It has touched the blue sky for the first time: The VSS Enterprise - the first craft of the SpaceShipTwo class - was carried today into the air during its first captive carry flight from the Mojave Spaceport, carried by the White Knight II. It was a beautiful thing.
Needless to say, aircraft genius Burt Rutan is excited:
This is a momentous day for the Scaled and Virgin Teams. The captive carry flight signifies the start of what we believe will be extremely exciting and successful spaceship flight test program.
And so is Sir Richard Branson:
Seeing the finished spaceship in December was a major day for us but watching VSS Enterprise fly for the first time really brings home what beautiful, ground-breaking vehicles Burt and his team have developed for us. It comes as no surprise that the flight went so well; the Scaled team is uniquely qualified to bring this important and incredible dream to reality. Today was another major step along that road and a testament to US engineering and innovation.
This is one of the many tests that the the VSS Enterprise will have to go through during 2010 and 2011. [Virgin Galactic]