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  [Discuss] Virgin's SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Virgin's SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-01-2009 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: To keep the topic Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity focused on status updates, feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss Virgin Galactic's second suborbital spaceplane.

dabolton
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posted 11-01-2014 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is the completion status of the second SpaceShipTwo vehicle?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-01-2014 01:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic provided a tour of its construction hangar for its customers on Oct. 14, which this video captures. In it, they talk about the second vehicle and the desire to have it "on its wheels" by the end of the year.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-07-2014 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic could resume test flights as early as next summer pending construction of its second SpaceShipTwo, the Associated Press reports.
It's possible that test flights for the next spaceship could begin within six months, before the investigation is scheduled to conclude, [Virgin Galactic CEO George] Whitesides said.

Virgin Galactic has an experimental permit from the FAA to test its spacecraft. Just last month, the company had received approval from the agency to resume rocket-powered flights.

The National Transportation Safety Board said there's nothing preventing Virgin from continuing to fly, but it wasn't immediately clear if the company would have to file another request with the FAA under its existing permit to start rocket-powered flights when the new ship is ready next year.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-07-2015 07:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In its latest update about the construction of the second SpaceShipTwo vehicle, Virgin Galactic states the long-cited "VSS Voyager" is not the craft's name.
That new vehicle — which has not yet been formally named, though it's had various internal nicknames over the years — is coming along at a steady pace...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-06-2015 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From The Spaceship Company on Twitter:
Here's a photo of the new SpaceShipTwo under WhiteKnightTwo, taken yesterday. More work to do, but we're making steady progress.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-20-2016 02:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic rolled out and christened its second SpaceShipTwo, the VSS Unity, on Friday (Feb. 19).

Here are some additional Virgin Galactic photos of the new spaceship:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-20-2016 02:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic photos

alanh_7
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posted 02-20-2016 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any word on the modifications have they made to ensure the feathering system cannot be prematurely deployed?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-20-2016 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike Moses, Virgin Galactic's senior vice president of operations (and a former NASA space shuttle mission management team chair) explained what has been done during a press briefing:
The change we've made is a pretty simple, straightforward one. We're going to put a control system in place that prevents that handle from being moved if you're in a regime where it is not safe to move it.

And I mean this in the simplest of terms — there is literally now going to be a mechanical pin that prevents that lever from moving if the computer tells you it is not a safe regime to do so. And when that regime becomes safe, that pin pulls out of the way and the pilots can unlock the feather as normal.

So it is a pretty straightforward fix. There is a lot of devil-in-the-details, right? How do you make sure it doesn't fail incorrectly? How do you make sure it doesn't operate when it is not supposed to? How do you make sure it's not failed in a way that you can't actually do what you need to do?

So there are a lot of layers behind this design that I don't need to get into at this point, but needless to say we've got a design, we've got it built, it's in our simulator, the pilots are testing it in sim trials right now, I expect they'll make a few tweaks to it and then we'll install it on the spaceship before we fly our test flights.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-01-2016 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
August is off to a good start! More updates on recent progress and ongoing testing coming soon. Here's a photo from today.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-08-2016 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Good morning from Mojave! VSS Unity and WhiteKnightTwo are outside again for a bit of testing.
Today's flight is planned to be a captive carry flight — where SpaceShipTwo remains mated to our mothership. Like every flight of SpaceShipTwo, this mission is crewed. Two of our pilots in VSS Unity, two more in WhiteKnightTwo.

Wheels up! WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo are now in the air. This is first ever flight of a vehicle built by our sister company, The Spaceship Company.

Today, we plan for VSS Unity to remain mated to WhiteKnightTwo for the full flight. One advantage of air-launch is that the carrier plane acts like a flying wind tunnel. Highest fidelity aerodynamic data!

Today's flight test is going well. It'll be longer than a typical mission, in part to test what happens when Unity gets very cold.

VSS Unity and WhiteKnightTwo have landed! The vehicles are back safe and sound after a successful first test flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-15-2016 09:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic video
On September 8, 2016, our new SpaceShipTwo — VSS Unity — took to the skies for the first time. This is first ever flight of a vehicle built by our manufacturing organization, The Spaceship Company.

In this video, Mike Moses — our Senior Vice President of Operations, and a NASA veteran who oversaw dozens of successful flights to space — helps explain this flight and how it fits into the context of our full testing program.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-01-2016 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo are outside now. If everything looks good and the weather cooperates, today we go for a glide test flight.

We're closely monitoring winds. Possible we'd take off but not glide. Always good to gather data, even in captive carry

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-01-2016 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Wheels up! WhiteKnightTwo and VSS Unity are now in the air. Photos coming soon.

Today is 2nd ever flight for VSS Unity (215th for WhiteKnightTwo). Last time, SpaceShipTwo stayed mated to the mothership for full flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-01-2016 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Mission control reports all is going smoothly with the vehicles. Still monitoring the winds closely.

We were ready to glide today, but Mother Nature had other ideas. Heading home. Still getting useful data. We'll try again soon.

