SpaceShipTwo testing update

The latest issue of Aviation Week (Dec.20-27) has an article about SpaceShipTwo testing. The article is not yet in the on line section so I’ll list some highlights: /– They plan one more glide test before the end of the year /– Testing is ahead of schedule /– On target for routine commercial flights “as early as 2012” /– Landing gear fix to be installed soon. /– Until then, drops start at 45k ft instead of operational 50k ft /– Max glide time is 15 minutes. /– Have to pack lots of tests within the time available /– To simulate change of cg from motor and passengers, a water ballast tank has been used. /– Current lower-speed tests look at handling qualities, flutter, and approach to stall /– Additional RM2 ground tests planned. /– Parts of propulsion system to “be incorporated gradually as they are ready” /– Full-up weight of SS2 is 30,000 lb /– Next test phase to involve short rocket bursts to increase subsonic speeds /– This will be followed by supersonic, higher-altitude tests.


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