Encyclopedia Astronautica
2003.05.20 - White Knight/SpaceShipOne Flight 24C / 01C


Objectives: First captive carry flight with mated White Knight and SpaceShipOne. Vibration and aerodynamic interface assessment. Mated handling qualities evaluation. Envelope expansion to 130 knots / Mach 0.5 above 45,000 feet. Stalls and 2/3-rudder sideslips. SpaceShipOne systems inactive, controls locked and cabin unmanned. Launch system was qualified and functional for this flight.

Results: Excellent two-ship stability & control throughout the envelope. No interference or vibration issues. Smooth surface flows on SS1 except around rocket nozzle. Two-ship performance was as predicted. Mach .53 was achieved at 48,000 ft. Climb rate at 48,000 ft was 700 ft/min. Envelope was cleared for future manned captive carry and glide flights. Next flight should be a manned captive carry in which all SpaceShipOne systems (except rocket propulsion) will be tested at altitudes up to 50,000 ft. If successful, the glide flights will follow soon, since the systems preparation and pilot training requirements are the same.

Flight Time: 1.8 hours Pilot: Siebold Copilot: Binnie

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