Second flight for Virgin spacecraft
Friday 6th September 2013, 4:20PM BST.
Virgin Galactic says it has successfully conducted a second rocket-powered, supersonic test flight of the passenger spaceship it is developing.
The craft dubbed SpaceShipTwo reached 69,000ft over California’s Mojave Desert 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.
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.