July 08, 2004

Houston, we had a hiccup

Scaled Composites has released the telemetry data from the historic first flight into space by SpaceShipOne, and despite the success of the flight, it wasn’t flawless. At one point near the end of the 76 second burn of the composite rocket motor, the automated pitch control quit functioning, forcing the pilot to switch over to the backup system. The slight loss of control cost SpaceShipOne some 6 miles from the expected altitude and caused the craft to reenter the atmosphere farther south than anticipated.

The data also shows that pilot Mike Melvill experienced weightlessness for over three minutes, and experienced 5g’s during portions of the reentry.

This flight alone was not enough to win the X-Prize. The goal is to make two flights into space with the same manned craft (capable of carrying three people) within a two-week period. At a recent press conference, Burt Rutan would not rule out additional test flights before going for the prize.

Posted by Ted at July 8, 2004 09:42 AM
Category: Space Program
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