Virgin Galactic has come yet one more step closer to realizing its dream of flying passengers in space as its space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo achieved its first solo glide flight on Sunday. The entire test flight lasted for 25 minutes, comprised of the spaceship being carried 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. This is definitely a great feat for SpaceShipTwo, which until now has flown attached to the wing of its special jet-powered mothership – the WhiteKnightTwo. In this test, the SpaceShipTwo, designed to carry six passengers, did not fire its rocket engine to fly to space. A series of tests and glide flights will be conducted before SpaceShipTwo rockets into space.
Reportedly around 370 enthusiastic passengers have already paid the deposit on the $200,000 ticket to ride aboard this spaceship when it becomes a reality. Virgin Galactic president, Sir Richard Branson termed this latest development a “huge deal” in an interview with The Associated Press.
[Physorg And Engadget]