The suborbital rocket ship SpaceShipTwo has been repeatedly dropped from its mothership, called WhiteKnightTwo, at high altitude during 10 glide flights at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
It is the first of five SpaceShipTwo vehicles being constructed for Virgin Galactic by the Mojave-based company Scaled Composites. SpaceShipTwo is a six-passenger and two-pilot vehicle.
The first SpaceShipTwo, named the VSS Enterprise, is nearing another milestone: The installation of its unique hybrid rocket motor, a key technology needed to propel paying customers to the edge of space. [Photos: SpaceShipTwo's First Glide Test Flight]
Those flights, Virgin Galactic officials have said, will give paying passengers a stunning view of the Earth and several minutes of weightlessness. The price per seat? A cool $200,000. Virgin Galactic's spaceliner operations are bankrolled by British entrepreneur and adventurer Sir Richard Branson, who founded the firm.