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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedWhiteKnightTwo Conducts Third Flight Test
  

Virgin Galactic reports the WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) space launch vehicle made its longest and fastest test flight to date on Wednesday, March 25, at the Mojave Air and Spaceport, California. The twin-fuselage mothership, designed to serve as the launching point for commercial space craft SpaceShipTwo, flew for more than two-and-a-half hours at a maximum speed of 140 knots and an altitude exceeding 18,000 ft MSL.

The four-engine jet, nicknamed "Eve" after company founder Richard Branson's mother, is scheduled to fly to aviation innovation's main stage, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, and make its first public flight demonstrations. AirVenture is scheduled for July 27-August 2.


Peter Siebold, test pilot, described it as a great piloting experience. "This is a truly remarkable aviation vehicle and, although it might look unique from the ground, it is not strange to fly in any way and is in fact a great piloting experience," he said.
WK2 Among the tests completed were in-flight engine restarts; engine thrust asymmetry assessment; continued expansion of WK2's operating envelope; and evaluation of handling qualities.

"WhiteKnightTwo really is an impressive vehicle and it represents the apogee of the application of carbon composites to aerospace," said Burt Rutan, founder of Scaled Composites, which is building the aircraft. "All of us at Scaled are tremendously excited by its capabilities. I believe the vehicle will be developed and sold for a variety of launch applications beyond the initial requirements of Virgin Galactic."
Added Branson:

"As usual, Burt and the team have created a beauty that also flies really well. These first flights of WK2 take the Virgin Galactic vision up another level and continue to provide tangible evidence that this most ambitious of projects is not only for real but is making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation.

"I am looking forward to flying myself in Eve in the next few weeks before we attach SpaceShipTwo later in the year and begin test flights to space shortly afterwards!"
 

 

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