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Rutan Patents SpaceShipOne

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
April 8, 2007

Patent for Winged spacecraft Assigned to Burt Rutan, USPTO

“A rocket-powered spacecraft having a wing which has hinged aft portions which can be elevated about a hinge line. Tail booms extend rearwardly from the outer ends of the aft wing portions, and rudders are mounted at the aft ends of the booms. Each tail boom supports a horizontal tail with an elevon at its trailing edge. In normal flight, the wing aft portions are not elevated, and the wing has a normal airfoil shape. During atmosphere reentry, the wing aft portions are steeply elevated to provide a stable high-drag altitude for the spaceship for speed reduction at low thermal and structural loading. After reentry, the aft wing is returned to an unelevated position which enables gliding flight to a horizontal-runway landing.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.