Virgin Galactic was able to successfully complete the first ever rocket powered test flight yesterday morning. The test involved the Space Ship Two (SS2) connected to the White Knight Two (WK2). “The test was conducted by Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites from Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California.”
The test began at 7.02 AM PST. After 45 minutes, the SS2 reached an altitude of 47,000 feet, where it disconnected from the WK2. The pilots were then able to propel forward to 55,000 feet with the rocket motor switched on. The engine burn is said to have lasted 16 seconds, during which time the SS2 has gone supersonic reaching Mach 1.2. The test ended at 8.00 AM when SS2 landed.
“The first powered flight of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise was without any doubt, our single most important flight test to date,” said Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson. “For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight. Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end. We saw history in the making today and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.”
The company has planned to do more testing throughout the year and plans to provide commercial service from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Source: Daily Tech