Crosswinds were high & gusty here in Mojave — which scrubbed the glide portion of today's flight. Still, valuable data gathered.

VSS Unity has landed! Vehicles and crew are back safe and sound after a successful test flight. We'll try again for glide soon.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-03-2016 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Hoping to conduct another SpaceShipTwo test flight today. Tuesday's flight went very well, but high winds prevented gliding VSS Unity. Weather looking better today than it did last time around.

VSS Unity during pre flight checks. Now taxiing to runway.

Wheels up! WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo are now in the air. Photos coming soon.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-03-2016 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Today is third ever flight for VSS Unity (216th for WhiteKnightTwo).

Mission control reports all is going smoothly.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-03-2016 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
We're excited to glide, but the team wants another look at something, so headed back to land today as mated pair.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-30-2016 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
As part of our ground and flight testing, we made a few tweaks to the vehicle. We'll test those in a captive carry flight today.

Wheels up! WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo are now in the air for another test. Today is fourth flight for VSS Unity, 217th for WhiteKnightTwo.

Photo from just minutes ago: SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo take off for a captive carry test flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-30-2016 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
VSS Unity and WhiteKnightTwo have just landed. Vehicle and crew are back on the ground after a successful test.

328KF
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posted 12-03-2016 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
VG just tweeted that WK 2 and Unity are airborne for what should be her first glide flight this morning.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-03-2016 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Takeoff — WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo are now in the air for another test. Today is 5th flight for VSS Unity, 218th for WhiteKnightTwo.

Mission control reports all is going smoothly. Pilots conducting planned checks before release/glide of VSS Unity.

Release! VSS Unity has cleanly detached from WhiteKnightTwo, and is flying freely for the first time ever!

Today, Unity is flying light. Mountains of data and analysis preceded this flight; in testing, you check every assumption.

VSS Unity has landed. Vehicle and crew are back safe and sound after a successful first glide test flight.

This was the first ever free flight of our new spaceship — the first ship built by our in-house manufacturing team The SpaceShip Company.

WhiteKnightTwo has now landed as well, concluding today’s test flight.

Pilots for today’s flight: in SpaceShipTwo: Stucky and Mackay. In WhiteKnightTwo: Masucci and Ericson, plus flight test engineer Mosher.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-03-2016 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
VSS Unity glides for the first time, after being released from WhiteKnightTwo (VMS Eve). Taken today.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-03-2016 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic photos:

Robert Pearlman
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Virgin Galactic photos:
Richard Branson personally stopped by to watch Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Unity (VSS Unity) glide over the Mojave desert for the first time after being released from Virgin Mothership Eve (VMS Eve).

Virgin Galactic captured pictures of Sir Richard and VG CEO George Whitesides congratulating the pilots on this first successful glide flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-03-2016 06:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic video
On December 3, 2016, our new SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, flew freely for the first time. This important test marks the first time that a vehicle built by our manufacturing organization, The Spaceship Company, has flown fully under its own control.

In this video, Lead Test Pilot, Mark "Forger" Stucky, explains what it's like flying VSS Unity for the first time.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-23-2016 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic conducted its second glide flight with VSS Unity on Thursday (Dec. 22). From Twitter:
Smooth landing for VSS Unity. In SpaceShipTwo: pilots Mackay and Stucky.

WhiteKnightTwo has landed: pilots Sturkow and Pecile, flight test engineer Mosher. Next up: data review and holidays.

Second glide flight of VSS Unity completed. Well done to the pilots and the whole crew. Great way to end the year!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-24-2017 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Take off! Today is 7th flight for VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo, 226th for VMS Eve WhiteKnightTwo

VSS Unity has just been released from WhiteKnightTwo to glide home. Third glide flight test for SpaceShipTwo.

Smooth landing for VSS Unity. In SpaceShipTwo: pilots Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-24-2017 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Professor Brian Cox attended today's glide test:
Just watched Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo land after test flight — beautiful aircraft.

Robert Pearlman
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From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Take off! Another test flight is SpaceShipTwo is underway.

Today is the 8th flight for VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo, 227th for WhiteKnightTwo.

VSS Unity has just been released from WhiteKnightTwo to glide home. 4th glide flight test for SpaceShipTwo.

The pilots have begun their test of the 'feather' re-entry system. The vehicle is in the feathered configuration now.

Our pilots have now returned the vehicle back to its unfeathered configuration as planned.

Smooth landing for VSS Unity. In SpaceShipTwo: pilots Mark Stucky and Mike Masucci.

Exciting to have first feathered flight of VSS Unity in the books now. Gathered lots of great data to complement ground testing.

WhiteKnightTwo has landed, completing today's test. Crew today were pilots Nicola Pecile and CJ Sturckow, flight test engineer Dustin Mosher.

Robert Pearlman
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Virgin Galactic video
On May 1st, 2017 VSS Unity "feather" re-entry system was activated in flight for the first time.

