Tags: US | Space | Tourism

Private Spaceship Makes First Solo Glide Flight

Monday, 11 Oct 2010 07:04 AM

 

Share:
A    A   |
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
  Copy Shortlink

MOJAVE, Calif.  — Virgin Galactic's space tourism rocket SpaceShipTwo achieved its first solo glide flight Sunday, marking another step in the company's eventual plans to fly paying passengers.

SpaceShipTwo was carried aloft by its mothership to an altitude of 45,000 feet and released over the Mojave Desert. After the separation, SpaceShipTwo, manned by two pilots, flew freely for 11 minutes before landing at an airport runway followed by the mothership.

The entire test flight lasted about 25 minutes.

"It flew beautifully," said Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides.

The six-passenger SpaceShipTwo is undergoing rigorous testing before it can carry tourists to space. In the latest test, SpaceShipTwo did not fire its rocket engine to climb to space.

Until now, SpaceShipTwo has flown attached to the wing of its special jet-powered mothership dubbed WhiteKnightTwo. Sunday was the first time the spaceship flew on its own.

"It's a very big deal," Virgin president Sir Richard Branson told The Associated Press. "There are a number of big deals on the way to getting commercial space travel becoming a reality. This was a very big step. We now know that the spaceship glides. We know it can be dropped safely from the mothership and we know it can land safely. That's three big ticks."

SpaceShipTwo will make a series of additional glide flights before rocketing to space.

"The next big step will be the rocket tests actually on the spacecraft itself," Branson said. "We've obviously have done thousands of rocket tests on the ground, the next big test is in the air. We'll be doing gentle rocket tests in the air, ultimately culminating into taking the spaceship into space."

SpaceShipTwo, built by famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan, is based on a prototype that won a $10 million prize in 2004 for being the first manned private rocket to reach space.

Tickets to ride aboard SpaceShipTwo cost $200,000. Some 370 customers have plunked down deposits totaling $50 million, according to Virgin Galactic.

Commercial flights will fly out of New Mexico where a spaceport is under construction. Officials from Virgin Galactic and other dignitaries will gather at the spaceport Oct. 22 for an event commemorating the finished runway. The event will also feature a flyover by SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo.

___

Online:

Virgin Galactic: http://www.virgingalactic.com

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Study: Even Casually Smoking Marijuana Can Change Your Brain

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 14:26 PM

Casual use of marijuana can produce changes in parts of the brain associated with emotion and motivation, according to a . . .

Scientist Apologizes for Mistakes in Stem Cell Research

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 13:29 PM

A Japanese scientist who co-authored what was deemed breakthrough stem cell research issued an apology Wednesday over mi . . .

US Wins More Guilty Pleas in First Counterfeit Apps Case

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 18:45 PM

The final defendants in what the U.S. government called its first prosecution of a counterfeit apps case have pleaded gu . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved