We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Hotting up in the old Mojave

Scaled Composites flew their sixth drop test on November 19th, less than a week after the previous flight on the fourteenth. Tests prior to this have been at roughly one month intervals so I assume they are entering a new phase of testing.

Objectives: The sixth glide flight of SpaceShipOne. Test pilot Mike Melvill’s first flight with the enlarged tails. Emergency aft CG handling qualities eval and simulated landing exercise with the new tail configuration. Airspeed and G envelop expansion and dynamic feather evaluation.

Results: Launch conditions were 48,300 feet and 115 knots. Satisfactory vehicle handling characteristics at the emergency CG limit. Melvill reported improved stability, improved control powers and improved stick forces throughout the flight profile. The feather was extended after a 3G pull-up to the vertical at 30,000 feet. The vehicle recovered to a stable attitude and descent after a few mild oscillations. The landing pattern was flown at a higher airspeed than previous flights which allowed for a more controlled flare and landing at the nominal touchdown point.

The odds for an in-flight engine ignition on December 17th are getting better again. It may now be a matter of how satisfactory the ground tests of the SpaceDev hybrid engine have been.

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