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Virgin Galatic Spaceship Two down in the Mojave.

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Virgin Galatic Spaceship Two down in the Mojave.

Old 31st Oct 2014, 18:44
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Virgin Galatic Spaceship Two down in the Mojave.

Just saw the video. It's down. Reports of possibly one parachute in the area.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 18:48
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BBC News - 'In-flight anomaly' on Virgin SpaceShipTwo

Reports of parts coming down after craft broke up in flight. I hope the crew managed to escape.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 18:58
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One fatality, one major injury, per California Hwy Patrol at this time.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 19:12
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Local News Coverage.

Virgin Galactic rocket explodes in flight over Mojave Desert, witness says | abc7.com
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 19:31
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Spaceship 2 Down

Sad news tonight. Most of the test team are ex-mil pilots.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo crashes during test flight - Telegraph
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 19:55
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Yes, I know one is ex-RAF and there are ex USAF and USMC pilots on the Test Team. It looks like one of the 2 pilots got out.

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Old 31st Oct 2014, 20:09
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 20:21
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If ever needed, a salutary reminder that flight test is not without risk, especially when exploring new frontiers. Very sad.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 21:07
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as a reminder, us faa ATC would have had to clear them to 50,000 feet

LA center should have tapes of this, at least the ATC portion...anyone have a link?
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 21:46
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Not good. Was on a course this year with one of the test pilots that I suspect was flying the ship today. No response from him so far.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 21:55
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It was first in flight test of nylon-nitrous oxide rocket engine...

Details of this accident can be traced on local well informed sources:
Parabolic Arc

AB some of us own TP IDcard for Mojave Space Port, while sitting most of the time on other WW locations

Last edited by 9Aplus; 31st Oct 2014 at 22:16. Reason: note to AB bellow
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 22:18
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there a large pieces on the ground, does it look like an inflight beak up?
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 22:26
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Yes, for composite construction, 3 major parts, possible
engine failure - explosion, less than 10 seconds after
inflight ignition/start.

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Old 31st Oct 2014, 22:53
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Virgin Galatic Spaceship Two down in the Mojave.

They had an explosion earlier in the program. Wonder if they ever got to the bottom of that.

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Old 31st Oct 2014, 22:54
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and to push the boundaries of commercial space for us all, funded by said celebs.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 23:19
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Sadly people die going faster and higher...

Space flight, even sub-orbital is not a low risk endeavor with speeds reaching upwards of M5.0 and untested equipment you do the math.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 23:51
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They had abandoned the engine mixture related to the 2007 accident. That engine had a rubber-based fuel (HTPB) and was being developed by a sub-contractor (Sierra Nevada Corp -- SNC).

That 2007 accident actually had nothing to do with the engine all. They were testing the flow of nitrous oxide between two tanks. No cause was ever released, but there is speculation that one of the nitrous oxide tanks was overheated in the desert sun, and the gas inside reached critical temperature.

The HTPB engine SNC was supplying had serious vibration issues with burns longer than 20 seconds.

So earlier this year, Scaled decided to abandon HTPB and take the engine design in-house. They switched to a fuel based on plastic (polyamide) and they subsequently completed several successful ground test firings with the new polyamide fuel.

Today was the first attempt to use the new polyamide fueled engine in a powered flight test.
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 00:19
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In before someone else asks it: given this was the first actual flight with the new fuel mix, could not this have been accomplished remotely with an unmanned craft?

Isn't that the way the protocol has worked previously for "non-commercial" space flights?
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 01:08
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Hybrid Rocket Engine

Regrets for the casualties, hats off to test pilots, they pay the price for progress.
Was interested in the rocket motor. It burns rubber or plastic?!! It's called a "hybrid rocket engine" as it is neither a solid nor a liquid fueled rocket. It uses a solid fuel, and a liquid or gaseous oxidizer which can be throttled. If the oxidizer is oxygen, it can't explode. However, in this case they use nitrous oxide, which has been criticized by rocket scientists as dangerous, as it can explode on its own. I'm NOT a rocket scientist, so I'm just repeating what I read. So perhaps the flame propagated backwards thru the throttle to the tank of nitrous oxide. In any case, they will figure this out and we will move forward.
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 02:30
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I believe it was the same "back then".

During the Bell X-1 flight program there were numerous rocket engine failures. In fact, on the very first X-1 powered flight (flown by Chalmers Goodlin), the engine caught on fire. Throughout the X-1 program, the rocket engine (XLR-11) caught fire on many occasions. At least one exploded in flight. On several other flights, the pilot had to jettison the propellant.

During the X-15 program, Scott Crossfield had an XLR-11 exploded on him in flight. The next summer, Scott was in the cockpit for a static ground test of the more powerful XLR-99 rocket -- which also exploded. When the XLR-99 was finally ready for its first powered flight (on a manned X-15), Scott was again the pilot. The guy had no fear.

Those X pilots were of a different breed. Same with these Scaled Composite pilots today. They got the Right Stuff, as Yeager might say.
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