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    Virgin Galactic spaceship completes first test flight

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    Virgin Galactic has announced that it has successfully test-flown its new spaceship

    The flight, which took off from and landed back at an air and space port in California on Friday, lasted nearly four hours over the Mojave desert while reaching a maximum altitude of around 15,000 metres, the spaceflight company said in a blog post.

    The six-passenger, two-pilot winged space plane has been designed to take passengers on five-minute voyages into suborbital space.

    The flight was operated by four test pilots — two in SpaceShipTwo and two were on the carrier. The aim of the flight was to capture “high fidelity aerodynamic performance data” on the vehicle, while allowing the teams to gain further experience operating a crewed flight.

    It has been two years since the original SpaceShipTwo was destroyed in 2014 during a deadly test flight that killed one of its two pilots and seriously injured the other.

    More test flights and analysis are planned before the spaceship starts to take passengers to space.

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