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Nov 03 2014

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SpaceShipTwo’s engine and fuel tanks show no signs of explosion

NTSB is looking at the feathering system.

Hart said that the NTSB team located SpaceShipTwo’s fuel tanks and engine, which showed no signs of an in-flight explosion.

“The fuel tanks were found intact, with no indication of breach or burn-through, and so was the engine as well,” Hart said.

Two things need to happen for SpaceShipTwo’s feather system to be commanded by the spacecraft’s pilots, Hart said: A lever must be moved to the “unlock” position, and a handle must be moved to the “feather” position.

The first of these actions was performed on Friday — video taken from inside the cockpit shows the co-pilot moving the lever — but the second action with the handle was not performed, Hart said, describing the maneuver as “an uncommanded feather.” It took place 9 seconds after SpaceShipTwo’s rocket engine kicked on.

This is big news. If the feathering system somehow erroneously deployed, then likely the new fuel mixture that was used did not cause the accident, which in turn means that Virgin Galactic can pick up where they left off in their rocket development, instead of starting from scratch with a new rocket system.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/03/spaceshiptwos-engine-and-fuel-tanks-show-no-signs-of-explosion/

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