Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Virgin Galactic takes to higher skies

virgin-galactic.jpg
virgin-galactic-2.jpg

Commercial space travel took a giant leap toward (mega-rich) mankind on 5th September, as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo made its second successful rocket-powered flight test.

The private spaceship flew higher and faster than ever before, reaching a maximum altitude of 65,000 feet (19,800 meters), smashing through the atmosphere at Mach 1.6 (about 761 mph at sea level). The rocket engine was engaged for a total of 20 seconds, before the SpaceShipTwo was able to successfully demonstrate its re-entry mechanism - rotating its wings and tail upward to allow for a gradual descent. If you're not a fan of turbulence (or spending several hundred thousand pounds on a single journey), this one might not be for you.

The demonstration was a cause for excitement for Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, who plans to be a passenger in the Virgin Galactic's first commercial flight. "It was particularly thrilling to see for the first time today the whole elegant system in action during a single flight, including the remarkable feathering re-entry system," said Branson in a statement. "We are on track for a 2014 start of commercial service... I can't wait to get up there."

Once the ship gains all of its relevant safety certificates (it's a little more complicated than an MOT), Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites will begin flying the first 600 customers to have signed up to the sub-orbital flight, reported to include the likes of Angelina Jolie, Michael Schumacher and Stephen Hawking. Passengers will experience weightlessness for a number of minutes during the flight, along with probable waves of fear and sudden realisation that they might have preferred to have watched a flight video instead.

Watch the below video to see the SpaceShipTwo carried into test position by the WhiteKnightTwo, engage its rocket, before slowly drifting back down to Earth.

(Images: Rex; YouTube)

Related

HERO1.jpg

The 5 Coolest Things About Being an Astronaut

mars1.png

NASA's Mars Orbiter pictures Curiosity Rover on Mars

space.jpg

Go To Space For £1,300... If You're Dead

Comments

More

If you own any of these video games you're sitting on a fortune

Here's hoping you were a hoarder

by David Cornish
09 Dec 2016

iPhone 8 rumours suggest it'll have a revolutionary curved screen

And it could be coming out NEXT YEAR!!!

by Jamie Carson
07 Dec 2016

Amazon is launching checkout-free shop where you simply walk out

Goodbye stubborn self-checkout machine, hello freakishly smart tech

by Emily Badiozzaman
06 Dec 2016

The Last Of Us 2 and nine more new Playstation games set for 2017

A certain spin-kicking marsupial is back, too!

by Chris Sayer
05 Dec 2016

New app will allow you to check the potency of your sperm

Get to know your baby makers up-close and personal

by Chris Sayer
05 Dec 2016

WhatsApp is about to stop working for millions of smartphone users

And it's bad news for Nokia or Blackberry users

by Tom Fordy
02 Dec 2016

Delete yourself from the internet with this handy website

And just like that, he was gone.

by Sam Diss
28 Nov 2016

Get on ‘Sindr’ the Catholic Church’s confession app

Swipe to find God in your area

24 Nov 2016

Apple to replace faulty batteries on iPhone 6s devices

21 Nov 2016

These are the worst passwords on the web

Best check yours isn't one of them

17 Nov 2016