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Thread: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

  1. #31
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius46 View Post
    Friend you don't know what you're talking about. Flight test is a dangerous business. It always has been. Hundreds of military test pilots have died testing aircraft. NASA lost how many people over the years? Putting someone in a tube and accelerating it to hundreds or thousands of miles an hour, miles above the surface is inherently dangerous. Add to that the variables of a new design and it becomes an order of magnitude more dangerous. That's the nature of the beast and it doesn't matter in the least who's writing the check.

    Sure, but the technology used in this aircraft is not new at all. It should have been no more dangerous then any other maiden flight of any other aircraft. Its not like they were flying the first airplane ever made. This technology has been available for decades and it has been used safely for decades. What they are doing is not new at all.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Capster78 View Post
    The reason why people died in the NASA program is directly due to the reduction in NASA's budget. They had to start using the shuttle as a tool to raise revenue for the program because the government was not supplying enough funding to keep the program afloat. NASA started cutting corners to save money, and that is why those people died.
    I guess you never heard of the Apollo 1 disaster either, you know at the time when NASA's budget was unlimited...

    But I digress, youve actually backed up my point about NASA being subjected to the whims of politics- so how does that exactly make them any safer?

  3. #33
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    What failure rate do you feel is acceptable on a passenger aircraft? They were planning on actual passengers next year! What do you think the survival rate would have been? 1 in 10?

    If you have a major design change, and 5 months later it fails on the first test, then my first thought is why the hell were you flight testing after only 5 months?

    How long was the Osprey in flight testing? What about the F-35? F-22? Years... And that's on programs that were much better funded and much more willing to accept risk. (A failure of a Military aircraft is typically much more acceptable.. and more frequent... than that of a commercial one.)
    This isn't an ordinary passenger craft A) and it sure as hell doesn't fly in the same regime B). Guess what they gona have to move their certs and passenger flights back. Part of the deal. This isn't anywhere close to and ordinary deal. We are talking NASA **** here. How often do we blow up rockets that we have had experience building for over 70 years? Quite frequently compared to passenger or military aircraft. How many astronauts have we lost in the shuttle program alone? You know NO clue what is trying to be done and how cutting edge this **** is. This bleeding edge **** doing. This is despite the fact we did it with an X-15 decades ago.

    What is there supposed to be some required time delay between design change and testing? Last I checked that sort of stuff was ready when its ready. They thought they had all the bugs worked out and decided to test the plane. Guess what? The plane failed the test. Time to learn what happened and then fix it. That's why tests are done. But yet again you fail to understand this concept. Boeing designs their passenger planes on computers and does simulations on computers and they get it pretty close. There a couple of reasons for that. One is the flight regime that the plane is being designed for is and has been extensively studied with volumes of data. This means with that acquired data they can for ordinary circumstances make a very accurate predictive model of the plane and it performance characteristics in various configurations. Second they are refining a design plan not making a completely new plan with very different characteristics. Now contrast this with what Virgin Galactic and Rutan are doing, completely new design with new flight regimes and characteristics. There is very little data comparatively speaking for the regime they are flying versus the flight regime a Boeing 777 is going to fly. Hell versus a Concords or Tu144s flight regimes there is very little data. This means their flight models are by default going to be less accurate than Boeing and their 777. Bleeding edge means you are gathering data as you test. That's what these guys are doing. This is as much a science and engineering project as it is test bed for space going passenger flights.
    Semper Fidelis, Semper Liber.
    I spit at lots of people through my computer screen. Not only does it "teach them a lesson" but it keeps the screen clean and shiny.
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    Here's a writeup a few weeks before the accident:
    Still looking up: former Nasa chief who now nurtures Virgin

    Spaceship 1 suffered potentially life threatening disasters on 2 of 6 flights. In 2007, an explosion during testing killed 3 engineers. That's catastrophic or near catastrophic failures on 3 of 10 flights and their testing has killed 4 people.

