Monday, January 13, 2014

Virgin Galactic Makes Another Successful Test Flight in the AV Desert

This past Friday, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, which is a six-passenger, two-pilot spacecraft conducted its third rocket-powered test flight on Friday. Several news reports indicated that SpaceShipTwo soared to an altitude 21 640 meters above ground about twice as high as commercial jetliners, which Virgina Galactic also posted on Twitter. The test flight was very short, just a 20 second rocket burn. The operation has been taking place above the Mojave Desert in Kern County, which is part of the Antelope Valley. The California company Mojave makes scaled composites and it is a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corp. which also has operations in Palmdale at Plant 42. Spaceship one gets hauled into the edge of space by White Knight Two, and then it is released and enters space and glides back to Edwards Air force Base at Mojave Air and Spaceport. The plan is that the operation will be the beginning of space tourism with an individual or corporate cost of $250k, which may take place later this year. There is competition though from other companies. Like XCOR Aerospace which is building Lynx and Blue Origin. Virgin Galactic indicates they will also use WhiteKnight Two for cargo payloads as well. Antelope Valley is not just a bedroom community for Los Angeles County as technology is present here with Virgin Galactic, State of the Art Solar and Wind Technology and it is home to the Stealth Bomber.

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