Thursday, May 19, 2011

Virgin Galactic Makes First Feathered Flight

Virgin Galactic, which expects to make the first commercial suborbital flights in the next year, continues testing its systems designed by Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites (and which won the X-Prize for reusable spacecraft).

It is testing the VSS Enterprise, which is the actual spacecraft that will make the suborbital flights after being launched from the White Knight 2 mothership:

The feathered flight characteristic is used to allow the spacecraft to return to Earth by shedding speed without needing expensive and weighty heat shielding.

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