Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane did a successful gliding test Edited by News Staff / December 12, 2013 11:07 Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane did a successful gliding test on Wednesday Dec. 11 that should help set the stage for more ambitious flights to come.The craft is designed to be set loose from a mothership called WhiteKnightTwo and then fire up its hybrid rocket engine to push upward to the edge of outer space, more than 62 miles 100 kilometers up.No engine was used during Wednesday’s unpowered test, but the crew did test an upgraded system for dumping the plane’s oxidizer. That’s one of the safety measures that would be used if the plane experienced a problem in flight.Virgin Galactic’s Twitter stream indicated that WhiteKnightTwo took off from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port just before 9 a.m. PT noon ET and released SpaceShipTwo about 45 minutes later from an altitude of roughly 50,000 feet. The unpowered craft made an 11-minute gliding descent back to its landing in Mojave.The interior surfaces of SpaceShipTwo’s twin tail booms were covered with reflective Kapton plastic film, marking the plane’s first flight with that feature. “The reflective coating is being tested as a method to maintain the temperatures on the vehicle’s skin when SpaceShipTwo’s rocket motor is firing, further reducing the heat loads on the reusable vehicle,” Jessica Ballard, a spokeswoman for Virgin Galactic, told NBC News in an email.Wednesday’s flight was also a first for Mike “Sooch” Masucci, a former U-2 pilot who joined Virgin Galactic’s aviation corps this year. Masucci took his first turn in SpaceShipTwo’s cockpit — alongside Scaled Composites test pilot Mark Stucky, who has flown SpaceShipTwo 19 times.SpaceShipTwo is in the midst of a test program that could lead to honest-to-goodness spaceflights early next year from Mojave, and the start of commercial service later in the year at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The current price of a ticket is $250,000, and more than 600 customers have made reservations. The passenger list includes such celebrities as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Hawking, reported NBC news.See slide show http://www.nbcnews.com/slideshow/news/the-making-of-spaceshiptwo-34274540
Dubai Air Show: Boeing leads order books race
Airlines in the Gulf have placed a number of high-value plane orders on the first day of the Dubai Air Show, with US giant Boeing a major winner.
Dubai-based Emirates airline placed an order for 150 of Boeing’s new 777 mini-jumbos, in a $76bn (£47bn) deal.
Other orders from Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Lufthansa for some 109 of the new 777, previously codenamed 777X, brought its sales total to $95bn.
Emirates has also ordered 50 Airbus A380s, in a deal worth $23bn.
The airline is already the biggest customer of the A380 and the new deal will bring its total orders for the plane to 140.
And local rival Etihad Airways has also announced a firm order for 87 Airbus aircraft – some 50 A350 XWBs, 36 A320neo aircraft and one A330-200F as part of its fleet modernisation strategy.
The deal – valued at $19bn – includes options for 30 more planes.
- Dubai prepares for take-off (bbc.co.uk)
Etihad boss: Europe flights deal is \’win-win scenario\’2 hours ago
Abu Dhabi\’s Etihad Airways is to become the first Gulf carrier to have its brand flying between European destinations after it bought a stake in Darwin Airline.
The small Swiss regional carrier has agreed to brand its own planes as \’Etihad Regional\’ and sport the Gulf carrier\’s paint – thereby marking a turning point in global aviation strategy.
Speaking at the Dubai Air Show, Etihad president James Hogan told the BBC\’s Simon Atkinson why the deal made sense.
Dubai Air Show: Boeing leads order books race
- Darwin Airline To Become Etihad Regional (airliners.net)
- Why Etihad is looking to the Balkans (bbc.co.uk)
- Gulf Airlines Dropped $100 Billion In 15 Minutes At The Dubai Airshow (businessinsider.com)
- Boeing: Record 777X order placed in Dubai (nzherald.co.nz)
The new fire related event at London’s Heathrow is terrible for the Dreamliner, any event involving fire and the 787 is going to be a PR disaster for Boeing. Because of the battery issue, the public is even more sensitive to what that happen to the Dreamliner.
Even if they are normal, benign teething problems, that subtlety is going to be lost on the public.
The Ethiopian Airlines jet which caught fire in London was the first of the delivered 787 fleet to resume flight after the battery-related grounding. The 787-8, tail number ET-AOP, was the first delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on Nov. 20, 2012, and is named “Queen of Sheba”.
It arrived at Heathrow from Addis Ababa in the early hours of Friday, according to the Flightaware.com monitoring site. The plane was due to make the return journey later on Friday.
Asked whether the incident could lead to the renewed grounding of 787s, a spokesman for Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said decisions on the airworthiness of particular models of plane were made by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
An EASA spokesman said it was too early to say whether the aircraft would be grounded again