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Triumph Of Private Enterprise

March 23, 2010

The Continuing Adventures of the Starship Enterprise

We wrote about the amazing adventures of  Burt Rutan and his Scaled Composites team back on Dec. 9 in our post, Instant Karma In Space.

Yesterday Rutan and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic took the next step in the commercialization of space flight for tourism with the first captive-carry test of the Virgin Spaceship Enterprise.

Commenting on the historic flight, Burt Rutan said: “This is a momentous day for the Scaled and Virgin Teams. The captive carry flight signifies the start of what we believe will be extremely exciting and successful spaceship flight test program.”

VSS Enterprise completes her first captive carry…

VSS Enterprise First Flight, The Triumph of Private "Enterprise". Photo by Mark Greenberg

Sir Richard Branson, added: “Seeing the finished spaceship in December was a major day for us but watching VSS Enterprise fly for the first time really brings home what beautiful, ground-breaking vehicles Burt and his team have developed for us. It comes as no surprise that the flight went so well; the Scaled team is uniquely qualified to bring this important and incredible dream to reality. Today was another major step along that road and a testament to US engineering and innovation.” Read more from the Virgin Galactic web site and more great images…

John Antczak, Associated Press Writer reported…

Galactic said the flight test program will run through 2011 before commercial operations begin. SpaceShipTwo will be carried to an altitude of about 50,000 feet and then released by the mothership.

Powered by a single rocket motor, the spaceship will be flown by a crew of two and carry six passengers on a Mach 3 thrill ride through the edge of the atmosphere for a brief zero-gravity experience and views of the Earth far below before gliding to a landing.

More than 300 people have made deposits on the $200,000 tickets. Commercial development has been slower than expected. When Virgin Group licensed the technology from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who funded about $26 million for SpaceShipOne, Branson envisioned operating flights by 2007. Full story…

HD Video of Historic First Flight of VSS Enterprise

“Virgin Galactic announced today that VSS Enterprise has completed her inaugural captive carry flight from Mojave Air and Spaceport. This very first captive carry was a huge success and both the mothership and spaceship looked absolutely stunning against the blue back drop of the Mojave skies.”

There was no comment on what the cost was for taking a second bag or if cocktails were included with the $200k ticket.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2010 11:55 am

    Re: VSS Enterprise

    Great story. Hubby is retired Luftwaffe jet instructor pilot, and I truly enjoy reading about and looking at pictures of all types of aircraft. We’ve always lived around military air bases and large commercial airports. Great fun to try and keep up with all the latest aeronautics. Great blog site, keep up the good work.

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