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Powered flight could be coming soon

It's been a while since we talked about Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two rocket plane, which had its first test flight back in 2010. Last Friday, the spacecraft conducted another successful milestone as it glided during a test flight that had oxidizer flowing through its engine. Some believe that this gliding test with oxidizer flowing to the engine could indicate that the spacecraft's first powered spaceflight could be coming soon.
SpaceShip Two was connected to the bottom of the WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane and it took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port. The carrier aircraft took the spaceship to 50,000 feet where it released the rocket plane for a test flight lasting just under 11 minutes.

So far SpaceShip Two has yet to make a powered flight despite the fact that its hybrid rocket engine has been extensively tested (including multiple test firings on the ground). So far the rocket has never been activated during flight.

All point to April 22 for the first powered test flight for the spacecraft. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson recently posted a rather teasing comment that read, "I look forward to seeing you all in Mojave soon."

"Importantly, and for the first time in the air, oxidizer was flowed through the propulsion system and out through the nozzle at the rear of the vehicle — thus successfully accomplishing the 'Cold-Flow' procedure," Virgin Galactic said in a news release. "As well as providing further qualifying evidence that the rocket system is flight-ready, the test also provided a stunning spectacle due to the oxidizer contrail, and for the first time gave a taste of what SpaceShipTwo will look like as it powers to space."

Virgin Galactic says that over 500 people have registered to take the $200,000 suborbital space tour.

Sources: Virgin Galactic, NBC News

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well it would be a short flight at most
By KOOLTIME on 4/19/2013 1:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
i dont see any new tech outside of nuclear, that can sustain the time frames needed to fly in space under "power" as listed here.

Were not talking filling up gas tank and driving few hundred miles.

Space distance just to the moon is approx million milles. There is no fuel system that can drive that far, with a big enough tank to power around the system to visit. Nuvlear though has the long term duration energy to possibly do such.

Look at the neclear powered craft JPL, just recently reached after 16 years flight time to the edge of our soloar system.

There are 2 of them currently just recently hit that edge. Those have nuclear drive power which will last approx 90 years, before we lose contact.

By jaytronic on 4/22/2013 12:07:53 PM , Rating: 2
"Since the moon's orbit is elliptical (oval-shaped), its distance varies from about 221,463 miles (356,334 kilometers) at perigee to 251,968 miles (405,503 kilometers) at apogee."

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