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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo completes its second test flight (video)

Melissa Grey, @meligrey
September 5, 2013
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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo might not have the flashiest name, but a lack of nominal originality didn't stop it from completing its second test flight today at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Back in April, SpaceShipTwo's first flight hit an altitude of 55,000 feet (traveling at Mach 1.2) before descending, but this time around, the little rocket plane that could one-upped itself. After being ferried to a height of approximately 40,000 feet by carrier-craft WhiteKnightTwo, the ship soared to an impressive 69,000 feet at Mach 1.4 while the engine roared for a total of 20 seconds. The outing, led by pilots Mark Stucky and Clint Nichols, also marked the first test of the craft's wing-tilting re-entry system. According to Virgin's Sir Richard Branson, SpaceShipTwo's progress means that the company is still on track to launch its commercial service in 2014. To see the test flight for yourself, check out the video after the break.

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