    I think the most important quote of the article is this

    To borrow a phrase, there's a reason no one thinks marketing is rocket science.
    Virgin Galactic is a marketing company. Rutan is an engineering company with a very long history every bit as good as Boeing or Lockheed's. Scaled Composites - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is the name of the company and they are owned by Grumman now, itself a very reputable firm.

    The aircraft they designed as Rutan Aircraft Factory
    Model 27 VariViggen (1972)
    Model 31 VariEze (1975)
    Model 32 VariViggen SP (1973)
    Model 33 VariEze (1976)
    Model 35 AD-1 (1979)
    Model 40/74 Defiant (1978)
    Model 54 Quickie (1978)
    Model 61 Long-EZ (1979)
    Model 68 AMSOIL Racer (1981)
    Model 73 NGT: Three-fifths scale model of Fairchild T-46 trainer (1981)
    Model 72 Grizzly (1982)
    Model 76 Voyager: First aircraft to circumnavigate the Earth non-refueled, non-stop (1986)
    Model 77 Solitaire (1982)

    The aircraft and prototypes and world record setters they built as Scaled Composites.

    Model 115 Starship: 85% scale prototype, went into production as the Beechcraft Model 2000 Starship (1982)
    B-2 Spirit: Scale model pole-mounted B-2 for radar cross section tests[citation needed]
    Model 133 ATTT (1987) tandem-wing STOL transport
    Model 81 Catbird (1988) five-seat single-engine aircraft
    Model 143 Triumph: Built for Beechcraft (1988)
    IAI Searcher: longer-winged version of Pioneer UAV (1988)[citation needed]
    Model TRA324 Scarab: Developed for Teledyne Ryan, now Northrop Grumman (1988)
    DC-X: Constructed the structural aeroshell and control surfaces under contract to McDonnell Douglas
    Model 151 ARES (1990)
    Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket: Wings, fins for air launch rocket (1990)
    Model 158 Pond Racer: Built for air racer Bob Pond (1990)
    Bell Eagle Eye: Tilt-rotor demonstrator aircraft for Bell Helicopter (1993)
    Model 202 Boomerang: Asymmetric 5 seat aircraft
    Model 205, first preliminary design for airlaunch of a booster rocket heavier than 500,000 pounds (230,000 kg) (1991)[6]
    Model 206, second preliminary design for heavy airlaunch (1991)[6]
    Model 247 Vantage: Developed for VisionAire (1996)
    Model 271 V-Jet II: Developed for Williams International (1997)[citation needed]
    Model 276 NASA X-38: fuselage of drop test vehicle (1998)
    Model 281 Proteus (1998)
    Roton ATV (1999)
    Model 287 NASA ERAST: R/C model for proof of concept of 85,000 ft (26,000 m) UAV
    Model 309 Adam M-309: Prototype for the Adam A500 (2000)
    Model 326 Northrop Grumman X-47A (2001)
    Model 302 Toyota TAA-1 (2002)
    Tier One (2003) Model 316 SpaceShipOne: The first privately built spacecraft.
    Model 318 White Knight: The launch vehicle for SpaceShipOne.

    Model 311 Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer: Same mission as Voyager, except a solo flight using a jet engine (2004)
    Tier 1b (2008) Model 339 SpaceShipTwo:[7] The successor to SpaceShipOne
    Model 348 WhiteKnightTwo:[7] The successor to White Knight

    Stratolaunch carrier aircraft (Model 351), world's largest wingspan aircraft[8]
    Model 367 BiPod (2011) A hybrid electric roadable aircraft.
    USAF Hunter-Killer project (2007?) in cooperation with Northrop Grumman Model 395: Proposed unmanned version of Model 281, equipped with armament
    Model 396: Smaller version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, equipped with armament

    SpaceShipThree: The name of the proposed next iteration of Scaled Composites' manned spacecraft series.[9]
    LauncherOne: The orbital launch vehicle now under development for Virgin Galactic,[10] based on the technology from the SpaceShip series of Scaled Composites.[11]

    External Projects - Aircraft[edit]
    US flight based testing and evaluation of the GippsAero GA8 Airvan manufactured by GippsAero of Victoria, Australia, including flight evaluation of the external belly cargo pod

    This isn't amateur hour in Mojave. They know their ****.
    Semper Fidelis, Semper Liber.
    I spit at lots of people through my computer screen. Not only does it "teach them a lesson" but it keeps the screen clean and shiny.
    Stolen fair and square from the Capt. Courtesey himself.

