Thursday, September 30, 2004

The New York Times > Science > Space & Cosmos > Private Craft Rockets Past Edge of Space

The New York Times > Science > Space & Cosmos > Private Craft Rockets Past Edge of Space ""The airplane flew like a dream," Mr. Melvill said upon returning to Earth. But at the top of his arc, the tiny ship unexpectedly went into dozens of rapid rolls, initially turning once every two seconds and slowing gradually as he brought it back under control with stabilizing jets. On the ground, spectators watching the craft's corkscrewing vapor trail gasped and held their breath.
Mr. Rutan's team initially called the roll a "flight-control anomaly." Mr. Melvill, 63, suggested that he might have accidentally caused the problem himself. "It's possible I stepped on a rudder when I shouldn't have - when you get older, you do things like that," he said with a smile.
Mr. Melvill joked that it was an unintentional "victory roll," and said that he had been so well conditioned to deal with such problems that he never felt that he was in danger, and did not even feel discomfort. "I thought it was kind of cool," he said."

Maybe a bit more (press) spin control this time, following the deal with Virgin?...
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