SPACEPORT AMERICA WELCOMES WHITEKNIGHT TWO

 Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo piloted by Kelly Latimer and Dave Mackay and an Extra 300 chase plane fly operational tests at Spaceport America on Wednesday, April 20 , 2016. Image Credit: Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal

Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo piloted by Kelly Latimer and Dave Mackay and an Extra 300 chase plane fly operational tests at Spaceport America on Wednesday, April 20 , 2016. Image Credit: Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal

Virgin Galactic and Spaceport America Operations teams welcomed WhiteKnightTwo back to the clear blue skies of New Mexico on Monday, April 18.

“Preparing the commercial operations crew and WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve at Spaceport America is an important milestone on the road to commercial human spaceflight service. It was helpful to work alongside local air traffic controllers in New Mexico and to conduct exercises in New Mexico airspace. We look forward to returning to our future home at Spaceport America,” said George Whitesides, CEO, Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides speaks with media on Wednesday April 20, 2016, during a test flight conducted by Virgin Galactic's Operations team at Spaceport America in South Central New Mexico. Image Credit: Robin Zielinski/Las Cruces Sun-News)

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides speaks with media on Wednesday April 20, 2016, during a test flight conducted by Virgin Galactic’s Operations team at Spaceport America in South Central New Mexico. Image Credit: Robin Zielinski/Las Cruces Sun-News)

Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo was put through the paces this week as the pilots, ground and mission control crewmembers performed numerous ground and air exercises in preparation for future commercial space flights.

Yesterday, Virgin Galactic simulated all elements of a mission including rollout of the vehicle, flight preparation, take off and release from high altitude. After the simulated release, WhiteKnightTwo flew a simulated spaceship return profile and then performed several practice touch and goes before landing.

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