Watch Virgin Galactic break the sound barrier at the edge of space

first_imgThere are a number of companies looking to send civilians into space for a quick jaunt in weightlessness, but Virgin Galactic is probably the closest to realizing the dream. In a new video posted by none other than Richard Branson, the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo can be seen breaking the sound barrier.This is only the second powered flight for the rocket, but it was also the second successful test. That’s an important point when you’re selling tickets. The craft is designed to take passengers on a short trip to the edge of space and let them experience weightlessness. In this test, the pilots managed to reach speeds in excess of 1000 mph and reach an even higher altitude than the previous flight. The single perspective in the video was shot from the tail of the craft, which is convenient for seeing the rocket engine do its thing.When the craft completed its climb and began heading back down, the re-entry system deployed as intended. Virgin Galactic has developed this re-entry system to make reusable launch vehicles practical. When activated, the wing and tail sections rotate upward into a “feathered” position for more lift. This slows the vehicle’s descent and keeps it stable.Virgin Galactic is in the process of designing the production spacecraft that will carry passengers in the near future. Branson says the commercial spaceflight service will be launching in 2014, pending FAA approval. When flights begin, most space enthusiasts won’t be able to swing the cost. Reservations are being sold right now for $250,000. Hey, deposits are refundable just in case you change your mind and decide to buy a house instead.last_img read more