Current Events in Earth Science
Space Tourists

Current Events in Earth Science

Virgin Galactic’s Space Ship Two (SS2) flew over the Mojave Desert in California on September 5, 2013. It brought Virgin Galactic’s goal of flying tourists into space that much closer. The space craft had achieved its highest altitude and greatest speed on this flight. The flight demonstrated that the SS2 demonstrated its ability to take tourists into space. It also used its unique wind ‘feathering’ re-entry mechanism.

Future space tourists

Future space tourists riding in the SS2

The SS2 was taken aloft by a carrier aircraft named the WhiteKnightTwo (WK2). The WK2 took the SS2 to an altitude of 14,000 meters where it released the aircraft. The rocket motors burned for 20 seconds shooting the spacecraft just over 21,000 meters above Earth at a speed of Mach 1.43.

Mother Ship WhiteKnightTwo carrying spaceship aloft

Mother Ship WhiteKnightTwo carrying spaceship aloft

Sir Richard Branson the founder of Virgin Galactic was thrilled that their goal to take tourists into space had passed another major milestone. The company has set a goal of 2014 to begin commercial service. This flight was primarily testing the plane at supersonic speed (Mach 1.43) and the feathering re-entry system they plan to use when returning to Earth.

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