Scaled Conducts 9 RocketMotorTwo Ground Tests in 3 Months

A hybrid motor hot fire conducted at a Mojave test site in January 2013. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
A hybrid motor hot fire conducted at a Mojave test site in January 2013. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Engineers have been busy over the last three months conducting 9 ground tests of SpaceShipTwo’s hybrid engines. At least one of these tests was of an alternative to rubber/nitrous oxide engine design that SpaceShipTwo has been using to conduct powered test flights.

RocketMotorTwo Hot-Fire Test Summaries
Via Scaled Composites

Fire:37
Date:07 Nov 13

Objectives:
Thirty-seventh full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire. Continued evaluation of all systems and components:
– Pressurization
– Valve/Injector
– Fuel formulation and geometry
– Nozzle
– Structure
– Performance

Results:
All objectives completed.


Fire:36
Date:24 Oct 13

Objectives:
Thirty-sixth full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire. Continued evaluation of all systems and components:
– Pressurization
– Valve/Injector
– Fuel formulation and geometry
– Nozzle
– Structure
– Performance

Results:
All objectives completed.


Fire:35
Date:14 Oct 13

Objectives:
Thirty-fifth full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire. Continued evaluation of all systems and components:
– Pressurization
– Valve/Injector
– Fuel formulation and geometry
– Nozzle
– Structure
– Performance

Results:
All objectives completed.


Fire:34
Date:03 Oct 13

Objectives:
Thirty-fourth full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire. Continued evaluation of all systems and components:
– Pressurization
– Valve/Injector
– Fuel formulation and geometry
– Nozzle
– Structure
– Performance

Results:
All objectives completed.


Fire:33
Date:12 Sep 13

Objectives:

Thirty-third full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire. Continued evaluation of all systems and components:
– Pressurization
– Valve/Injector
– Fuel formulation and geometry
– Nozzle
– Structure
– Performance

Results:
All objectives completed.


Fire:31
Date:22 Aug 13

Objectives:
Thirty-first full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire. Continued evaluation of all systems and components:
– Pressurization
– Valve/Injector
– Fuel formulation and geometry
– Nozzle
– Structure
– Performance

Results:
All objectives completed.

 


Fire:30
Date:06 Aug 13

Objectives:
Thirtieth full scale flight design RM2 hot-fire. Continued evaluation of all systems and components:
– Pressurization
– Valve/Injector
– Fuel formulation and geometry
– Nozzle
– Structure
– Performance

Results:
All objectives completed.

  • Nickolai

    I haven’t seen that objectives list change in years. You’d think they would have nailed down at least a couple of those design aspects by now.

  • Douglas Messier

    Yeah, there are no times, either. Or details on what exactly they’re testing.

    Scaled said the May 17th test was of an alternative experimental engine into which flaws had been introduced. I have confirmed that with my sources, who tell me it was a nitrous oxide/nylon engine. They also said the resulting explosion was unexpected.

    My best guess is that Scaled has continued to test that engine over the last three months as an alternative to the nitrous oxide/rubber one that SS2 has been flying with. I can’t fully confirm that, but my intel indicates it’s a good bet.

  • Richard

    If only they had done 9 powered flights in 3 months rather than 2 in 8 months I might think they would actually get to their goal, can’t help but think that the 3 month gap since the last one is anything other than a very bad sign. 2016 for commercial operation? Bets anyone?