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Attitude corrected

Published by admin on Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:57 am
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New Scientist vol 183 issue 2456 – 17 July 2004, page 5

GLITCHES encountered by SpaceShipOne during its historic flight to the edge of space have been fixed, and the spacecraft could make a bid for the $10 million X prize within three months.

One of the problems pilot Mike Melvill faced on the 100-kilometre-high flight on 21 June was with the spacecraft’s attitude controller: he was unable to control the craft’s orientation and had to switch to a backup system. The problem was traced to an actuator that had hit a stop, preventing it from moving the craft’s flaps, and has been fixed.

Speaking on US television, Melvill claimed that Scaled Composites, the company that designed SpaceShipOne, could go for the X prize as early as the end of September. The spacecraft will have to reach space twice within two weeks, each time carrying the weight equivalent of three people. But the company has not said whether it has officially notified the Ansari X prize Foundation of its readiness.

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