After half a year after the collapse of the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, Virgin Galactic began assembling a new version of the suborbital ship in one of the hangars in the California desert.
On October 31, 2014, during a test flight, the SpaceShipTwo ship fell apart. As a result, the co-pilot Michael Elsbury was killed, and the pilot Peter Siebold was seriously injured. However, Virgin Galactic representatives said they intend to develop another suborbital spacecraft.
“The work to create a new device, which has no official name, goes on continuously thanks to the efforts of our production company, The Spaceship Company,” representatives of Virgin Galactic told the press on May 4. On the same day, they provided a photograph of the ship during the assembly process, which is being held in a hangar in the Mojave Desert (California, USA).
“Over the past few weeks, the cabin’s curing cycle has been completed (see photo), most of the work on the wings of the spacecraft has been completed, and other important stages of the planned plan for assembling the device have been completed,” added Virgin Galactic representatives.
The main purpose of SpaceShipTwo will be short suborbital flights for space tourists. The ship is designed for six passengers and two pilots. The WhiteKnightTwo, which will deliver the ship to an altitude of 15 thousand meters, will be used as a whipping plane. At this altitude, the onboard rocket engine is launched, which will lift the ship to the required point. Despite the unsuccessful launch on October 31, hundreds of customers, including world stars, are eagerly awaiting the completion of the construction of the new device and have already made the necessary deposit to reserve a place on board. At the moment, one flight on the ship costs $ 250 thousand per person.
Representatives of Virgin Galactic argue that the safety of passengers and crew is of paramount importance for them, and they will not rush to launch a new unit into the sky until they are convinced that it is fully operational.
“We hope that the testing of the second SpaceShipTwo will begin later this year. First, we will carry out tests on the ground, then we will make a training flight under the captive-carry program, then a flight test on the planning mode, and only then we will proceed to the tests in flight with a running engine, ”said Virgin Galactic representatives.