Flown to 45,000ft
Flown 6.1 hours in a single flight
Pulling g’s at altitude up to 2.5g’s
Practiced putting the wheels up and down at various altitudes and speeds
Practiced a stall – meaning they shut down the engines and re-start them inflight.
Flown to a peak speed of 340 KTAS with the landing gear both up and down. This is approximately 630kph/390mph
For those interested KTAS stands for Knots True Air Speed and measures the speed of an aircraft relative to undisturbed air. You can find out more about this on Wikipedia.
Flown to 45,000ft
Virgin Galactic’s Mothership Eve, also known as WhiteKnightTwo, will make its world debut at EAA AirVenture 2009 when it arrives Monday, July 27 as part of the opening day air show. Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, the designers of WhiteKnightOne and SpaceShipOne, which won the $10 million X-Prize in 2005, will fly the space launch vehicle into Wittman Regional Airport on July 27. Visitors to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual convention will be able to view the aircraft up close on the AirVenture grounds through Saturday, Aug. 1.
The aircraft will depart on Saturday, Aug. 1, but only after it flies as part of the day’s air show. Virgin Galactic officials also hope to arrange showcase flights during the week.
I’ve been blogging about Virgin Galactic’s suborbital space flights for 2 years (hence the blog name “Space Goddess—and other worldly pursuits”) and now I have more news! You will soon have a choice of departure locales—New Mexico’s Spaceport America or Sweden’s Spaceport Sweden in Kiruna, Sweden. If you choose Sweden and depart in the winter, you could combine the space flight with some nifty (don’t you love using ’50′s words?) activities such as sleeping in the famous Ice Hotel (yes, the rooms are actually made of ice!), going dog-sledding, or catching a whale safari. If you choose New Mexico, you can travel year-round, co-ordinate your flight with the annual Balloon Festival, and have an easier time getting to the Spaceport if you live in the continental US. Also, predictions are that Spaceport America will be operational before Spaceport Sweden.
So, it’s choices, choices, choices—what’s a person to do?
I tried to think of a catchy title using words like “Wow!” or “Amazing” or “Incredible”. First of all those aren’t catchy words; in addition, they are overused; and third, they don’t adequately describe the exhiliration, the awe, and excitement I felt when I first saw Eve. Eve is very young and is the prodigy of Burt Rutan and Bob Morgan. She is sleek, sexy and a Virgin! Despite her youth she is already a mother. Immaculate conception? Hardly!
Who is Eve? Her full name is VMS Eve and she is Virgin Galactic’s new mothership! Introduced in late July to the press and to Astronauts who have already made a reservation to experience Space, Eve and I met on August 15th. As one of the 47 original Accredited Space Agents in the US and 1 of fewer than 100 ASA’s worldwide, Virgin Galactic flew us to Mojave, California to view firsthand the new mothership. By the way, Eve was named after Sir Richard Branson’s mother, Eve!
We landed at Scaled Composites and were greeted and hosted by Burt Rutan, winner of the Ansari X Prize in 2004. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Rutan. We met Bob Morgan, lead engineer for the project (who, as a young child, lived for a very short time in my home town, Highland Park, Il), several other important team members and Brian Binnie, test pilot, who flew Spaceship1 on her second flight to Space, securing the Ansari X Prize.
In addition to the excitement of watching history in the making, I was struck by the humility of all the team. When Burt, Bob, and Brian did Q & A with us, they talked in plain English. They stressed the team effort and how all participants are familiar with all phases of the design, build, and soon-to-happen testing. I was inspired by the lack of ego and the sense of true community.
I had my picture taken with Eve and as soon as I get it, I’ll post it here! Meanwhile, here are 2 photos—one from the initial rollout in July and one of all of the ASA’s on August 15th!
Friday, August 15th, marks a big day for me and several other ASA’s (Accredited Space Agents)! We will be flown to Mojave, California, to the home of Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites to view Virgin Galactic’s newly unveiled mothership, VMS Eve (named after Sir Richard Branson’s mother).
ASAs from around the world will gather for a morning of training in Las Vegas, followed by a charter flight to Mojave Spaceport/Airport and our first up close and personal inspection of this amazing aircraft, whose existence brings space tourism out of “Future” and into “Now!” It’s tangible, it’s real, and I’d be happy to help you reserve a seat on the Enterprise to visit our newest exotic destination, Space!
I just checked the website, www.kcur.org , and noticed that the topic for Tuesday’s show is “odd” jobs. Unusual, perhaps—cutting edge, most definitely—but, “odd”???? Maybe they are just describing me and not what I do—you think?