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Wed, Oct 08, 2003

Scaled Composites Aborts Test Flight After Stall

Stall Characteristics "Worse Than Predicted"

The Latest Flight Test Description From Scaled Composites:

Third glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Aft CG flying qualities and performance evaluation of the space ship in both the glide and re-entry or "feather" mode. Glide envelope expansion to 95% airspeed, 100% alpha and beta and 70% loadfactor. More aggressive post stall maneuvering and spin control as a glider and while feathered. Nitrous temperature control during climb to altitude and performance of upgraded landing gear extension mechanism and space-worthy gear doors.

Launch conditions were 46,800 feet and 115 knots and produced a clean separation. First stall entry maneuver resulted in an un-commanded nose rise before reaching the wing stall angle of attack.

Lateral/directional controls were used in conjunction with forward stick to affect recovery. This aft-cg stall characteristic was worse than predicted and will likely require aero modifications to fix. The feather entry was not explored and the rest of the glide flight used to assess the handling qualities of the vehicle leading to an uneventful landing.

The White Knight's heating system was able to keep the Spaceship's nitrous oxidizer conditioned during climb, such that the maximum N2O pressure variation was less than 6 psi.

FMI: www.scaled.com

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