It’s been a busy few weeks in Mojave since VSS Unity’s first captive carry flight. The team continues to analyse the terabytes of data gathered from the many test objectives completed during the almost four hour flight, in part by comparing actual data to the anticipated results driven from computer simulations. We are also completing a few further ground tests to confirm vehicle readiness for our next flight. This flight will take place soon, and will be the first ‘glide’ flight during which Unity will be released from VMS Eve and fly home solo.
Ahead of that and in order to give a better idea of the objectives from our first flight, the data currently being analysed resulted from tests that included:
These and the many other tests are important proof points, and also give our pilots, operations and mission control teams invaluable insight into vehicle performance before we move to the next phase…the glide flight series. This is a key stage of the test flight programme, as we prove out the aerodynamic characteristics of the spaceship and systems performance before the rocket motor is integrated for powered flight. We thought it would be useful to outline these different stages and how they interlink by putting together an infographic to help explain the testing roadmap. We hope you find this useful, and if you’d like to know more about a particular area please let us know.