  5. #35
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Thanks to Pirate for mopping the floor.

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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    Thanks to Pirate for mopping the floor.
    Thank you.

    I am in a related business (drones/ UAV's) as partner, so I know a thing or two about the company and as they are local with good simulation equipment I contract them to help with my airframes. What is a especially helpful is they are very used to dealing with the very esoteric stuff, which means they have a very broad experience and can work weird bugs out of designs relatively quickly.
    Semper Fidelis, Semper Liber.
    I spit at lots of people through my computer screen. Not only does it "teach them a lesson" but it keeps the screen clean and shiny.
    Stolen fair and square from the Capt. Courtesey himself.

  7. #37
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    Virgin Galactic is a marketing company. Rutan is an engineering company with a very long history every bit as good as Boeing or Lockheed's. Scaled Composites - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is the name of the company and they are owned by Grumman now, itself a very reputable firm.

    The aircraft they designed as Rutan Aircraft Factory
    Model 27 VariViggen (1972)
    Model 31 VariEze (1975)
    Model 32 VariViggen SP (1973)
    Model 33 VariEze (1976)
    Model 35 AD-1 (1979)
    Model 40/74 Defiant (1978)
    Model 54 Quickie (1978)
    Model 61 Long-EZ (1979)
    Model 68 AMSOIL Racer (1981)
    Model 73 NGT: Three-fifths scale model of Fairchild T-46 trainer (1981)
    Model 72 Grizzly (1982)
    Model 76 Voyager: First aircraft to circumnavigate the Earth non-refueled, non-stop (1986)
    Model 77 Solitaire (1982)

    The aircraft and prototypes and world record setters they built as Scaled Composites.

    Model 115 Starship: 85% scale prototype, went into production as the Beechcraft Model 2000 Starship (1982)
    B-2 Spirit: Scale model pole-mounted B-2 for radar cross section tests[citation needed]
    Model 133 ATTT (1987) tandem-wing STOL transport
    Model 81 Catbird (1988) five-seat single-engine aircraft
    Model 143 Triumph: Built for Beechcraft (1988)
    IAI Searcher: longer-winged version of Pioneer UAV (1988)[citation needed]
    Model TRA324 Scarab: Developed for Teledyne Ryan, now Northrop Grumman (1988)
    DC-X: Constructed the structural aeroshell and control surfaces under contract to McDonnell Douglas
    Model 151 ARES (1990)
    Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket: Wings, fins for air launch rocket (1990)
    Model 158 Pond Racer: Built for air racer Bob Pond (1990)
    Bell Eagle Eye: Tilt-rotor demonstrator aircraft for Bell Helicopter (1993)
    Model 202 Boomerang: Asymmetric 5 seat aircraft
    Model 205, first preliminary design for airlaunch of a booster rocket heavier than 500,000 pounds (230,000 kg) (1991)[6]
    Model 206, second preliminary design for heavy airlaunch (1991)[6]
    Model 247 Vantage: Developed for VisionAire (1996)
    Model 271 V-Jet II: Developed for Williams International (1997)[citation needed]
    Model 276 NASA X-38: fuselage of drop test vehicle (1998)
    Model 281 Proteus (1998)
    Roton ATV (1999)
    Model 287 NASA ERAST: R/C model for proof of concept of 85,000 ft (26,000 m) UAV
    Model 309 Adam M-309: Prototype for the Adam A500 (2000)
    Model 326 Northrop Grumman X-47A (2001)
    Model 302 Toyota TAA-1 (2002)
    Tier One (2003) Model 316 SpaceShipOne: The first privately built spacecraft.
    Model 318 White Knight: The launch vehicle for SpaceShipOne.

