Virgin Galactic Pilot Flies WhiteKnightTwo on 80th Flight

Virgin Galactic pilot Keith Colmer gets dunked after flying WhiteKnightTwo. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WhiteKnightTwo was out flying solo on Wednesday from the Mojave Air & Space Port. Virgin Galactic posted the above photo on its public Google+ page today with the following caption describing the aircraft’s 80th flight:

“One of our pilots, Keith Colmer, got to fly WhiteKnightTwo. Keith’s flown a wide range of commercial, military, and general aviation aircraft, but flying part of a reusable space system was first for him.

“Your humble G+ scribe asked him what he thought of the flight, and he told me: “It was an outstanding first flight. White Knight 2 has phenomenal performance…the climb out was spectacular! Thanks to all of the crew chiefs and engineers at Scaled and TSC for working extra hard to get the flight accomplished.”

“Pictured here, we engage Keith in a little post-first-flight tradition.”

  • They can fly 800 times with the WK2 if they wish – but WHEN WILL THEY LIGHT THE CANDLE of the SS2? Insights welcome …

  • Fred Willett

    Rather than choose an off the shelf engine Virgin chose to scale up the SS1 engine. This proved harder than first thought.
    The engine is not yet out of development.
    SS2 can’t fly till it is.

  • Jason

    I see that Doug didn’t follow the overwhelming majority opinion from the last poll. 🙁

  • Marcus Zottl

    Looks like he did so now.

  • I have been trying. He is not only extremely redundant in his comments but incredibly persistent in finding ways around bans. 🙁

  • Virgin CEO George Whitesides recently said they would start flying at the end of the year with a “starter motor.” This is a smaller version of the full engine that will allow them to explore the powered flight envelope. He added that the company hopes to be able to fly tourists by the end of 2013. Whether that’s realistic…I don’t know. We’ll see how things progress with the powered flights and the continued large hybrid testing.

  • amanda deng

    Makes sense. The x-15 had a less powerful engine before the xlr-99 was installed and drivibg it to the speed record. They are definitely not wasting fuel on the wk2 flights. Patience! 🙂 better safe than sorry

  • Katechon

    I’m hearing that Maurice G. Dantec (author of Babylon Babies) is publishing in September a sequel (Satellite Sisters) in which Branson and other private space pioneers will play important parts…

  • Bob sandwell

    @ Katechon : Awesome !!! But Dantec is a french guy…
    Do you know if some translation will occur ?

  • Katechon

    I don’t know. But i shall expect it. Babylon Babies has been translated into several language, including English (MIT press)

    btw somebody told me that in Satellite Sisters — with Virgin Galactic, Branson will go to the moon, then Mars !!!