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Virgin Galactic performs first powered flight of second SpaceShipTwo
Posted: Sun, Apr 8, 2018, 9:36 AM ET (1336 GMT)
SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity first powered flight (MarsScientific.com and Trumbull Studios) Virgin Galactic's second SpaceShipTwo made its first powered flight Thursday. The vehicle, named VSS Unity, was released from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft at about 12 pm EDT (1600 GMT) and fired its hybrid rocket motor for 30 seconds. The vehicle reached a peak altitude of more than 25,000 meters and a top speed of Mach 1.87 on the flight before safely landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The flight was the first powered flight test of SpaceShipTwo since a fatal crash of the first vehicle, VSS Enterprise, in October 2014. The company is planning an unspecified number of powered test flights this year in preparation for commercial operations. "Space feels tantalizingly close now," Virgin founder Richard Branson tweeted shortly after the flight.
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