SpaceShipTwo Makes First Drop Test Flight

Reports out of Mojave say that Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipTwo has made its first solo glide flight — a major milestone on the way to Virgin Galactic’s commercial suborbital flights. Space.com’s Leonard David reports:

Though the craft did not reach space, it was a major milestone for the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, which flew in glide mode for some 15 minutes once released from its carrier plane, WhiteKnightTwo, according Bill Deaver, an eye-witness of the test flight.

“It was perfect landing,” Deaver told SPACE.com. “It looked just spectacular.”

Once released from the huge mothership, two pilots controlled the SpaceShipTwo to a safe runway touchdown.

Popular Mechanics was on the scene and filed a account of the flight.