foot (60-meter) wide runway in tandem with its mothership, known as WhiteKightTwo or Eve.

"The completion of the runway at Spaceport America (is) a major milestone in the construction of the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport," it said in a statement.
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EarthlingX

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SDC : Virgin Galactic Spaceship Christens New Spaceport Runway
By Clara Moskowitz
SPACE.com Senior Writer
posted: 22 October 2010
07:01 pm ET



UPHAM, N.M. – A new private spaceship designed to carry tourists to space touched down for the first time Friday (Oct. 22) on the runway of Spaceport America, soon to become its home base.

About 600 people watched as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, carried by its mothership WhiteKnightTwo, glided down in the southern New Mexico desert to celebrate the dedication of the spaceport's runway. [Photo: SpaceShipTwo over Spaceport America]

Spaceport America is touted as the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport, and will serve as the headquarters for Virgin Galactic's suborbital spacecraft once the spaceport is complete. A giant hangar and other facilities are still under construction.

"I can't wait for our first day of commercial operations here," said Virgin Galactic founder and British billionaire Sir Richard Branson. "Today is very personal as our dream becomes more real."
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EarthlingX

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www.newspacejournal.com : A little extra at the Spaceport America dedication
October 22, 2010, at 7:53 pm


WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo soar above the crowd at Spaceport America on Friday. (credit: J. Foust)

Friday’s events at Spaceport America went off pretty much as planned. There were the speeches by dignitaries (including Richard Branson, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver), followed by the flyover by WhiteKnightTwo with SpaceShipTwo attached. After the two vehicles completed several passes and appeared to fly off, Branson and the others started a press conference.

However, a short time into the press conference Branson interrupted the Q&A. “I rang the pilot of the spaceship and said, ‘Look, we’ve got a runway here. Why are you going back to Mojave? Why can’t you come and sort of show it off?’ I’m not sure I managed to persuade him, but maybe we could all sort of put some vibes up in the sky.” What followed was the odd spectacle of several hundred people shaking their hands, clapping, and stomping their feet, all at the insistence of Branson, to try and get WK2 and SS2 to return.
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Sir Richard Branson and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson pose in front of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America. (credit: J. Foust)
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Also during the press conference Branson was asked about orbital vehicle development. That is a long-term goal of the company, but Branson suggested they would try to find ways to accelerate it. “Obviously we want to move on to orbital after we’ve got suborbital under our belts, and maybe even before that,” he said, then mentioned NASA’s commercial crew development program and its request for proposals in the coming months. “Virgin Galactic is going to put forward proposals, and we plan to start work on an orbital program quite quickly.” Branson declined to provide any details on Virgin’s orbital vehicle plans, but said the company would say more in the next three to four months.
 
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IMO if Virgin is going to get involved in CCDev-2 it'll be partnering with Scaled and someone else with a launcher to get a t-Space style capsule up. IIRC Scaled designed the t-Space capsule, and maybe a launch outfit like SpaceX or Orbital; Boeing being taken with CTS-100 and LockMart with Dream Chaser. Any bets?
 
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SteveCNC

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Well here's some insider info for you about Space-Dev and Lockheed Martin , the lead propulsion engineer used to work for Lockheed before going to work for Space-Dev . That's when I first met him we were working on a satellite spring ejection system together for Lockheed . So there are plenty of inside connections between those two and it wouldn't be a stretch for them to partner on a project of this sort .
 
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docm

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At a fundamental level this would mean a partnership between LockMart and Northrop Grumman, who is now Scaled's parent. How would that play?
 
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EarthlingX

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www.newspacejournal.com : Photo gallery of the Spaceport America event (flash)
October 23, 2010, at 8:45 am

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zft4au0FVhk[/youtube]
virgingalactic | October 23, 2010

Video footage of the Runway Dedication event held at Spaceport America, New Mexico, October 22, 2010.

www.reuters.com : Virgin Galactic eyes NASA commercial space work
Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:18pm EDT

By Irene Klotz

UPHAM, N.M., Oct 22 (Reuters) - Virgin Galactic, an offshoot of billionaire Richard Branson's London-based Virgin Group VA.L, plans to compete in the upcoming race to develop orbital space vehicles, Branson said on Friday.

NASA plans to issue a solicitation as early as Monday for a follow-up to its $50 million Commercial Crew Development program, (for developing commercial crew spaceflight concepts), as part of a broader revamping of the U.S. space program under President Barack Obama.
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"There's about four companies that are seriously looking at it (the NASA commercial crew program)," Branson told Reuters.

He said Virgin Galactic was currently in discussions with two of the companies about teaming up with them and would decide over the next month whether to do so or go it alone.

