First feather flight of VSS Unity completed


The Virgin Galactic VSS Unity has conducted successful ‘feather’ flight testing for the first time, the organization has announced. The testing was carried out as part of a successful test flight conducted on May 1, 2017, from the Mojave Air and Space Port, California, and followed extensive ground testing of the feather system.

Full analysis of the data from Monday’s flight will take time, but initial reports from the pilots and mission control are extremely encouraging.

VSS Unity was piloted by Mark Stucky and Mike Masucci, with pilots Nicola Pecile and CJ Sturckow as well as flight test engineer Dustin Mosher in WhiteKnightTwo. The May 1 test flight was the fourth glide flight, and eighth flight overall. Four of these flights were VSS Unity carry tests in which the spacecraft was taken aloft by WhiteKnightTwo, or VMS Eve – the carrier mothership. 

Once data reviews are complete, Virgin Galactic says it will move forward with its testing program—pressing onward with additional glide flights designed to expand the envelope of flight weights and centers of gravity.

May 3, 2017

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