Has Scaled made further WK2 rudder changes?

by | Jul 22, 2009 | Personal spaceflight, Space tourism, Suborbital, Virgin Galactic, White Knight | 0 comments

Has Scaled Composites made further changes to the rudder of its WhiteKnight Two prototype Eve?

In the company’s online log for its WK2 prototype’s flight test 13 it says: “Eval control surface mods, Eval pitot probe relocation, Intstrument approach practice, Pilot LOA practice.”

Hyperbola contacted Virgin Galactic and was told by its president Will Whitehorn: “minor refinements [made to control surfaces were] based on learning to date.”

Asked which control surfaces had been modified, Whitehorn said: “this is commercially sensitive as it is and Scaled don’t give a running commentary to their competitors, that’s all they wish to say.”

In its 23 April statement Scaled Composites stated that “We concluded the rudder aerodynamic modification tasks following flight 3.”The statement followed Flightglobal’s 21 April exclusive report of a tail strike by Eve which Scaled clarified with its 23 April statement was caused by an idle engine mis-setting giving more power to one engine

During the incident the aircraft was seen to employ full right rudder but it took an increase in thrust from the left engine to correct a growing port bank as the prototype was carrying out a touch and go manoeuvre at Mojave air and spaceport

Virgin Galactic has stated that it wants to carry customers on WK2s for their training and so they can witness the launch of SpaceShip Twos prior to their own flight

The US Federal Aviation Administration told Hyperbola that WK2 would have to be certified for passenger flight for any activity beyond its operation as a launch platform for SpaceShip Two

One of the requirements for certification for passenger aircraft is that the rudder can compensate for just the situation that Eve was involved in, a thrust imbalance

So the question is, is Scaled making further changes to its rudder when it said it would not and are the changes to make the mothership ready for certification?

Mojave sources have told Hyperbola that WK2 has been seen flying what appeared to be a airshow routine three times, indicating that the LOA acronym in the test flight update refers to limited operations area, i.e. an airshow box

This will be in preparation for its demonstration flights at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture airshow which Mojave sources believe could see a Viking departure (going vertical immediately after take-off) demonstrated by the mothership – due to what has been witnessed during recent test flights

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

What’s Next for Space Exploration in 2023 and Beyond

Much changed on Earth and in space during 2022. In July the James Webb Telescope, the largest optical telescope in Read more

Blue Origin launches sixth space tourism sub-orbital flight

After a brief delay Blue Origin has successfully launched its sixth crewed sub-orbital flight. The launch took place at 1357 Read more

Iran’s Zoljanah 1 (Zuljanah 1) rocket launches for second time on suborbital flight

Iran's Zoljanah 1 (Zuljanah 1) rocket launched for a second time on a suborbital flight on 26 June 2022. The Read more

Blue Origin completes fifth human “crewed” suborbital mission

Blue Origin successfully launched its suborbital vehicle New Shepard NS-21 from Texas, USA at 1325 GMT on 4 June 2022. Read more

Suborbital space: New Shepard NS-20 launches six more space travellers

On 31 March a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket and capsule on flight NS-20 launched from the Earth ("Launch Site Read more

North Korea makes two suborbital launches to test out satellite technology (Corrected)

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) aka North Korea,  announced the nation had conducted the second of two suborbital Read more

Billionaire Jared Isaacman works with SpaceX to provide private Polaris spacewalk missions

Jared Isaacman, the US billionaire who recently funded a part-charity human space mission called Inspiration4 which flew into orbit on Read more

Soyuz MS-20 returns ending 12-day space tourism mission

The crew of Soyuz MS-20 closed the hatch for the last time on 19 December 2021 at 1932 GMT. They Read more

Categories

Archives