Martlet 0 is a prototype of the rocket CU Spaceflight are developing to launch from a balloon to outer space (100km+). The prototype is custom built from carbon fibre and kevlar and was launched at the EARS rocketry site to just under 9,000ft and a speed of around Mach 1 (760mph), close to its predicted performance. The launch used a commercial 'J-class' solid rocket fuel motor due to altitude limitations at the launch site, but is designed for rocket motors with three times the power. The rocket had onboard GPS, radio tracking and dual parachutes, which made for an easy recovery.
Bob Richards and Michael Potter on Manx Radio in December 2008. The conversation ranges from Potter's new movie, "Orphans of Apollo" to Phoenix on Mars to why commercial space efforts like Odyssey Moon are critical to getting humanity to be a multi-planet species.
Given that the possibility of a dedicated British space agency seems more likely now than it has been for many years (more of which later), it's about time we came out with some decent, inspiring videos to promote the idea of a more ambitious space programme to the British public.
Image credit: Bill Deaver, Mojave Desert News
Congratulations to everyone at Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic for a successful first test flight of the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft prototype 'VMS Eve', a milestone achievement in the development of their suborbital space tourism system. The aircraft flew for about an hour, departing the Mojave spaceport runway at roughly 8:17 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Sunday, safely touching down at approximately 9:17 a.m. PST.
"And here we are on a Sunday morning...in a place out here in the middle of nowhere and really neat stuff is happening. It just looked beautiful," said spaceport general manager Stuart Witt. "What brings people to this desolate landscape on a Sunday morning in December is more about what forced them here. Innovation by the private sector is a void being filled because NASA deserted 90 percent of the sandbox and left it open for us to fill."
Also watching the flight was test pilot Dick Rutan, brother of Scaled Composites founder and CTO Burt Rutan. "It all went well...all the big things worked well," Rutan told SPACE.com. "Overall, 99 percent on target and everybody is really happy. You get an airplane that's this weird and get it up and get it down...and it's safe on deck."
Exclusive video by Hyperbola shows the Virgin Galactic carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo taxiing down the runway under its own power at Mojave Spaceport on the afternoon of Friday 12th. Engineering tests are still ongoing on the aircraft (note that the inboard engine pylon covers are removed). Comments by Alan Radecki at Mojave suggest that the first flight tests may take place imminently.