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Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo Completes First Rocket-Powered Test Flight [Video]

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Your dream vacation to space –come on, you totally have one of those, right? — may be a little closer to reality after today’s test flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. This morning, the company completed a successful rocket powered test flight of the new ship it hopes to start sending tourists into orbit in later this year.

After being towed to an altitude of 47,000 feet, SpaceShipTwo was released onto its own power, ignited its rockets, and shot to 55,000 feet after a 16 second burn of its engine and broke the speed of sound while it did so. You know, no big deal.  The whole flight lasted ten minutes and went off without a hitch, right down to an easy glide back to the landing strip.

With this successful test under its belt, the company officially begins final phase of testing for SpaceShipTwo, which one can hope will include adding some badly needed spaces to that name. It’s unwieldy with out them, is all I’m saying. Now that the craft has proven itself capable of rocket powered flight, the company sounds confident that there’s little left to do but iron out small bugs. Of course, when you’re strapping yourself into a rocket powered ship capable of taking joyrides to space, you’re going to really want to make sure that every one of those bugs is ironed out.

That said, I’m not sure the technical glitch exists that could keep me from wanting to take a ride on this thing. I mean just check this out:

Yup. Just let us know when we can buy tickets, Richard Branson, and then please feel free to take all of our money.

(via Virgin Galactic, image courtesy of MarsScientific.com and Clay Center Observatory)

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