Virgin Galactic, commercial travel space ship, tested
Flight test for release from mothership, free flying and landing.
Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 07:34 AM
ONE SMALL STEP: The VSS Enterprise comes in for a landing after its first successful flight on Earth. (Photo: Mark Greenberg/AP)
The world's first commercial spaceship made its first manned free flight over California Sunday and successfully landed at Mojave Air and Space Port, its creator announced.
Virgin Galactic, the US company developing the world's first commercial manned space flight system and tourism business, announced the successful completion of the first piloted free flight of SpaceShipTwo, named the VSS Enterprise.
The spaceship was released from its mothership, the four-engined aircraft dubbed Eve, at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 meters), the company said.
During its first flight the spaceship was piloted by Pete Siebold, assisted by Mike Alsbury as co-pilot.
The two main goals of the flight were to carry out a clean release of the spaceship from its mothership and for the pilots to free fly and glide back and land at Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
"The VSS Enterprise was a real joy to fly, especially when one considers the fact that the vehicle has been designed not only to be a Mach 3.5 spaceship capable of going into space but also one of the worlds highest altitude gliders," Siebold said in a statement.
Copyright 2010 AFP Global Edition