Virgin Galactic reaches new supersonic heights, completes third powered flight


Elegant, functional, futuristic, efficient (relatively)… Beautiful space system!

Caption is wrong however… that is full on powered flight and not feathered. The MARS site seems to have the picture along with the correct caption, and also a pic of the feathered mode, but not with that description.

Ah thanks for pointing that out. The feathered mode looks less dramatic than I had imagined it. Really just like using full up elevator, and a little bit more. I could imagine them getting it back into a glide if the airframe doesn’t come out of that configuration.

What exactly is “supersonic height”?

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Here is a pic of the full feather mode:

In the unfortunate event of getting stuck in that configuration, it’s likely going to crater.

Thanks for that. And yes, it does look like a serious failure mode. I wonder if the designers included a ballistic parachute.

What happened to the discouragement of StudlyCaps and shameless brand placement?

Also, why preface the article with “Richard Branson…”? Does reporting on this venture really require the sheen granted by SirRockStar Himself?

A height so high that nothing, not even sound, can escape.


Reminds me of

About fucking time!

…The zero-G porn can’t be far off now

Personally I can’t find it in me to be terribly excited by this project.

The best this project can be is a glorified rollercoaster,

Even if the cost declines to a 10th of it’s current $200,000, whats the point?

SOrry to be another one of those people, but what is much more interesting for civilian space access is SpaceX.

If they get launch costs down to the low millions(as is their goal) and get multiple reuses for manned capsules, we talking about something truly transformative.


I think the exciting bit is the part about humans leaving Earth again… the whole interstellar civilization thing begins with baby steps like this.

And since governments have shown that unless its about stupid wars, or cronyism, or criminalizing something poor people do, that they are incapable of anything… its nice to see private ventures expanding whats possible for humans.

Without at the same time screwing us royally. Agreed.

Got that for ya.

It would travel even faster if they removed that honkin’-big and ugly logo from the fuselage. (So big it causes drag. So ugly it causes even more drag :wink:

It’s a reach calling this a spacecraft. It’s really just a high-performance airplane capable of extended ballistic trajectories. This thing is so far from true space flight - reaching and returning from earth orbit - that it borders on fraud.

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