SpaceShipOne Still a Dangerous Ride
New Scientist is currently running an interview with Burt Rutan where he admits there was some potentially catastrophic failings in SpaceShipOne’s inaguaral space flight: a coupling collapsed when the rocket motor kicked in (the bang reported by astronaut Mike Melvill) and a brief period where the craft lost attitude control. Had this loss of control occurred earlier, it could have been “bad”.
The fellows at Scaled Composites have not announced when there X-prize attempt will occur. It’s clear that they have a few problems to work through, less the celebration of yesterday be turned into a catastrophe, and an astronaut be turned into confetti.