View Single Post
Orion1
#3
Jun22-04, 07:15 PM
Orion1's Avatar
P: 989
Famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan's firm Scaled Composites plans to fly the SpaceShipOne rocket plane to an altitude of 100 kilometers, or 62 miles -- 12 miles beyond the point NASA and the Air Force award astronaut wings for space travel.

Famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan's firm Scaled Composites plans to fly the SpaceShipOne rocket plane to an altitude of 100 kilometers, or 62 miles -- 12 miles beyond the point NASA and the Air Force award astronaut wings for space travel.

SpaceShipOne will be carried aloft under a mother ship called the White Knight, also a Rutan design.

The two aircraft are expected to circle for almost an hour to climb to the launch altitude of about 47,000 feet.

After SpaceShipOne is released by the White Knight, the pilot -- whose name has not been disclosed from among the three Scaled Composites pilots who have flown it on test flights -- will fire the rocket engine. The exhaust flame should be visible to spectators for about 80 seconds.

Once the rocket engine shuts down, the pilot will begin experiencing weightlessness. The rocket plane will continue upward to the 100-kilometer height and then begin its descent. The spacecraft will spend about three minutes in space.

MOJAVE, Calif. -- An ungainly-looking rocket plane punched through the Earth's atmosphere and then glided home to a desert landing Monday in history's first privately financed manned spaceflight -- a voyage that could hasten the day when the final frontier is opened up to paying customers.

Pilot Mike Melvill took SpaceShipOne 62.2 miles above Earth, just a little more than 400 feet above the distance considered to be the boundary of space. The flight lasted just 90 minutes.

The spaceship was carried aloft under the belly of a carrier jet. The jet then released the spaceship, and its rocket engine ignited, sending it hurtling toward space at nearly three times the speed of sound.

The flight is an important step toward winning the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million award for the first privately financed three-seat spacecraft to reach an altitude of 62 miles and repeat the feat within two weeks.

The SpaceShipOne project was funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who said the project cost more than $20 million.

Although the flight appeared to go flawlessly, SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan revealed afterward there was a serious malfunction when the craft's trim system failed, causing it to miss its atmospheric re-entry point by 22 miles.

Reference:
http://www.sltrib.com/2004/jun/06212.../nwprivjet.jpg
http://www.sltrib.com/2004/jun/06222...s/nwpribat.jpg
http://www.sltrib.com/2004/jun/06212...n_w/177544.asp
http://www.sltrib.com/2004/jun/06222...n_w/177815.asp