Thursday, March 13, 2008

SpaceShipTwo May Fly by the End of 2008

Sir Richard Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin Galactic, suggested this week on the Indian television network NDTV that the first SpaceShipTwo craft (the VSS Enterprise) will be ready for flight tests by the end of the year. And that isn't the only thing he mentioned. He also suggested that the flight testing will take about nine months, after which he hopes that he and his family will be on the first flight. Notably, he said that he won't put the family on the spacecraft until he is sure that is safe, perhaps in an attempt to reassure others that if they want to go up on SpaceShipTwo, they will come back down! You can read a mediocre translation of the interview here. The interview was mostly about India's economy and the Virgin group's plans for expansion in Indian markets, but on space tourism, Branson mentions these and a few other things that are too poorly translated in this transcript to understand. I prefer not to speculate on those, so I recommend reading it for yourself.

This is exciting stuff, though! Before the year is out, we may very well see the Enterprise launched toward space for the first time! And I imagine before then, we'll see Eve (the first WhiteKnightTwo) perform various flight tests. It's shaping up to be a very exciting year!

Progress: 3.89%  Flight Time: 0:05:50

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