<p>As part of its mission to boldly go where no private company has gone before, <a id="jksv" title="Virgin Galactic" href="http://www.virgingalactic.com/">Virgin Galactic</a> conducted the first "captive carry" test flight of its commercial spaceship, dubbed the <a id="amm7" title="V.S.S. Enterprise" href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/12/091208-virgin-galactic-spaceship-enterprise-branson.html">V.S.S. <em>Enterprise</em></a><em>,</em> on March 22, 2010.<br><br>Instead of using huge launch rockets like NASA does for its space shuttles, Virgin Galactic uses a mother ship known as <em>WhiteKnight</em> to carry its spacecraft into the skies. On future flights, the spaceship is to drop away from <em>WhiteKnight </em>in midair and use its own hybrid rockets to reach suborbital heights.</p>

Enterprise's Virgin Flight

As part of its mission to boldly go where no private company has gone before, Virgin Galactic conducted the first "captive carry" test flight of its commercial spaceship, dubbed the V.S.S. Enterprise, on March 22, 2010.

Instead of using huge launch rockets like NASA does for its space shuttles, Virgin Galactic uses a mother ship known as WhiteKnight to carry its spacecraft into the skies. On future flights, the spaceship is to drop away from WhiteKnight in midair and use its own hybrid rockets to reach suborbital heights.

Photograph courtesy Mark Greenberg, Virgin Galactic

Space Photos This Week: Virgin Galactic Flight, More

Virgin Galactic's commercial spaceship gets its first test flight, stars paint a cosmic rosebud, and more in the week's best space pictures.

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