SpaceShipTwo Probe Focuses On Human Factors, Test Procedures

The investigation continues into the SpaceShipTwo mishap that killed copilot Mark Alsbury and injuried pilot Pete Siebold.

The NTSB determined that shortly after the ignition of its rocket motor, the vehicle’s movable twin tail-booms unexpectedly deployed into an upward-canted “feathering” position, over-stressing the airframe and causing it to break apart. Although the tail-booms on SS2 are designed to move upward as part of the reentry system, the feathering device is normally activated outside of the sensible atmosphere before the vehicle begins its descent.

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