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Virgin Spacecraft Completes Second Test Flight

Space vehicle SpaceShipTwo took to the skies above Mojave on Thursday for its second rocket-powered supersonic flight as part of testing prior to taking up paying passengers. The 90-minute morning flight took the aircraft to an altitude of 69,000 feet and a maximum speed of Mach 1.43. SpaceShipTwo made its first rocket-fired flight in April and reached 55,000 feet and Mach 1.2. The sub-orbital vehicle is operated by Virgin Galactic, the space tourism business of British billionaire Richard Branson. Additional sub-orbital space vehicles are being made by Spaceship Co., a Virgin Galactic subsidiary, at the Mojave Air & Space Port. “Each powered flight of SpaceShipTwo yields cumulative progress that builds the foundation for safe and exciting commercial space flights,” said Virgin Galactic Chief Executive George Whitesides in a prepared statement. Passenger flights aboard the space vehicles will take place from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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