VMS Eve

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White Knight Two
VMS Eve Maiden Flight.jpg
VMS Eve's maiden flight
Role Spaceship carrier / launcher
National origin United States
Manufacturer Scaled Composites
Designer Robert Morgan, James Tighe[1][2]
First flight 21 December 2008
Primary user Virgin Galactic
Number built 2
Developed from White Knight One
Career
Construction number 001
Registration N348MS

VMS Eve[3] (Tail Number: N348MS[4]) is a carrier mothership for Virgin Galactic and launch platform for Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo-based Virgin SpaceShips.

WhiteKnightTwo at its rollout and christening ceremony, July 28. 2008

VMS Eve is the first, and so far only, White Knight Two, built by Scaled Composites for Virgin Galactic. The "VMS" prefix stands for "Virgin Mothership".[5]

Public Launch[edit]

VMS Eve's nose art

The aircraft was named after Evette Branson, the mother of Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group. The jet plane has nose art of a blonde woman holding the Virgin Galactic corporate flag.[6] The image is based on how Evette Branson looked when she was younger and is called Galactic Girl.[7] The aircraft was officially launched on Monday, July 28, 2008, in Mojave, California, USA, at the Mojave Spaceport, home of Scaled Composites. On December 12, 2008, the aircraft performed first taxi tests,[8] and a week later the maiden flight.[9] Eve will be used in the Virgin Galactic testflight program, preceding entry into commercial usage.[10]

It is the largest all composite aircraft ever constructed and has the longest single-piece composite aircraft part: a 140 ft (43 m) long wingspan.[11] Burt Rutan has dismissed fears that pressurization cycles might induce fatigue failure in the composite structure.[12] Richard Branson has also announced that it will be highly fuel efficient.[13]

Flight test program[edit]

The initial flight tests were planned to begin in early September 2008[14][15][16] but they were delayed.[17] On 12 December 2008 the initial low speed taxi test was carried out at Mojave[18] followed by a high speed taxi on 16 December.[19] By September 2009 the flight envelope was extended to 50000 feet.[20] Testing has continued, with some delays and setbacks, and as of 19 September 2014 the total flight time for WhiteKnightTwo is 333.96 hours.


Designation codes[edit]

  • CCxx: Captive Carry of the SpaceshipTwo (SS2).
  • CFxx: Cold Flow, test of the SS2s rocket engine by cold fluid in flight.
  • GCxx: Aborted glided flight
  • GFxx: Glided flight of the SpaceshipTwo after release from White Knight 2.
  • PFxx: Powered flight of the SS2
Flights
# Date Designation Notes Length of flight (hours)
1 December 21, 2008 None WhiteKnightTwo maiden testflight.[21][22] The two pilots were

Peter Siebold and co-pilot Clint Nichols.[23]

