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Virgin Galactic SpaceShip 2 Test Flight Crash 2014-10-31

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by HVM, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. HVM

    HVM Savolainen

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  2. BlueTan85

    BlueTan85 Member

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    one random tweet says craft disintegrated. no official news yet.
     
  3. HVM

    HVM Savolainen

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    #3 HVM, Oct 31, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
    "Chutes deployed according to sources"
    (Quest for Stars)

    "Cannot confirm if this is related, but Kern County (CA) police scanner report of a downed aircraft and a helicopter being sent out to search for a parachute. Police report of wreckage being seen north of a lake... something is down."

    (Scott from NSF)

    "Listening to scanner, medivac aircraft mentions 1 survivor, 1 'outstanding'"

    (Lee Barber)
     
  4. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Hope they have backups...
     
  5. HVM

    HVM Savolainen

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    UPDATE:Virgin Galactic's partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today. During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. WK2 landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots, which is unknown at this time. We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP.

    https://twitter.com/virgingalactic

    ss2.jpg
     
  6. Stoneymonster

    Stoneymonster Active Member

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    Reports indicating one pilot found dead in seat (ejection seat?), one with major injuries medevaced. Very sad.
     
  7. hockeythug

    hockeythug Active Member

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    #8 hockeythug, Oct 31, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  8. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Not looking like a good week in aerospace...very sad.
     
  9. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    That debris looks to be too far apart for it to have hit the ground in one piece. Metal fatigue? An explosion?

    Anyway, very sad.
     
  10. CliffG

    CliffG Member

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    sounds like engine exploded.
     
  11. HVM

    HVM Savolainen

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    #12 HVM, Oct 31, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
     
  12. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Thanks HVM for keeping us updated.

    Such a tragedy. Honestly, it's surprising to me that they would need onboard human pilots in this day and age to test a new rocket engine. For the level of risk involved, you'd think that SpaceShip 2 would have automated test flights. I can't imagine trying to punch out at that level of thrust.
     
  13. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

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    agreed, doesn't space-X do engine testing on unmanned rockets?

    Seems like a no brainer with the modern cameras, radios, and computers we have now. Heck they did remote telemetry back in the 1960s got to be able to do better now.
     
  14. HVM

    HVM Savolainen

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  15. Stoneymonster

    Stoneymonster Active Member

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    SpaceX doesn't have manned rockets currently so yeah. This is a suborbital spaceplane, designed for space tourism, I think manned testing is important for a variety of reasons.
     
  16. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Actual in-operation manned flight is important, and manned test flights are also important. But I should think that tests at this level for this purpose (a different fuel mixture in a newer engine) should not be manned. It feels like an unnecessary risk.
     
  17. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    The journalist on the other end of the phone line in the CNN report, Joel Glenn Brenner, who has followed this story since Space Ship One days, was extremely upset about what she perceives as a gap between the enthusiasm of the Virgin Galactic team and the 'level of technology' they have employed in pursuit of the dream of commercial space tourism. She minced no words, saying that even if this flight had been successful, there is no way this particular type of engine would have succeeded in powering SS2 into space.
     
  18. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    That doesn't negate the importance of the test. Demonstrating even incremental improvements can provide valuable data. However, I question (and I assume Ms. Brenner does too) the necessity to risk human lives for these tests given the level of automation technology that currently exists.
     
  19. rabar10

    rabar10 FFE until Model 3

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    The SS2 rocket is a hybrid style, with a liquid oxidizer and a solid fuel. I believe this was the first flight test of a new solid fuel formulation for the SS2 hybrid rocket.

    There are some interesting points made in the Wikipedia article on hybrid rockets:
    SS2 does use nitrous oxide as the liquid oxidizer.
     

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