Virgin Galactics SpaceShipTwo comes straight from the picturesque retrofuture

first_imgThe picture you see above is not, as it might initially seem, art found in a theme park within a space-themed ride designed in the 1960s. It’s a real picture of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, flying across the sky with the moon prominently displayed in the background like some kind of hilarious shirt found on Amazon that became so popular that it has its own Wikipedia page. The photo was snapped during a drop test, which involved the ship being released from a high altitude from a mothership — in this case, the WhiteKnightTwo — and attempting to glide to the ground. It landed safely at the Mojave Air and Space Port, successfully testing the control mechanism that helps provide a smooth flight for the ship as it returns to a below suborbital altitude.These tests have been going on for quite some time now, as Virgin Galactic’s first piloted free flight test took place around three years ago on October 10, 2010.The goal of SpaceShipTwo, aside from being a serious space fight vessel with a funny name, is to essentially begin the consumer-grade commercial space flight industry. A single ticket aboard the flight will run $200,000, so that consumer-grade delineation has a bit of wiggle room. The point of the flight will be to provide passengers with a view of Earth as it looks from space, as well as to allow passengers to experience a brief period of weightlessness.The initial passenger space flights are expected to take off from Spaceport America, located in New Mexico, with which Virgin signed a 20-year lease for a main terminal back in 2008.Though it’s not exactly rocket science (sorry) trying to predict a definite date when the first passenger suborbital space flight will launch, there’s technically no telling when it’ll actually happen. So if you are itching to buy a ticket, you can just find other fun things to do with your veritable mountain of disposable income until then.[image credit]last_img read more