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SpaceShipOne addressed a space industry that does not exist. And that is the future industry of commercial manned suborbital space flights. There was no industry before for commercial manned suborbital space flights, so this really was more like pioneering. We were starting a new capability, which has to be done with a very high level of safety in order for it to flourish. But I don't think it has any effect on the normal space industry, because this has not been done before. The only suborbital manned space flights were done in 1962 and 1963. So it's been something that has been ignored for 40 years.
* Suborbital space flight, 100 km above the Earth, leaves the atmosphere but isn't high enough to stay in continuous orbit.
—— What was the most difficult technical issue you had?
We did try new things that we didn't have to try. We felt these things were important because unless we tried them and made them succeed, we couldn't reach our safety goals for the future of the industry. Our process and design for what we call care-free reentry were critical to our eventual goal of having a safe system. As it turned out, that was not as difficult as many had feared. The development of the new hybrid rocket motor was probably the most difficult part of the program, because it was all-new also.
—— How have you solved the problems you had in the past with stability?
We have very good solutions for those, and the commercial ships will be much easier to fly, with a higher level of stability. It's basic flying-qualities design that you do for airplanes - the kinds of revisions you make to make an airplane fly better. These are being applied to SpaceShipTwo.