Leonard David, Space.com (October 10, 2010)
"A private suborbital spaceship flew its first solo test flight today (Oct. 10) from Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
Though the craft did not reach space, it was a major milestone for the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, which flew in glide mode for some 15 minutes once released from its carrier plane, WhiteKnightTwo, according Bill Deaver, an eye-witness of the test flight...."
SpaceShipTwo's testing seems to be moving along smoothly, following "a steady progression," as the article put it. Not very dramatic: but in a way, that's the idea. Virgin Galactic wants to get its six-passenger suborbital spaceship ready for commercial flights - and has a lot of motivation to do the testing phase 'by the numbers.'
Commercial Spaceships? What Next: Spaceports?Back to the article:
"...Meanwhile, work is ongoing in readying Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport now under construction in New Mexico.
"Another major event in the development of personal spaceflight is slated for Oct. 22, when Spaceport America's runway will be dedicated. The event will signal the completion of the nearly two-mile long by two hundred-foot wide spaceport runway from which the WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo launch system will operate...."
This is one of those eras in history where if you blink, you're likely to miss something. America has over a half-dozen spaceports (January 19, 2010) - with many more in operation or being built around the world.
- "Boeing CST-100 Spaceship: Passenger Service to ISS, Commercial Space Stations"
(July 21, 2010)
- "Space Tourism and Virgin Galactic: Another Step"
(July 17, 2010)
- "When it's Time to Build Spaceships, People Will Build Spaceships"
(October 4, 2009)