SpaceShipTwo is a commercial suborbital plane which is currently in development. Virgin
Galactic is marketing and operating the vehicles. Virgin Galactic
hopes to become the first company to provide commercial suborbital
space flights for private citizens.
SpaceShipTwo will hold six
passengers and two pilots and will fly higher and have a longer
downrange than SpaceShipOne. Virgin Galactic hopes to launch its
first public flight before 2009 and is now taking bookings at
$200,000 USA per seat.
As of January 2008 it is
nearly 60% complete. It incorporates both the lessons learned from
the SpaceShipOne program and the market research conducted by Virgin
Galactic into the requirements future astronauts have for their
space flight experience. It also has built-in flexibility to
encompass future requirements for other scientific and commercial
The flights will take about 2 ½
hours and SpaceShipTwo (SS2) will fly just outside of the Earth’s
atmosphere where tourists will spend a few minutes floating in space
before the ship must return back to the Earth’s atmosphere.
SpaceShipTwo will be launched from its mother ship, WhiteKnightTwo
(WK2). SpaceShipTwo will
provide personal spacesuits of a design yet to be set.
WhiteKnightTwo is the carrier vehicle. It will be larger than a
Boeing 757 jet and will also sport the same interior of SpaceShipTwo
and will be used to help train passengers during a three-day
orientation period before launch.
It will be the world's largest, all
carbon composite aircraft.
White Knight 2 Specification:
- details not unveiled yet.
Weight: ? kg
Space Ship Two
- details not unveiled yet.
Length: ? m
Diameter: ? m
Weight: ? kg
tourist flights will take off from California, and later at a
proposed $225 million facility in New Mexico called Spaceport
America. Virgin Galactic
will schedule approximately one flight per week during the beginning
period. There are plans for an initial fleet of five SS2's and two
original SpaceShipTwo and White Knight 2
Virgin Galactic was born
in 2004, when Burt Rutan’s
SpaceShipOne successfully made three flights to altitudes
greater than 100 kilometers and won the X Prize. Microsoft
billionaire Paul Allen funded the original design, SpaceShipOne.
On September 25, 2004,
Richard Branson announced a deal to create Virgin Galactic, a
company to license the technology of SpaceShipOne to take passengers
into suborbital flights.
On July 27, 2005 Richard
Branson (Virgin Group) and Burt Rutan (Scaled Composites) announced
their signing of an agreement to form a new aerospace production
company to build a fleet of commercial sub-orbital spaceships and
launch aircraft. The new company, The Spaceship Company owns the
designs of the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) and White Knight Two (WK2) launch
The Spaceship Company
will manufacture the new launch aircraft, spaceships and support
equipment and market them to spaceline operators, including the
launch customer, Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic added an
e-commerce platform to its Web site to coincide with the unveiling
of full-size model of the interior of SpaceShipTwo that was shown during
a technology show in New York on 2 October 2006. Boutique hotel
veteran Philip Stark is designing SpaceShipTwo’s interior.
Virgin Galactic unveiled the design of its new
space launch system on 23rd January
Five vehicles have been
ordered by Virgin Galactic:
1. VSS Enterprise
2. VSS Spirit of Steve Fossett
3. Not Named
4. Not Named
5. Not Named
Virgin Galactic spaceliners are
slated to roll out and begin test flights by summer 2008 in Mojave,
California, with future operational spaceflights to be staged from
New Mexico’s Spaceport America beginning in 2009.
Did you know?
Virgin Galactic have sold 200 tickets
- Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipOne was the first
privately built craft to reach outer space, and hangs in the
Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in the USA. It's right between Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis,
the first plane to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and Chuck Yeagar's
Bell X1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier.
the successor to SpaceShipone.
- Richard Branson is the Founder of the Virgin
Group of Companies.
- If the SpaceShipTwo service is successful, they will develop
SpaceShipThree, which is orbital.
Better, Cheaper: Low
Cost innovation in the US Space Program.
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