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Tourist spaceship test flight successful
Sat, 23 Apr 2011 11:25:00 GMT
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A privately built spaceship constructed by the space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, has completed its longest flight yet during a drop test over California's Mojave Desert.

The suborbital spacecraft, called SpaceShipTwo, maneuvered through the skies over the Mojave Air and Space Port during the milestone test on Friday, April 22, reported the website.

The Mojave-based aerospace company, Scaled Composites, is overseeing construction and flight testing of SpaceShipTwo and its WhiteKnight Two carrier plane for Virgin Galactic.

According to the Scaled's SpaceshipTwo test flight log, Friday's piloted glide marks the fifth release of the space plane at high altitude from the WhiteKnightTwo mothership.

"Looks like another good day for the Scaled team as we move through the test program," said George Whitesides, president and CEO of Virgin Galactic.

The flight remains SpaceShipTwo's longest glide flight to date.

Test pilot Peter Siebold and co-pilot Doug Shane, who is the president of Scaled Composites, flew SpaceShipTwo during the test, which lasted 14 minutes and 31 seconds.

The glide tests typically have a checklist of items that range from evaluating stability and control of SpaceShipTwo to maintaining pilot proficiency.

The first SpaceShipTwo aircraft, named the VSS Enterprise, and its mothership, the VMS Eve, are both being developed by Scaled Composites for British billionaire and adventurer Sir Richard Branson, who founded the Virgin Galactic space line.

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