Encyclopedia Astronautica
2003.07.29 - White Knight/SpaceShipOne Flight 29C / 02C


Objectives: First manned captive carry flight of SpaceShipOne. A man-in-loop launch rehearsal and inflight checkout of all ship systems including flight controls and propulsion sytem plumbing. Results: Complete full up rehearsal for SS1's first glide flight, including airspace, range control, Scaled mission control, data and video TM and high and low chase platforms.

Providing high chase was one of Burt Rutan's earlier designs - the StarShip, owned and operated by Robert Sherer. See accompanying photos in the Tier-1 Photo section for the unique formation of the Starship, Spaceship and White Knight. All SpaceShipOne's systems were exercised, including the environmental control, electrical, pneumantic and avionics. Flight control force versus displacement data was obtained to validate simulation modelling and even the space ship's feather control was exercised after cold soak at altitude. All systems performed satisfactorily including nitrous tank heating by WhiteKnight bleed air and the pilot controlled N2O dump valve.

Flight Time: 2.1 hours White Knight Pilot: Binnie Copilot: Bird SpaceShipOne Pilot: Melvill

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