History continues to be made in the skies above the Mojave Desert. Hot on the heels of last week's nitrous venting and feather test, SpaceShipTwo achieved another successful first today with a spectacular "Cold Flow" flight.
The test objectives were successfully met, advancing another important step towards powered flight.
In preparation for SpaceShipTwo's first powered flight, the test teams from Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic completed the profile of the upcoming milestone flight — apart from actually igniting the rocket. Importantly, and for the first time in the air, oxidizer was flowed through the propulsion system and out through the nozzle at the rear of the vehicle — thus successfully accomplishing the "Cold-Flow" procedure.
As well as providing further qualifying evidence that the rocket system is flight ready, the test also provided a stunning spectacle due to the oxidizer contrail and for the first time gave a taste of what SpaceShipTwo will look like as it powers to space.
The upcoming first powered flight of SpaceshipTwo is in many ways the most significant milestone to date, being the first time that the spaceship has flown with all systems installed and fully operational. It's an incredibly exciting stage of the program.