Saturday, May 30, 2009
VIRGIN SPACESHIPTWO ROCKET MOTOR TEST-FIRING
Virgin Galactic spaceline’s ambitions took another small step with the test firing of SpaceShipTwo’s hybrid rocket motor yesterday (top picture). Once cleared for flight the SS2 will be carried up to 15 km (9.3 miles) by a White Knight 2 mother plane, then will be released to fly up to the edge of space, carrying a single pilot and some very excited passengers, ready to win their astronaut’s wings.
SpaceShipTwo is a bigger version of the SpaceShipOne that won the Ansari X-Prize for commercial spaceflight in 2004. For model builders, the Estes 1:20 scale offering is a fun way to fly rockets, but is also good enough to detail up for a reasonable display model. The odd scale marks it down, though.
As for SpaceShipTwo, Fantastic Plastic is working on a 1:144 scale White Knight 2 carrier plane with SS2 rocket combo that should be a showstopper when it arrives - as planned, this will be in September. The pictures (bottom two) show the amazing design in mid-air (thanks Virgin) and work in progress on the kit. Looks good!
You can buy the Estes SpaceShipOne from Amazon here, and enjoy the amazing range of rare and weird flying machines at Fantastic Plastic here.
Picture of rocket firing by Mark Greenberg