Pattaya Daily News

11 October 2010 :: 12:10:54 pm 43649

Virgin’s Commercial Spaceship Completes First Solo Test Flight

Virgin Galactric’s suborbital commercial spaceship, Enterprise, successfully completed its first solo test flight in California this last week.
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United States, the 10th of October 2010: British billionaire and project backer, Richard Branson was on hand to witness the ‘test drop’ of Enterprise, which successfully completed a manned solo flight and subsequent landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port last week.

The spaceship was carried by its carrier plane “Eve” to an altitude of 45,000ft before being release to glide back to the Mojave facility in what was the first solo flight made by the commercial spaceship.

“This was one of the most exciting days in the whole history of Virgin. For the first time since we seriously began the project in 2004, I watched the world’s first manned commercial spaceship landing on the runway at Mojave Air and Space Port and it was a great moment,” stated Branson of the landmark event in Virgin Galactic’s history.

Virgin Galactic is aiming to become the world’s first commercial space line, already taking some 370 deposits at US$200,000 a head from eager customers looking to experience a few minutes of weightlessness on the suborbital flight.

Based on the X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne vehicle, the Enterprise is a larger model built by the Mojave’s Scaled Composites Company and looks set to carry eight people, two crew and six passengers into space.

Once in service, the Enterprise will be carried to a launch altitude by carrier plane Eve before being release in mid-air. The spaceship will then ignite its single hybrid rocket engine making its ascent into suborbital space.

Although several flights have already been completed by the Eve and Enterprise attachment, last weeks test flight was the first in which the spaceplane had been released at altitude.

The entire flight took approximately 25-minutes to complete, with experienced pilots Pete Siebold and Mike Alsbury guiding the Enterprise back to the Mojave runway.

Later test flights, including the firing of the Enterprises rocket engine, will take place with engineers reluctant to confirm dates for the commencement of services until every facet of the spacecrafts design and operation have been tested.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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