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SpaceShipTwo Moves Forward to First Powered Flight

Ground crews load nitrous oxide into SpaceShipTwo in preparation for an April 12, 2013 test flight. The flight marked the first time that oxidizer flowed through SpaceShipTwo’s rocket nozzle in flight, successfully demonstrating key components of the system, key milestone in advance of SpaceShipTwo’s first rocket powered flight. Photo Credit: Virgin Galactic / Mark Greenberg — at Mojave Air & Space Port.

For the first time ever, oxidizer flows through SpaceShipTwo’s rocket nozzle in flight, successfully demonstrating key components of the system. The April 12, 2013 test flight was a key milestone in advance of SpaceShipTwo’s first rocket powered flight. Photo Credit: MarsScientific.com — at Mojave Air & Space Port.

SpaceShipTwo progress is being made in the skies over the Mojave Air and Space Port in California – successful demonstration on April 12th of key components of the system.

SpaceShipTwo carried out a “Cold Flow” flight. The test objectives were achieved, and the craft is advancing towards its first powered flight.

In this latest milestone, for the first time in the air, oxidizer was flowed through the propulsion system and out through the nozzle at the rear of the space plane.

The test provides further qualifying evidence that the rocket system is flight ready, according to Virgin Galactic, the spaceliner company that will make use of the WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo launch system.

George Whitesides, CEO and President of Virgin Galactic, told the Coalition: “We have to do a full review of the data before we finalize our next flight milestone, but we’re getting close now. Happy to report that the flight went well, with the cold flow plan performing nominally. We got some great weather on Friday and the team took full advantage by knocking out another important test flight.”

When operational, the SpaceShipTwo is to fly six passengers and two pilots to the edge of space on a suborbital trajectory. Space tourist flights will be staged from New Mexico’s Spaceport America.

By Leonard David

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