SpaceShipTwo Tested over Mojave

MOJAVE, Calif., March 22 (UPI) — SpaceShipTwo, the rocket plane being developed by Virgin Galactic for space tourism, flew for the first time Monday in California, the company said.

The craft — named the VSS Enterprise — was carried to an altitude of 50,000 feet in a flight originating at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, Virgin said in a news release. In what it known as a captive-carry flight, SpaceShipTwo flew for almost 3 hours, supported by twin fuselages of WhiteKnightTwo.

In the next test, WhiteKnightTwo will release SpaceShipTwo and its pilot for a gliding flight and touchdown on the Mojave runway, MSNBC reported.

Virgin Galactic says it has collected an estimated $45 million in deposits for reservations from more than 330 people who want to travel to space.

The project — bankrolled by British entrepreneur Richard Branson — employs technology developed in part by Burt Rutan, whose Scaled Composites constructed the craft.

“This is a momentous day for the Scaled and Virgin Teams,” Rutan said in a statement. “The captive-carry flight signifies the start of what we believe will be extremely exciting and successful spaceship flight test program.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.