Virgin Galactic Makes Hybrid Motor Switch

Based on Virgin Galactic’s marketing arrangement with NBC, it’s a pretty good bet that as the company approaches its first flights, much of the breaking news will come from that source, and hopefully from Alan Boyle.

So, along those lines, we learned on Friday that VG is making a switch in the hybrid fuel mixture which will be used to power VSS Enterprise and its sister ships into sub orbital space.  It is discarding the rubber based compound in favor of one based on plastics instead, as described in this article by Boyle. Although VG’s official position is that the switch will not substantially add to the first date for the maiden passenger flight, prior history and common sense suggests it may slip from late this year into 2015.

The change is not entirely a surprise, given a long running series of reports coming out of Mojave that the previous, rubber based compound was subject to some combustion instabilities.

Here is a recent ground test using the new compound.

 

 

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