Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two Test Hits Mach 1.43

One of the most interesting companies participating in the private space field is Virgin Galactic. The company will take those rich enough to afford a ticket on a trip into orbit around the Earth. Before the spacecraft, dubbed SpaceShip Two, can take off and hit orbit, it has to pass some flight tests.

Virgin Galactic recently conducted one of those flight tests taking it one step closer to carrying passengers 364,000 feet above the Earth's surface. The test flight saw the spacecraft fly at 69,000 feet and reach a top speed of Mach 1.43.

This test flight marks the second time that SpaceShip Two reached supersonic speeds using its rocket engine. The test was conducted at approximately 8 AM Thursday at a flight Center in the Mojave Desert in California. SpaceShip 2 was carried to an altitude of 46,000 feet on the back of the White Night Two aircraft before disengaging.

SS2 is designed to be operated by two pilots and carry six passengers. During the test flight its rocket engine was engaged for only 20 seconds, which was twice as long as the first test. The first successful test flight for the aircraft reached 55,000 feet and speed of Mach 1.2.