SpaceShipTwo flies again

2013-09-06 21:05
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo under rocket power, its first ever since the program began in 2005.. (Mark Greenberg, AP/Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo under rocket power, its first ever since the program began in 2005.. (Mark Greenberg, AP/Virgin Galactic)

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Mojave - Virgin Galactic says it successfully conducted a second rocket-powered, supersonic test flight of the passenger spaceship it is developing.

The craft called SpaceShipTwo reached an altitude of 21 030m over California early on Thursday after it was dropped from a carrier aircraft and its rocket was ignited for a 20-second burn.

Two pilots and a flight test engineer were aboard as the craft reached a maximum speed of Mach 1.43, then glided to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port.

Both the altitude and speed exceeded marks set during the first rocket-powered flight last April.

Virgin Galactic plans to take paying passengers on suborbital flights that briefly enter space. The commercial spaceline is owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi's aabar Investments PJS.

- AP
Read more on:    virgin galactic  |  us  |  space  |  aviation
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