Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Posted by Pete Moss at 7/28/2011 05:44:00 PM
Private Rocket Ship for Space Tourists Takes Break from Test Flights
by Leonard David, SPACE.com’s Space Insider Columnist
Date: 28 July 2011 Time: 02:17 PM ET
|SpaceShipTwo makes a May 4, 2011 landing on Runway 30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Touch down signaled the successful end to the craft's 7th glide test and, for the first time, evaluation of its novel feather re-entry system.|
CREDIT: Bill Deaver/Deaver-Wiggins and Associates
The space company Virgin Galactic is taking a summer break from testing its suborbital rocket plane – a hiatus in preparation for the next stage of demonstration flights.
Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo launch system entered a quiet period of data assessment after a campaign of piloted glide tests, including a midair evaluation of the craft’s unique re-entry technology.
Technicians at the Mojave Air and Space Port from Scaled Composites, the designers and builders of the system, will apply lessons learned from the SpaceShipTwo glide flights as they prepare for the next phase of testing, George Whitesides, chief executive and president of Virgin Galactic, said.
“The downtime will be dependent on the judgment of Scaled engineers as they process the information gained from the extensive and successful recent flight testing,” Whitesides told SPACE.com.
Another SPACE.com source close to the SpaceShipTwo project indicated that the Scaled Composites team has entered a couple-of-months- long period of planned vehicle updates.
The downtime follows the 15th glide flight of the privately built SpaceShipTwo. The vehicle was released June 27 at a high altitude from its mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, which has been dubbed VMS Eve. [Gallery –SpaceShipTwo Makes First Glide Flight]
During that 7-minute, 39-second glide, the craft was put through a series of tests before rolling to a runway stop. “All objectives achieved. Dynamic pressure envelope further expanded,” according to a SpaceShipTwo test summary log.
The SpaceShipTwo, christened the VSS , recently achieved a milestone in its step-by-step agenda: two successful glide flights within 24 hours – on June 14 and June 15 – proving the rocket plane and WhiteKnightTwo are capable of a quick turnaround.
Also noteworthy was that astronaut Brian Binnie, one of the test pilots for the first-generation SpaceShipOne, has repeatedly flown in SpaceShipTwo.
On Oct. 4, 2004, Binnie piloted SpaceShipOne’s second Ansari X Prize flight, bagging the $10 million X Prize purse. His flight peaked at 367,442 feet (69.6 miles; 112 kilometers), and also set a winged-aircraft altitude record, breaking the mark set by the North American X-15 in 1963.
Taking a co-pilot seat in several SpaceShipTwo glides was the president of Scaled Composites, Doug Shane. He has risen in the ranks at Scaled and was the first engineer hired by Burt Rutan, founder of the company when it opened its doors in 1982.
The cadre of fliers who have piloted SpaceShipTwo includes Pete Siebold, Mike Alsbury, Mark Stucky and Clint Nichols.
SpaceShipTwo was rolled out for public viewing in December 2009. The craft’s maiden free flight took place Oct. 10, 2010.
The next round of testing for SpaceShipTwo is expected to involve a hybrid motor mounted within the craft. This engine is being provided by Sierra Nevada Corp. and is designed to propel the vehicle and its paying passengers to the edge of space.
In earlier interviews with SPACE.com, Whitesides said short-to-medium-to-long burns of the hybrid motor is on the test schedule.
Virgin Galactic’s flight plans entail lofting customers on suborbital hops at a price of $200,000 per seat.
No specific timeline has been established for the first commercial launch, which will be based on the completion of a lengthy flight-test program to certify safe operations.
Commercial flights are expected to take place at Virgin Galactic’s future headquarters at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is a winner of this year's National Space Club Press Award and a past editor-in-chief of the National Space Society's Ad Astra and Space World magazines. He has written for SPACE.com since 1999.
Posted by Pete Moss at 7/28/2011 05:42:00 PM
Posted by Pete Moss at 7/28/2011 05:19:00 PM
Crash: Asiana B744 near Jeju on Jul 28th 2011, fire in cargo hold
By Simon Hradecky, created Thursday, Jul 28th 2011 05:33Z, last updated Thursday, Jul 28th 2011 14:28Z
An Asiana Cargo Boeing 747-400, registration HL7604 performing flight OZ-991 from Seoul (South Korea) to Shanghai (China) with 2 crew, was enroute near Jeju Island (about 250nm south of Seoul) when the crew reported the cargo in the hold had caught fire and they needed to divert to Jeju Airport, then the aircraft disappeared from radar. Parts of a wing and other debris were located 130km/70nm west of Jeju. Both crew were killed.
South Korea's Transport ministry reported, the Boeing 747-400 freighter was carrying 58 tons of cargo including 0.4 tons of hazardeous materials like Lithium batteries, paint, amino acid solution and synthetic resin. The crew had reported the cargo on fire with Shanghai Center and was diverting to Jeju Airport when it crashed about 70nm west of the Island at 04:12L (19:12Z Jul 27th), 67 minutes after it had taken off Seoul.
South Korea's Coast Guard reported both crew members were killed.
The flightplan identified Boeing 747-400 registration HL7604.
Asiana reported that radar contact with HL7604, manufactured Feb 2006, was lost at 04:11L when the aircraft was at 7600 feet MSL, the crew had reported control problems. The captain (52) had 14,123 hours flying experience, the first officer (44) had 5,211 hours flying experience. All cargo, 90% of which was standard cargo and IT products, the remainder comprised liquids (e.g., paint, resin solution, ...), was in compliance with IATA regulations.
A listener on frequency of Shanghai's Air Traffic Control Center reported, that the Asiana had just checked in with Shanghai when the crew reported they had a fire in the cargo hold, Shanghai's Pudong Airport was too far away, their only possible point of diversion was Jeju. The crew's distress was clearly audible and increasing during the transmissions.
An Shanghai Center Air Traffic Controller reported that the first indication of problems was the aircraft's transponder transmitted the emergency code just prior to the crew reporting on frequency near SADLI waypoint (N31.833 E124.998). The crew reported they had a cargo fire and requested to return to Seoul. The aircraft was handed off to the next sector while it was descending, the controller however watched the aircraft on his radar screen until it descended through 2400 feet and disappeared from the screen.
Debris floating off Jeju Island (Photo: AP):
Map (Graphics: AVH/Google Earth):
Posted by Pete Moss at 7/28/2011 02:48:00 PM
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Posted by Pete Moss at 7/25/2011 06:02:00 PM
|Lufthansa A380 - D-AIMA|
|Atlas Air Boeing 747-400 - N459MC|
Posted by Pete Moss at 7/25/2011 12:22:00 AM