Monday, December 15, 2008

Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo will take first flight soon

Thanks to Shaun Saunders for bringing this New-Scientist article to us:

Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo is set to take is maiden flight very soon. The flight will be the first of dozens planned for the high-altitude craft, which could become the first privately-owned vehicle to carry tourists on sub orbital flights that at their highest will have space tourists in free fall for several minutes. The high-altitude plane is designed to loft an eight-passenger craft called SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of 15 kilometres. There, the spaceship will detach from WhiteKnightTwo and fire a rocket to take passengers some 100 km above the Earth. the plane has passed engine and runway tests and taken small hops off the ground. Though White Knight two may look light weight, it is surprising to know its actual dimensions. The plane is comparable in size to Boeing's B-29 Superfortress, a heavy, long-range bomber that flew during World War II.

Though WhiteKnight/Spaceship Two have yet to finish a fairly rigorous schedule, The testing regime should still put the firm on track to take its first passengers to the edge of space as early as 2010.

No comments: