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SpaceShipOne performs seventh glide flight
Posted: Tue, Dec 9, 2003, 1:58 PM ET (1858 GMT)
SpaceShipOne on 7th glide flight (Scaled Composites) SpaceShipOne (SS1), the suborbital RLV under developed by Scaled Composites, performed its seventh glide test late last week and showed signs of getting closer to powered flight tests. The glide test took place on December 4, when SS1, piloted by Brian Binnie, separated from its White Knight carrier aircraft at an altitude of 14,700 meters. SS1 performed a set of maneuvers during the flight, including a 4-g pull-up and stability tests. The vehicle also performed a "full functional check" of its propulsion system by cold flowing nitrous oxide oxidizer during the flight. "All propulsion components, displays and functionality performed as designed," the company noted in a description of the flight on its web site. Nitrous oxide is used with a solid fuel for the vehicle's hybrid propulsion system, although no ignition of the engine took place during this flight. The test, however, suggests that an in-flight engine test may take place in the near future.
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