Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two completed a second supersonic flight on Thursday in which it also tested a new system to slow down its re-entry into earth’s atmosphere, the Company said.
The flight took place on Thursday morning above the Mojave desert when the spacecraft, which is designed to take six paying passengers into sub-orbital space flight, was released from its carrier aircraft at a height of 46,000 feet (14,000 metres).
Two pilots ignited the rocket motor for 20 seconds, carrying the spaceship to 69,000 feet at a maximum speed of Mach 1.43, the Company said.
“It was particularly thrilling to see for the first time today the whole elegant system in action during a single flight, including the remarkable feathering re-entry system,” Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson said in a statement.
The Company has already accepted more than $ 70 million in deposits from some 580 people willing to pay $ 250,000 each to travel into space. The first commercial flights are scheduled for next year.