Virgin Galactic’s chief executive says the company is approaching the “next phase” of the flight test program for the company’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle as the company’s founder predicts the company reaching space in “weeks.”
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The commercial spaceflight industry has been enjoying success both on and off the launch pad this year.
Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo set new speed and altitude records on its third powered test flight July 26, bringing the suborbital vehicle one step closer to reaching space.
Blue Origin expects to start flying people on its New Shepard suborbital vehicle “soon” and start selling tickets for commercial flights next year, a company executive said June 19.
Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit announced a set of agreements July 6 with Italian companies and the Italian Space Agency that could lead to suborbital and orbital launches from a proposed Italian spaceport.
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane performed a successful test flight May 29, bringing the company one step closer to realizing its long-delayed dreams of space tourism and research flights.
Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle successfully performed its first powered flight April 5, the first such test flight since a fatal crash nearly three and a half years ago.
Virgin Galactic conducted its first test flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle in more than five months Jan. 11 as the company prepares to begin powered test flights of the vehicle.
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 Virgin Group announced Oct. 26 an agreement with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund for an investment of $1 billion into Virgin’s suborbital and orbital space ventures.
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.
About 650 customers are already holding tickets for SpaceShip Two, said Stephen Attenborough, commercial director of Virgin Galactic.