A sampling of the rockets flying this past week:

** Virgin Galactic‘s SpaceShipTwo “Unity” flew under its own rocket power for the first time on Thursday when it fired its hybrid motor  (solid fuel + liquid oxidizer) after dropping from the WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane: VSS Unity First Powered Flight: A major step forward – Virgin Galactic

** A SpaceX Falcon 9 on Monday sent a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station with almost 3 tons of science and technology R&D materials and equipment plus other supplies for the crew: New Research Heading to Space Station on 14th SpaceX Resupply Mission | NASA

Note that both the Falcon 9 first stage booster and the Dragon spacecraft had flown before, illustrating the progress SpaceX is making towards routine reuse of space transport systems.

On Wednesday the Dragon caught up with the ISS and was captured by the station’s robotic arm of the station under the control of Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, who .brought it in for berthing to the Harmony module:

** On Thursday an Arianespace Ariane V rocket sent two large communications satellites towards geostationary orbits: Mission success: Flight VA242 orbits DSN-1/Superbird-8 for SKY Perfect JSAT and HYLAS 4 for Avanti Communications – Arianespace

** Last Saturday, a Black Brant IX sounding rocket with the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment or ASPIRE, launched on a suborbital flight from NASA Wallops on the Virginia coastline: Mars Parachute Test Successfully Launched from Wallops | NASA

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