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  (Source: Virgin Galactic)
Virgin Galactic's space rocket glides to Earth from 45,000 feet on first piloted attempt.

Dear Earthlings, mark this date: On October 10, 2010, the "mothership" dropped its first successful pay load from space.  

Virgin Galactic, the company currently developing a commercial and tourism spacecraft, reported on its website that SpaceShip Two, VSS Enterprise, successfully delivered its first crewed space flight on Sunday. The historic flight, piloted by Pete Siebold and Mike Alsbury, went airborne over the Mohave Desert from The WhiteKnight Two mothership.  The WhiteKnight Two released the VSS Enterprise at an altitude of 45,000 feet.  

The six-passenger spaceship was documented as having a successful glide flight and descent before landing at California's Mohave Air and Spaceport.

"The VSS Enterprise was a real joy to fly," said Siebold. "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."

There were four captive carry flights of the spaceship and mothership.  The mothership flew a total of 40 times in preparation for the historic event.

"This was one of the most exciting days in the whole history of Virgin," said Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson.  "For the first time since we seriously began the project in 2004, I watched the world’s first manned commercial spaceship landing on the runway at Mojave Air and Space Port and it was a great moment. Now, the sky is no longer the limit and we will begin the process of pushing beyond to the final frontier of space itself over the next year."

Future flights will operate out of Spaceport American in New Mexico.  Although an official flight date has not yet been released, Virgin Galactic already has a wealth of paying customers. The tickets cost $200,000 each and so far, there is an estimated $50 million dollars in deposits from nearly 400 passengers waiting to board a flight.   

Virgin Galactic is not the only company with plans on taking tourism to outer space. In the UK, an aircraft that would send passengers out into space faster than the speed of sound is currently being developed.

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RE: Parts of the article are misleading.
By walk2k on 10/11/2010 2:02:02 PM , Rating: 3
They never claimed this was a "space" flight.

It was however the first "solo" flight of the craft that WILL eventually go into space. In case you're too young to remember, the Space Shuttle's first "solo" flight was similar to this (carried up on the back of a 747 and glided back safely, unpowered). This is a HUGE step forward for the program and a VERY important event... haters please go crawl back under your rocks.

By 91TTZ on 10/11/2010 2:35:35 PM , Rating: 3
Nobody is hating anything, but we do have to point out the inaccuracy when the article says:
the "mothership" dropped its first successful pay load from space.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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