By Raquel Maria Dillon – A special twin-fuselage jet carrying SpaceShipTwo took off at about 7:00 a.m. PDT, spent 45 minutes climbing to an altitude of 48,000 feet and released the spaceship. Pilot Mark Stucky and co-pilot Mike Alsbury then triggered SpaceShipTwo’s rocket engine.
The engine burned for 16 seconds, propelling the spaceship to an altitude of 55,000 feet and a velocity of Mach 1.2, surpassing the speed of sound. SpaceShipTwo then glided to a safe landing at Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles, said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic’s CEO.
“Having spaceship and rocket perform together in the air is a long way toward getting into space,” said Sir Richard Branson, who watched from the ground. “A few more test flights with slightly bigger burns every time, and then we’ll all be back here to watch it go into space.” more> http://tinyurl.com/ckvcxz2
- Virgin Galactic Spaceship Makes 1st Powered Flight, Raquel Maria Dillon, Associated Press/Manufacturing.net