Feeds

Richard Branson gets nod to strap rocket on SpaceShipTwo

Supersonic Virgin Galactic test flights this year

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Virgin Galactic has finally got the green light to attempt supersonic rocket-powered SpaceShipTwo flights at the end of the year.

The SpaceShipTwo craft takes to the air carried by its WhiteKnightTwo mothership. Credit: Virgin Galactic

The SpaceShipTwo craft takes to the air carried by its WhiteKnightTwo mothership

The millionaire transporter has got an experimental launch permit from the US Federal Aviation Administration for the ship and its carrier aircraft, the WhiteKnightTwo, the space biz announced.

The pair have already done some flying together but haven't done any rocket-powered flight yet.

The WhiteKnightTwo has done 80 test flights and the SS2 has been up 16 times, including three tests that checked out the craft's re-entry system. Virgin have also fired the tyre-rubber-and-laughing-gas-powered rocket in 10 tests, successfully completing full duration burns, but this is the first time they'll be strapping it on the SS2 for a test fire.

Scaled Composites, the spacecraft builder, will fly the SS2 a couple of more times with the unlit rocket aboard to ensure the ship works well with the extra weight. In the meantime, integration of the rocket's components through the summer before a full blasting flight expected towards the end of the year.

The SS2, which can carry six passengers and two pilots, is based on Scaled's SpaceShipOne, which won the $10m Ansari X Prize in 2004 for the first privately funded human spaceflights.

So far, Virgin Galactic, owned by Brit billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and Abu Dhabi government investment firm Aabar Investments, has signed up 500 passengers to their space joyrides, including celebs like Ashton Kutcher and Angelina Jolie and scientists like Stephen Hawking and James Lovelock, famous for proposing the Gaia theory. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.