Aircraft: Virgin Galactic, the developer of the world's first commercial space flights, announced the successful completion today of the first piloted free flight of the VSS Enterprise. Pilots Pete Siebold and Mike Alsbury flew the historic first-manned flight. The flight's mission was twofold in purpose. A clean release of the spacecraft from its mothership, the WhiteKnightTwo, and the pilots manning the vessel were the primary objectives of the flight.
The VSS Enterprise was released from its mothership, the WhiteKnight2, at an altitude approximating 45,000 feet. The VSS then glided for 11 minutes before settling in and landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Mr. George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic,, who witnessed the flight, said, ?To see the world?s first manned commercial spaceship landing on a runway is a sight I always dreamed I would behold. Now, our challenge going forward will be to complete our experimental program, obtain our FAA license and safely bring the system into service at Spaceport America, New Mexico.?
Source: Virgin Galactic
Photo Credit: Mark Greenburg