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May 17, 2011 > Space tourism craft reaches glide-test milestone

Space tourism craft reaches glide-test milestone

Submitted By AP Wire Service

MOJAVE, California (AP), May 04 - Virgin Galactic says it has achieved another glide-test milestone in its effort to carry tourists into space.

The company said Wednesday its commercial vehicle dubbed SpaceShipTwo successfully performed a key maneuver in which its twin tail booms were rotated upward at a right angle to the fuselage before safely landing.

SpaceShipTwo is undergoing rigorous testing over California's Mojave Desert before it begins carrying paying passengers.

During the test flight, the craft did not fire its rocket engine to go into space. Instead, a mothership lifted it to 50,000 feet (15,200 meters) where it was released and put its tail booms in the so-called ``feathered'' position to maximize aerodynamic drag.

The reconfiguration will be a critical part of the spaceship's descent after suborbital trips into space.

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