Shiny SpaceShipTwo Performs Glide Test in Mojave

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Sporting shiny new tail booms, SpaceShipTwo lands at the Mojave Air and Space Port after a glide flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SpaceShipTwo performed a glide flight over the Mojave this morning. Pilots Mark Stucky of Scaled Composites and Mike Masucci of Virgin Galactic tested the ship’s nitrous oxide dump system before separating from the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft and gliding to a landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

SpaceShipTwo had a shiny coating of reflective Kapton on the inboard sections of its two tail booms. The material is designed to allow the ship to manage temperatures from its hybrid engine.

It was SpaceShipTwo’s 30th free flight and 28th glide test. The WhiteKnightTwo mother ship made its 145th flight.

In a Tweet, Virgin Galactic said the next powered flight is coming up “soon.”  SpaceShipTwo flew under power twice earlier this year, first at the end of April and then again in the beginning of September.