[FPSPACE] SS1 documentary "Black Sky" Sunday at 4PM

Palladium at aol.com Palladium at aol.com
Fri Oct 8 12:45:25 EDT 2004

<<The show will be repeated on Sunday at 4PM.  It's really something.  Don't miss it.

I didn't miss it, and whoah! Amazing footage of the actual flights, and the stuff leading up to them was nearly as good. I was amazed at the scenes of Rutan and his crew performing a last-second fix on the nitrous oxide tank. Someone reports there's a leaky valve, and Rutan says, "well, let's take a look-- someone find me an eye-shield and a flashlight." Very seat-of-the-pants, backyard rocketry club kinda stuff. Mike Melville's wife was the picture of someone nearly paralyzed with fear for her husband, but absolutely determined not to show it to her man, the very essence of bravery.

After the first X prize flight (and the crazy roll), Meville tells Rutan that he thought the roll might have been kicked off by a "very powerful asymetric thrust".. hat tip to you, DDA.  I ducked out during a commercial break and missed the first few seconds of Rutan's own explanation of the roll-- did he confirm the thrust problem?  He also said (I think) that part of the roll problem was that SS1 was on an absolutely vertical trajectory-- in other words, gravity and aerodynamics offered no assistance in keeping the ship level, and that the flight path would be altered on the next flight so it didn't go completely vertical until the very end of the burn sequence.

DS Michaels

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