Skip to main content

Photos: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Soars on 3rd Rocket-Powered Flight

SpaceShipTwo Goes Supersonic: 3rd Rocket Test

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo space plane rockets through the stratosphere at 71,000 feet, its highest flight yet, during its third powered test flight on Jan. 10, 2014. The supersonic flight occurred over California's Mojave Air and Space Port. [Read the Full Story on the SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Here]

SpaceShipTwo Rocket Motor Ignites

Virgin Galactic (via Facebook)

SpaceShipTwo ignites her hybrid rocket motor, as seen from WhiteKnightTwo. During the Jan. 10, 2014, test flight, the rocket motor fired for 20 seconds, accelerating SpaceShipTwo to Mach 1.4, and carrying the vehicle to an altitude of 71,000 feet over Mojave Air & Space Port.

SpaceShipTwo Before Rocket Ignition

Virgin Galactic (via Facebook)

SpaceShipTwo moments before ignition of her hybrid rocket motor at Mojave Air & Space Port, as seen from WhiteKnightTwo. The test flight on Jan. 10, 2014, marked the third occasion that SpaceShipTwo exceeded the speed of sound, and the first time that Virgin Galactic’s Chief Pilot, Dave Mackay, piloted a rocket-powered test flight.

SpaceShipTwo at 71,000 Feet

Virgin Galactic (via Facebook)

After firing her hybrid rocket motor above Mojave Air & Space Port, SpaceShipTwo coasts up to an altitude of 71,000 feet on a supersonic test flight, Jan. 10, 2014. At 71,000 feet, the sky is already darkening to black, and the curvature of the Earth is evident; a full space mission will go many times higher.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Supersonic Test: Jan. 10, 2014

MarsScientific.com/Clay Center Observatory

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo spacecraft is a reusable spaceship built to fly passengers on commercial trips to suborbital space and safely back home. On Jan. 10, 2014, the vehicle made its highest rocket-powered flight ever. It is the third supersonic test flight for SpaceShipTwo, which is designed to fly two pilots and six passengers on suborbital spaceflights for $250,000 a seat. [Read the Full Story on the SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Here]

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Aft View: Jan. 10, 2014

Virgin Galactic

This photo of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo in flight shows the view aft as the private space plane made its third supersonic rocket-powered test flight on Jan. 10, 2014. [Read the Full Story on the SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Here]

SpaceShipTwo Takes Off on Test Flight, Jan. 10, 2014.

Virgin Galactic

SpaceShipTwo just after takeoff on a test flight from Mojave Air and Space Port in California, Jan. 10, 2013. [Read the Full Story on the SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Here]

SpaceShipTwo Before Test Flight, Jan. 10, 2014

Scaled Composites/Jason DiVenere

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo stands in the sunrise shortly before takeoff on a test flight from Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Jan. 10, 2014. [Read the Full Story on the SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Here]

How Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Passenger Space Plane Works (Infographic)

Karl Tate, SPACE.com contributor

SpaceShipTwo will carry six passengers up past 328,000 feet altitude (100 kilometers), the point where astronaut wings are awarded. See how Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo works in this SPACE.com infographic.

SpaceShipTwo Hybrid Rocket Motor

Virgin Galactic

This diagram depicts Virgin Galactic's hybrid rocket motor for the private SpaceShipTwo passenger space liner.

SpaceShipTwo Drop Launch

Virgin Galactic

An artist's illustration of a SpaceShipTwo drop launch from its mothership WhiteKnightTwo.

For more amazing Virgin Galactic test flight photos, see our full SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Gallery Here.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.