Sixteen-second engine burn pushes Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo past the sound barrier and into history
White Knight Two and SpaceShipTwo being towed to the runway (Photo: Virgin Galactic)
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo banking on a glide test (Photo: Virgin Galactic)
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo being carried to flight altitude by White Knight Two (Photo: Virgin Galactic)
Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo climbing into the stratosphere on thirty tons of thrust (Photo: Galactic Virgin)
View of SpaceShipTwo's rocket motor and plume during the sixteen second burn, as seen from the SST Burn Camera (Photo: Galactic Virgin)
At 7:55 AM PDT this Monday, the Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo (SST) attained a peak velocity of Mach 1.2 at an altitude of 55,000 feet (nearly 17 km) above the Mohave Desert with a 16-second burn of its 30-ton thrust rocket engine. Piloted by Mark Stucky and Mike Alsbury with an assist from Dave Mackay in the mother bird White Knight Two, this flight marks a stepping-off point for commercial manned spaceflight.
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