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New SpaceShipTwo flexes its wings in flight

SpaceShipTwo flight
Long-range imagery shows the SpaceShipTwo plane known as VSS Unity with its wings in the feathered position for braking. (MarsScientific.com / Trumbull Studios via Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic passed another essential milestone today in the flight test program for VSS Unity, its upgraded SpaceShipTwo rocket plane, by bending its wings into a “feathered” position for the first time in the air.

The company hailed the gliding test as a success in a series of tweets. Test pilots Mark Stucky and Mike Masucci were at VSS Unity’s controls, while Nicola Pecile and CJ Sturckow piloted the White Knight Two carrier airplane. Flight test engineer Dustin Mosher rode in the mothership as well.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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