Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two had a successful test flight, Thursday (sept 5), rocketing into the skies over California after being dropped from its carrier plane, the company announced. The spaceship is owned by a British Billionaire, Sir Richard Branson who planned to make it a commercial spaceship to carry passengers (like tourist) to the space.
Virgin Galactic founder said the spaceship was released at 46,000 feet (14,000 meters) and burned its hybrid rocket engine for 20 seconds, which was four seconds longer than on the previous flight. The craft reached a maximum altitude of 65,000 feet (19,812 m) and a top speed of Mach 1.6, Virgin Galactic officials said in a statement.
Branson wrote on his blog, “This is a giant step”, “Our spaceship is now the highest commercial winged vehicle in history! We also successfully tested its feather system for carefree re-entry too — the first time that’s happened on a rocket-powered flight.”
“Virgin Galactic is now gearing up for the commercial service, finalizing cabin interiors, flight suits, training programs and the multiple other details required to offer hundreds of aspiring astronauts a safe and awe-inspiring journey,” he said.
On Thursday via twitter, Virgin Galactic officials announced, “SS2 has successfully completed another supersonic rocket-powered test flight! Hit our planned duration, altitude, and speed”.
More than 500 would-be astronauts have signed-up so far for the two-hour flight which cost $200.000 per seat. Virgin executives have said they expect to have 600 bookings in the first two years of service