VSS Enterprise glide flight - Burt Rutan's view
- Oct 13, 2010
Following Virgin Galactic's successful VSS Enterprise glide test flight, Burt Rutan has offered his thoughts on the event.
I offer my congratulations to all those on our commercial manned sub-orbital spaceship program for yesterday’s milestone first flight of SpaceShipTwo.
Configuration/aerodynamic designer, Jim Tighe got it right the first time; our spaceship demonstrated impressive flying qualities right out of the box. Its flight test-measured stability and gliding performance exceeded the pre-flight predictions.
Systems that usually require post-first flight tweaking, like the unique Michael Fuchs-designed landing gear and the SS1-based flight-director/avionics system, developed by the Pete Kalogiannis-led team, performed to perfection. The flight control, electrical, pneumatic, ECS and launch systems were also flawless on the first flight, giving us confidence that we can move forward with the testing without major modifications. Scot Story’s team also deserves kudos for their work to develop a light, robust all-composite airframe structure.
Flown by both pilot Pete Siebold and co-pilot Mike Alsbury on the first flight, the test crew opened up two thirds of SS2’s required subsonic speed envelope, maneuvered it above 2-g, checked its dynamic and sideslip handling, exercised its flight-path control system and made a perfect landing; spot-on the runway target.
I congratulate Project Lead Matt Stinemetze, Mission Control Lead Brian Binnie and their team of talented engineers as well as Crew Chief Steve Losey and his team of fabricators who built and maintain the first commercial manned space system. There is not a better group of research and flight test talent in the world.
We at Scaled look forward to an aggressive flight test schedule. The fun started on 10/10/10 and will continue as we reach our goal of passing onto our customer a spaceship capable to provide the space experience to thousands of adventurers.
To read more on the flight visit the Scaled Composites website and head over to Virgin Galactic.