Virgin Galactic one step closer to take tourists to space
Richard Branson's commercial space venture Virgin Galactic has claimed that its spacecraft, dubbed SpaceShipTwo, on Wednesday successfully completed its first re-entry in "feathered" configuration.
Virgin Galactic said that the test flight demonstrated its ability to slow the spacecraft during re-entry from the vacuum of space into the earth’s atmosphere.
The test was conducted in Mojave, around 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The carrier aircraft, WhiteKinghtTwo, took SpaceShipTwo to 51,500 feet and dropped it like a bomb.
SpaceShipTwo rotated its tail section and wings by 65 degrees and slid down to 33,000 feet before reconfiguring to standard glider position.
Speaking on the successful test, Virgin Galactic's CEO George Whitesides said, "We have also shown this morning that the unique feathering reentry mechanism, probably the single most important safety innovation within the whole system, works perfectly.”
British billionaire Richard Branson's space venture aims to carry tourists into outer space by the end of next year. Earlier in February, the company penned an agreement with Southwest Research Institute to bring scientists into space.
Virgin Galactic claims to already have taken more than four hundred reservations for a ride into the outer space.
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