Virgin Galactic Nears Take-Off With Record Rocket Thruster Test (VIDEO)

06/09/2013 08:35 | Updated 05 November 2013
  • Huffington Post UK

Virgin Galactic has taken another big step towards the first commercial space flights for tourists, after breaking more records with its latest powered test.

Virgin's SpaceShipTwo completed its second rocket test flight on Thursday, flying to 46,000 feet attached to the WhiteKnightTwo mothership, before being released and burning its rocket engine for 20 seconds.

The ship reached a maximum height of 65,000 feet and a speed of Mach 1.6.

"This is a giant step," Branson wrote on his blog. "Our spaceship is now the highest commercial winged vehicle in history! We also successfully tested its feather system for carefree re-entry too — the first time that’s happened on a rocket-powered flight."

Watch the video below to see how close Virgin really is to taking its wealthy passengers into space.

Virgin Galactic: Progress In Pictures