Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its first ever glide flight Sunday. After being released from its mothership at 45,000 feet in the air, Enterprise landed on a runway at California's Mojave Air and Space Port.
The goals of the flight that were achieved included a clean release from the mothership and a smooth free flight back to landing. This allowed Virgin to look at the plane's performance characteristics.
So far Virgin Galactic has 370 curious travelers' deposits, which totals
about $50 million in ticket sales, for commercial flights into space. Flights will depart from New Mexico's Spaceport America, which will have a runway inauguration on October 22.
Scaled Composites pilot Pete Siebold said in a news release: "The VSS Enterprise was a real joy to fly, especially when one
considers the fact that the vehicle has been designed not only to be a
Mach 3.5 spaceship capable of going into space but also one of the
worlds highest altitude gliders."