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Thread: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo: path to commercial flights

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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Default Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo: path to commercial flights

    After the crash of SS2 "Enterprise" due to a co-pilot error, VG did preventive redesigns, build SS2 002 "VSS Unity", has 2 more in construction at The Spaceship Factory, and is now starting VSS Unity powered flights. They're also signing up more passenger, NASA, University and commercial microgravity missions.

    They've also signed a deal to do European space flights from the Grottaglie Spaceport at Taranto-Grottaglie Airport in Italy.

    VSS Unity test flight #3, the first to reach "black skies" at an altitude of 52 kilometers - half their 100+ kilometer goal.



    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 27th July 2018 at 10:04.
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    SS2 Unity - first flight to space (50 miles)

    50 miles is the USAF/NASA/FAA definition, and the international groups will have workshops next year to lower the Karman line to 80km (49.17 miles) from the current 200 km (62 miles) based on new studies.

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    Space News...

    Branson looks ahead to beginning commercial SpaceShipTwo flights

    MOJAVE, Calif. With a first flight to the edge of space under the companys belt, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson believes commercial flights of SpaceShipTwo could begin some time next year.
    >
    The company plans to grow the fleet of vehicles supporting commercial operations. Besides VSS Unity, two more SpaceShipTwo vehicles are currently under construction, with the first of them expected to be completed in about a year. Branson said the company would "soon" start building two more SpaceShipTwo vehicles as well as a second WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft.

    Virgin Galactic has about 700 customers who have either paid the full price of a ticket or a deposit. "We stopped for the last four years taking new reservations," he said, but will start taking reservations again soon.
    >
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    Isn't this where Aland Shepherd was in May 5, 1961?? In many ways we haven't progressed very far at all.
    paulw

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulw View Post
    Isn't this where Aland Shepherd was in May 5, 1961?? In many ways we haven't progressed very far at all.
    The first commercial crew flight to ISS with humans is next summer, so from now the timeline is a bit compressed vs the 60's.

    Further, NASA plans on allowing commercial civilian missions to ISS - the visitors staying in commercially launched operated habitats.

    One candidate under the NEXTStep program is a Bigelow B330 named XBASE. Another is being built by AXIOM, which is run by some former NASA ISS executives. Another commercial outfit, NanoRacks, plans on a habitat and commercial airlock.

    Just before ISS is decommissioned these would separate and become commercial space stations.

    Then there's the SpaceX Super Heavy and Starship - a spaceship which will have more internal volune than ISS by a lot. They're planning circumounar trips (ex: Apollo 8) and Mars missions - and no one is giggling. NASA is involved in site selection for Mars.

    Also Blue Origin's New Glenn and Armstrong. Jeff Bezos wants to move heavy manufacturing offworld.

    And Sierra Nevada is booking Dream Chaser flights for ISS resupply, and for the United Nations and European use.

    Commercial space, including crewed, is about to get very busy.
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 14th December 2018 at 20:52.
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