Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, which is scheduled to take private citizens to the edge of space in 2013, has finished its first test flight with its rocket motor components installed and functioning. The craft has already completed several glide-only tests.
The announcement of the flight on the company’s website said “This was a significant flight as it was the first with rocket motor components installed, including tanks. It was also the first flight with thermal protection applied to the spaceship’s leading edges. It followed an equally successful test flight last Friday which saw SpaceShipTwo fly in this configuration, but remain mated to its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft.”
The ongoing tests are in preparation for taking six passengers at a time to a point 100km above the Earth, allowing them to experience weightlessness in a round-trip that takes two and a half hours from start to finish.
Source: Ars Technica