1
2 February 5, 2009 None Testflight after some modifications to the airframe.[24] 1.5
3 March 25, 2009 None Testflight into the troposphere was the fastest and longest yet: >140 kn (160 mph; 260 km/h) and >18,000 ft (5,500 m). Seven additional tests were "successfully completed" including in flight engine restarts, engine thrust asymmetry assessment and continued expansion of WK2’s operating envelope and evaluation of WK2’s handling qualities."[25] 2.33
4 April 20, 2009 None Test flight lasted over 4 hours and ended with slight damage to the rudder, due to a tail-strike.[26][27] 4
5 May 20, 2009 None Test flight lasted about 3 hours and was the highest yet at 20,000 ft (6,100 m). An emergency response drill was conducted after landing.[28] approximately 3
6 June 2, 2009 None Extending flight- and speed envelope. 3.1
7 June 8, 2009 None Test flight lasted 6 hours and increased maximum altitude to 48,281 ft (14,716 m). Wind-up turns were performed to 2.5g. Engines were shut down and restarted per plan.[28] 6.1
8 June 11, 2009 None Test flight monitored by FAA resulted in issuance of pilot letter of authorization.[28] 1
9 June 15, 2009 None Test flight lasted 7.5 hours and increased maximum altitude to 52,402 ft (15,972 m). Speed envelope increased to 370 kn (430 mph; 690 km/h). Engines were shut down and restarted per plan.[28] 7.5
10 June 19, 2009 None Test flight to Phoenix, including landing at Phoenix.[28][29] 6?
11 June 20, 2009 None Flyover of Las Cruces airport, New Mexico, having taken off earlier that morning from Phoenix. Flyovers included a total of six passes over the airport, three of these were low-altitude runway passes on two different runways with one a near-touch-and-go.[28][29] 3?
12 July 9, 2009 None Testing cabin environmental control system (heating/cooling) and third-seat flight engineer capabilities. Flight maximum altitude 51,000 ft (16,000 m).[28] 4.5
13 July 14, 2009 None 5
14 July 17, 2009 None 0.9
15 July 21, 2009 None 5.7
16 July 27, 2009 None 5.5
17 July 28, 2009 None Demonstration for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI.[citation needed] 0.2
18 July 31, 2009 None 0.2
19 August 1, 2009 None 5.1
20 October 15, 2009 None 3.5
21 October 17, 2009 None 1.3
22 October 17, 2009 None 1.2
23 January 28, 2010 None 3.1
24 March 4, 2010 None 3.7
25 March 22, 2010 CC01 First test flight with SpaceShip2 attached, to 45,000 ft (14,000 m) altitude, duration nearly three hours.[30] 2.9
26 May 1, 2010 None 5.5
27 May 16, 2010 CC02 Test flight with the SS2 attached. 4.7
28 June 15, 2010 None 5.3
29 June 24, 2010 None 3.4
30 June 24, 2010 None 2
31 June 30, 2010 None 5.3
32 July 1, 2010 None 5.3
33 July 15, 2010 CC03 Test flight with the SS2 attached to the mothership. 6.2
34 August 3, 2010 None 6.2
35 August 11, 2010 None 3.7
36 August 18, 2010 None 3.9
37 August 19, 2010 None The landing gear partly malfunctioned which lead to a minor accident, further test flights has taken place afterwards.[31] 1.5
38 September 13, 2010 None 2.5
39 September 30, 2010 CC04 Test flight with the SS2 attached to the mothership. 5
40 October 5, 2010 None Flight without the SS2. 2
41 October 10, 2010 GF01 First separation in the air with the Space Ship Two (SS2).[32] 1.5
42 October 22, 2010 CC05 3.4
43 October 22, 2010 CC06 the WK2 and SS2 made a publicity flight at the future spaceport in New Mexico.[33] 3.4
44 October 28, 2010 GF02 2nd separation in the air with Space Ship Two.[34] 1.1
45 November 17, 2010 GF03 another separation of the SS2 which glided to earth. 2
46 December 4, 2010 None Flight testing with the SS2 attached[35] 2.5
47 January 13, 2011 GF04 Fourth in-air separation with Space Ship Two. 1.4
48 February 14, 2011 05GC(CC07) Test flight with the WK2 and SS2, partly failed due to poor weather. 1.35
49 February 15, 2011 05GC(CC08) Test flight with the WK2 and SS2, partly failed due to poor weather. 1.83
50 March 30, 2011 None First flight of two during the day, without the SS2. 3.25
51 March 30, 2011 None Second flight during the day, without the SS2. 1.7
