A320 flying beside Virgin Galactic’s White Knight Two mothership carrying SpaceShipTwo

An unbelievable footage, filmed in 2011, shows a really unusual formation, including an Airbus 320 and White Knight Two carrying the SpaceShipTwo, disintegrated over Mojave desert few days ago.

On Apr. 6, 2011, Virgin America A320 named “My Other Ride is a Spaceship” flew beside Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo over San Francisco to celebrate Virgin America’s new terminal at SFO airport.

The following footage was filmed from aboard the Airbus, as the “mothership” and an accompanying Beechcraft Baron 58 chase plane rejoined on the liner’s left wing, in a rendez-vous reminding that of the receivers on an aerial refueler, to take some cool images of the rather unusual formation.

With a service ceiling of 60,000 feet, the jet-powered cargo aircraft used to lift the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft to a release altitude of 50,000 feet, features two fuselage, one of those is an exact replica of that of SpaceShipTwo to allow tourist training.

On Oct. 31, during a first test over Mojave desert, SS2 disintegrated in flight, seconds after release from White Knight Two. Although the cause of the incident is still being investigated, NTSB team revealed that an uncommanded feather deployment occurred 9 sec. after ignition of the hybrid rocket, possibly overstressing the airframe until it collapsed.

H/T Stefano Perer/Flapa for the heads-up

 

About David Cenciotti 3778 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.