The CXV capsule and its QuickReach II booster are shown one half second after release from the carrier aircrafts. The Trapeze-Lanyard Air Drop mechanism attached to the capsule's nose is fully extended
The CXV capsule begins a slow rotation toward vertical, proving that the Trapeze-Lanyard Air Drop method allows air-launching of rockets without the wings typically required to make the booster turn up towards orbit. A small parachute attached to the nozz
About three seconds after release, the CXV capsule and QuickReach II booster reaches the vertical position. Had this been a full-size working rocket, its first-stage engines would have begun firing at this point.
The Scaled Composites' Proteus aircraft carried 23%-scale versions of the proposed CXV capsule and its QuickReach II booster to test the new air-launch method. The Trapeze-Lanyard Air Drop holds on to the nose of the vehicle for a half-second after the ma
Time lapse photographs, taken at half-second intervals, show the release of the CXV capsule and the QuickReach II booster.
June 18, 2005 Three weeks of flight tests over the Mojave desert have demonstrated a breakthrough in how to safely launch future passenger-carrying rockets using a carrier aircraft. Transformational Space Corp. (t/Space) and Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites drop-tested dummy boosters from an aircraft using a technique that caused them to rotate towards vertical without requiring wings. This allows an aft-crossing trajectory in which the rocket crosses behind the aircraft, greatly enhancing safety. Previous air-launched rockets such as the X-15, Pegasus and SpaceShipOne crossed in front of the carrier aircraft using wings to turn themselves from horizontal flight to the vertical position needed to achieve orbit. In addition to greatly enhancing safety, eliminating the weight of wings increases the payload the rocket can take to orbit.
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