VSS Unity was piloted by Mark Stucky and Mike Masucci, with pilots Nicola Pecile and CJ Sturckow as well as flight test engineer Dustin Mosher in carrier aircraft VMS Eve. This test flight was the fourth glide flight (and eighth flight overall) of VSS Unity.

VSS Unity Project Engineer, Gabe Williams, describes the vehicle's unique feathering re-entry system.

dom
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posted 05-02-2017 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This thread is eight years old — we got to the moon in less time...

Robert Pearlman
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We got to the moon with a colossally larger budget, in the looming shadow of an enemy with an approach that wasn't designed to establish a long-lasting, evolvable program or cater to the public.

That aside, Virgin Galactic is a private company; they can set whatever pace they desire so long as they can make a business case to do so.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2017 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Greetings from Mojave Air and Space Port! Our team is prepping for a SpaceShipTwo flight test today.

Today SpaceShipTwo is loaded with water ballast to shift the center of gravity rearward to replicate rocket-powered flight!

When SpaceShipTwo flies to space the center of gravity changes as fuel is consumed. By dumping water ballast, we can test that shift.

Take off! Today is ninth flight for VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo, 230th for WhiteKnightTwo.

VSS Unity has just been released from WhiteKnightTwo to glide home. Fifth glide flight test for SpaceShipTwo.

As planned, our pilots have dumped the water ballast.

Another smooth landing for VSS Unity. In SpaceShipTwo: pilots Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow.

Robert Pearlman
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From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
It looks like a great day for flying in Mojave! Our team is prepping for a SpaceShipTwo flight test today.

VSS Unity is loaded with rocket motor systems and water ballast to simulate weight and positioning. This flight test will help us prepare for future rocket-powered flights.

Take off! VMS Eve and VSS Unity have taken to the skies!

Today is the 10th flight for VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo, 234th for VMS Eve.

As part of planned rocket system checkout, VSS Unity has successfully jettisoned oxidizer while mated to VMS Eve.

VSS Unity has just been released from her mothership, VMS Eve for her 6th glide flight test.

The pilots have begun their test of the 'feather' re-entry system. The vehicle is now in the feathered configuration.

Our pilots have now returned VSS Unity to her unfeathered configuration as planned.

All looks good so far. Today we are landing at a heavier landing weight and center-of-gravity towards the back of the vehicle.

Touch down! Another smooth landing for VSS Unity. In VSS Unity today were pilots Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow.

VMS Eve has landed, completing today's test. Crew today were pilots Pecile and Masucci and flight test engineer Mosher.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-11-2018 08:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Our team is prepping for a SpaceShipTwo flight test today.VMS Eve and VSS Unity are headed out to the runway for final checks.
Today VSS Unity is loaded with water ballast to simulate weight and positioning replicating that in rocket-powered flight.

Take off! VMS Eve and VSS Unity have taken to the skies.

Today is 11th flight for VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo, 242nd for VMS Eve WhiteKnightTwo

VSS Unity has just been released from her mothership, VMS Eve for her 7th glide flight test.

Touch down! Another smooth landing for VSS Unity. In VSS Unity today were pilots Mark Stucky and Michael Masucci.

VMS Eve has landed, completing today's test. Crew today were pilots CJ Sturckow, Kelly Latimer and flight test engineer Richard Starke.

From Richard Branson on Twitter:

Exciting day for Virgin Galactic with SpaceShipTwo dropping down from 50,000 feet straight down at 0.9 Mach — (hopefully) final glide test flight.

Robert Pearlman
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From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
Our team is prepping for a SpaceShipTwo flight test today.
Take-off. VMS Eve and VSS Unity have taken to the skies.

Today is 12th flight for VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo, 246th for VMS Eve.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-05-2018 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Richard Branson on Twitter:
Virgin Galactic is in the air and planning for VSS Unity's first powered flight. Weather permitting, we could see a supersonic, vertical climb under rocket power in the next couple of hours. Watch this space!
From Virgin Galactic on Twitter:
VSS Unity has separated cleanly from VMS Eve and is flying free.

Our pilots have ignited VSS Unity's rocket motor for today's planned partial duration burn. Pointing upwards and accelerating fast.

Pilots have shut down [the] rocket motor and [are] preparing to raise tail-booms into the SpaceShipTwo "feathered" re-entry position, for the downhill run.

Feathers now lowered again and VSS Unity turning to Mojave for the glide home.

Touch down. Congratulations Mark "Forger" Stucky and Dave Mackay for a great milestone test flight.

Today VSS Unity completed her first powered flight.

WhiteKnightTwo pilots, Mike "Sooch" Masucci and Nicola Pecile have landed VMS Eve safely, completing today's important test flight.

oly
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I am curious if today's powered test flight of VSS Unity intended to complete inverted flight? As this flight topped out at 84,271ft, I would expect that full control authority would be required at this altitude.

The Virgin Galactic release states that a controlled climb at 80 degrees was conducted. The released video does not show the full flight. Is Unity designed to maintain full controlled flight, or is it designed to just tumble down, shuttlecock style, from top of climb?

Also, does Unity have any type of reaction control system for when it eventually reaches altitudes beyond aerodynamic control?


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