    Model 311 Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer: Same mission as Voyager, except a solo flight using a jet engine (2004)
    Tier 1b (2008) Model 339 SpaceShipTwo:[7] The successor to SpaceShipOne
    Model 348 WhiteKnightTwo:[7] The successor to White Knight

    Stratolaunch carrier aircraft (Model 351), world's largest wingspan aircraft[8]
    Model 367 BiPod (2011) A hybrid electric roadable aircraft.
    USAF Hunter-Killer project (2007?) in cooperation with Northrop Grumman Model 395: Proposed unmanned version of Model 281, equipped with armament
    Model 396: Smaller version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, equipped with armament

    SpaceShipThree: The name of the proposed next iteration of Scaled Composites' manned spacecraft series.[9]
    LauncherOne: The orbital launch vehicle now under development for Virgin Galactic,[10] based on the technology from the SpaceShip series of Scaled Composites.[11]

    External Projects - Aircraft[edit]
    US flight based testing and evaluation of the GippsAero GA8 Airvan manufactured by GippsAero of Victoria, Australia, including flight evaluation of the external belly cargo pod

    This isn't amateur hour in Mojave. They know their ****.
    Here's the record that counts Since 2002:
    Spaceship 1 -
    6 powered flights, 3 successfully reached 100k, 2 near catastrophic failures
    Spaceship 2 -
    4 powered flights, 0 successfully reached 100k, 1 catastrophic failure

    !0 Powered flights in 12 years; does that sound like a viable test plan for a commercial aircraft?
    Being good at low altitude flight doesn't make you an expert at edge of space operations. I mean, I can build an experimental aircraft in my garage. Does that make me a rocket scientist?

    I deal with all forms of robotics... UAVs/UGV's etc.. That ranges from basic research, to operations in controlled environments, with both military and commercial applications. As a result, I deal with a vast range of safety and reliability levels. I also have a pretty good idea as to what's required to prove certain safety standards.

    Mean time to catastrophic failure for commercial aviation is the highest possible, with a maximum probability of 10^-8/9 failures per hours. That's DAL-A; ie the equivalent of SIL4. The highest level of automotive safety is ASIL-D; equivalent to SIL3 or a maximum of 10^-7/8 catastrophic failures per hour. The lowest level, SIL 1 still has a maximum likelihood of 10^-5/6 failures per hour.

    In 6 powered flights lasting a total of about 2 hours, Spaceship 1 had 2 significant failures. Spaceship 2 had 4 powered flights lasting what? An hour? with one catastrophic failure.
    Scaled Composites: SpaceShipOne

    3 hours of total flight time on powered flight missions; 3 failures. That's the worst MTF I've ever heard of.

    They were talking about taking commercial passengers next year. Even if this last test was successful, that would be what? 2-3 hours of flight testing before putting passengers on board. Is that even remotely sane? Would you get on board?

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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    Here's the record that counts Since 2002:
    Spaceship 1 -
    6 powered flights, 3 successfully reached 100k, 2 near catastrophic failures
    Spaceship 2 -
    4 powered flights, 0 successfully reached 100k, 1 catastrophic failure

    !0 Powered flights in 12 years; does that sound like a viable test plan for a commercial aircraft?
    Being good at low altitude flight doesn't make you an expert at edge of space operations. I mean, I can build an experimental aircraft in my garage. Does that make me a rocket scientist?

    I deal with all forms of robotics... UAVs/UGV's etc.. That ranges from basic research, to operations in controlled environments, with both military and commercial applications. As a result, I deal with a vast range of safety and reliability levels. I also have a pretty good idea as to what's required to prove certain safety standards.

