in Space

VSS Unity loads up for latest flight

Posted 4 July 2017 · Add Comment

On 1st June - a day after the first appearance of the huge carrier aircraft from its Mojave neighbours Stratolaunch - Virgin Galactic's own vehicles took to the skies for VSS Unity's ninth test flight, to see how it performed carrying an additional 1000lbs.



It was exactly a month ago that Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spaceship last flew, successfully demonstrating its unique re-entry 'feathering' mechanism for the first time in flight.

VSS Unity pilots Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow, had an equally busy test-card but with the emphasis on proving the spaceship’s handling qualities, particularly at low speeds, with more weight on board than previously and with a centre of gravity shifted towards the back of the vehicle.

This was achieved by loading around 1000lbs of water into a specially installed ballast tank in the rear of the spaceship’s fuselage. That enabled exploration of flight conditions that would be experienced during rocket powered flights. By jettisoning the water ballast on descent, Virgin Galactic were also able to confirm handling characteristics as the vehicle’s centre of gravity moved forward. Unity completed the flight with a safe and smooth landing in its lighter-weight configuration.

This flight represent another important milestone as Virgin Galactic move towards the end of the of the initial glide test portion of the programme and attention is turned to the spaceship’s propulsion system.

Following analysis of the data from the flight, Virgin Galactic will be moving into a period of ground-based activity focused on preparation for fuelled and then powered flights.

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Restrata appoints new head of consultancy

Security, safety and emergency response solutions provider, Restrata, has appointed a new head of consultancy to lead the organisation’s continued growth and international expansion.

JJ Churchill reduces machining ops by half

Aerospace engineering firm JJ Churchill today announced that it has reduced its tooling costs by 5% with a 50% reduction in the number of machining operations on a specific critical part, achieved with Blue Photon technology which is

Ultra Long Range A350 XWB completes first flight

The Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB, MSN 216, has successfully completed its first flight.

Defence Secretary announces £80m Guardian to protect the skies

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will invest up to £80 million in a new computer system to boost the RAF’s speed and accuracy in protecting the skies, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced.

SEA supplying TLS to navies in South East Asia

Cohort company SEA is supplying its Torpedo Launcher Systems (TLS) to three South East Asian navies that have signed up for a solution based on technology originally developed for the UK Royal Navy.

Bristol Airport and SWRnewstar win Waste2Zero award

SWRnewstar has won the Waste2Zero Best Waste Project Communication & Stakeholder Engagement Award in partnership with its customer Bristol Airport.

Air & Ground SK1704230718
See us at
FIL18 BT111017220718SMI FAVWSBT1402060618SMI HelicopterTBT1402240518