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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Richard Branson Hints at SpaceShipTwo’s First Powered Flight

•, By Jason Paur
 The test is the second flight this month and hints from Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson indicate the first powered flight might be just around the corner.

“Congratulations to Stucky and Alsbury and the rest of the crew on a brilliant day,” Branson wrote on his blog referring to the two test pilots on the flight, “and I look forward to seeing you all in Mojave soon.”

Friday’s test flight last 10.8 minutes and marked the first time the development team at Scaled Composites allowed the oxidizer on board SpaceShipTwo to run through the propulsion system, a so-called “cold flow” test. As the oxidizer – a very chilly liquid nitrous oxide in the case of SpaceShipTwo – exited the nozzle at the rear of the future spacecraft, it created a condensation trail across the blue Mojave desert sky.

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