Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, now dubbed the VSS Enterprise, completed its first flight March 22 — a captive flight while attached to its mother ship, the White Knight Two.
This very first captive carry was a huge success and both the mother ship and spaceship looked absolutely stunning against the blue back drop of the skies above the Mojave Air and Spaceport.
Commenting on the historic flight, Burt Rutan said: “This is a momentous day for the Scaled and Virgin Teams. The captive carry flight signifies the start of what we believe will be extremely exciting and successful spaceship flight test program.”
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic added: “Seeing the finished spaceship in December was a major day for us but watching VSS Enterprise fly for the first time really brings home what beautiful, ground-breaking vehicles Burt and his team have developed for us. It comes as no surprise that the flight went so well; the Scaled team is uniquely qualified to bring this important and incredible dream to reality. Today was another major step along that road and a testament to US engineering and innovation.”
The VSS Enterprise test flight program will continue though 2010 and 2011, progressing from captive carry to independent glide and then powered flight, prior to the start of commercial operations.