Black Sky: Virgin’s Spaceship Carrier Takes To Air For 150th Time

by Elizabeth Howell on July 10, 2014

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WhiteKnightTwo during a test flight in 2014, the 150th it has taken so far. Credit: Virgin Galactic

WhiteKnightTwo during a test flight in 2014, the 150th it has taken so far. Credit: Virgin Galactic

As Virgin Galactic gets ready for its first space test of SpaceShipTwo — a feat widely expected to take place later this year — the private company recently posted a new photo of the carrier aircraft that will bring the spaceship to altitude for its kick to orbit. Called WhiteKnightTwo, the aircraft completed its 150th flight.

The post comes not too long after Virgin and others commemorated the 10th anniversary of SpaceShipOne’s first flight into space. The company subsequently sent the spacecraft there again, winning the Ansari X-Prize.

The Scaled Composites spaceship sparked an agreement with Virgin Galactic to start what the companies call the world’s first spaceliner, Virgin Galactic. The first test flight has been pushed back several years during development. Virgin founder Richard Branson has said he is planning to be on the first flight, along with some of his family.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

philw1776 July 10, 2014 at 12:19 PM

How are they doing? It’s 10 years since SpaceShipOne. Heard they abandoned the rubber fueled rocket engine for another one. Not what I’d call rapid progress.

Aqua4U July 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Been kind of slow going for Virgin Galactic.. but that is to be expected because after all is said and done – It IS rocket science!

Still, how many times has the initial space flight of Space Ship II be delayed? I heard Branson and family members will be aboard the first operational flight, so they’d BETTER get it right!

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