    Mean time to catastrophic failure for commercial aviation is the highest possible, with a maximum probability of 10^-8/9 failures per hours. That's DAL-A; ie the equivalent of SIL4. The highest level of automotive safety is ASIL-D; equivalent to SIL3 or a maximum of 10^-7/8 catastrophic failures per hour. The lowest level, SIL 1 still has a maximum likelihood of 10^-5/6 failures per hour.

    In 6 powered flights lasting a total of about 2 hours, Spaceship 1 had 2 significant failures. Spaceship 2 had 4 powered flights lasting what? An hour? with one catastrophic failure.
    Scaled Composites: SpaceShipOne

    3 hours of total flight time on powered flight missions; 3 failures. That's the worst MTF I've ever heard of.

    They were talking about taking commercial passengers next year. Even if this last test was successful, that would be what? 2-3 hours of flight testing before putting passengers on board. Is that even remotely sane? Would you get on board?
    Its a prototype????!!! what do you expect perfect? There are no passengers on this thing at this point. You seem to think these guys are hauling people around already. Did you look at the list of projets these guys have done!!??? ****, I wish my company had that resume.
    Semper Fidelis, Semper Liber.
    I spit at lots of people through my computer screen. Not only does it "teach them a lesson" but it keeps the screen clean and shiny.
    Stolen fair and square from the Capt. Courtesey himself.

  9. #39
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    Its a prototype????!!! what do you expect perfect? There are no passengers on this thing at this point. You seem to think these guys are hauling people around already. Did you look at the list of projets these guys have done!!??? ****, I wish my company had that resume.
    They were planning on taking passengers next year! If you're six months away from possibly taking passengers, perfection is expected.

    And frankly, their resume doesn't impress me. What leaves an impression is this:
    July 27th 2007 - Test site explosion kills three Their internal investigation released after the event said "The body of knowledge about nitrous oxide (N2O) used as a rocket motor oxidizer did not indicate to us even the possibility of such an event. That of course is completely false.

    Here's the take from some of the rocketry community before the governmental investigation was completed:
    Scaled Composites accident - Mojave Desert, California | Knights Arrow

    And the result of the actual investigation
    Scaled Composites at Fault for Fatal Explosion

    Basically, they didn't posses even a basic knowledge of how to deal with N2O. The danger of spontaneous explosions with improperly stored N2O were published as early as 1937. The risks were all well known throughout the rocketry community. Not only that, the container type, temperature measuring technique, and solar exposure all show a fundamental lack of understanding of rocketry in general. Protection for viewing test firings consisted of a chain link fence a dozen meters from the rocket.

    Looking back through forums and commentary prior to this accident, one certainly gets a sense that Scaled Composites is pretty good at some stuff, incompetent at others, and has no ability or desire to differentiate between the two.

    As an addendum, eventually they posted a plaque in memory of the three who died during the easily predictable explosion in 07; in a hard to notice position well away from the other exhibits over an electricity cable junction box and behind a vertical steel supporting girder.

  10. #40
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    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by PoS View Post
    I guess you never heard of the Apollo 1 disaster either, you know at the time when NASA's budget was unlimited...

    But I digress, youve actually backed up my point about NASA being subjected to the whims of politics- so how does that exactly make them any safer?
    There is a HUGE difference between appolo 1 and the space shuttle. By the time the space shuttle was developed, they had pretty much made space flight as safe as commercial flight. When Appolo 1 was launched, there was still a lot of uncertainty and risk involved in putting people in space. That required a HUGE budget to create technology that had never existed until then. When the space shuttle was built, the technology already existed and only needed to be built upon to make things safer. The reason both space shuttles failed was due to the reduction of that budget to continue to improve the space shuttle. They were stuck with what they had and did not have the budget to make design improvements. In the both cases, the fear of missing deadlines and asking for more money caused the accidents. They feared being told that the space program was just to expensive and would have to be scrapped if it costed more then x amount of $. The same thing is happening to the military. You have leaders in the military that are afraid of losing their positions so they simply nod when they are asked to do more with less instead of standing up and saying that we cant do it.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

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