Virgin Galactic is getting a firm foot-hold on the commercial space race. Their space plane, VSS Unity (Serial No.2) has completed two test flights and it’s almost ready to carry commercial passengers into suborbital flight. Another space plane (Serial No.3), is yet without a sexy name, but it’s getting ready to make test flights in 2020.
SpaceShipTwo (Serial No. 2 and 3 ship model) is designed to be launched at 50,000 feet by a carrier plane called… prep for sexy name… WhiteKnightTwo. Once they are 50,000 feet up, the carrier plane and space plane detach, and SpaceShipTwo engages its rockets to get it into suborbital space.
The final test missions for the two SpaceShipTwo’s that are most ready to go will happen at Spaceport America in New Mexico, where Virgin Galactic has a lot of room and big plans for commercial space flight. They are also building a fourth space plane (Serial No. 4) that will be ready for testing at later dates. Their Serial No. 1 space plane was destroyed during a mission in 2014 that killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury and wounded pilot Peter Siebold. –space.com
More than 600 people have reserved tickets on the 6-passenger space plane at the cost of $250,000 a head. They will experience brief weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth, before descending back down to the runway for landing. Would you do it?
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