Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane recently contributed in setting new records for speed and altitude for the company’s test program on Tuesday. It happened during a powered flight which is over California’s Mojave Desert, and two test pilots helmed it.
The primary focus of this latest SpaceShipTwo rocket plane flight test was to learn and identify how the spaceship can handle fast speed. Also, it was aimed to test the performance of control system of the vehicle.
VSS unity fired its rocket motor by burning a mixture of some rubber-based solid fuel which is known as HTPB along with nitrous oxide. During the test, the rocket plane achieved a maximum speed of Mach 1.9, and altitude of 114,500 feet.
Later Mackay and Stucky started giving instructions to VSS unity for bringing it back to Earth after activating “feathering” mechanism. Pilots after this began to reconfigure the vehicle so that they can land, they deployed its landing gear and then touched down on a runway. At Mojave Air and Spaceport, SpaceShipTwo rocket plane completed Tuesday’s flight test.
This powered test flight which held on Tuesday was the second one for the VSS unity, first was on April 5, in which the vehicle had reached a top speed of Mach 1.87 and altitude of 84271 feet.
Engineers expected that this Tuesday's test flight would help them to improve their understanding related to crafts supersonic handling characteristic and control system performance.
Ground crew added passenger’s seats and then related equipment's for VSS Unity’s second powered test flight and shifted the vehicle's center of gravity rearward.
Branson viewed Tuesday’s flight at Mojave, and he plans to be a part of the first ride of SpaceShipTwo when commercial operations commence.
Virgin Galactic is facing very tough competition from Blue Origin, which is backed by Jeff Bezos, to be in the category of first company which will launch a commercial space tourism business.
Virgin Galactic said that there are near about hundreds of people who have signed up for rides on SpaceShipTwo. Blue Origin has not yet revealed the price for a seat and also not started with the selling of ticket for its space tourism vehicle.
Founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson said, in an interview with CNBC after Tuesday’s flight that there are around two or three more SpaceShipTwo test flights which are being planned before the vehicle reached the space for the very first time.