SpaceShipTwo Tests Exceeding Expectations

Scaled Composites hopes to achieve one additional glide test of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) “Enterprise” by year-end and says that even if bad weather prevents the attempt, the program is already ahead of schedule following a trouble-free initial unpowered flight on Oct. 10.

“Testing has been going quite a bit better than we’d originally hoped, and we’ve been able to make glide flights ahead of what we’d anticipated in terms of flight-to-flight turn-around time,” says Pete Siebold, Scaled director of flight operations. The Virgin Galactic program therefore remains on target to becoming the world’s first commercial space line, with routine suborbital operations from Spaceport America, N.M., as early as 2012, reports Guy Norris for Aviation Week.

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