SpaceShipTwo Completes Glide Flight in Mojave

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SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo circle over the Mojave Air and Space Port during a  successful glide flight on July 18, 2012. (Credit: Bill Deaver)

File Photo: SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo circle over the Mojave Air and Space Port during a successful glide flight on July 18, 2012. (Credit: Bill Deaver)

A very reliable source tells me that SpaceShipTwo successfully completed a glide flight this morning at the Mojave Air and Space Port. The craft glided to a landing before 8 a.m. PST.

Engineers recently installed the nitrous oxide tank in the 8-person suborbital spaceship. Drop flights are required to determine the vehicle’s new center of gravity and to test the venting of the nitrous oxide. These are possible objectives for this test.

SpaceShipTwo was involved in a captive carry flight with its WhiteKnightTwo mother ship last Thursday. Observers on the ground heard an “abort” called over the radio during the flight. It is not clear whether it was an abort of a glide attempt or some other test.

Powered flights of SpaceShipTwo using a starter motor are set to begin in 2013.