Stunning Footage from SpaceShipTwo’s Third Rocket-Powered Flight

by Nancy Atkinson on January 14, 2014

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Virgin Galactic released video from SpaceShipTwo’s flight test last Friday, January 10, 2014. This was the third supersonic, rocket-powered test of the Virgin Galactic system after dozens of successful subsonic test flights. The pilots Dave Mackay and Mark Stucky tested the spaceship’s Reaction Control System, the newly installed thermal protection coating on the vehicle’s tail booms, and the “feather” re-entry system, all with great success.

See some images from the flight below.

You can read our coverage from Friday’s test flight here.

Image from the "tail cam" on SpaceShipTwo of engine ignition. Credit: Virgin Galactic.

Image from the “tail cam” on SpaceShipTwo of engine ignition. Credit: Virgin Galactic.

Image from SpaceShipTwo's third powered flight on January 10, 2014. Credit: Virgin Galactic.

Image from SpaceShipTwo’s third powered flight on January 10, 2014. Credit: Virgin Galactic.

Feathered Flight during Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo's third powered flight on January 10,  2014 over the Mojave desert. This image was taken by MARS Scientific as part of the Mobile Aerospace Reconnaissance System optical tracking system.

Feathered Flight during Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo’s third powered flight on January 10, 2014 over the Mojave desert. This image was taken by MARS Scientific as part of the Mobile Aerospace Reconnaissance System optical tracking system.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Zoutsteen from Holland January 14, 2014 at 5:41 PM

I have to say, where some countries are still struggling to figure out how to gouvern their people, America definetly is busy succeeding in going beyond the basics and into the future. Space tourism!

Dan Sanderson January 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Funded by a British company. Go Sir Richard!!

Aqua4U January 14, 2014 at 6:47 PM

The heat reflective inboard tail surfaces are notable. From an in-flight’ experience? HOT rockets!

Aqua4U January 14, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Tay.. reflect the heat. Will those surfaces also reflect radio waves? They appear metallic, if only molecules thick? But were they to become antenna’s during high energy events in the upper stratosphere…. think exhaust gas ion trail completing a circuit?

Guest January 14, 2014 at 8:57 PM

Now wouldn’t THAT be a kick! ZAP! Fusion!

Aqua4U January 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM

Now you’ve got me thinking about the temperatures of lightning on Jupiter.. and Saturn.

Olaf2 January 15, 2014 at 3:34 PM

The reflective surfaces also hides the tail from the horizon when you look outside. It reflects the atmosphere.

Shootist January 15, 2014 at 2:01 PM

From The Green Hills of Earth

Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet,
Up leaps a race of Earthmen,
Out, far, and onward yet —

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Choiji555 January 15, 2014 at 11:24 PM

guys i’ve done some research and it cost 250,000 per person for that ride >:P

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