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Virgin Galactic has begun glide flights of the second, and significantly improved, SpaceShipTwo (SS2) sub-orbital vehicle three days after completing a fourth, and final, captive carriage flight under the WhiteKnightTwo mothership.
Flying on December 3 from Virgin’s test site at Mojave, California, the spaceplane and its carrier aircraft took off at around 6:50 am Pacific time. After climbing over the Owens Valley area to a release altitude of 50,000 ft., the spaceplane separated over the mountains northwest of Tehachapi around 50 minutes into the flight. Piloted by Virgin Galactic chief test pilot David Mackay and company test pilot Mark Stucky, the spaceplane glided back to Mojave for a smooth landing about 10 minutes later.
Virgin Galactic’s chief executive, George Whitesides, tweeted that the crew reported “excellent flight qualities” from the spaceplane, which incorporates several improvements over the first vehicle that was lost in a flight test accident in October 2014. The initial glide flight was originally targeted for just over a month ago but was thwarted by high winds. A series of undisclosed issues then prevented airborne release on Nov 3 and a further captive carry flight was undertaken on Nov 30 to evaluate what the company described as “tweaks.”
originally posted by: suvorov
Why are you excited, do you have a million to spend? TBH with tech military has we could have had space tourism for years and years