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Sunday
Oct102010

Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise Makes 1st Free Flight... YeeHaw! 

(click pic for hi-res)  First manned free flight of the VSS Enterprise! (photo: Virgin Galactic)

(3 CoolPix)

 10.10.10 is a really big day in Mojave California as Virgin Galactic has taken one giant step closer to becoming the world's first commercial spaceline. The SpaceShipTwo named VSS Enterprise released from the WhiteKnightTwo mother ship VMS Eve at 45,000 feet as seen in the photo above. Pilot Pete Siebold and co-pilot Mike Alsbury had a variety of objectives for this flight, including verification that all systems were functioning properly prior to release; then, perform a clean release; evaluate initial flight handling qualities; stall characteristics; verification of lift-to-drag ratio performance; a practice approach at high altitude; and finally a completed descent and landing. The landing took place at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

 

(click pic for hi-res)  VSS Enterprise in first free flight  (photo: Mark Greenberg)

 Pilot Pete Siebold stated after the successful first flight "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 world's highest altitude gliders."

370 Virgin Galactic space ride customers have already placed deposits totaling $50 million. Commercial operations are planned to take place out of Spaceport America in New Mexico, where the runway is expected to be inaugurated on Friday, October 22nd. The dream of space tourism is well on the way to becoming a reality. There are many hurdles yet to clear, but this is real progress!

 

(click pic for hi-res) VSS Enterprise over Mojave California  (photo: Mark Greenberg)

 More detailed info coming soon on the performance of the entire Virgin Galactic space vehicle system designed and built by Scaled Composites.

 Also, be sure to watch Monday, October 18, 2010 at 10pm ET for the premier of 'Virgin Galactic', a special 4-part documentary series on the National Geographic Channel.

 

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Reader Comments (5)

Great shots!

October 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Gjedde

Very cool stuff! Thanks for the update, and the pics. Did you take them yourself? :-)

October 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTurb Coriolis

Turb- I wish I had! But no, I'm at home in Indiana. The pix are official Virgin Galactic from their website. They had them even larger there, so I figured this was a good time for some VG CoolPix : )

October 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

Did anyone else notice the smiley face on White Knight where the carry points are?

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBone

Bone- Nice find... I hadn't noticed that. I'm glad to see it's there tho : )

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

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