Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Catch-Up: WhiteKnightTwo Flies At Last!

It has been conceived, designed, built, postponed, and delayed, but it has finally happened; the first component in the first regular tourist spaceflights has flown!

In the first of many, many test flights, the first WhiteKnightTwo aircraft (named VMS Eve) took off from the Mojave airport on December 21 at 8:17 AM Pacific time and landed one hour later at 9:17 AM. Eve is the first of two carrier aircraft to be created by Scaled Composites for use by Virgin Galactic. If all goes well, Eve will carry the first SpaceShipTwo craft to a 50,000 foot altitude and drop it for the launch of Virgin Galactic's first tourist spaceflights.

By all accounts, test flight number one went extremely well. Dick Rutan (the brother of Burt Rutan, who founded Scaled Composites) stated that the flight was "99 percent on target."

WhiteKnightTwo is slated to start its first test flights coupled with SpaceShipTwo early next year, and if all goes extremely well, the first tourist flights will occur late next year. Here's hoping!

Oh, and you can see a video of awesomeness here.

Progress: 4.03%  Flight Time: 0:06:05

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