WhiteKnightTwo’s Tail Hits Ground During Test Flight

Virgin Galactic\'s WhiteKnightTwo with Burt Rutan and Richard Branson

SpaceShipTwo Mother Ship Slightly Dinged in Test Flight

While details remain a tad murky, the tail damage was apparently caused during a touch-and-go runway approach by WhiteKnightTwo, which created a “pucker factor” in eyewitnesses watching the flight.

According to a SPACE.com source, during the maneuver, the WhiteKnightTwo appeared to have been caught by a cross wind and pitched up steeper than expected. The result was a tail strike by both rudders of the large craft, according to one observer.

However, the damage appeared to be minimal, with the WhiteKnightTwo later making a smooth touch down on the tarmac.

Read the full story. Rob Coppinger also has a story with photos of the tail strike over at Flight Global.