Scots rocket man Dave Mackay steers Virgin Galactic spaceship past the supersonic barrier for first time
SUTHERLAND-BORN pilot takes SpaceShipTwo to a speed of Mach 1.4 as Richard Branson's dream of a commercial spaceliner moves a major step closer to reality.
A SCOTS rocket man has helped move the dream of commercial space flights a major step closer to reality.
Virgin Galactic’s Chief Pilot Dave Mackay flew the company’s new spaceship past the supersonic barrier for the first time last night, as the latest round of testing was voted a huge success.
The Sutherland-born Scot piloted SpaceShipTwo to a speed of Mach 1.4 by firing the rocket propulsion system in what has been hailed as a huge breakthrough in the bid to bring the commercial spaceliner into operation within the next year.
The flight, at the Mojave Space Port in California, saw Mackay, 56, take controls of the ship at rocket speed for a mission which he described as a dream come true.
He said: “I have watched SS2 evolve over the years into an incredible vehicle that is going to open up space to more people than ever before.
“To be behind the controls and fly it as the rocket ignited is something I will never forget. She flew brilliantly. All the tests went really well and generated vital data that will be used to further fine-tune our operations.”
Testing of the ship will continue as the pioneering company get ready to invite the army of paid up astronaut customers on board for the first time hopefully within the year.
Commenting on the successful test flight, Sir Richard Branson said: “I couldn’t be happier to start the New Year with all the pieces visibly in place for the start of full space flights.
“2014 will be the year when we will finally put our beautiful spaceship in her natural environment of space.
"Today, we had our own Chief Pilot flying another flawless supersonic flight and proving the various systems required to take us safely to space, as well as providing the very best experience while we’re up there.”
Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said: “Today’s flight was another resounding success.
“We focused on gathering more transonic and supersonic data, and our chief pilot, Dave, handled the vehicle beautifully. With each flight test, we are progressively closer to our target of starting commercial service in 2014.”
Quelle: Daily Record
Frams: Virgina Galactic Testflug-Video
Quelle: Virgin Galactic