Encyclopedia Astronautica
2003.11.19 - White Knight/SpaceShipOne Flight 41L/09G


Objectives: The sixth glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Test pilot Mike Melvill's first flight with the enlarged tails. Emergency aft CG handling qualities eval and simulated landing exercise with the new tail configuration. Airspeed and G envelop expansion and dynamic feather evaluation.

Results: Launch conditions were 48,300 feet and 115 knots. Satisfactory vehicle handling characteristics at the emergency CG limit. Melvill reported improved stability, improved control powers and improved stick forces throughout the flight profile. The feather was extended after a 3G pull-up to the vertical at 30,000 feet. The vehicle recovered to a stable attitude and descent after a few mild oscillations. The landing pattern was flown at a higher airspeed than previous flights which allowed for a more controlled flare and landing at the nominal touchdown point.

Flight Time: 2.1 hours / 12 mins 25 secs White Knight Pilot: Binnie White Knight Copilot: Bird White Knight Flt Engineer: SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill High Chase-Starship Pilot: Siebold Low Chase-Duchess Pilot: Coleman / Stinemetze

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