EAA AIRVENTURE, OSHKOSH, WISCONSIN -- (July 28, 2009) - Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) today joined Virgin Galactic in celebrating the PW308A-powered WhiteKnight Two (WK2) launch aircraft reaching an altitude of over 52,000 feet on its way to the 2009 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show and convention. P&WC is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.
The revolutionary WK2, launch platform for the world's first commercial passenger suborbital spaceship, arrived at the show on Monday, July 27 and performed an impressive demonstration flight today.
"The WhiteKnightTwo has now successfully completed 17 flights powered by four leading-edge PW308A engines, each time bringing the dream of commercial space flight closer to reality," said John Saabas, President, P&WC. "The demonstration flight at Oshkosh is another important milestone for the aircraft's development program and the entire team at P&WC is proud to be an integral part of this visionary project."
The fully certified PW308A engine, rated at 6,900 pounds of normal takeoff thrust and equipped with full-authority digital engine control (FADEC), was selected in 2007 to power the WK2 launch aircraft by The Spaceship Company (TSC) - a jointly owned Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites company. The engine provides class leading cruise thrust, fuel consumption and power-to-weight ratio.
The WK2 launch aircraft will take off like an airplane, with the world's first commercial suborbital spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), attached underneath. It will launch SS2 into suborbital space from about 50,000 feet.
"The Virgin Galactic space launch system is the most environmentally friendly developed to date for the purpose of human spaceflight, science or payload," said Will Whitehorn, President, Virgin Galactic. "Our global leadership is built on technology innovation and we look forward to leveraging our expertise to further reduce the overall carbon footprint of a flight into space."
Pratt & Whitney Canada, based in Longueuil, Quebec, is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines powering business, general aviation and regional aircraft and helicopters. The company also manufactures auxiliary power units and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., USA, is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.