Space

In mid-February, Virgin Galactic will continue SpaceShipTwo trial flights

Summary

Virgin Galactic reported on February 1 that in the mid-February, 2-months after the technical issue abandoned an earlier deployment attempt, the company would be launching its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spacecraft. Virgin Galactic stated in a statement that the opportunity for the next SpaceShipTwo flight would open at the Spaceport […]

Virgin Galactic reported on February 1 that in the mid-February, 2-months after the technical issue abandoned an earlier deployment attempt, the company would be launching its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spacecraft. Virgin Galactic stated in a statement that the opportunity for the next SpaceShipTwo flight would open at the Spaceport America in New Mexico on February 13. This flight’s precise date will rely on; the company stated “technical readiness and good weather conditions.”

The research payloads for the Flight Opportunities program of NASA, the powered flight test will also have 2-pilots on board.   The flight would aim to reach the altitude of 80 kilometers used by Virgin Galactic as space limit; the first-time SpaceShipTwo has achieved so since a flight from the California’s Mojave Air and Space Port in 2019 February. In December, the Virgin Galactic had decided to perform this flight test. Its hybrid rocket engine ignited but almost instantly shut down shortly after the spaceplane departs from WhiteKnightTwo aircraft on December 12. At the Spaceport America, SpaceShipTwo glided to a secure landing.

The firm stated that at the moment of ignition, a computer lost communication, causing an engine shutdown. “Since then, the team has figured out the root cause, undertaken the necessary corrective work as well as performed through ground tests,” it said in the statement of the next flight but did not reveal any further specifics of those attempts. Michael Colglazier, chief executive officer of the Virgin Galactic, stated in the release, “We are delighted to be able to return to the skies and begin our flight test plan.”

Just like with the December assessment, Virgin Galactic will have only vital staff for the assessment at the spaceport, with no mainstream press or guests present, quoting both the firm as well as the state of the New Mexico’s COVID-19 guidelines. Sierra County, where the Spaceport America is situated, is in the middle or even “yellow” tier of the state’s business, as well as other operation restriction system designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The forthcoming flight will be the first of the three Virgin Galactic flights described in November in an earnings call. To assess the cabin interior as well as the ‘weightless experience in the space’ in readiness of carrying passengers, the second flight will hold two pilots and four more personnel. The founder of the company, Richard Branson, will fly a third, who had long stated that he would be on the firm’s first commercial flight. At the period of such a call, Virgin Galactic felt that during the first quarter of the year 2021, with the very first flight planned for November, it would be capable of flying the second as well as third flights in that series. In the statement of the forthcoming flight, the company did not change the timetable.

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