Encyclopedia Astronautica
2003.08.07 - White Knight/SpaceShipOne Flight 30L / 03G


Objectives: First glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Results: The space ship was launched at 47,000 feet and 105 knots, 10 nm east of Mojave. Separation was clean and positive with no tendency to roll off or pitch bobble. An initial handling qualities evaluation was very positive, supported close correlation to the vehicle simulator and with that confidence, the first flight test cards were executed as planned.

The flight provided handling quality and performance data over 60% of the expected subsonic flight envelope from stall to 150 knots. Trim sensitivity, stick forces, control harmony and L/D performance were all as expected. The on-board avionics and energy management cueing displays performed flawlessly, the gear extension rapid, and the vehicle made a smooth touchdown at 7:56 local on Runway 30 at Mojave. The entire flight, from launch to landing, was viewable from the ground and SpaceShipOne with its unique planform was intriguing to watch as it cut gracefully through the air and was put through its paces. See photos in the Tier-1 section. A special thanks to Robert Scherer, www.bobscherer.com for his flight test support and his beautiful Starship that provided primary chase for this milestone event.

Flight Time: 1.1 hours / 19 minutes White Knight Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Bird SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill

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