In this rear view video of the second powered flight of Burt Rutan’s SpaceShip2 we see the craft drop from its mothership, White Knight. The rocket is ignited and fired for about 20 seconds, and we hear the g-forces in the breathing and voices of the pilots. The top speed reached was Mach 1.43, and the craft coasts up to 69,000 feet (about 13 miles, well short of ‘space,’ but high enough for black sky and curved Earth’s horizon). The pilots correct small roll motions as it ascends unpowered. The twin tail booms fold out of sight as the feather system is engaged. We have a good view of the Earth below as the feathered descent takes place quite slowly. The booms are returned to their normal positions for the glide back to a runway landing at Mojave. The aim is to fly 6 paying passengers at a time just beyond the 100km nominal boundary for ‘space,’ and allow them to float in zero-g before beginning their re-entry.
Filed under: Updates