More WhiteKnight Two testing details after Oshkosh

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Details of future WhiteKnight Two testing and an evaluation of its Pratt & Whitney Canada 308A engines should emerge after July's Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Virgin Galactic's prototype mothership, named Eve, will make its public debut at Oshkosh on 27 July after performing more flight tests in June than it had between December 2008 and May. There were six in June against five, including its 21 December maiden flight, up to and including the 20 May test.

Over the course of flights one to seven, WK2 increased its peak altitude to 52,400ft (15,980m) and its airspeed to 370kt (685km/h), along with a range of system testing including pressurisation, environmental control and in-flight engine restarts.

In June 2008 P&WC said that it would use the WK2 test flights to evaluate its PW308A engine's performance at high altitude. Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn says: "I don't think [prime contractor] Scaled Composites will be prepared to [talk about future testing] before Oshkosh. The same will likely go for P&WC as they are planning some sort of announcement after Oshkosh."

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© Flight International/Aaron Fumfallo 
Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnight Two mothership Eve sits at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport in Arizona on 19 June