Sunday, January 12, 2014


The third powered flight of SpaceShipTwo on January 10, 2014, took it to 71,000 feet over California's Mojave Air and Space Port:

Apart from obviously sound engineering, we are also witnessing the power of Private Enterprise. However, people should refrain from too rapidly scorning NASA for needing massive amounts of money and time to get spacecraft up while 'simple' private companies seem to be doing so almost effortlessly. SpaceShipTwo can 'tiptoe' into space but never leave Earth's attraction, that's the difference.

Still, I'm amazed at what is possible when visionary entrepreneurs with wads of cash like Branson encounter bright intuitive engineers like Rutan. I also admire the apparent simplicity and the design. Less apparent is its robustness, though it has to be strong somehow. I am actually having trouble to believe that these tail booms aren't ripped off the moment that rocket engine ignites.

This infograph gives a clear view of the highly unusual 'feather' system, designed to make SS2's reentry into the atmosphere as smooth as possible.

 photo spaceship-two-feather-mechanism-wing-2011_zpsb6434caf.jpg

Kudos to Branson, Rutan & Co!


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