Virgin Galactic will carry out a dedicated research flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane for the Italian space agency ASI, with an Italian payload specialist on board, under an agreement announced Dec. 18.
The chief executive of Virgin Galactic said Sept. 7 that the company’s second suborbital spaceplane was “at the edge” of beginning powered test flights, after at least one more glide flight.
Virgin Galactic performed the latest glide flight of its second SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane Aug. 4, calling it a “dry run” for upcoming powered test flights.
Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are de facto competitors in an undeclared race to be the first to send private passengers into suborbital space, but both billionaire-led ventures are prioritizing safety over urgency.
Virgin Galactic performed another glide flight of SpaceShipTwo June 1 as the company suggested it was nearing a new phase in the test program of the suborbital spaceplane.
Virgin Galactic said May 1 it successfully tested the system on its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle that permits a safe reentry on the vehicle’s latest unpowered test flight.
Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson said April 28 he remained optimistic that the company’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle will carry him and other customers into space, but declined to give a specific schedule about when those flights might begin.
Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane performed its second free flight Dec. 22 as the company prepares to enter a critical year in the vehicle’s long-delayed development.
Virgin Galactic is planning to begin glide flight tests of its second SpaceShipTwo next Tuesday, almost exactly two years after a fatal test flight of its first suborbital spaceplane.
As Virgin Galactic prepares to resume testing of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane, the company announced Aug. 1 that it has received a launch license for those tests from the FAA,