SCALED MODELS 313-1 to 316 (SpaceShipOne development scale models)

The Model 313-1 was much more conventional a design.

Unnamed model being tested from Mojave Airport control tower.
Notice how second picture seems to depict yet another design.

Type: hand-crafted scale models of various spaceship concepts



Powerplant: not powered

Significant date: circa 2003

Burt Rutan has also prided himself in not resorting to computers when it comes to designing and testing an aircraft concept. Although this is less and less true today (Rutan admits using computers in the early stages, for instance), it is a fact that Scaled Composites still goes by the old paper and pencil routine, and continues to throw hand-crafted scale models into the air to verify Rutan's designs. Considering the string of successes he has achieved in his career, the latest (and certainly not the least) being the SpaceShipOne, the worl'd first private spaceship, one can say this attachment to the good old rudiments of aircraft design has never been a hindrance in any way, with most designs going from sketch to the air in less than a year.

Breaking with the usual veil of secrecy that usually clouds Rutan's design phase, several of the preliminary scaled models for SpaceShipOne have been revealed. The first, Rutan's Model 313-1 model, was used to evaluate an early design's stability on reentry. With its swept t-tail, short wings and long winglets, it is much different from Rutan's usual concepts, and seems to draw on earlier spaceship designs for inspiration. This model was thrown into the air from the top of the control tower at Mojave Airport and observed as it dropped. The second, unnamed model, has longer wings and shorter winglets, a bulbous nose and a normal tail. Like its predecessor, the Scaled Composites team tested it for reentry by dropping it off the Mojave Airport control tower.

Then there is the Rutan Model 316 model, also realised around 2003, which was used to test a new design for reentry stability. This design was very close to the final SpaceShipOne configuration, and was later refined into the final design that was flown. Finally, there was a SpaceShipOne R/C model built by Dan Kreigh (who also worked on the Model 287 Alliance), using the IFO construction technique of carbon rods and ripstop polyester. It weighed only 11.5 ounces and was powered by the GWS twin drive “A” motor with a 3-cell 950 lithium ion polymer pack, a 5 channel radio with “full house” control and feathering capability.

Main sources:
- Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

Left: Dan Kreigh shows Dick Rutan the model after the flight demonstration.

Rutan's Model 316 introduced the final SS1 configuration.

A flyable R/C model of the 316 was flown by Dan Kreigh.