SpaceshipTwo rocket motor test

Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites have been testing the short burn nitrous booster that will fling their SpaceShipTwo vehicle into space. Space fans will recall that Scaled Composites’ Ansari X Prize winner, SpaceShipOne was little more than a high altitude glider with a gert big rocket strapped up it’s behind, impressive though it was. SpaceShipTwo, however, is going to be able to deliver payload to orbit.

From the press release (.pdf)

28th May 2009:

In the desert of southern California, Virgin Galactic’s key supplier Scaled Composites and its subcontractor SNC
(Sierra Nevada Corporation) have successfully completed the first tests of the innovative rocket motor that will propel space tourists, scientists and payloads into space.

The hybrid Nitrous Oxide system being used is the largest of its kind in the world and it will send Virgin’s customers up into sub-orbital space at speeds over 2500 mph (4000kmh), to heights over 65 miles (110km) above the Earth’s surface, before the spaceship descends back down through the atmosphere using its pioneering feathered re-entry system.

There’s tons more video and impressive multimedia fakery at the Virgin Galactic site.

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