One way or the other, Branson said, "We plan to be in orbital travel within the next few years."
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EarthlingX

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRr0GLSAzdw[/youtube]
virgingalactic | October 28, 2010

Virgin Galactic's highlights. A short film showcasing where we are now and the huge milestones reached over the past year.
 
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Glide test #2

Combined Flight Test Legend: CC = Captive Carry
L = Launch
G = Glide
P = Powered

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flight: WK2 Flight 44 / GF02
Date: 28 Oct 10  Flight Time: 10 min, 51 sec 
WK2 Pilot: Siebold WK2 CoPilot: Nichols WK2 FTE:  Tighe
SS2 Pilot: Stucky SS2 CoPilot: Alsbury
GS Crew: Binnie, Kalogiannis, Persall, Knupp, Inks, Bassett, Cassebeer, Story

Objectives:
Clean release
Evaluate stability and control
Expand flutter envelope
Roll evaluation
Land

Results:
All objectives achieved. Flew to more aggressive stall indication. Evaluated handling and stability through several maneuvers. Expanded envelope to 230 KTAS and 3g's. Roll evaluation. Full stop landing.
 
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EarthlingX

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SDC : Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Completes 2nd Glide Test
By Leonard David
SPACE.com's Space Insider Columnist
posted: 29 October 2010
04:01 pm ET



Virgin Galactic's private SpaceShipTwo suborbital spacecraft has completed its second glide test at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

The sleek vehicle built by Mojave-based Scaled Composites was lifted off the ground Oct. 28 by its huge WhiteKnightTwo mothership. In midair, the craft was released and completed a nearly 11-minute glide under the controls of Scaled Composites test pilot Mark Stucky and copilot Mike Alsbury.
 
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EarthlingX

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www.scaled.com : Burt Rutan Announces Retirement Plans (pdf)
Mojave, CA, November 3, 2010:

Burt Rutan, founder of aerospace research firm Scaled Composites in 1982, has announced his plans to retire in
April 2011. He currently serves as Scaled’s Chief Technical Officer and following his retirement, Burt will assume
the title of founder and chairman emeritus.

Burt has worked in California's Antelope Valley for more than 45 years, initially as Flight Test Project Engineer for
the Air Force and in 1974 he founded the Rutan Aircraft Factory to develop experimental aircraft for homebuilders.

“Burt is known worldwide as a legendary genius in aircraft design in the aviation world. I am very fortunate and
proud to have worked by his side for the past 28 years,” says President Douglas B. Shane. “We wish Burt and his
wife, Tonya, the very best the future holds for them.”
 
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EarthlingX

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latimesblogs.latimes.com : Spacecraft factory to break ground in Mojave
November 8, 2010 | 4:13 pm

A production facility that would build the world's first fleet of commercial spaceships is set to begin construction Tuesday at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

The 68,000-square-foot facility, one of the first aircraft assembly plants to be built in the region in decades, will be home to the Spaceship Co., or TSC -- a joint venture owned by Mojave-based Scaled Composites and British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company.

TSC hopes to complete the complex by September 2011. It expects to build three White Knight aircraft, which resemble massive flying catamarans, and five smaller SpaceShipTwo rocket planes.
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TSC expects to employ up to 170 people when production is in full swing. It has begun posting job openings on its website for engineers and technicians.
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http://www.tehachapinews.com : 'The Spaceship Company' will break ground Nov. 9 for new production hangar
By: Tina Forde, Reporter, Tehachapi News

Posted by admin Friday, November 5, 2010 - 14:22

The company that plans to be the first to carry paying passengers into space will break ground on a production hangar at the Mojave Air and Space Port on Tuesday, Nov. 9

The Spaceship Company (TSC), owned by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, will build its Final Assembly, Integration and Test Hangar (FAITH) at the Mojave facility. Last week Rutan announced his plans to retire next year.

Virgin Galactic and TSC CEO George Whitesides will give opening remarks at the invitation-only ceremony.

Stuart Witt, general manager of the Mojave Air and Space Port, will present additional comments.
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Glide Test #3 -

Flight:    WK2 Flight 45 / GF03
Date:    17 Nov 10    Flight Time:    2 hr / 11 min, 39 sec
WK2 Pilot:    Stucky    WK2 CoPilot:    Alsbury    WK2 FTE:    Morgan
SS2 Pilot:    Siebold    SS2 CoPilot:    Nichols
GS Crew:    Binnie, Persall, Knupp, Inks, Bassett, Y. Fuchs, Maisler, Verderame, Zeitlin

Objectives:
Clean release
Evaluate stability and control
Stall expansion
Expand flutter envelope
Aft CG expansion with water ballast tank
Pilot proficiency

Results:
All objectives achieved. Flew to a more aggressive stall indication. Expanded envelope to 246 KEAS and 3.5 g's.
 
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