News Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Completes First Flight From Spaceport America

Nicholas Kang

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Apr 3, 2016
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She made it solo over New Mexico!

Virgin Galactic Article:


Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo approaches the runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico May 1, the first test flight of the suborbital spaceplane from that facility. Credit: Virgin Galactic

[ame=""]Virgin Galactic on Twitter: "Watch SpaceShipTwo Unity fly freely in New Mexico airspace for the first time, completing an important glide flight milestone in its test program.…"[/ame]

WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic conducted the first test flight of SpaceShipTwo from its New Mexico spaceport May 1 as the company edges closer to finally beginning commercial flights of the suborbital spaceplane.

The company’s WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, with the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo attached to it, took off shortly before 11 a.m. Eastern from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. After reaching a planned altitude of about 15,000 meters, WhiteKnightTwo released SpaceShipTwo, which glided back to the runway at the spaceport.

While SpaceShipTwo has performed many glide flights, all previously took place from Mojave Air and Space Port in California. SpaceShipTwo arrived with WhiteKnightTwo at Spaceport America in February to begin a final series of glide and powered test flights before starting commercial operations.

Pilots Dave Mackay and CJ Sturckow performed maneuvers during the glide test to compare the vehicle’s performance against earlier tests. They and the rest of the flight team also used the flight to familiarize themselves with operations in the New Mexico airspace.

Friday’s flight successfully completed all test objectives. Preparation for the next flight will now begin, starting with an in depth analysis of today’s flight data.

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