52 April 6, 2011 CC09 Visit to San Francisco airport with the SS2 attached. 2.83
53 April 7, 2011 CC10 Return from San Francisco airport with the SS2 attached. 1.35
54 April 11, 2011 None Test flight 1.76
55 April 14, 2011 CC11 Another test flight 3.07
56 April 22, 2011 GF05 Another test flight 1.4
57 April 27, 2011 GF06 Release of SS2 1.26
58 May 4, 2011 GF07 Release of SS2, first test of feathering to reduce flightspeed of the SS2 while gliding back to earth. 2.03
59 May 10, 2011 GF08 Release of SS2 1.42
60 May 19, 2011 GF09 Release of SS2 1.38
61 May 25, 2011 GF10 Release of SS2, Second test of feathering device to reduce airspeed of the SS2 when it glideflight back to earth. 1.83
62 June 9, 2011 CC12 Aborted mission due to technical problems. 1.4
63 June 10, 2011 None Maximum landing weight test. 0.2
64 June 14, 2011 GF11 Release of SS2, after failure to do so on flight #62. 1.2
65 June 15, 2011 GF12 Release of SS2 1.9
66 June 21, 2011 GF13 Release of SS2 1.5
67 June 23, 2011 GF14 Release of SS2 1.6
68 June 27, 2011 GF15 Release of SS2 1.9
69 August 11, 2011 None 2.1
70 August 17, 2011 None 1.1
71 August 18, 2011 None 3.2
72 August 31, 2011 None 3.1
73 September 29, 2011 GF16 Release of SS2. 1.7
74 October 16, 2011 CC13 2.8
75 October 17, 2011 CC14 0.3
76 October 19, 2011 CC15 3.2
77 December 6, 2011 None 4.6
78 December 6, 2011 None Together with flight 77.
79 April 12, 2012 None 2.9
80 May 16, 2012 None 0.8
81 June 2, 2012 None 1
82 June 2, 2012 None 1
83 June 8, 2012 CC16 2
84 June 12, 2012 None 2.2
85 June 15, 2012 None 1.5
86 June 21, 2012 None 2
87 June 26, 2012 GF17 1.8
88 June 29, 2012 GF18 1.1
89 July 16, 2012 CC17 1.7
90 July 18, 2012 GF19 Release of SS2 2
91 August 2, 2012 GF20 Release of SS2 1.6
92 August 7, 2012 GF21 Release of SS2 1.5
93 August 11, 2012 GF22 Release of SS2 1.5
94 August 22, 2012 None 1.3
95 September 5, 2012 None 3.1
96 September 7, 2012 None 2.7
97 September 26, 2012 None 2.3
98 October 2, 2012 None 3.1
99 October 2, 2012 None 1.9
100 October 4, 2012 None 1.7
101 October 4, 2012 None Aborted due to radio problem. 0.3
102 November 5, 2012 None 2.2
103 November 6, 2012 None 2.2
104 November 6, 2012 None 1.7
105 November 17, 2012 None 1.9
106 December 5, 2012 None 2.4
107 December 6, 2012 None 1.7
108 December 13, 2012 CC18 1.5
109 December 19, 2012 GF23 Release of SS2, first flight with rocketengine installed on SS2, but it wasn´t used. 1.6
110 March 11, 2013 None 4
111 March 14, 2013 None 2.7
112 March 18, 2013 None 2.5
113 April 3, 2013 GF24 Release of SS2 1.7
114 April 12, 2013 CF01 Release of SS2, first cold flow test of the SS2s engine [7] 1.6
115 April 29, 2013 PF01 Release of SS2 at 45.000 feet (13.7 km), first powered flight of SpaceShipTwo, which reached Mach 1.22 (805 mph; 1,300 km/h) at 17,000 metres (56,000 ft) after a 16-second rocket burn.[36][full citation needed] 1.5
116 May 7, 2013 None 1.8
117 May 8, 2013 None 1.6
118 May 9, 2013 None 1.9
119 May 14, 2013 None 1.3
120 May 15, 2013 None 1.8
121 May 16, 2013 None 1.9
122 May 30, 2013 None 2.8
123 May 31, 2013 None 1.7
124 June 4, 2013 None 2.1
125 June 6, 2013 None 2.3
126 June 6, 2013 None 1.4
127 July 12, 2013 None 2.3
128 July 17, 2013 None 1.2
129 July 17, 2013 None 1.5
130 July 25, 2013 GF25 Release of SS2. 1.5
131 August 8, 2013 GF26 Release of SS2. 1.6
132 September 5, 2013 PF02 First feathered flight of the SS2, after powered flight. Released at 46000 feet (14 km) [8]. 1.4
133 September 16, 2013 None 2.1
134 September 17, 2013 None 2.3
135 September 17, 2013 None 1.9
136 September 18, 2013 None 2.2
137 September 19, 2013 None 1.9
138 September 20, 2013 None 1.4
139 October 1, 2013 None 1.5
140 October 2, 2013 None 1.6
141 November 25, 2013 None 2.6
142 November 26, 2013 None 1.8
143 December 4, 2013 None 1.9
144 December 4, 2013 None 1.5
145 December 11, 2013 GF27 Release of SS2 1.6
146 December 12, 2013 None 1.5
147 January 10, 2014 PF03 1.4
148 January 15, 2014 None 1.2
149 January 17, 2014 GF28 Release of SS2 1.4

