Virgin's SpaceShipTwo Gets Green Light for Powered Tests
The SpaceShipTwo commercial spaceship and its launch vehicle, WhiteKnightTwo, shown here in glide test flights, have received FAA permission for experimental, rocket-powered, suborbital launch tests. (Source: Virgin Galactic)
Another important step in space exploration and in cultivating a commercial market. Is the testing of the aerodynamics of the SpaceShipTwo primarily done in simulation? I would imagine there is some heavy duty CFD processing going on.
You may be correct about the CFD processing going on Beth, but these guys may also be at the stage where they just need to light off rockets and see if they can avoid blowing up.
It is good to see the commercial space business making progress. With SpaceX and Virgin Galactic making progress we can finally get the government out of this. I worked for many years in the business for a contractor. We would be much further along if privatization had come along much earlier.
Beth, it's unlikely that Scaled Composites is still at the stage of testing aerodynamics, especially since there were predecessor prototypes for both the spaceship, SpaceShipOne, and the launch vehicle, WhiteKnightOne. As naperlou says, these new tests are to ensure it can fly under power.
Ok, that makes sense given where they are in the development cycle. But in terms of testing aerodynamics, it's pretty late in the game to make major changes, so this is all about minor adjustments and proving out the structural design.
Ann, Cryogenic is a type of rocket engines which uses fuels in liquid stage (Compressed gas) at a very low temperature (Below -200 degree Celsius). The main advantages of cryogenic engines are it can carry more pay loads. Booster rockets are multi stage rockets, which can be used for a short duration with small pay loads. Normally they are used in initial stage of space vehicles, to create extra thrust against the gravitational forces.
My question is about what types of engines are using in virgin space ship (Is it a cryogenic based or only with booster rockets)
Mydesign, thanks for the clarification. My interest here has been in materials for the structure, not on engine types, so I don't know whether Virgin has released that information. Perhaps there are details on their website or on Scaled Composites' website, which the article gives links to.
Ann, It seems extremely likely that Spaceshiptwo has been having some aerodynamic work done. Its last flight was in Sept, and it departed controlled flight. Normally a long delay like this would imply some significant issue(s) had to be addressed.
silveradocyn, SS2 may well have some re-engineering being done for aerodynamics, but it seemed to me that, as Beth said, it's pretty late to be doing major changes to the structural design. I had originally said it therefore seemed unlikely that it Scaled Composites would have gone all the way back to the heavy-duty CFD that Beth was originally suggesting. Do you have other info you can share with us?
Naperlou agreed, it's going to be extremely interesting to see how the private side of space exploration progresses and how fast.Already, with the Virgin entry, we see thinking "out of the box".(I hate that phrase but it certainly think applies here.)I would be very disappointed if the only ultimate result was tourism but it's a good beginning.There must be some quick method to recoup the investment and this is a very good way to initiate that ROI.I am particularly interested in the carbon structures used in the fabrication.To me this is really fascinating.