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SpaceshipTwo flies with its nitrous system on board


Burt Rutan’s SpaceShip Two, made for Virgin Galactic to carry passengers on sub-orbital hops, did a nine-minute glide this week, testing the nitrous loading and venting system, as well as engaging the ship’s ‘feather’ re-entry system.  When the ship does make powered flights, it will be propelled by a solid fuel rocket using nitrous oxide as the oxidizer, and when it does re-enter from its brief forays into space, it will feather its tail like a shuttlecock to slow it down and prevent it over-heating.

The news of the test is only an excuse for me to post Virgin Galactic’s really cool photo of the craft passing the moon in the sky.  Its own ambitions are more modest, in that it will take its passengers 100km high into space and allow them to experience a few minutes of weightlessness floating around the cabin.


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