nav search
Data Center Software Security Transformation DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes BOFH

back to article
Beardy Branson's space bird spreads its wings

Silver badge

co-pilot Michael Albury prematurely unlocked the “shuttlecock” tail booms nine seconds after the rocket motors ignited. The FAA said the accident was caused by a combination of human error and a lack of safety training.

The obvious question is why the hell wasn't there some sort of safety interlock so the booms couldn't be unlocked while the rockets were firing?

4
1

probably because at a different stage in flight failing to unlock the booms because a sensor says the rocket is firing would be just as deadly.

some things are better left under direct pilot control... but doing so does allow for errors (especially with a new type of aircraft that nobody has extensive experience with)

11
0
Anonymous Coward

The previous failure isn't news, perhaps we can dispense with rehashing all this?

0
0
Silver badge

Because in a brand new vehicle, you can't think of everything. You give it a seriously good try, but in the end you gotta go fly.

Because they probably thought "an experienced test pilot wouldn't make that sort of mistake"

2
0
Silver badge

"Virgin Galactic says the Saturday flight over the Mojave desert was the first of many glides the craft will undergo to gather “real world” data.

The VSS Unity was released from its carrier [...] and it hit Mach 0.6 [...] in the ten-minute test, before making its glide landing at just after 10:40 US Eastern Time on September 3."

So it has time travel capabilities too? Impressive.

13
0
Facepalm

Everything travels through time. It's only if something can alter its rate through time that anyone would be impressed...

1
1
Silver badge

Must be tired...

'VSS Unity '

I read that as USS Vanity which seems more in keeping with this project's ambitions.

5
0
Bronze badge

While...

.. I respect their continuation with the project.

SpaceX will probably have it's Mars rocket in orbit, before this goes into commercial operation.

2
1

And there was me wondering

why their broadband prices had gone up twice in 6 months.

4
0
Bronze badge

Re: And there was me wondering

Beardy doesn't own it any more.

2
0
Silver badge

Glide or plummet?

10 minutes to "glide" from 50000 feet to the ground? That's the same rate of descent you will experience in a flat spin!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Glide or plummet?

I suppose if you scrub off enough speed and have enough control to land that is all the difference that is needed?

Strictly speaking it is only the last billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a millimetre that matters... There, and only there, is Plummet vs Land truly decided

0
0
Silver badge

Man vs Machine conundrum at work again

Many times, a well-designed machine can do what The Human does as well or better. They don't get tired or distracted, etc. However, this usually is limited to well-established routines. When the wheels fall off, the machines can't figure out what to do.

Experienced human pilots have performed some amazing feats to save crippled aircraft and the hundreds of passengers aboard. Those years of training and experience coupled with the ability to assess and react to a situation are far beyond the abilities of the best computer flight controls. It's going to be a long time before we can safely exclude the human pilot.

And yet, the vast majority of aircraft incidents are due to pilot error! It's a huge challenge to balance the strengths and limitations of Men and Machines. Maybe one day we'll get that right, or finally develop a smart computer.

1
0
Gold badge
Go

if they had the results since July 2015 they should be getting on with this.

That said I thought they also scrapped the original "laughing gas and tire rubber" hybrid engine due to excess vibrations.

That seemed a key part of the design so replacing it was not going to be trivial.

BTW 15Km lets you put a much bigger nozzle on a rocket engine without fear of flow separation, which can put a few handy secs on the Isp (somewhere between 5 and 20 roughly).

Let's hope the now return to a more steady pace and get to paying passenger time.

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Happy to help

If they need some dead-weight, they can call me anytime.

I can bring my own sick-bag.

1
0
Bronze badge

The guy seriously wants to avoid taxes.

Will claim he residence is on Mars, therefore not eligible to pay your silly "Earth" Taxes.

Whilst interfering in your silly "Earth" politics.

The guys a tosser.

0
2

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing