Virgin Galactic one flight closer to space tourism

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Virgin Galatic

Virgin Galatic

(CNN) — Virgin Galactic is one flight closer to becoming a commercial “spaceline.” The company’s passenger spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, completed its first rocket-powered flight Monday morning above the Mojave Desert in California.

About 45 minutes into the flight, SpaceShipTwo was released from its carrier craft, WhiteKnightTwo. Ignition of the rocket motor was triggered, carrying SpaceShipTwo to a maximum altitude of 56,000 feet. During the 16-second engine burn, the spaceship broke the sound barrier, according to a statement from Virgin Galactic.

The rocket-powered portion of the flight lasted a little more than 10 minutes, and the entire flight took about an hour. The flight was not a space flight. Virgin Galactic said it will continue testing this year and plans to reach full space flight by the end of 2013.

“For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system,” said Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson in a statement. Branson was in the Mojave Desert for the flight.

“Today’s supersonic success opens the way for rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end.”

More than 500 would-be space tourists have signed up to take short $200,000 flights that would involve several minutes of weightlessness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s