Headlines > News > t/Space Tests Air-Launch Passenger-Carrying Rocket Concept

t/Space Tests Air-Launch Passenger-Carrying Rocket Concept

Published by Robin on Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:14 am
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By Leonard David, Senior Space Writer
posted: 15 June 2005, 12:10 pm ET

An innovative technology designed to launch future passenger-carrying rockets via a carrier aircraft has been tested over the desert landscape of Mojave, California.

Transformational Space Corporation (t/Space) of Reston, Virginia and Scaled Composites of Mojave wrapped up three weeks of flight tests yesterday, drop-testing prototype boosters at altitude. The tests are part of t/Space work on a proposed CXV people-carrying capsule and its QuickReach II booster concept.

The dummy boosters released by aircraft used a technique that caused them to rotate towards vertical without requiring wings. According to a company press statement, this concept allows an aft-crossing trajectory in which the air-launched hardware crosses behind the aircraft.

That’s a different approach than other air-launched rockets, such as the Pegasus booster, the X-15 rocket plane, as well as SpaceShipOne after release from its carrier plane, the White Knight. These craft use wings to turn themselves from horizontal flight to the vertical position, then head skyward on suborbital or orbital trajectories.

The t/Space technique greatly enhances safety, according to officials working on the project.

full article at Space.com

From t/Space News Page: Photos of the flight tests are available at www.transformspace.com/media and a full technical description of the drop test program will be posted at the Web site on June 16.

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