Spaceshiptwo – First Glide

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDUVe3a496Y&feature=player_embedded]

Watch in high res at youtube. White Knight Two doesn’t look so large span after all. Spaceship Two is pretty wide with its outset elevons and the WK2 outer wings need to have the engines so there’s not much wing outside with the single purpose of lifting (or stopping the tip vortex). It seems both planes are really light too. Carbon fiber throughout. SS2:s wheels are really tiny. They have gone for minimum dry mass. The landing speed doesn’t seem huge even with its low aspect ratio. Maybe the size misleads. The landing is very smooth.

Of course the couple climbs out very fast even with gear out since SS2:s tank is empty and it doesn’t have the solid fuel onboard either.

I’m reminded of the lifting body research of the sixties. Who says we aren’t experiencing the golden age of aerospace right now? There’s happening interesting stuff left and right now, most of it in the more modest programs.

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