Saturday, April 11, 2009

SpaceShipTwo and the DNA of Flight

I've decided to make the SpaceShipTwo my newest scale project. It's a cool-looking design that requires nothing more than fancy balsa cutting, a but of carving for the nose cone, and a nice paint job. I like the SpaceShipOne, and the SS2 seems much sleeker and sexier, if no more stable (as a model rocket) than the original.

This one is a great technical drawing from Scaled Composite, thru Wikipedia:

Note the series of symbols in the top left of that one. It's also visible on its spine here:

Scaled calls it the 'DNA of Flight'. A more detailed discussion is available here.

From top to bottom, it is: SpaceShipTwo (hopefully the first commercially successful suborbital spaceflight), SpaceShipOne (X prize winner; first non-gov't manned craft to break Mach One and make it into space), the Apollo Lunar lander (first manned vechicle to reach the moon), Boeing 747 (most successful airliner ever), a rocket plane (see next paragraph), the Spirit of St. Louis (first transatlantic solo flight), the Wright flier (first powered aircraft), and Daedalus (human who flew with bird-feather wings according to Greek myth). I am such a geek, I recoginzed them all.

There aare two possibles for the rocket plane. The first is the Bell X-1, the first aircraft to break Mach 1 in level flight and under controlled cirumstances), but according to the post linked above it's more likely the Leduc 010, a French craft that was the first piloted ramjet.

I think the DNA of Flight is very well done. It's both a powerful tribute to the milestones of aviation, as well as a tactful way for Scaled and Virgin Galactic to say 'Look at us! We're doing stuff no one else has ever done and opening space to the public!'

It'll either be 29mm tube with a 18mm mount or 24mm tube with a 13mm mount. SS2 is 60ft long versus about 25 for the SS1. The SS1's body is 16 feet long, but it's longer with the wing-fins and nozzle.

Interestingly, according to the pictures on SS1's Wikipedia article, for some flights the nozzle was black and others it was white. I assume Estes went with the white for ease of painting.

1 comment:

Ran Barton said...

I am glad you found my DNA of Flight post, and thank you for the link.

Good luck with your project; I look forward to following along.