SpaceShipTwo Completes Longest Powered Flight to Date

SpaceShipTwo lands after its third powered flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

UPDATE NO. 1, 10:54 a.m. PDT: Preliminary information was the engine burn lasted 42 seconds and the ship reached Mach 2.2 and an altitude of about 170,000 feet.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity completed the program’s longest and highest powered flight this morning. Flight statistics have not yet been released, but from ground observations our estimate is that the engine fired for 45 to 50 seconds. An early report indicates the vehicle exceeded 160,000 feet. The ship made a supersonic feathered descent as it deployed its twin tail booms in a shuttlecock configuration. The spacecraft was piloted by Dave Mackay and Mike ‘Sooch’ Masucci.

On the previous flight at the end of May, the hybrid engine burned for 31 seconds and the vehicle reached Mach 1.9 and 114,500 feet.

Todd Ericson and Kelly Latimer flew the WhiteKnightTwo mother ship which dropped SpaceShipTwo.

More information and some photos of the vehicle in flight as we get them.