The mothership has landed

In December, the curious g blogged about Virgin Galactic’s space packages in Space available (it’s still booking). The program took another leap forward today.

Virgin Galactic announced that its commercial manned spaceship, VSS Enterprise, successfully completed its first “captive carry” test flight this morning. The spaceship lifted off at 07:05 am (PST) from Mojave Air and Spaceport, CA.

space tourism, Virgin Galactic, the curious g, civilian space travel, test flights

Captive carry refers to a flight by a mothership – the carrier aircraft – and spaceplane, rocket, or missile paired together. Captive carry flights are normally used to test out new aircraft before they are launched under their own power. The two ships are not separated in flight, unlike an air launch.

Virgin Galactic says passenger flights will not begin until regulatory approval is obtained. (Glad to hear that!) One/one-millionth of a parsec closer to space tourism.

VSS Enterprise in flight over Mojave, CA  © 2010 Mark Greenberg for Virgin Galactic

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