WhiteKnightTwo took to the air for the first time Sunday morning, Dec. 21, 2008 following several weeks of taxi tests!
Image: V. Galactic
(Mojave, Ca. US)
Designed by Scaled Composites, the huge and unique WhiteKnightTwo mothership rolled down the runway and muscled itself into the air using four Pratt and Whitney PW308A turbofan engines.
The big, twin fuselage airplane took off at 8:17 a.m. PST and landed an hour later to the applause of spectators watching at the Mojave Air and Spaceport. Source: Mojave Desert News.
A vision is becoming a reality... (Video from earlier simulation)
Innovation for the Private Sector...
The hour-long test flight of WhiteKnightTwo made use of a minimum flight test crew.
"And here we are on a Sunday morning...in a place out here in the middle of nowhere and really neat stuff is happening. It just looked beautiful," Witt said. "What brings people to this desolate landscape on a Sunday morning in December is more about what forced them here. Innovation by the private sector is a void being filled because... read more.I don't exactly agree with this article that NASA left a void, or deserted 90 % of the sandbox... Especially if you understand NASA's purpose in the world of Scientific research... more here. They encourage the first step on the stairway to space, to be occupied by commercial entrepreneurs - And as Griffin says, "Whether they reside in big companies or small ones." more.
NASA's new shuttle (for ISS science missions) is underway and set for release before 2015... (Also said to be unlike anything we have ever seen.) Until then, NASA is best to lease ISS transportation, from orbital services.
And, to reiterate, from commercialspace...
And as we see, in its encouragement of two companies, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences; which are getting millions of dollars in development funds to build spaceships capable of resupplying the international space station once the shuttle fleet retires in 2010... Griffin said the space agency's recent request for station resupply bids drew proposals from more than a dozen companies... [Source:commercialspace]