References[edit]

Notes
Citations
  1. ^ US patent D612791, Tighe, James, "U.S. Design Patent 612,719 for the ornamental design for an aircraft", issued 2010-03-30 
  2. ^ "WK2 Rollout Audio Clips (parts 4 & 6)". Movaje Skies. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  3. ^ Karl Vick (July 29, 2008), "Mother Ship Unveiled for $200,000 Place in Space", Washington Post: A02 
  4. ^ "FAA N Number Registration for "Eve"". Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  5. ^ CNet News, Virgin Galactic's faces of Eve, July 28, 2008 1:08 PM PDT, Candace Lombardi
  6. ^ ABC News, Virgin Galactic Announces New Space Aircraft, July 28, 2008, LAUREN SHER
  7. ^ Chicago Tribune, Branson reveals mother ship, July 29, 2008
  8. ^ AVweb, WhiteKnight2 Completes Taxi Test, December 16, 2008
  9. ^ The Space Fellowship, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Mothership Makes Maiden Flight, December 21, 2008
  10. ^ The Register, Branson unveils Virgin Galactic mothership, Tuesday 29th July 2008 10:32 GMT, Scott Snowden
  11. ^ eFluxMedia, WhiteKnightTwo Offers Space As The Ultimate Tourist Destination, 12:08, July 29, 2008, Dee Chisamera'
  12. ^ Flightglobal, Rutan: Fatigue 'is not an issue' for WhiteKnightTwo, 29/07/08 ,Rob Coppinger
  13. ^ National Geographic, Virgin Galactic Unveils WhiteKnightTwo Space Plane, July 28, 2008, Ker Than
  14. ^ Leonard David (June 6, 2008). "Virgin Galactic Spaceline: Mega-Mothership Set for Rollout Debut". SPACE.com. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  15. ^ "2008 AirVenture Oshkosh schedule". Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  16. ^ Forbes: Interview with Branson, 16 Oct 2008
  17. ^ "Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo first flight delayed to year's end". Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  18. ^ "SpaceShipTwo mothership runway trial". Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  19. ^ "WhiteKnightTwo makes high speed taxi, deploys spoilers". Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  20. ^ http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/04/30/325832/scaled-plans-50000ft-whiteknight-two-flight-by-september.html
  21. ^ "WhiteKnightTwo Makes First Flight Aviation Week". Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  22. ^ http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2008/12/whiteknighttwo_takes_flight.html
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/02/06/322203/whiteknighttwo-second-flight-with-vortex-generators.html
  25. ^ "Test flying programme for Virgin Galactic space launch system now fully underway : mother ship Eve achieves fastest and longest yet flight in the troposphere". Virgin Galactic. 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2009-03-27. [dead link]
  26. ^ Coppinger, Rob, "Virgin Galactic's mother ship suffers tail strike" Flight International, April 21, 2009
  27. ^ David, Leonard, "SpaceShipTwo Mother Ship Slightly Dinged in Test Flight", Space.com, April 21, 2009
  28. ^ a b c d e f g Scaled Composites, "White Knight Two Flight Test Summaries" (accessed 25 May, 2009)
  29. ^ a b http://www.personalspaceflight.info/
  30. ^ http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/03/photos-spaceshiptwo-completes-first-captive-flight SpaceShipTwo Completes First Captive Flight], Jason Paur, Wired, 2010-03-22, accessed 2010-03-24./
  31. ^ [2]
  32. ^ [3]
  33. ^ [4]
  34. ^ [5]
  35. ^ http://www.scaled.com/projects/whiteknighttwo_spaceshiptwo_test_summaries
  36. ^ [6]
Bibliography

External links[edit]

See also[edit]