Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Right Stuff - Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo makes first powered flight

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 29th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A private spaceship probed the edge of space today, heralding a new era in human spaceflight. SpaceShipTwo, as it has been dubbed by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, will begin ferrying passengers back and forth to space as early as next year.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - If you want to be an astronaut, forget NASA. Now with enough money, you can become an astronaut by riding along on SpaceShipTwo.

Do you still need the Right Stuff to make the flight? You bet.

For a cool $200,000, the price of a modest-sized home for most Americans, you can catch a few minutes of genuine weightlessness in space, just like the first astronauts did in the early days of the space program.

Carried aloft by the mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, the spacecraft spiraled ever higher into the skies above Mojave in California. After finally reaching the altitude of 46,000 feet, SpaceShipTwo was released and began a rocket-powered ascent to the edge of space. The craft nosed back over at 56,000 feet, then glided to a landing at the Mojave airport.

 The Mojave airport is the home of Scaled Composites, the designer and builder of both craft.

The craft broke the sound barrier in flight, and will do so regularly when it has passengers aboard.

Virgin galactic said that everything went well with the flight.

There will be more test flights to ensure the quality and reliability of the vehicle. Assuming all goes well, SpaceShipTwo will start ferrying passengers to space as early as next year. Passengers will depart Earth, and return to, the New Mexico spaceport outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Today's flight is an important milestone, marking the first powered flight of the craft. Two earlier flights this month were glide tests to make sure the craft could glide and land as designed.

Sir Richard Branson was in Mojave today to witness the flight. "What a feeling to be on the ground with all the team in Mojave to witness the occasion," he blogged afterwards.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)