Wired reports Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its first solo glide flight on Sunday. According to Virgin boss Richard Branson, the first suborbital passenger flights may happen within the next 18 months. These flights will take passengers more than 100km above the Earth, where they will experience weightlessness and be able to see the darkness of space and the curvature of the Earth below for a couple of minutes. Several hundred tickets have already been sold for $200,000 each.
Seven months after making its first captive flight attached to its mother ship White Knight Two, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (aka VSS Enterprise) completed its first solo glide flight today touching down on runway 30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The early morning flight took place after several months of simulated practice flights in the mother ship, also known as Eve, which has an identical cockpit as the space craft.
The glide flight is a critical first step for the team at Scaled Composites which is building the space ship for Virgin Galactic. Though there has been no word from the company, it is expected the flight test development of the VSS Enterprise will be similar to that of SpaceShipOne.