TG Daily – Maiden flight of Burt Rutan’s WhiteKnightTwo at Mojave

Mojave (CA) – Following low-speed maneuvers earlier this month at the Mojave air and spaceport yesterday, Burt Rutan’s next generation privately funded spaceship, called SpaceShipTwo, has been brought one step closer to reality. It’s mother ship, called WhiteKnightTwo, which will carry SpaceShipTwo, took off yesterday with her maiden flight.

The sub-orbital aircraft has four Pratt and Whitney engines. During earlier testing, only two engines were fired. However, following slow ramp-ups to higher speeds and a nose-lift the day before, yesterday the aircraft took to the air.

  1. hawks5999 says:

    Won’t they be surprised to find out that they are really at Windows Vista?

  2. Brian says:

    Good one Hawk…
    It would be interesting to see if this project actually work for a few years without fatalities. Maybe then – and after prices come down – they can convert the flights to commercial ones across the globe. Then you can do a 15 hours flight in 3 hours.

  3. soundwash says:

    woohoo! can’t wait to see the next chapter
    in Rutan’s dream come to fruition.

    -tears came to my eyes when SpaceShip One successfully went suborbital on the second run.

    (lets hear it for ping pong ball backup systems!)

    this is probably the only “true spirit” of the American entrepreneurial dream left..

    -seems everything else in the long run has turned out be some form of vaporware wrapped up political deceit and corruption.

    Go Rutan!


  4. deowll says:

    Best wishes to them. I thank NASA has kind of gotten lost somewhere.

  5. Buzz says:

    What is not so apparent is that by building these craft, Rutan and company have nearly cornered the market on experience with non-standard construction techniques.

    Rutan is a national treasure. He is out-NASAing NASA.

  6. Mac Guy says:

    #4 – I disagree. NASA still does a lot of amazing things that don’t wind up on the front page. The media doesn’t seem to care much about the various Mars missions anymore, almost as if it should now be “routine.” Who else has been able to send a probe off to Mars or Saturn after slingshotting it around the sun a couple of times and have it arrive with the accuracy of less than a kilometer?

    NASA’s big downfall is that they have so frequently succeeded in missions that were once considered impossible, they have set the bar very high for themselves, opening themselves to criticism from armchair quarterbacks who know nothing of physics, aerodynamics or jet propulsion.

  7. soundwash says:

    #6 -the only reason NASA still exists is because
    their is a military component to each and every mission.. ever wonder why it takes days for them to reach the ISS?

    NASA may have started with good intentions but every since we scraped the space weapons ban treaty NASA is just a shadow of it’s former self..

    sadly, the fact that we do not even have replacement shuttles until 2015 at the earliest
    (with current fleet due to retire in 2010)
    speaks loudly of it’s (lack of) future..

    imo, Rutan has (and the Russians) have proven that NASA’s main goal is to waste money. -just imagine how much further along we as a species would be if we had cut the cold-war bullshit and allowed ourselves to design space vehicles with Russia..

    Like #5 said, “Rutan is a national treasure”

    -lets hope he is *allowed* to outpace NASA. -and not have all his designs stolen and suppressed in the name of national security..


  8. bobbo says:

    I agree Rutan has done some great things but building a rich person’s taxi to the boundry of outer space isn’t one of them.

    Neither is the shuttle program.

    Neither was putting a window into the first trashcan the astronauts rode like monkeys into space.

    Shoulda been robots so SkyNet could get the appropriate funding.

  9. brendal says:

    I used to do PR for P&W – one of the last solid corp’s left in the US.

  10. Buzz says:

    I didn’t mean that NASA is coming up short. It’s just that the entrepreneurial spirit is so incredibly high in Rutan. The guy is out of the box and off the charts.

    As others point out, there is a huge amount of stuff NASA routinely accomplishes that is below the public radar. If you want to assign blame, look to your local congress people or soon to be former administration.

    NASA hasn’t lost its way. The way was swiped out from under its feet.


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