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Virgin Galactic announces SS2 engine tests
Posted: Fri, May 29, 2009, 6:37 AM ET (1037 GMT)
SpaceShipTwo rocket motor test (Virgin Galactic) Virgin Galactic announced Thursday that it has completed an initial set of tests of the rocket motor that will power its SpaceShipTwo suborbital space tourism vehicle. The tests of the nitrous oxide hybrid rocket motor were performed recently in Southern California by Sierra Nevada Corporation, the company that acquired SpaceDev, who signed on last year to develop the motors and previously worked on the engines for SpaceShipOne. Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn said at the International Space Development Conference in Orlando Thursday that initial unpowered flight tests of SpaceShipTwo will begin by the end of this year. SpaceShipTwo's carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, has made five test flights to date and will make its first long-distance flight on June 19, performing a flyover of Spaceport America in New Mexico for its groundbreaking.
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