Feeds

Richard Branson gets nod to strap rocket on SpaceShipTwo

Supersonic Virgin Galactic test flights this year

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.